When we are looking for a new to us home, we have a lot of things we want it to have. It may be a pool, upgraded appliances or kitchen, or a big patio. When we pay for the home inspection, we want to also find out about the structure of the home. One of the areas the inspector looks at is the foundation. If the inspector lets you know there is an issue with the foundation, you have things to think about. Should I buy a house with foundation repair? It will depend on how severe it is, but it also is not your decision. It may need to be decided by the lender.
What Is A Foundation Issue?
When you pay for a home inspection, the inspector will look at how structurally sound the building is. This means looking for water damage, cracks, window/door problems, or moisture. This is because the home could be sinking or shifting. You may want to also hire a structural engineer to take a look and perform other tests to see if the building is safe or needs major repairs.
What Causes A Foundation To Have Issues?
There are a few things that can easily cause the conditions of a home also to have foundation issues. Let’s take a look.
Clay soil is a type of soil that usually, along with other soils tends to expand. This is common in very cold and very hot conditions. If you are unsure about the soils in the area, make sure to ask or do some research. Also, if you see cracks in the home that are small and in clay areas, calling a structural engineer is a good idea.
Ensuring the ground close to the foundation is graded will help the water drain well in the yard. In addition, the gutters and downspouts should be clear and far enough away from the home.
The contractor should make sure that the ground is as level as possible where the structure will be built. Also, making sure that the soil is tested is important.
Are There Signs Of Foundation Issues?
The average home buyer won’t know what to look for in foundation issues, but you can keep an eye on these things below.
- Sagging and uneven floors
- Cracks over doorways and windows and in the walls
- Basement walls that have horizontal cracks
- Windows and doors that don’t close properly
- Concrete floors that have large cracks
- Moisture or mold in the basement or crawl spaces
One or two of the things listed above may not be a big deal, but if you find multiple ones of these then Houston…we may have a problem. Remember, a home with foundation issues doesn’t form overnight. They were created by improperly prepped soil and choices in design or materials that weren’t the best.
How Do I Get A Loan To Still Make The Purchase?
Even though most lenders won’t lend money for homes with foundation problems or serious structural issues, some programs allow buyers to buy a property with foundation issues. They will even loan out the money. There are government back loans and these are:
- Federal Housing Administration (FHA) 203(k) Loan (often called an FHA Rehab loan)
- Fannie Mae HomeStyle Renovation Mortgage
- Freddie Mac CHOICERenovation Mortgage
Talk to a professional or real estate agent about which program may be right for you and think about if buying a house with foundation repair is right for you.
Other Recommended Maintenance
Now that you know about foundation damage and issues, here are a few other areas to look at. One of those is the stucco on a house. Stucco can last from 50-80 years or longer if it Is maintained properly.
Another area is the roof. You might be thinking about solar panels on a metal roof. Well, these can be installed on a metal roof easily. The great things about solar panels are that they cool the house, are eco-friendly, and are durable.
Lastly, if you find that the sump pump is draining into the yard, you may need to add a French drain, storm drain, downspout extension, or dry well.
When Do I Call A Professional?
Anytime you are dealing with structural issues for a home, you need to contact a professional. They know what to look for and can help you in making a good choice. Your real estate agent can also be of help when you want to buy a home. Reach out to your local home inspection team for assistance and any other recommendations you may need.
Again, a home inspection is not included in the price of a home so it is always highly recommended that the buyer pays for one. It is worth the time and the money to know that your large investment is structurally sound and will last you many, many years. Not all foundation repair is a concern or worry, so reach out to ACE Preferred Inspections for a full home inspection in the low country of South Carolina.