Buying a House With Foundation Issues
All houses have a foundation, and although they may not be seen, foundations really are the stars of the show. The foundation bears the weight of the entire house, transferring the force to the ground below. Normally they are dug into the ground and provide an anchor between the walls and the ground below. So what happens when there is damage to the foundations or they and inadequate for the job?
Most Common Foundation Issues
If you are considering buying a house, there are a few things you should look out for in respect of the foundations:
- Foundation cracks or wall and floor cracks;
- Foundations sinking or settling;
- Foundation Upheaval;
- Doors that don’t open or close properly;
- Gaps around windows or door frames;
- Sagging or uneven floors; and
- Counters and cabinets coming away from walls.
There are also several other signs that there may be foundation issues.
Getting a Mortgage When There Are Foundation Issues
If you need finance to purchase the house, one of the main issues may be finding a bank or lender who will agree to a mortgage on the property, given the potential issues. Most lenders require the foundations to be solid before agreeing to advance funds.
A substantial down payment or evidence that the foundations have been repaired will likely be required prior to the funds being advanced.
Insurance companies may also be reluctant to insure a house with foundation issues. Therefore, it is important to talk to insurance companies before purchase to determine if they will extend cover and, if not, what needs to be done so you can get insurance.
Get a Professional Inspection
If you identify one of these problems, the best thing you can do before signing any paperwork to purchase the house is to get a structural engineer or qualified foundation repair contractor to check out the potential issues. They will identify if there is an issue, the extent of the issue, and the potential cost of repairs.
Cost of Repairs
The cost of repairing the foundations in a house varies depending on the extent of the problem and the size of the house. Typically, small cracks may cost around $3,500, while bigger issues could be in excess of $40,000.
Several solutions exist for the buyer that is still interested in a property with foundation issues. The buyer can make it a condition of the agreement for sale and purchase that the foundations are repaired before the purchase is completed.
Alternatively, the buyer may offer a reduced price to purchase the property. This would typically offset the cost of the repairs against the asking price. If you are going to go down this path, it is essential that you have a clear idea of the cost of repairs; otherwise, you may end up paying more than expected.
Buying a house with foundation problems is not straightforward; however, the property could still prove a worthy investment. The key is doing your homework and getting advice from a professional regarding the extent of the problem and the cost of repairs.