Foundation problems threaten the safety and appearance of your house, which can affect the price when you sell your home. However, hiding the damage–which you should never do–is not the only way you’re going to sell your home.
Here’s our guide on how to get the best price when you are selling a house with foundation issues.
How Do I Sell My Home With Foundation Issues?
You typically only run into major issues if you don’t disclose the issues to potential buyers upfront. The first step is to get the house inspected for foundation issues so you know what you’re dealing with. Experienced real estate agents can do an initial assessment and let you know if you need to call in an engineer or foundation expert if it’s a big problem.
You are required to disclose any foundation problem you know about to a buyer when you sell your home. Make sure you have some form of written confirmation that your buyer is aware of the problems.
Have an inspection report and estimated costs to fix the issues and share it with potential buyers.
You’ll likely have to do a lot of negotiation on the price because the buyer might want to pay less if they have to pay for immediate repairs, while you might want to ask for more if you’ve spent some money on repairs.
What Causes Foundation Problems?
Water damage and the shifting of the earth are the main causes of any foundation problem. Add that to the fact that many homes in Louisiana do not have basements while they are built on soft or unstable ground, and you’ll see why many houses have signs of foundation problems such as bowing walls, a sinking floor, ceramic tile floor cracks and stair-step cracks. Here are some common causes of foundation damage which can impact the price when you try to sell the home in the open market.
Faulty plumbing can cause foundation problems in your home. For homes built on foundations made of concrete slab, water leaking from the pipes running under these slabs can accumulate and penetrate the basement or crawl spaces.
Pipes, especially plastic pipes, can start to leak over time when constantly exposed to the effects of shifting clay that contract and expand with temperature changes.
Heavy construction work near your home can damage the plumbing and cause external flooding. The turf that supports the foundation can erode when exposed to excessive moisture over a period of time. New Orleans and Louisiana are particularly known for flooding. If you live in an area that is frequently exposed to flooding, your foundation can be damaged over time.
Dry Soil And Shrinkage Below The Foundation
The soil around and below the foundation dries up when temperatures rise during the hot summer months. This forces the clay to shrink, and it starts moving away from the foundation. Cracks can begin to develop on the floors, ceiling, and walls.
Tree roots also absorb the moisture around the foundation. This also causes the clay to dry up and shrink, causing the foundation to become unstable.
Sometimes your homebuilder might not have chosen the right soil or materials for your area which can exacerbate foundation issues.
Melted snow does not flow away easily which can cause flooding. This in turn creates excess water pressure, which forces all the damp particles into small gaps in the foundation.
Can You Sell A House That Needs Foundation Repair?
Yes, you can. Home sellers with foundation issues have to disclose the issues to the buyer upfront. The benefit of selling a house that needs foundation repair is that you don’t have to spend a substantial amount of money and time repairing before selling the house. That way you’re also being fully transparent with the buyer who knows what exactly they are in for.
However, you will likely receive a much lower price for the house. The main type of buyer for homes with major issues are investors who fix up the house and flip it or cash home buyers. They would likely negotiate for a lower rate as much as possible so that they can earn a higher profit on the flip.
Should You Repair Foundation Issues Before You Sell?
It’s not always necessary to repair all the issues before selling homes although there are a few things you need to consider. Sellers are recommended to get the foundation damage evaluated by a professional and ask licensed contractors for estimates to repair the problem, but you don’t always have to fix it if there’s a huge cost involved.
You may be able to find house flippers who specialize in finding properties with some damage, offer a lower price, then fix them up so that they can flip it for a higher price. However, this can also mean you receive a lower cash offer.
On the other hand, repairing the damage can open up your market so you can sell to homeowners. Banks often don’t want to provide mortgage loans on property with a certain degree of damage and many people don’t want to spend money and time on fixing property damage after moving in. You can also often get a higher price if you repair the problem.
Check to see if your homeowner’s insurance policy covers foundation repairs.
How Long Does It Take To Resolve Foundation Problems?
It typically takes around two to three days to complete foundation repair work depending on the extent of the damage. Sometimes a structural engineer may find more serious base damage after contractors have dug under the property which can lead to more extensive repairs.
Other than digging in the mud and repairing the damage, contractors also need time to restore the landscaping that covers the base pilings. It’s also possible that new hairline cracks develop when existing cracks are closed, depending on how strong the original structure responds to structural treatment. Contractors will need more time to seal existing cracks and ensure that dirt and debris do not fill up cracks during the repair.
So in total, it may take a week or more to have foundation problems repaired so that your home is ready to sell.
Do You Have To Disclose Foundation Problems When Selling Your House?
Yes. You do not want to face a lawsuit when buyers discover a crack in the foundation after you sell the home.
State requirements indicate that you must disclose property defects to potential buyers when selling a home. Buyers will also often want to know how much it cost to get all the repairs done. You may also want to share information with potential buyers about any prior base repairs you have already made in the past.
How Much Does Foundation Repair Cost?
The cost of foundation repair can vary from $100 to $10,000 depending on the extent of the issue and the things that contractors have to do to complete the work. On average you can expect to pay between $2,000 to $5,000 to fix any foundation issue.
If the piles need to go deeper than expected, sellers may have to pay more for foundation repairs. Repairing horizontal cracks on the walls can cost between $800 to $1500 per crack, while slabjacking work like concrete removal and replacement may cost around $150 per drilled hole.
Foundation stabilization can cost up to $12,000 for 12 strips of reinforcement, and foundation sealing to prevent water damage issues can cost anywhere between $2,000 to $7,000.
You also have to pay extra costs such as hiring engineers to assess the soil and base damage for between $300 to $3000, a local building permit which can cost up to $150, and additional work to remove objects found in the ground during excavation such as old repairs and tree roots.
Sometimes you also have to pay to fix other problems such as the bowing walls and house sinking. Contractors can charge up to $3,000 per unit to raise the house and secure the height with piers. Adding steel or carbon fiber reinforcement strips to fix bowing walls can cause up to $1,000 per strip.
What Types Of Pilings Are Used For Foundation Repairs?
Concrete or steel pilings are used for foundation repair. Steel pilings are costlier than concrete support piers, but they last longer.
Pressed concrete pilings are typically used for properties with concrete slab foundation or pier and beam houses. Builders may also use poured concrete piers, belled concrete piers or helical steel piers for your home.
Steel pilings are can reach deeper into the soil which means they often offer much more stability in clay soil which can prevent another issue. They are typically driven down all the way to bedrock.
Will A Bank Finance A House With Foundation Issues?
No, a bank typically will not finance your house if there are signs of foundation problems even if there is a ready buyer. Banks will usually ask for a home inspector to make a foundation inspection to evaluate if the home has foundation damage. If the seller has made prior foundation repairs, the bank will often request proof. Seller disclosure to the buyer or real estate agent about a foundation problem is also often enough to get the bank to start asking questions.
Alternatively, a homeowner can get a rehabilitation loan from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to fix a home that has foundation damage. You will be asked questions to determine the projected value of your home after the repair work is completed and a certain percentage of this value will be provided as a rehabilitation loan.
Who Buys Houses With Foundation Problems?
If a home has foundation problems, potential buyers typically will not be too interested. However, cash home buyers such as us at Move On are willing to make cash offers in all kinds of situations and buy houses as-is.
You may also see that investors or house flippers are keen buyers because they can invest all the money needed to repair the problem and flip it for a higher payout.
If you do not have a major issue under your home, homeowners may sometimes still be keen because of the low cost of repair. Alternatively, they may negotiate with you to pay for repairs by a foundation repair company before they buy the house.
It is possible to sell a house with foundation problems. It’s recommended that you bring a structural engineer in to evaluate the problem and determine if it is a major issue. Sometimes cracks on the walls don’t always mean a serious problem that threatens the stability the house and you can still get a good offer from a buyer.
Consult your real estate agent who can often provide you expert advice. They may also know real estate investors or cash buyers who regularly buy a home to fix up and who may be interested buyers for your property with foundation problems.