While a property’s foundation is an integral part of any home, it is often an area that is ignored by both home owners and home buyers. Any damage or defects that compromises the safety of a property can highly impact the living conditions inside of a home, and can cause financial issues for yourself as a home owner or buyer. If you are eager to sell or buy a home on the open market and you are aware of its foundation problems, here is the best course of action to follow.
Don’t Ignore Small Foundation Issues
Issues that seem minor can be deceptive and quickly become larger issues – for example, small cracks may eventually lead to leaks in the property. You won’t be able to officially diagnose any foundation or structural problems by yourself, but it’s vital to check for any visible signs that should be brought to attention with a professional. This could include noting any signs of cracks, crumbling, wetness, or unevenness in floors.
Avoid DIY Repair
Diagnosing and repairing foundation problems shouldn’t be a DIY task. As outlined, it’s vital to ensure that you have any foundation faults thoroughly checked by a professional structural engineer. Attempting to fix any problems on your own could cause further damage to your property, and in turn result in higher costs of repair for either yourself or potential buyers.
Be Open about Foundation Issues to Buyers
Once you have had a professional inspection, you should accordingly negotiate with buyers based on what you know about the problems, and have this information in writing. You’ll also need to ensure that you have proof of the buyer’s acknowledgment of the issue in writing. This way, you can be transparent with the buyer and you will not be held financially accountable should any further problems arise.
Hire a Home Inspector
Foundation issues can manifest in numerous ways throughout a property, and may even be undetectable until they are fully examined by a qualified home inspector. While as a buyer you will be aware of the visible foundation issues, inspectors are trained to find even the smallest of details and offer estimates for repair.
Be Aware of Costs
If you choose to go forward with buying the home after the foundation faults have been both detected and cocumented, it’s important to remember that you may be responsible to pay for any repairs and cannot hold the previous home owner accountable for any issues. However, where applicable, the seller may arrange to pay for the foundation repair before the real estate transaction is completed, or will arrange for the price of the repairs to be included within the price of the property.
Consider a Contingency Clause
Ensure all contingency clauses are in place before deciding to go ahead with the purchase of the property. As contingency clauses provide significant protection to real estate buyers, you’ll have the right to back out in the event that something goes wrong before the deal is closed.