Is It Safe to Live in a House With Foundation Problems?

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By Clever Real Estate Updated October 21, 2021


Buying a home with foundation problems can be risky but it can also be a way to get a great deal. Foundation problems can be serious, but not every crack is cause for concern. Here’s what you need to know about buying and living in a house with foundation issues.

Is It Safe to Live in a House With Foundation Problems?

Not all problems are created equal, and that cliché holds true for problems with a home’s foundation.

The foundation of a house is what the house is built on. The foundation is a home’s base and supports the entire structure. It’s important that a house’s foundation is stable enough to support it. Homes rely on their foundations for structural integrity and damage to a home’s foundation is important to keep an eye on.

Damage to a home’s foundation can be minor or incredibly serious — and you can’t always tell the difference with a naked eye. A small crack or leak might be meaningless, but it could also mask a larger issue not visible to a layperson.

You won’t be able to figure out how serious an issue is or how much it will cost to repair without talking to an expert. Some small cracks can be easily covered with simple patching, but other cracks may be caused by more serious underlying problems. Major problems with a home’s foundation can mandate significant repairs or even total replacement of the existing foundation.

Everything below a home’s ground-floor walls is considered part of the foundation. The foundation needs to be secure and immobile. If the foundation moves, the entire house moves. And that can be both dangerous and expensive.

Should You Buy a Home With Foundation Problems?

If you’re looking to buy a house, one of the most difficult issues you can come up against is whether to buy a home with foundation problems. If you know that a home has foundation issues and buy it anyway, you assume the risk and cost of dealing with those issues. It may also limit your ability to get certain types of mortgages.

Choosing to buy a home with existing foundational issues can be risky, but there are things you can do to mitigate that risk. You should never buy a house with foundational problems without having the issue examined by an expert.

A home’s foundation should be examined during the home inspection, but if you know about potential problems, also think about bringing in a foundation expert. An engineer or foundation contractor can give you more details and provide you with an estimate of the repair costs and risks involved.

Foundation problems will understandably scare a lot of buyers away, but sometimes buying a home with some structural issues can make sense. Although something like a new foundation will be expensive, other fixes are quick and easy.

If you’re considering buying a house with foundation problems — and you’re sure you know enough about the severity of the problems and repair costs involved — you may get a great deal. Just be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into and are prepared to handle all the necessary repairs.

Should you buy a home with foundation issues?

Work with a Partner Agent to determine if it could be work it.

Types of Foundation Problems

Some problems with a home’s foundation are common, minor, and easy to fix. For example, small, hairline cracks commonly appear because of settling and aren’t cause for major concern.

But some cracks are more serious than others. If large cracks appear suddenly or expand over time, they can be indicative of a larger issue. Horizontal, jagged cracks are a potential cause for concern and something that should always be looked at by a professional.

What Causes Foundation Problems?

Most foundation problems are caused by water. Different variations in moisture and water levels can make soil shrink or swell, resulting in movement underneath a home’s foundation. Uniform swelling or shrinking usually won’t cause problems, but soil rarely moves in perfectly uniform ways, so cracks, uneven floors, and other issues can appear.

Fixing Foundation Problems

Most problems with a home’s foundation can be fixed, but that doesn’t always mean it’s worth the investment. Patching cracks is a simple fix, but replacing an entire foundation can cost upwards of $100,000 — sometimes resulting in a price tag higher than the value of the home itself.

If you’re thinking about buying a house with foundation issues, make sure you have a full understanding of the problems and the cost of repairs before you move forward.

Thinking About Buying a House With Foundation Problems?

If you’re considering buying a home that has foundation issues, make sure you work with a professional. A Clever Partner Agent can help you find an engineer or contractor to examine the problem and help you get a great deal to cover the costs of repairs.

Contact us today to get in touch with a Partner Agent in your area for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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