The home buying process is stressful, to say the least not only for those looking to buy but selling a home can be equally anxiety-inducing. There is so much to consider when taking the leap into a new home and making sure your money will be well spent on a place without any hidden problems is usually at the top of most home buyers lists. There is nothing worse than spending a good deal of money on a home and then realizing there are big problems that will require costly repairs. One of the more important things to think about before putting in that offer is the state of the foundation of the home.
So how can you spot foundation problems in a potential home
- Cracks – One of the most tell-tale signs of foundation issues are cracks in the sheetrock, exterior walls, or ceilings. Typically homes with these types of cracks could be experiencing anything from a settling foundation to a sinking foundation. If you spot any cracks during your visit to a prospective home, make a note of them to bring up with the sellers should you choose to move forward with a sale.
- Uneven floors- Another sign of foundation issues are uneven floors. Many older homes have uneven floors moving from room to room. A great test is to carry a marble with you. If you place the marble on the floor does it roll to a specific point or corner in the room? It may seem silly but this test could save you money in the long run from expensive foundation repair or off the purchase price.
- Doors out of alignment- If you notice that some of the doors in the home you are touring are sticking, or seem crooked this is another sign that there may be some underlying foundation issues.
- Gaps around window frames- Windows, as well as doors, are great tells when inspecting for foundation issues. Many times a house experiencing a poor foundation will shift and with that the windows fall out of place creating gaps that not only can cause poor insulation but also let in bugs etc. Instead of putting in new window frames the foundation should be addressed to determine the cause of the window gaps.
- Drainage issues- Lastly while performing your walk through take a look for any standing water around the outside of the home, overflowing gutters, or water in the basement/ crawl spaces. Water damage often leaves homeowners to assume a roof issue however many water problems are caused by cracked foundations.
So how do you protect yourself as a buyer? We suggest asking as many questions as possible about the home’s history, when it was built, issues they may have had, and any history of water damage. Additionally, it is recommended to get an independent inspection. An inspector will take the time to look at all areas of the home and determine issues that need to be addressed. While inspectors are definitely a great step if you suspect specifically issues with the foundation in your prospective dream home a free foundation estimate is worth your time. This will let you know exactly what the issues are if any and you can feel confident in your purchase knowing you have all the information.
For more on buying a home check out our infographic: THE ULTIMATE CHECKLIST FOR BUYING A HOUSE