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A dream home only comes around once in a while. It isn’t often that the home that you have had your sights set on even comes up for sale. You are anxious now to put a bid in on your dream home and don’t care what the home inspection shows. Once the home inspection has been completed, some issues have been brought up. Now, you have to decide, to what extent are you willing to still purchase the home or should you walk away. Should I buy a house with foundation repair? You could and it depends on the repair, the quality of the contracting company, and the total deal of the home.

Let’s take a look below at the reasons to walk away from buying a home with foundation repair.

Pier and beam foundation issue.
Pier and beam foundation issue.

What Are Foundation Issues

During the home inspection, your local home inspection team will look at many areas of the home. The foundation and structural integrity of the home are key components that the inspector will report on. Any foundation repairs that have been made to the foundation will be reported if they can be seen. In addition, the inspection team can determine if existing cracks, excessive moisture in the home, or damage to windows, doors, or floors are a foundation problem. If any of these areas exist, you might want to consider walking away from the home purchase.

Why Do I Have A Foundation Issue

There are a few reasons why your home could develop a foundation issue. The most common reasons are listed below:

  • Bad construction – when homes are being built in bulk, they are oftentimes pushed for a quick timeline. This can lead to shortcuts or incomplete projects. Compacting the soil properly is the most important preparation to ensuring your home settles properly.
  • Shrinking or dry soil – the soil dries and shrinks in hot climates and nearby trees can suck all of the moisture out of the soil, causing the foundation to shift.
  • Swelling and soggy soil – heavy rains, plumbing breaks, or sewer breaks will cause the soil to swell and expand. This can result in erosion or cracking to the foundation as it is being pushed upward.
  • Poor drainage causing erosion – poor drainage leads to soggy soil and erosion. This can cause buckling of walls and uneven settling. Clogged gutters and downspouts, low areas near the foundation, or land sloping toward the house can cause pooling around the house. All of these will create foundation issues.

What Factors Affect My Decision

Insurance and financing are typically the key factors that affect whether or not you walk away from the deal.

Insurance

  • Home insurance typically covers foundation repairs that are needed based on a covered risk, such as fire or plumbing leaks. Do not buy a home that has foundation issues, regardless of how minor or moderate, they might be unless you are willing to pay for the repairs yourself. Your insurance coverage is not likely to pay for any repairs needed if the damage to your foundation turns severe.

Financing

When dealing with the financing portion, you will need all final contractor bids on all needed repairs before the mortgage lender can even consider the loan. In addition, you will experience the following drawbacks vs a conventional FHA loan.

  • Higher interest rates and closing costs-more inspections and paperwork is required, so your fees all go up.
  • Longer closing timelines-mortgage lender will want to investigate all potential liabilities.
  • More paperwork-bids, insurance papers, and added inspection reports will be needed
  • Fewer lenders that offer these loan options-not as many options as your conventional FHA loans.
Evident foundation issues.
Evident foundation issues.

How Can I Avoid Any Pitfalls

When looking to buy a home that may have had foundation repairs, negotiate for seller concessions into the contract. If problems show up that were not originally disclosed by the seller, you can negotiate those newly discovered issues.

Check out these four most common concessions that you can ask for:

  • Make the repairs before closing – require the seller to complete all foundation repairs prior to closing on the sale.
  • Reducing the asking price – reduction of price allows you to keep money in your pocket for the newly found repairs.
  • Cover your closing costs – this credit ensures money is available to appease the lender prior to closing.
  • Get a repair credit at closing – you choose the contractor but the seller pays.

Something as big as a foundation repair should be renegotiated within the purchase of the home. It could cost you an extensive amount of money to complete this project in order to ensure your new home purchase is safe and sound.

Hire your home inspection team and structural engineer to ensure that anything missed by the seller’s inspectors is caught and discussed. Protecting your investment by going the extra mile is the only way to avoid the pitfall. Also, be sure to hire an experienced real estate agent to help you navigate through these negotiations.

How Much Does It Cost

There are a variety of costs that can be incurred when repairing a foundation. The final price depends upon the type of repair that is needed. Let’s take a look below at all of the potential costs for a foundation repair.

  • Basic cracks in a poured concrete wall – cracks are caused by the settling of soil and other environmental factors. Simple cracks can cost about $350-$4,000. They are cheaper to fix if you do it yourself. Supplies needed can be purchased at a local home improvement store.
  • Repair of minor cracks – this is a process of adding epoxy or polyurethane foam to the cracks and using a putty knife to smooth it out. You will then likely paint over the sealed crack. This could run you around $250 to $800 if you hire a contractor to complete the project.
  • House settling or sinking – if this occurs, you should have two possible fixes. Your contractor can either pump a concrete mix under the foundation and rise it up or they can use a foundation piers to shore up the sunken foundation. On average the pump process called slab-jacking or mud-jacking costs about $500 to $1,300. The more expensive fix involves an average cost of $1,000-$25,000.
  • House shifting – homes can shift as the soil and environment changes. If you are needing to install piers, do foam jacking, mud-jacking, or wall reinforcement, you are looking at an average price of $700-$25,000.
  • Crumbling foundation – foundations do not typically crumble until they are old and cracks have allowed an abundance of water to get in. If caught in time, a simple fix is required. However, if the crumbling has been allowed to take place over a long period, you are likely needing new support. The average cost of these types of repairs can run from $500-$20,000.
  • Bowing foundation walls – $700-$15,000, depending on how many and how bad the damage is. These are caused by shifting soil, water damage, or sinking. Bowing walls can be fixed by applying carbon fiber strips with epoxy or reinforcing the walls with anchor plates and steel rods. For severe bowing, piers may need to be installed.
  • Soil report – the cost to get your soil tested typically costs $700 to $1,800. Detailed reports about your soil and all of its contaminants can cost you up to $5,000.
  • Structural engineer – structural engineers charge an average of $100 to $200 per hour. You are likely looking at a fee of around $500 for the structural engineer.
  • Building permit – costs for permits vary based on location and type. The current national average for a permit is around $1,280.
  • The unknown – trees and their root system can do a lot of damage to various parts of your home. Tree removal costs an average of $400 to $2,000 depending on the size of the tree.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Other foundation issues could arise due to the types of plants and trees you have installed around the exterior of your home. If you are not sure what type of plants to put around the foundation of a house you can click the link and read up on the options. Always install plants that will keep water away from the home.

At this point, you should also be aware of when to walk away from a home purchase. After the home inspection is completed and all of the recommended repairs come in, you can sit down with your realtor to determine if you should proceed with the home purchase. Understanding that any foundation issues that are discovered should be taken care of by the seller. You can negotiate this repair as a contingency at this point. It is best to know all of the areas of a home inspection including, how to choose a home inspector.

Finally, let’s just say that the home inspection did not occur because the market is so hot, that if you didn’t commit, you could lose the home purchase. This is a risky business but does happen from time to time. Knowing whether or not you can have a home inspection done after the purchase of a home is imperative to save your investment.

Cracks in the foundation.
Cracks in the foundation

When Do I Call A Professional

You should always hire a reputable home inspector before purchasing a property. An experienced real estate agent can help you navigate the deal in case structural issues were to arise on the report.

Next, you will want to hire your own structural engineer to review and repairs made, as well as, review the repair/invoice documents before moving forward. Doing the above will ensure you are completing your due diligence before purchasing a home that has poor repairs.

Conclusion

Hiring a licensed structural engineer, home inspection team, and licensed general contractor to complete any foundation inspections and repairs is key to having a successful transition of your home purchase. Depending upon the types of foundation repairs that have already been conducted will determine if you should continue with the purchase of the home.

Your home inspection team can assess all of the potential damages and suggest structural engineers for further evaluation. Waypoint Property Inspection East can take a look at your foundation to see if it needs any upgrades or has already had upgrades during a home inspection in Boca Raton, FL, and surrounding areas.

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