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Is it wise to buy a house with foundation issues?

African descent building inspector

You did it. After months or even years of going through a Brazos County property search, you’ve found the perfect home in the perfect location and you’re already getting your mortgage approved. You’re ready to seal the deal and already imagined moving in, but you’ve just received the results of the home inspection – there are problems with the foundation of the home.

It might sound like a deal breaker on the face of it, but take heart. Foundation issues aren’t always an automatic red flag, especially when the problems aren’t big enough to cause a significant impact on the property. In fact, some issues may even be too small to even be called problems. They could be just a minor speed bump to buying your dream home.

Checking the cracks

If you’re faced with foundation problems while buying a house in Texas, it’s important to diagnose the problem and check whether it’s easily solvable before deciding to buy or not buy the house.

Minor foundation problems are easily solvable at reasonable cost. When it comes to cracks, there are a number of types you need to be aware of. Have them fixed first before you move in.

  • Small cracks. Cracks that only measure a quarter inch or less are considered small cracks. They are common and are almost guaranteed in older homes where the foundation has settled and needs to be taken care of. While small cracks could also be indicative of a larger problem, it’s not always the case. If the foundation is still sound, repairing these smaller cracks could cost just around $500.

  • Large cracks. While large cracks are indicative of structural problems and could cause water to seep into the home, they aren’t an automatic no-go when it comes to buying the house. Repairing large cracks can cost $2,000 to $7,000 depending on the severity of the problem. They’re best repaired before you move in. The cost of repair may be a little steep but, if the house is worth it, this is a small price to pay.

  • Moisture. Mold and pests thrive in a foundation that’s cracked and has had moisture create a damp environment under the home. While moisture doesn’t guarantee a structural problem, it could be a telltale sign to check the foundation first before buying.

  • Gaps. Check whether the doors and windows are easy to open and that there aren’t gaps in between them and the wall or floor. If there are gaps, there could be problems with the foundation as the walls have shifted enough to pull apart from these fixtures.

  • Sinking and sloping. When a house shows significant floor damage, it’s likely a sign of some serious problems with the foundation. A structural engineer could diagnose and solve these problems, but the repairs could far outweigh the cost of getting your dream house. In fact, if a home is sinking or sloping, it might be best to skip over it on your hunt to find a dream home.

What to do with a house with foundation problems

If you’re dead set on buying a house in spite of the issues with the foundation, then it’s all about fixing that problem.

Here are possible solutions:

  1. First, talk to your mortgage lender about the problems with the foundation and make sure they are fully aware of the situation with the house. If you cannot pay upfront for the repairs, they may even help you with a rehabilitation loan that finances the repairs before you close the deal.

  2. Another way to get the most out of the deal is to negotiate a discount with the seller or make them pay for the repairs. This is a great way to save money and make sure the deal favors you in the end – and is in fact a tool that many buyers use to negotiate better deals.. Make sure the cost of the repair is compensated so you don’t end up paying for a house that could be a greater liability for you in the future.

  3. Once you’ve cleared up the finances for the repairs, make sure to hire a trusted structural engineer to help you with the repairs. Engineers can turn shabby and tired foundations to solid ground that your home can stand on for many years to come.

  4. However, if the costs are too high or if the seller doesn’t agree to compensate for the foundational damage, it might be wiser to just walk away from the house. It might be a tough decision, but you don’t want to own a home will give you a ton of headaches and end up costing much more to fix in the long run.

If you’re looking for an agent to help you buy a house in Texas, then contact Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Caliber Realty at 979.694.8844 or sales(at)bhhscaliber(dotted)com today. Their experience in the Texas real estate scene can help you through the buying process and ensure you get the house of your dreams.

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