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11/12/2021

Can You Get a Mortgage on a House That’s Been Underpinned?

A question we receive on a regular basis here at Dalinghaus Construction Inc. is can you get a mortgage on a home that’s been underpinned? The answer is – yes. That is if your credit is good, you receive sufficient loan offers, and you’re willing to live with the interest rate.

And, sure, it wouldn’t hurt if you’re brother-in-law returned the 6k he borrowed to put in that deck where he knocks back Stone IPA after work. The more cash for a down payment, the better.  

In short, purchasing an underpinned home is the same process as buying any other used home. Jump through the paperwork hoops. Dot your i’s. Cross your t’s. Pray to the escrow gods.

But another question remains for those of you with inquisitive minds: why? Why would a bank or loaning agent feel comfortable mortgaging you a hefty sum on a home that once suffered from foundation settlement (what some refer to as subsidence)?  

 The answer is twofold:

  1. Underpinning returns property value (and, ultimately, allows for an influx in value due to securing remodeling possibilities).
  2. Underpinning is often covered by a warranty (which helps put the big banks and men in suits at ease).  

So, whether you’re considering purchasing a home that has been underpinned or you’re considering selling such a home, here are two reasons why underpinned properties are viable, marketable assets.

Problems with Push Piers (Dalinghaus)

1.  Underpinning Returns Property Value

In the world of commerce, damage depreciates. Foundation settlement and foundation heave (both of which can be traced back to the root cause of expansive soil) can cause quite a bit of damage.

Think of Mike Tyson pummeling Trevor Berbick in the 1986 Judgment Day fight. Second-round technical knockouts can prove a real pain in the keister, just like cracked drywall, uneven floors, and damn doors that you have to jimmy open.

For an in-depth examination of these issues, be sure to read our article: 5 Signs of Foundation Issues (complete with high-def video and photographs for direct eye-to-eye comparison).  

While the issues listed above might seem simply cosmetic at best and dysfunctional at worst, they are signs and symptoms of a bigger problem – foundation issues. Foundation issues are almost always rooted in the underlying soil.

In short, foundation failure can lead to structural/cosmetic issues which result in home market depreciation. We’re talking a good 10% to 20% of a home’s total value circling the drain.

If, for example, a home is worth $350,000, then the seller may only receive $280,000 – that’s a $70k difference. And, with most foundation repairs costing around $24,000, the seller could still be up 46k after a repair rather than being out a full $70,000.

Be sure to read our article: Does Foundation Repair Increase Home Value?

In most cases homeowners want more bang for their buck, repair the foundation, and continue on to sell the property. Banks are more than willing to invest because underpinning is effective and long-term.

It is conceivable the underpinning will last the entire lifetime of the structure.   

Underpinning has many different forms, some more superior than others. The three forms of underpinning we regularly utilize here at Dalinghaus Construction Inc. are:  

  •   Push Pier Underpinning - Push piers are steel pipes that are driven down to competent, load-bearing soil or bedrock, acting as underground stilts.
  •   Helical Pier Underpinning - Helical piers are steel pipes with helices that are screwed down to competent, load-bearing soil or bedrock, acting as underground stilts.  
  •   Polyurethane Deep Injection - Polyurethane solidifies and densifies the expansive soil.

Underpinning secures and stabilizes against further damage. This allows a home to be remodeled without the risk of the work deteriorating. And remodels, as we all know, can add a nice chunk of change to the seller’s pocket.

*Note – remodeling before a home has been stabilized is a waste of time and money as damage will continue to wreak havoc up through your foundation, into your framing, and into the walls and floor of the home. Save the crack repair, re-squaring door/window frames, and new cabinets until later.   

All of this to say, underpinning returns the home to the original value and allows for upgrades. And, for the love of Saint Sanity, do not remodel until the foundation has been stabilized. You might as well pay to build a sandcastle as the tide washes in.

2.  Underpinning Warranty

It is possible to get a mortgage on a house that’s been underpinned because (1. the home has been returned to its previous value (if not inflated via remodels) and (2. Underpinning often comes with a warranty.

Obviously, this possibility is not a given like increased home value because foundation repair companies don’t always offer warranties or they are limited in time/scope.  

Here at Dalinghaus Construction Inc., we offer a lifetime warranty on all steel pier systems. Our warranty is inheritable and transferrable upon sale (covering the lifetime of the structure, not the owner).

If a lifetime warranty is attached to the home in question, it should put the banks and men in suits at considerable ease. Why? Because the bank won’t have to loan you money or shuffle a refinancing for foundation repairs.

The repair company has it all covered – labor, material, paperwork - all of it.

However, even if a home comes with a lifetime warranty, be sure to do your due diligence. Hire the appropriate inspectors to assess the home’s repaired foundation to ensure everything is in working order. Foundation repair itself can be a bit of a process. 

See our article: Foundation Repair Timeline (From Inspection to Completion).

Choose Dalinghaus for Your Underpinning Needs

In conclusion, you can receive a mortgage on an underpinned home due to the returned home value and possible warranty peace of mind. 

Be sure to check out our Ultimate Foundation Repair Guide for more information on the underpinning process.

Your time is valuable, and we respect that. If you choose Dalinghaus, you will receive a repair plan tailor-fit to meet your specific needs. 

We do foundation underpinning and retaining wall repair the right way. With over 100 years of combined experience and 4.9 stars out of over 300 reviews – we are here to ensure that you never settle

If you live in SoCal or Arizona and would like a FREE crack inspection, click the link below –

schedule free foundation evaluation

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