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Buying a Home With Foundation Issues (What You Should Know)

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As a homeowner, it’s important to know your largest investment is affordable and livable. You’ve spent months trying to pull out a mortgage, decorating the property in your head. Though there are always two major expenses that need to addressing: roofing issues and foundation issues.

While buying a home with foundation issues doesn’t seem like a good investment, it can work in your favor. Negotiating a better price with the cost of foundation repair can still be cheaper than buying the home at its full value.

Dalinghaus Construction has inspected over 10,000 homes for real estate and peace of mind for many homeowners. We understand foundation issues and why inspections happen for real estate. Here’s what you should know about buying a home with foundation issues.

Can I buy a home with foundation issues?

Learn about the process of putting a new foundation under an existing home, including the reasons why it may be necessary, the different types of foundations that can be used, and the potential costs and challenges involved.

You can buy a home with foundation issues for the most part unless they’re so severe that it’s considered unlivable. That said, purchasing a home with foundation issues alone shouldn’t impact your livelihood. You would have to accept your home either has damage (that will likely get worse) or you’ll have to do foundation repair at some point.

You don’t need to worry about your livelihood in a home with foundation issues. The issues you notice will be cosmetic damage. If left unaddressed for a long time, the problems can become structural. You can expect the home to be red-tagged and unlivable by that point.

Living in a home that has settled an inch or two is perfectly fine. A home that is down 16 inches can be more problematic.

Fun fact – Dalinghaus Construction has repaired a home that was down 16 inches. While the property was red-tagged, there wasn’t a worry about the structure collapsing.

Foundation issues don’t get better if they’re unaddressed. When they get worse, foundation repair becomes more expensive.

There are people currently living in their homes with foundation issues who are just fine. You don’t need to worry about your home collapsing on top of you.

How can I buy a home with foundation issues?

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You won’t find many banks willing to give you a mortgage for a home with foundation issues. Cash buying will be your best bet.

Some lenders are willing to finance a home with foundation issues. FHAs and VAs are more strict and won’t touch those types of homes. There may be some workarounds. Either way, your lender would know the home has foundation issues.

Sometimes Escrow companies will put the fix into the deal and require the foundation issues to be addressed before the deal is closed or you move in.

Some foundation repair projects are held through Escrow. They hold the money until the repairs are done.

Keep in mind the amount of damage may also impact the willingness of a lender willing to finance. If a fix costs $100,000, lenders will likely be more hesitant to do it unless you’re putting more down.

But if you’re looking for something easy, cash buying is your best bet.

If you’re cash buying, it is possible to negotiate the home down by at least 30%. So if you’re looking at a million-dollar home with foundation issues, you can potentially buy it for $700,000.

You can have a home inspected while it’s on the market

If you suspect a home you’re interested in has foundation issues, a foundation repair contractor can come out to take a look at the property.

Sometimes the home inspector isn’t always right. This is when you’ll need someone who specializes in identifying foundation issues. You’ll want to look for the signs and symptoms before calling a foundation repair contractor.

Signs and symptoms of foundation issues

  • Drywall cracks
  • Stucco cracks
  • Concrete slab cracks
  • Ceiling cracks
  • Tile cracks
  • Chimney cracks
  • Leaning chimney
  • Sloping floors
  • Doors and windows are hard to open and close
  • Water leaks

It will never only be one of these signs that indicate an issue. You’ll want to get a hold of a foundation specialist if you see more than one sign.

Even if you’re positive the home has foundation issues, you still want someone to come out so they can provide documentation.

You want a foundation specialist or licensed engineer to look at the home

This isn’t to say home inspectors don’t know what they’re doing. They do. They’re looking at everything to see what needs to be fixed.

However, they’re not foundation specialists. They can miss things from time to time. They don’t have the equipment foundation repair contractors use to identify the foundation issues.

Foundation specialists or licensed engineers will give a more accurate assessment of specifically the foundation.

Real estate inspection cost

There is a fee for an inspection for homes on the market, regardless of any foundation repair company you go with.

Dalinghaus Construction charges $1,000 to inspect homes on the market for an accurate quote. That $1,000 is credited toward your foundation repair.

The average foundation repair job is around $26,000. That $1,000 for the inspection would go to that cost, making the rest of the project $25,000.

Note – Not every job costs the average amount. The cost depends on the extent of the foundation issues and the fixes that are needed. Either way, the $1,000 inspection will still be credited to the project.

You are responsible for foundation issues after closing a home

Foundation Repair Scams (What to Look Out For)

The only time this isn’t the case is if a home was on the market and the original homeowner didn’t disclose there were foundation issues.

There are times this is an accident with the original homeowner had no idea. No harm, no foul.

However, if you do a remodel and notice eight inches of self-leveling as though the original owner tried to hide the foundation issues, you might be inclined to seek legal counsel. Instances like these are when you can essentially prove someone was trying to hide the foundation issues to have the home sold at full price.

Learn more about what to look for when buying a home

You’ve learned what you can do to buy a home with foundation issues, what signs you need to look for, who you would need to do a foundation inspection, and the cost of a real estate inspection. Learn more about buying and selling homes when they’re on the market.

Learn more about why you should have an inspection done when buying a home.

Check out if you can sell your home if it has foundation issues.

If a home already underwent foundation repair, see whether or not you should Buy A Home With Foundation Repair?

For any additional questions, you can call Dalinghaus Construction at (877)360-9277


Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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