The prospect of selling a house with foundation issues is probably unsettling for most people. The term “foundation problems” can elicit images of major repairs in the mind of most homeowners. It may come as a surprise to learn that some foundation repairs and inspections are not as complicated as you might expect.
The key to successfully selling a house with foundation problems is having realistic expectations about foundation repairs that may be required, and then pricing your home accordingly. You will also want to be prepared to answer potential buyers’ questions about the foundation issues. If you have no idea whether your home has structural concerns or even how to tell if it does, we’ll guide you through the process of determining whether your foundation is solid.
In this blog post, we will provide expert tips and best practices that will help you sell your house with foundation problems quickly and efficiently.
What causes foundation damage?
There are a number of things that can cause foundation problems, but the most common culprit is water. When water seeps into the soil around your home’s foundation, it can weaken the soil and eventually cause foundation damage.
Other causes of foundation problems include:
- Poor construction quality
- Settling of the house due to earthquakes or other natural disasters
- Drainage issues around the house
- Trees or shrubs that have been planted too close to the foundation
Settling vs. Foundation Issues: Diagnosing Foundation Problems
It’s typical for a tiny region of a building to shift a few inches as soil expands and contracts, especially in hot weather. Not all homes that experience house settling has actual foundation issues. So, how do you know if your home has a real foundation problem?
Here are some of the warning signs that you can self-identify.
- Cracks along the side of your House
Fine, minor cracks in the outside walls or on the steps are usually nothing to be concerned about. Large stair-step cracks and horizontal cracks are big exterior signs of foundation issues. Check for brick fractures or bricks that stick out from the wall. If the mortar is crumbling, this is also an exterior sign of foundation damage.
- Sheet Rock Cracks
Strong interior signs of a crumbling foundation are when the inside sheetrock on a building fractures zig-zag across the ceiling and nearly to the top of the wall. It’s critical if there are gaps in the wall and ceiling junction that are pulling away from each other.
- Doors out of square and uneven floors
After a few years of settling, only a small percentage of homes are plumb. However, if a door is severely out of the square and has fractures in the wall above it, it should be examined. Many homeowners with otherwise healthy houses have uneven floors that let water flow in one direction if they spill some water on the floor. A homeowner should be able to identify if the floor slopes more than an inch in any direction. If your windows or doors are not closing properly, it could be a sign that the foundation is shifting.
- Window separation from frame or brick
A significant sign that the foundation is failing is when a window or door frame pulls away from the masonry wall. If the window or door rattles, it’s likely because the frame is no longer secured to the masonry.
- Pier and Beams
A decaying foundation does not always imply a lack of support. Piers and beams that have rotted wood can indicate a variety of issues, including a weak foundation. The humidity in the basement or crawl spaces might be too high, or there’s been a flood, or the piers and beams have been infested by termites or carpenter ants. If you notice puddles of water near your foundation, it could be a sign that your home is experiencing drainage problems.
- Bouncing floors – rotten wood
Rotten wood on the floor may also indicate the possibility of foundation issues. If the floors feel like trampolines, they should be inspected by a specialist.
- Cracked Flooring
Tile cracks can be caused by a variety of factors. If there are too many tile fractures in the kitchen, bathroom, or other areas of the house, this could indicate foundation issues.
- Expansion Joint separation
Expansion joints are used in structures to compensate for movement owing to shifting ground, climate, humidity, wind, and other circumstances. A sinking foundation can produce such expansion joint separation, which can lead to widespread cracking. Conversely, a failing expansion joint may cause the structure to collapse.
- Nails popping out of the drywall
Despite the fact that the sight of a few nails popping out of drywall is unimportant and is a simple repair if it occurs frequently, a specialist should be called in.
- Walls that Bow outward from the House
If the homeowner detects that a building wall is actually separating from the house, he or she should immediately contact an exterior wall contractor. If this isn’t resolved, the wall may collapse.
It’s important to note that the house will continue to age, and not every crack is a sign of something more serious. However, if you notice any of these warning signs in your home, it’s time to call an expert.
What am I supposed to do if I detect a foundation problem?
The next step is to be proactive if you’ve established that your home has foundation issues. Many homeowners make the mistake of not taking any action and allowing the problem to worsen over time. Eventually, this can lead to more costly repairs.
Will Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Foundation Repair?
Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover the damage that can be caused by a cracked or settling foundation. You will need to purchase a specific policy rider or endorsement for this type of coverage. If you’re unsure, contact your insurance representative and ask.
However, if you do have insurance, reaching out to an insurance claim specialist may be a smart move. Insurance companies are frequently slow in paying claims to unsuspecting customers. A claims specialist can assist you in navigating your claim so that you may earn the most money possible while avoiding any penalties.
The great news is that there are still potential buyers who would be interested in buying a house with both major and minor repairs needed. And, if you’re not confident enough to do the work yourself, you may look for a contractor who can assist you. Keep in mind that foundation repair takes time, so be ready to relocate during the process.
Here are a few takeaways:
- Hire a Structural Engineer to inspect your property.
- Seek out reputable foundation repair companies and get quotes.
- If the damage is too severe, it is best to repair the foundation before putting your home on the market
- Disclose all repairs completed or needed to potential buyers.
- Sell to a cash investor if you are not financially able to handle necessary foundation work
- Be ready to relocate during the process.
Find a Houston Real Estate Investor | Ricky Pok | Wabi Sabi Realty Group
As always, it is important to do your due diligence when deciding to work with someone regarding selling your house. I started Wabi Sabi Realty Group as a way to help distressed clients that I couldn’t do otherwise while I was working as a mortgage lender. I was always troubled about how we had to decline or pawn off clients just because they were facing a situation that became way too complicated.
At Wabi Sabi Realty Group, we buy homes in any condition for all cash, without any fees or inspections, and have years of experience in the Houston, TX market. We are also dedicated to seeing all transactions through and are willing to invest upfront on transactions to make sure there are no complications during the home selling process.
If you or someone you know may be dealing with an issue that may require a real estate investor, please do not hesitate to reach out. Even if you believe that a real estate agent may be better suited, still feel free to reach out and I can definitely put you in contact with the top agents in your local market. For more information about how we can assist you, please give us a call at 281-306-5721 or fill out the form. We will be happy to talk to you about how we can buy your house for cash and close at a time that is convenient for you
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