If you’re searching for “should I buy a house with foundation repair,” you’ve landed on the right page. Buying a house with a foundation repair can make some people a bit nervous, which is understandable. However, a past foundation repair doesn’t mean you should automatically walk away from the home. Sometimes it’s even a plus.
This article is not real estate advice. We’re going to explain what you need to know about buying a house with a foundation repair history from the perspective of a foundation repair professional.
Foundation problems are almost always caused by differential settlement. This is when the home’s foundation settles into the soil unevenly. (See illustration below) Differential settlement puts stress on a foundation and leads to structural damage. It’s caused by various things, including,
Foundation problems aren’t unusual, and they don’t necessarily mean the home was built incorrectly.
Sellers who know a home has a foundation problem must disclose it. The thing is, many sellers don’t know the home they’re selling has a foundation problem. Therefore, it may be up to you, the buyer, to discover any foundation issues.
Sellers must also tell the buyer if the house has a foundation repair history, provided they know about it. Ask the seller when the foundation was repaired, what was done, and if there’s a transferrable warranty. Keep in mind that the warranty is only as good as the company offering it. Are they still in business? Will they be in business in five years?
If the seller doesn’t disclose a foundation repair history, you can ask if there has been one, but don’t take their word for it. Always get the home inspected by either a foundation repair contractor or a structural engineer before you sign anything, whether the seller disclosed a foundation repair history or not.
If you’re thinking about buying a house with a foundation repair history, you’ll want to know the following:
A foundation repair history doesn’t necessarily mean a house was built incorrectly. Also, a foundation repair that was done correctly leaves a foundation stronger than before and will usually last for the house’s lifetime. For example, if underpinning was performed due to foundation settlement, there are now piers supporting the house that go down to load-bearing soil. In other words, it’s unlikely that the house will experience further problems with settlement.
Of course, we never want to say never. Although the house probably won’t need more work, there’s always a tiny chance it will. However, this is also true of a house that doesn’t have a foundation repair history.
What you should always do before buying a house is get an independent foundation repair contractor or structural engineer to inspect the foundation. They will let you know if the foundation is sound or needs to be repaired.
For more information, see Is It Safe To Live In A House With Foundation Problems?
If the structural engineer or foundation repair professional you brought in uncovers a problem with the foundation, you can figure the repair cost into your offer. (Structural engineers won’t be able to give you a repair estimate. However, you can take the structural engineer’s report and repair solution recommendation to a foundation repair contractor for an estimate.) Of course, this is assuming the inspector says the house is otherwise sound and the repair will fix the problem.
If you’re looking to buy a house, you should be familiar with the most common foundation problem signs. These include:
For more information, see What Is Underpinning A Foundation And When Is It Necessary?
Contact us today if you’re thinking about buying a house in Kansas City and would like us to evaluate the foundation.