Foundation Heartbreak

Every single home I have shown to potential buyers has had foundation problems.

OK. Maybe not. That is a stretch. But almost every house has something going on that elicits a comment from one of the buyers, or even myself, about potential foundation problems. Things like lifting concrete, cracks in the ceiling, or doors that won’t close properly can sound the alarms, because foundation problems are scary. They make buyers afraid to buy and sellers afraid to sell. The truth is that if you fall head over heels for a house that has foundation problems, it doesn’t have to end in heartbreak.foundation_new_braunfels

In fact, a home with foundation issues might actually be an opportunity. This could open the door to renegotiating the price of the home. A price reduction ranging from 5% to 25% is not uncommon. The amount would, of course, depend on the severity of the problem. Most foundation issues can be repaired (unless the real problem is the soil). Which means if you can get a 20% reduction on the price of a home you love and pay 10% to get it fixed, this could be a match made in heaven. Keep in mind financing a home with foundation issues could be complicated and this type of negotiation is more likely to take place with a cash purchase.

Keep in mind, the problems could run deeper than the foundation. If the ground is the issue, the house could continue to settle and disrupt the foundation even after repairs have been made. That is why it is important to have the home inspected by a professional.

As with any home purchase, buyers should always hire a home inspector. And with a home that appears to have foundation issues, it’s recommended to have the opinion of a structural engineer as well. Some of the signs to looks for when you are worried about the home’s foundation include:

Exterior
• Cracks in the brick
• Chimney pulling away from the house
• Gaps above doors/windows
• Gaps around the garage door

Interior
• Cracks in the sheet rock
• Doors/windows that are misaligned or difficult to close
• Gaps around doors/windows
• Sloping floors
• Cracks in ceiling

If you see any of these signs, it’s worth getting the opinion of a foundation repair expert. Foundation problems are not only relevant to older homes. In fact Consumer Reports found that 15% of new homes had serious foundation problems – many as a result of shifting soil or poor construction techniques.

If you do buy a home with foundation problems, you must actually do the repairs. Foundation issues will not self correct and can lead to major structural problems with your home.

The New Braunfels area is growing at such a fast rate that there are new homes and neighborhoods coming up all the time. With such a competitive market, buying a discounted home and repairing the foundation might be the best way to get the home of your dreams at an affordable price.

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