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What You Need to Know About Buying a Property with Foundation Issues

dallas real estate, buying a home in dallas

If you are like most Americans, buying your home will be the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make. It’s a serious transaction that carries significant financial and emotional ramifications for both you and the seller.

Because of this, it makes perfect sense to do your due diligence before signing on the dotted line. "One important structural element that you should always inspect is the home’s foundation," warns Scott from Uptown Dallas Properties.

The foundation of a home is the load-bearing portion of the structure. When it’s damaged, the whole structure is compromised. The walls may begin to cave in. The roof may start appearing wavy and saggy. The floors may also begin to crack. At worst, your home could become uninhabitable.

So when looking to buy a home, don’t let the excitement get the better of you. What you want to do is to first ensure that the home is structurally sound. But does this mean you shouldn’t consider buying a home with foundation problems? Of course not! It entirely depends on the severity of the problem and the amount of risk that you are willing to take.

To help you make the right decision, we listed everything you need to know about buying a home with foundation issues.

1. Look for signs of foundation issues.

After expressing interest in a property, what you want to do next is inspect it for structural damage. Check both the inside and outside. While performing the inspection, be on the lookout for the following warning signs.

  • Cracks on the foundation, walls and/or floors. Cracks are often the number one sign that a home is experiencing foundation problems. Now, the size of the cracks matters. If the cracks are simple hairline fissures, then you don’t have anything to worry about. Homes, whether new and old, all experience some sort of settling. However, if the cracks measure even a quarter inch, then that may be a sign of trouble. This could be a sign that the home is experiencing more than an acceptable amount of settling.

  • The house appears to be sinking into the ground. This is what foundation experts normally refer to as foundation settling. In the vast majority of times, homes experiencing this problem usually have vertical gaps. What starts out as a small dip in one section of the home could eventually grow to become a serious issue. Anything exceeding one- and half inch is serious.

  • The house appears to move in an upward direction. Foundation experts usually refer this to as foundation upheaval. This could indicate that the home is experiencing the opposite of “foundation settling.” This problem generally affects the perimeter area of a concrete slab foundation. So make sure you remember this when doing the inspection.

  • Doors failing to function as they should. Sticky doors are often a sign of trouble. Do you notice that the interior doors are sticking or dragging at the top? If so, the problem might be the foundation below. In some cases, the problem may be caused by high levels of humidity. This especially occurs after a period of heavy raining. However, if the problem fails to go away after a few days, then the foundation may be the culprit.

  • Floors appearing to out of level or appearing to be sagging. When foundations move, floors tend to become uneven. This problem often affects concrete slab foundations. Where pier and beam foundations are concerned, floors are prone to sag and squeak.

A licensed home inspector can help you identify and interpret these warning signs and advise you about whether further investigation would be a good idea.

2. Call a foundation repair expert.

If you notice anything during your inspection, the next step would be to call a foundation repair expert. You can call a foundation repair company or a structural engineer. The goal here is to find out how deep the problem runs. Once you get the inspection report, you should be able to decide whether or not to proceed with the purchase.

Normally, sellers won’t object to having the home professionally inspected. However, if they do, then it may be a red flag. It may be best to just walk away.

3. Understand the costs involved.

“Foundation problems” are two words that are sure to make any home buyer run screaming. Reason? Costs of fixing foundation problems can easily run the gamut. While minor repairs can cost about $1,000, major ones can cost anything from $5,000 to $30,000.

These are the three main things buyers should know about buying a property with foundation issues. The best practice is to have as much information as possible, so that if you decide to purchase the home, you can plan for the expense and time required to repair the issues.

Article submitted by our friends at Uptown Dallas Properties.


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