How To Identify 5 Common Foundation Issues During a Home Tour

A realtor meets with prospective home buyers to take them on a home tour.

Home buyers put their trust in real-estate agents to find their perfect home, so it’s important you help protect their investment. Since foundation issues can be caused by various things like soil, climate, and plumbing leaks, it’s best practice to be on the lookout for any signs of trouble during a home tour. Consider these tips on how to spot potential foundation problems when viewing homes with your clients. 

Doors That Don’t Open and Close Properly 
There are several reasons why doors may stick or not close properly. Some of the most common causes include loose hinges, warped wood, worn hinges or hardware, or expansion from high humidity.  Another reason doors may not function properly is the house could have foundation issues. As an unstable foundation shifts, it can warp the shape of doorframes, making the doors unable to latch or eventually jam entirely. 

Counters and Cabinets That Separate from the Walls 
Improper installation is the most common reason for counters or cabinets separating from the walls. Another reason for this separation is movement in the wall-framing or floor. If you notice this on a home tour, it is most likely a sign of foundation damage. When walls aren’t level, cabinets and other items become unlevel, causing everything to slope or hang incorrectly.  

Foundation Cracks 
Gaps in the foundation or on a home’s brick exterior might signal a foundation problem. Cracks in the wall, floor, and even a broken chimney can also mean trouble. While it is normal for a foundation to sink and develop hairline fissures in the first few years following construction, horizontal cracks in brick exteriors can indicate that the foundation is under a lot of pressure. Another type of crack your clients need to note is a stair-step crack in brick exteriors. These fissures typically appear near the corner of exteriors and run up and down in a diagonal fashion. 

Musty Smell in the Basement 
A musty smell in the basement or crawlspace is a clear sign of potential trouble for a home’s foundation. The odor itself is typically mildew and could be due to leaking basement walls. While the issue could be plumbing-related, it can also be caused by outside moisture seeping through cracks in the foundation. Additionally, blocked gutters are often the culprit in basement-related foundation problems, so make sure to give them a once-over to be sure they are properly protecting the house. 

Sagging or Uneven Floors 
If you notice the floors are uneven or appear to be sagging, dipping, or bowing, this could indicate a sign of foundation trouble. As a home’s foundation moves, it pulls apart or compacts the support beams and walls. These shifts often cause the house’s weight to sit unevenly in certain spots, which results in sagging floors. A classic sign of foundation issues is a slanted floor, so pay close attention if you notice a continual change in one direction. 

What To Do if You Suspect Foundation Problems 
If you observe anything unusual, contact a home foundation repair expert to perform a thorough evaluation of the home. For over 20 years, Perma-Pier Foundation Repair of Texas has been dedicated to solving complex residential foundation issues throughout the state. We understand that buying a home is a big investment, which is why we offer no-cost home evaluations to help make sure the property is structurally sound.  

Just because a home has potential foundation issues doesn’t mean your client should not consider buying the house. It simply means they should have it inspected first. Complete this form to schedule a no-charge evaluation today and help your client identify and alleviate any issues with their new property. 

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Perma-Pier’s customized approach to repairing your foundation extends to financing as well. We understand that your financial situation – not unlike your foundation – should have a customized solution.

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