Is Buying a Home That Needs Foundation Repair Work a Good Idea?

The assumption is “no.”  The first sign of cracks in the wall, cracks in the floor, cracks in the ceiling, and door jams have many running for the hills.  We see cracks and door jams as a sign of a bad foundation.  In another instance, you find foundation problems through your realtor or reading public records.  A third instance is a repaired foundation.  There was a foundation fix before the home hit the market.  You wonder if it’s safe to buy because the foundation was a dilemma.  Back to the question, the correct answer is “maybe.”  Nonetheless, follow these rules to judge whether the new home is worth your time and money.

Hire a Professional

In addition to hiring a home inspector, let a foundation repair expert or a structural engineer view the home.  These professionals examine the strength of the four walls and the foundation.  The professional will inform you of what needs repair and if the home is worth buying.  Pay careful attention to what the contractor tells you.  Hire a professional even if the foundation had repairs.  It doesn’t hurt to have an extra blanket of security knowing the work is thorough and correctly done.

For your convenience, a realtor will have a list of home inspectors and structural engineers. Choose one and let the contractors inspect the house. However, don’t rely on what the home inspector and structural engineer tell you.  Choose another professional as a second opinion to ensure the material provided is spot on. Put any doubts to rest about home inspectors or structural engineers fudging over small issues in order to get the home sold. As always confirm the professional is reputable, experienced, educated, and accredited.

Learn the Home History

Read city records and online websites about structural repairs related to the home.  If there were repairs, gather evidence of procedures to fix the foundation and any existing warranties.  In addition, find out if the home had a remodel or renovation.  Search to see if the seller disclosed information about any foundation and structural problems during the process.

Check Financing

What do foundation problems have to do with financing?  It’s going to cost money to fix the foundation, so make sure you have enough of it.  However, if you are in the process of purchasing the house when you hear about foundation problems, the mortgage is going to change.  Lenders have an expectation of a “structurally sound” home when they offer a loan to homebuyers.  Lenders will uncover this, and if buyers are still seeking the home, lenders are going to find compensation for the increased risk.  The compensation comes in two forms: higher interest or a down payment increase.

Don’t Force the Seller to Make the Repairs

A foundation problem is something that the seller should not fix alone.  A seller’s goal is to get the home sold.  Unfortunately, selling the house means not hiring the best people for the job.  They will hire someone cheap to do patchwork so it lasts long enough to sell the house.  Fixing the foundation is your responsibility.  It is up to you to find someone to fix the foundation.  Work with the seller to find someone reputable to take care of the cause.

As you have read, a foundation problem doesn’t mean run in the opposite direction as fast as you can.  It’s something that needs further investigation before accepting or declining the home.  The professional and the finances are the main factors in your final decision.  It’s something not to take lightly.  For more information on foundation repair, contact us.

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