Introducing a prospective homebuyer to their next potential home should be a magical experience for them to envision what their future lives could look like. Unfortunately, with stay-at-home orders and the safety risks of COVID-19, home tours these days are usually more pixelated than picture-perfect.
A virtual tour can only go so far in providing homebuyers a sense of their potential home. Additionally, it can make it difficult to assess foundation issues or other potential problem areas. Luckily, there are ways to spot signs of foundation damage during virtual tours. Here are several signs to look out for, tips to help your clients gain complete confidence in the home, and foundation repair options in case a problem is uncovered.
Signs To Look For During A Virtual Tour
While these signs do not guarantee foundation damage, they can be indicators of future foundation issues. You and your clients should look for these signs during every virtual tour.
When touring the exterior of the house, look for:
- Outer walls that appear to pull away from windows or door frames
- Bowed exterior walls
- Walls that seem to lean in
- Chimneys that lean in one direction
- Visible cracks
- Separation of exterior walls from the foundation or roofline
When touring the interior of the house, look for:
- Sinking/uneven flooring
- Sticking doors and windows
- Cracked drywall
Look for large trees near the home. Tree roots naturally seek out high moisture soil and the ground beneath a home’s foundation tends to have more moisture than surrounding soil and takes longer to dry out. When trees draw out the moisture from under the foundation, soil contracts, and strains the foundation. So, it’s important to inquire about the presence of any large trees near the property.
Gutter and Drainage
Most soils in Texas contain a high clay content, which naturally leads to shrinking and swelling according to the moisture levels brought on by the seasons. However, when a home doesn’t have a proper drainage system in place, excess water can sometimes get trapped in the soil during wet spells, leading to swelling and damage to the foundation.
You can spot poor drainage when, after rainfall or watering the lawn, you find large puddles and soggy spots. Areas of excessive plant overgrowth can also be indicative of a drainage problem. It may be difficult to see over a virtual tour, so be sure to inquire about whether gutters are regularly cleaned and maintained, and that they capture and dispel rainwater a safe distance away from the property’s foundation. Without proper gutters and drainage systems, foundation issues can be imminent.
If any of these signs do appear, connect with the property owner to gather more information and a foundation expert to understand your foundation repair options.
Questions for Property Owners
During your tour, it will be helpful to ask openly about any cracks on the property. Homeowners will naturally want to present all the best attributes of a house and the majority won’t lie about foundation cracks, but it helps to be upfront and ask thorough questions. After all, your clients want to know they can trust you and trust the property they’re potentially investing in. To help your clients get all the information they need, share this list of questions for them to ask.
- Are there any major/minor cracks present on the property? (Both interior and exterior)
- What prior foundational damage has the house had and how/when was it repaired?
- Do you have mature trees next to your home?
- Is there any uneven/buckling flooring?
- Is there new/unusual drainage around your home?
- Do your doors/windows stick or refuse to operate normally?
- Have you experienced a hard freeze or extreme drought recently?
Know Your Location
Texas soils are as diverse as the state itself. With over sixty different soil types, every region has a different response to the wet and dry seasons. Even separate suburbs within the same city can have vastly different soil compositions. That’s why it’s important to know exactly what kind of soil a property is resting on. Perma-Pier’s team of experts know exactly what kind of foundation needs your property will have based on surrounding soil, whether you’re in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston or San Antonio.
Foundation Repair Options
If a home does have potential foundation issues, it does not necessarily have to be out of the running. An expert foundation repair company can help you determine the severity of the foundation issues, what they are caused by, and provide suitable foundation repair options. Once you and your client have all of the information related to the foundation of the home, you can then negotiate appropriately.
Perma-Pier has been a trusted partner of realtors for over 25 years and can help to provide honest, quality foundation repair options for your clients. To schedule a no-cost home foundation evaluation, contact us.