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7 Tips for Selling a House In Need of Foundation Repairs

Let’s face it: no one wants to buy a home that’s literally falling apart, unless they plan to demolish it anyway. If foundation issues are plaguing your home sale, it might be time to rethink your strategy. Here’s what you can do to sell a home with foundation issues the right way.
Let’s face it: no one wants to buy a home that’s literally falling apart, unless they plan to demolish it anyway. If foundation issues are plaguing your home sale, it might be time to rethink your strategy. Here’s what you can do to sell a home with foundation issues the right way.

Your home is falling apart. How can you keep the sale together?

Foundation issues are scary words in real estate and could send any prospective buyer running in the opposite direction. These issues are expensive to fix and pose a significant risk to your home’s safety and value.

But they don’t have to put your home selling dreams on hold. Consider these seven tips on how you can move forward with the sale.

Know What You Have to Disclose to Buyers

Each state has its own disclosure requirements that sellers must provide to buyers prior to closing. The buyer is legally obligated to disclose certain information they know about the home, particularly involving structural or material defects. If you’re aware of foundation issues, you will be required to notify the buyer before the purchase is finalized.

If you’re not honest with the buyer upfront, the cost of foundation repairs could fall back on you. It’s critical to share any information you’re aware of. Having issues won’t necessarily kill the deal, but starting a transaction with dishonesty certainly may.

Get the Foundation Professionally Inspected

Home buyers will likely schedule a home inspection prior to closing, which is when many foundation issues are revealed. In addition, if you know there are issues with the foundation, it’s a good idea to schedule a separate inspection specifically for the foundation to determine the extent of the problem.

Severe cases will also need the expertise of a structural engineer. Your real estate agent can provide guidance on who to contact and how much it might cost for this inspection.

Figure Out What’s Causing the Foundation Issues

Foundation issues are likely caused by one of three factors: deterioration of the stem walls, foundation settlement, or foundation heave. Your inspection should reveal more about the root cause, which will chart the course of action you need to take.

Get Bids on Fixing the Issues

Some experts will tell you to get foundation problems fixed before listing the home for sale. Others will say not to fix it yourself, but to pass the cost onto the buyers. Regardless of which route you take, it’s a good idea to get bids from contractors to see just how much it will cost to repair.

Foundation repair costs will vary depending on your local area and the severity of the condition. For example, fixing a few cracks may cost $400 or more, while a whole new foundation will run you about $40,000.

Offer to Have the Issues Resolved Prior to the Sale

Some buyers prefer a home that’s move-in ready, so consider offering to take care of the foundation issues before closing. This may give you more leverage in pricing since you’re paying for repairs that won’t come out of the new owner’s pocket. Your agent can help you negotiate on this aspect to see if it makes more sense to schedule the repairs or let the new owner handle it.

Reduce the Price of the Home

If you don’t plan on taking care of the issues yourself, you may need to reduce the home to attract a buyer. Buyers who know they’ll have to pay for a foundation repair may not be willing to pay as much for the home. This is true with most types of home repairs, not just the foundation. In essence, you end up paying for the repair anyway in the form of a lower sale price.

In some cases, you may not need to lower the price by much. Many people won’t walk away from the home they really want, even if it has structural issues. Rather, sellers should think of the issue as they would any other problem with the home, such as needing a new HVAC system or roof.

Have the Foundation Reinspected After Repairs

If you opt to have the foundation issues resolved prior to closing, make sure you obtain a report that you can furnish to the buyer. Buyers should have confidence that whatever actions you took resolved the problem.

Bonus Tip: Partner with a Real Estate Agent Experienced in Unique Transactions

Selling a home with foundation issues isn’t impossible. You may be surprised to know that many buyers will still move forward with the sale if other conditions are reasonable.

Partnering with an experienced real estate agent to guide this unique situation can be invaluable. Clever Partner Agents are skilled in helping homeowners list and sell homes with foundation issues. They can provide guidance on repairs and help you price your home attractively to get the best possible outcome.

Connect with Clever today for a no-obligation consultation and let us introduce you to a Partner Agent in your area that will help you keep your home prospects intact.


Jamie Ayers

Jamie is the Director of Content at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents and helps you save thousands on commission. In the past, Jamie has managed columns for clients in a variety of leading business publications, including Forbes, Inc., CEO World, Entrepreneur, and more. At Clever, Jamie's primary goal is to provide home sellers, buyers, and investors with the information they need to successfully navigate the ins and outs of the real estate industry.

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