The home buying process can be stressful, to say the least. There is so much to consider when taking the leap into a new home and making sure your money will be well spent. 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.
Here’s how to spot foundation problems when buying a home:
- Cracks are tell-tale signs of foundation issues. Look for 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 are another other type of foundation problem you might spot. 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 see that some of the doors in the home you are touring are sticking, or seem crooked, this is a good indication that there may be some underlying foundation issues.
- Gaps around window frames and doors are something to be on the lookout for when inspecting the home for foundation problems. 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 are something to be on the lookout for when performing your walk through. If you spot any standing water around the outside of the home, overflowing gutters, or water in the basement/ crawl spaces, the house may need foundation repair. 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 foundation 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