Foundation damage to a piece of property is a very serious matter. Depending on the severity and type of damage, the home could be too far gone to save, and the best course of action would be to speak with a professional to determine just what can and should be done with the property.
Inspecting for Foundation Damage
If you feel there could be foundation damage, you will want to do a cursory inspection of your own to see if you can find any signs. Inspect the foundation and the walls for cracks along both the inside and outside of the property. If you see cracks, this is generally a sign there is a problem with the foundation.
When you locate these cracks, take a photo of them and note their location, the shape of the crack, and the severity. In some cases, you might be fortunate. They might not actually be a foundation problem, and it could merely be an aesthetic issue that is much easier and more affordable to fix.
If you find hairline cracks within the mortar between the concrete blocks of the foundation, it is not usually much of a problem. If there are cracks that form at an L-shaped section of the foundation, these could be due to shrinkage. Again, they are not a structural issue, but you will still want to have them repaired so you do not have to worry about water getting into the home.
If you find cracks that look like stair steps, it is a problem, particularly if the crack is more than a quarter inch wide or if the wall appears to be swollen. It means something is putting pressure on the other side of the wall.
The most serious type of cracks are horizontal breaks. If you see these, it could mean that you need to have the entire foundation of the home replaced, and this will be expensive.
In addition to looking for cracks, check the doors and windows to see if any of them have difficulty opening and closing. If there is an issue with the foundation, it can cause doors to “stick” as the frame of the house is no longer even. This is not always a sign of a foundation problem, though, as humidity that causes wood to swell could cause a similar issue.
Finally, you can check for water damage around the foundation of the home, and keep an eye out for any areas where the water is pooling. This could be just a leak, or it could be the sign of a problematic foundation.
Once you have checked for these signs, if you feel there could be an issue with your foundation, you will want to make sure you get in touch with a foundation repair company, or a certified home inspector, to come out and take a look at the property. However, you will want to have several companies come out to provide you with an assessment of the damage and an estimate for repair. This way, you can be sure the companies are being honest in their analyses.
If you find problems, and you are in the process of selling your home, you need to let the real estate agent you are working with know about this issue. They can speak with the potential buyers to let them know.
Repairing Foundation Damage
Fixing the damage to your foundation is not something you can do on your own. You need to have the specialized help of professionals in foundation damage repair handle the repairs. As mentioned, consult with several companies and find those that have the most experience and that can provide you with an affordable price.
Of course, you might find that the cost of the foundation repair is simply too high. In fact, a brand-new foundation can cost upwards of $40,000 depending on the size of the home. In some cases, you might find that trying to sell the home is the best option, even though you will not get as much for the property due to the damage it has suffered. The real estate agent you are working with can often advise you on the best course of action to take.
Can You Sell With Foundation Damage?
If you are attempting to sell a piece of property that has foundation damage, you could run into some problems. Many times, buyers do not want to have a fixer upper with problems that are this large and expensive. If there is foundation damage, this is something you are required to disclose to potential buyers. It would nullify the contract if you were to attempt to hide it from them. Also, buyers are very likely to hire their own property inspectors, so you can be sure this issue will be discovered.
Foundation damage is always going to reduce the value of the home. There is no way around it. However, you may still find people who are willing to buy the home. Some buyers who like the location and the home itself might be willing to pay for a new foundation, as long as your selling price is right.
Of course, there may also be investors who are willing to purchase the home. They might be willing to fix the foundation, or they might even tear down the home and start over depending on what they feel will be the better option.
Never Ignore Foundation Damage
A foundation problem is not going to get better on its own. Foundation damage should never be ignored, even when you find those small hairline cracks. Have the home inspected and understand exactly what’s happening with the foundation. The sooner you find a problem the sooner you will be able to deal with it, and that often means it will cost less. Work with the pros and do what it takes to get your property into shape or to sell the property if you prefer.
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