When it comes to a homeowner’s worst nightmare, the words “foundation problems” rank right up there, especially if you’re considering selling your home.
But foundation issues are more common than you may think. Houses built in hot, dry climates and areas with expansive clay soils are especially susceptible to foundation damage.
Read on to learn how to sell a house with foundation problems.
How Do I Know If I Have Foundation Issues?
In most cases, foundation damage occurs when the soil settles, constricts, or expands, depending on temperature shifts, water levels, and weather changes. But how do you know if your house has foundation problems?
Start with a visual check of your home’s exterior. Stand at a corner and look down the walls. Are they straight, both up and down and from side to side? Run a level along the walls to detects any bulges or leans.
Walk along the home’s perimeter and look for cracks or gaps in the walls, concrete, bricks, or masonry. Hairline cracks or those less than 1/4-inch aren’t usually a major cause for concern. However, don’t discredit them completely. You’ll likely still want to keep an eye on them for any changes and maybe consider filling them with chalk to avoid water damage. Look for large, horizontal or l-shaped cracks, as these may signal a problem.
Grab a screwdriver and give the slab a probe. If pieces chip off, the foundation may have been constructed from a sub-par mix of concrete. This issue is especially prevalent with homes built around the turn of the century (the 20th century, that is).
Now inspect the home’s interior. Here, you’re looking for tell-tale signs of foundation damage such as:
- Misaligned windows and doors
- Windows that won’t shut or have cracks in the glass
- Sloping floors
- Cracks in drywall
- Gaps between the wall and the ceiling
- Cracks in vinyl or ceramic tile
- Uneven wood floor planking
- Water in the basement or crawl space
How Much Does it Cost to Repair a Foundation?
If you find one or more issues, it may be time to have the foundation inspected. The cost of foundation inspection may run from a few hundred to around $1,000 dollars to find out the extent of the damage.
The average cost of foundation repair isn’t cheap, either. For most homeowners, the price of repairing foundation issues is between $1,837 and $6,581. For major repairs — which may involve hydraulic piers — the cost can top $10,000 or more. If you’re just fixing a minor crack, costs may be about $500.
My Home has Foundation Issues… Now What?
You’ve been diagnosed with foundation damage. Now what?
The big dilemma facing homeowners selling a house with foundation problems boils down to two choices: Fix or sell as-is.
Let’s review each option.
Option 1: Fix the Foundation Issues
First, consider the level of damage. If your home has l-shaped cracks where the foundation “steps down” to follow a curved slope, your foundation may experience shrinkage. Cracks where masonry joins or horizontal cracks larger than 1/4-inch may also indicate serious damage.
In either case, a structural engineer can provide an educated assessment on what needs to be repaired, giving you an estimate of how much it’ll cost. In some cases, going ahead with the repairs may help ease potential buyers’ fears, as you’ve already done the hard work and completed the repairs.
But for many homeowners, the average cost of foundation repair — not to mention the time and stress involved — is simply too high. In this case, it makes sense to sell the home as-is.
Option 2: Sell As-Is
If you simply can’t or won’t pay thousands of dollars to repair the foundation damage, you’ll have to lower your asking price so the buyer can make repairs.
You’ll save a lot of time and money by letting the buyer take care of the issue. Keep in mind: There’s no point in trying to hide foundation damage. If you don’t disclose the problem right away, the inspector will find it during the home inspection. Most buyers won’t appreciate the deception.
Additionally, once an inspection reveals that you have foundation problems, there’s a chance that your buyer’s lender could cancel the loan and the sale can fall through. If you think you will be able to skip this hassle by selling with a non-traditional iBuyer, AKA an online buyer, think again. Most iBuyers will not purchase homes with any sort of foundation issues and they will order an inspection before purchase.
Even if your home has foundation problems, you still have options. Fixing the foundation before you sell is costly, time-consuming, stressful, and rarely gives you a full return on investment (ROI).
Additionally, once an inspection reveals that you have foundation problems, there’s a chance that your buyer’s lender could cancel the loan and the sale can fall through. You will have to disclose this information to your agent and the buyer. If you think you will be able to skip this hassle by selling with an iBuyer, AKA an online buyer, think again. Most iBuyers will not purchase homes with any sort of foundation issues and they will order an inspection before purchase.
Instead, why not let HomeGo take care of the problem? HomeGo purchases homes as-is, even with damaged foundations. In most cases, HomeGo makes an offer on the first day, and never charges a commission or closing costs.
Avoid the stress, cost, and time involved in foundation repairs and sell quickly and easily to HomeGo.