A home’s foundation is essential as it sounds. A properly-built foundation is key to maintaining the structural integrity of a home. A poorly-constructed foundation, on the contrary, can be hazardous not only to the residents but also to the neighborhood.
Having these in mind, can you sell your home if it has foundation issues? The short answer is, of course, you can! But, is it going to be easy? Of course, not!
In this article, we explain to you 3 main things to consider before selling a home with foundation issues.
1. Foundation Problems
First, you'll need to find out your foundation's problem. The best way to do this is by hiring a professional foundation repair company. A reputable, local foundation repair company should be able to assess and evaluate any problems your foundation has.
Generally speaking, foundation issues are caused by settling. Foundation settling is caused by the moving or shifting of the soil beneath your home. This is a common problem in older homes.
Typically, foundation settling isn’t a cause for concern. However, in some cases, it could cause serious damage to your home if the settling becomes severe.
So, how do you know you have a settling and foundation problem? The following are the signs to be on the lookout for:
• Water in the basement or crawl spaces of your house
• Wood planks in your flooring are becoming ajar
• Cracks beginning to show in vinyl and ceramic tile
• Large gaps outside in the concrete around the house
• Drywall cracks and gaps between the wall and ceiling
• Sloping of your floors or staircases
• Windows become difficult to shut or have cracks in the glass, and doors jam shut or stick
• An alignment that is off in your windows or doors
After checking for signs of foundation damage, the next thing is to check the severity of the problem. For this purpose, you’ll need to determine the type of cracks in your foundation.
The following are common types:
• Horizontal cracks
These are alarming. With such cracks, you may need an entirely new foundation to stabilize your home.
• Masonry join cracks
If the crack is larger than a quarter of an inch, the problem may be serious.
• L-shape location
These may not necessarily mean structural damage. These occur when the foundation steps down to follow the curvature of a hillside and other possible reasons.
• Hairline cracks
These take place between the mortar in concrete and are not usually worth losing sleep over.
• Less than a quarter inch
Most often, these small cracks are typical and occur as the house settles. You shouldn’t obsess over them yet.
3. Homeowners Insurance
You may be uncertain of whether you count on your homeowners’ insurance policy to cover foundation repair, or not. You may be covered if the foundation damage was caused be a covered natural disaster, such as a tornado or an earthquake. However, most basic homeowners’ insurance policies will not cover foundation damage caused by negligence or foundation settling.
When buying an insurance, make sure that you read the fine print and have the insurance agent answer any questions that you may have.
Options available when selling a home with foundation issues:
Try selling the house as-is.
- Some buyers may see a house that needs extensive repairs as an investment opportunity. They could fix the foundation issues and then flip the house for a profit.
- However, for the vast majority of buyers, a house in need of extensive repairs often means “money down the drain.”
- If a buyer is willing to buy your home as-is, it doesn’t mean that their lender is okay with it. Conventional lenders, like HUD and VA, often require that homes be structurally perfect.
- Most buyers will be denied financing or be subjected to unfavorable loan parameters or higher interest rates. Therefore, if you decide to sell your house as-is, understand that many buyers may have a hard time qualifying for it.
Fix the issues and then sell the home.
- You could also decide to fix the foundation issues yourself before selling your home. You’ll need to hire a competent structural engineer to assess the problem. Usually, an assessment from a good engineer will cost you between $400 and $900 depending on where you live.
- Expect to pay between $5,000 and $10,000 if your foundation requires new support piers or anchor bolts beneath the foundation. For serious issues that require entire replacement of the foundation, the costs can run you between $20,000 and $40,000.
- Unlike the first option, buyers will be less weary to make an offer as they know you have already done the heavy lifting.
Foundation issues are by no means the end of ones hopes to sell a home. If you decide to sell as-is, make sure that you disclose your home’s condition and price accordingly. If you don’t, you risk a lawsuit once the issues are discovered by the buyer.
If you decide to fix the foundation issues yourself, make sure you get a written opinion from a qualified structural engineer. Repair work backed by a lifetime transferable warranty will be a big selling point with buyers. As such, choose a foundation repair company that offers one.