Selling A Home With Foundation Trouble? What You Need To Know

Foundation problems can make selling a home more difficult. Problems discovered during the home-selling process can slow down or even cancel a deal on a home. Knowing how to handle foundation troubles can help smooth the way for a successful sale and make the transaction less stressful for sellers as well as buyers. A house with cracked foundation isn’t the end of the world, and there are ways to either work around it or work with it in order to get the home sold. Here is what homeowners need to know about how to sell a house with foundation problems.

Recognize the Signs of Foundation Problems

Foundation problems have tell-tale signs. If you live in a home that displays the symptoms of foundation trouble and you’re thinking of selling your property soon, ignoring the warning signs could be a mistake. If you’ve noticed any of the symptoms below, seek help from an experienced contractor immediately. 

  • Growing cracks in the foundation, especially cracks that take on a stair-step shape.
  • Large cracks in interior walls, especially cracks that appear above doors, windows and at the top of the walls near the ceilings. 
  • Doors that once closed well can no longer close at all. 
  • The concrete foundation seems to be cracking or crumbling.
  • Windows that once opened and closed easily suddenly become jammed. 
  • Bulging or curving visible in exterior walls. 

Know What Costs to Expect from Foundation Repair

Get quotes for repair from experienced, reputable contractors in your community. Meet with multiple contractors to ensure that the information you’re given is correct. Meeting with multiple contractors will also help you determine what is a fair price for repair. Depending on what sort of repairs the foundation needs, the price can vary. Here are some of the different fixes and what they cost on average:

  • Cracks: $250-$800
  • Leaks: $2,000-6,000
  • Setting and sinking: $500-$3,000
  • Bowing walls: $350-1,000 per reinforcement strip
  • Piering and underpinning: $1,000-3,000 each
  • Leveling and slabjacking: $500-1,300
  • Sealing: $2,000-$6,000
  • Stabilizing: $4,000-12,000

Knowing the price you can expect to pay to repair your foundation can help you decide how to price your home when you put it on the market, and whether or not you’d prefer to make the repairs yourself or sell the house at a discount.  

Follow Home Seller Disclosure Laws

In most states, known foundation problems must be disclosed during the sale of the house. Full disclosure also helps home sellers find serious buyers. Many buyers will walk away from a home with serious structural problems if they discover the problem while in escrow. However, homebuyers who make an offer on a home knowing about its defects are likely prepared to handle the repair of the property.

Sell a Home As-Is or Make Repairs

Once foundation problems have been discovered in a home, the homeowners have two options going forward: sell the home as-is or repair the damage before putting the home up for sale. Both options have advantages and disadvantages , so homeowners need to examine their unique situation in order to pick the one that is best for them.  

The Argument For Repairing Foundation Damage Before Selling

Repairing foundation problems can be a good idea because structural problems can be a big deterrent for many buyers. Many home buyers seek homes that are “turn-key” properties, meaning they want to buy a property that is move-in ready, so buying a house with a cracked foundation doesn’t fit that description, and fixing a home’s foundation before selling can be a big advantage when trying to attract these sorts of buyers. In order to sell a home with foundation problems, the homeowners will likely have to lower the price of the home to offset the price of repairs in order to bring in individuals who are interested in fixer-uppers. Charging too much for a home with a serious structural defect could draw out the sale of the house by months or even years. For this reason, many home sellers hoping to make the biggest profit possible while selling a house with foundation issues choose to make the repairs before listing their property.

The Argument For Selling a Home As-Is

Not all homeowners are able to repair foundation problems before selling, so selling as-is may be the only viable option. Homeowners interested in selling their home as-is can still find success as not all buyers are put off by foundation problems. If buyers are interested in a fixer-upper home, foundations issues are one of many problems buyers expect going into the home. Selling a home with foundation problems as-is will also mean reducing the price of the home, which can be a selling point for some buyers, especially if they would rather save money on the home and fix the issues themselves instead of pay an inflated price after the work has already been done.

Get Foundation Repairs Done Right

Repairs that are made to the foundation must be done correctly. Un-permitted work and work performed by an unqualified contractor may slow down or impede the home selling process. Some mortgage lenders will not permit home buyers to purchase homes with un-permitted changes or defects that could affect the safety of the property. 

To ensure that the repairs are done correctly, work with a licensed contractor. Check the contractor’s bond, insurance and license history. Read reviews of the contractor online to look for red flags, like large numbers of dissatisfied customers. Ask for references. Remember that the lowest bid is not always the best bid. Look for a contractor who offers a fair price, but be wary of contractors who make bids that fall far below the bids of other contractors.  

Consult With a Real Estate Professional

Your real estate agent can help you through the challenging process of selling a house with a known foundation problem. An agent can help decide the best way to describe the home in the listing, whether or not to make the repairs before selling the property, and how much the property should be listed for when it goes on the market. The agent will also be able to answer any questions about state disclosure laws. For more information, contact a reputable real estate agent in your community. 

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