The idea of foundation problems to be aware of often intimidates homebuyers, but it is not something to constantly fret over. Foundation issues come with different degrees of severity. In a best-case scenario, the repair is minor, but many can have a high expense, which makes discovering the underlying factors of vital importance.
What Are Some Indicators of Foundation Problems to Be Aware Of?
If you’re still at the house-hunting stage or have just bought a home, you will need to be careful about visually inspecting the property. There are three types of issues that you should stay alert to.
Although no home is 100% level, visibly settled floors or bowed walls should raise a red flag. All the walls, including the basement and chimney, should appear level. Another thing to watch for is whether there are large gaps when the windows or doors close.
Leaking is another sign of potential foundation problems to watch for. Some of the signs t look for include sagging floors, puddles, damp walls, or moisture in the corners. Discoloration indicating water damage, peeling paint, and mold is also signs of leaks that may mean that there is a foundation problem.
The most common sign of foundation problems is cracking, some of which require minor repairs. However, wide cracks are always concerning, especially if horizontal. In the case of vertical cracks, wider openings at the top or bottom indicate the degree of shifting that has taken place.
What Are Some of the Most Common Reasons for Foundation Issues?
Foundation problems to be aware of have different causes. The soil and drainage around the home are two things that you need to think about the most. These factors can lead to problems that may only become obvious years after you buy the home.
Soil has a direct impact on a foundation’s long-term viability. Expansive soil with patterns of expansion or contraction, as well as soft moisture-retaining soil, can cause problems over time. If the ground was never compacted properly, this will also eventually settle.
Loam or rock are the ideal types of soil to have underneath a home foundation. One of the advantages that loam offers are being a mixture of silt, clay, and sand. However, silt, clay, and peat are not ideal for use under a foundation alone and may cause dangerous structural damage.
If you have concerns about the property’s soil, you may benefit from having a soil test. These tests average between $300 and $1000, which many would consider a small price for a major benefit. The results from the test may help you find the best solution.
How to Handle Foundation Problems to Be Aware of Before Making an Offer
If you haven’t officially made an offer or if the seller has listed the issues in their disclosure documents, there is no need for alarm. Some sellers might lower the price so you can afford the repairs more easily. You may even find that the seller intends to fix the foundation before finalizing the sale.
Although most sellers will try to address these concerns, some might not uncooperative. A specialized foundation inspection might convince a seller that there is an issue they must address. Because many mortgage companies are unwilling to issue loans for homes with defective foundations, you will need to think about having the money to pay for repairs or getting a rehabilitation loan along with your mortgage.
One thing that you should consider is having a contingency clause allowing you to back out if the seller is unwilling to make repairs after an inspection uncovers problems. Asking for proof of repairs by a licensed contractor is always a wise move.
What Are Your Options After Closing?
When any problems arise after you have possession of the property, repairs should take precedence. Delaying repair may lead to additional problems considerably more expensive to repair. If you feel that any problems were not properly disclosed, a qualified professional can advise you on your next steps.
Foundation issues are a problem, but they don’t need to be a problem that stands in the way of buying the right home. Knowing about the foundation problems to be aware of will help you make better choices and contacting us will help you get started.