Should I Buy a Home With a Foundation Issue?

brick wall with crack

When you’re buying a home, there are many things you want to consider in this new house, like the great size of the rooms, the solar roof panels, the big back yard, the updated kitchen, the great deck and the fabulous walk in closet. However, before you jump into purchasing the place, drop your eyes down a bit to focus on the home’s foundation because, after all, it holds up the house.

If the foundation has a problem, it can cause you lots of headaches down the road. If you notice some cracks in the foundation, you may need to take some sort of action to resolve the issue.  At the very least, you should find out what you’re dealing with to make an informed decision before you take the leap and become the owner of this property.

Home Inspection

Most homeowners have a home inspector come in to take a look at a home that they’re considering buying. Finding out that you have foundation problems is never an issue that you want to face, but finding foundation problems can range widely so you shouldn’t necessarily panic.

Not all foundation cracks warrant worry because not all cracks are created equal. As a home settles over time, it’s not unusual that minor cracks will appear on the foundation, but this doesn’t mean that these minor cracks require repair.  One way to determine whether the cracks require remedial attention is by the size of the cracks.

According to most home inspectors, if the cracks are thin, meaning less than ¼ inch, they have probably been around for years or even the life of the house.  These minor cracks simply need to be sealed to prevent any water damage or intrusions. However, wide cracks beyond ¼ inch could possibly require a costly repair and need to be addressed. The onus is up to the buyer to be vigilant and beware, but be smart. If you do buy a house with foundation cracks, you should be prepared to take action quickly since it will get worse and more costly over time.

Spotting Foundation Problems

To determine whether the cracks are the normal settling of the house or bad foundation problems, here are some things to look for during the inspection:

  • Misaligned doors and windows (could indicate a shift in the foundation)
  • Doors that stick or don’t latch shut
  • Windows that are difficult to open or that have cracks in the glass
  • Sloping floors or staircases (indicates a probable pitch in the foundation)
  • Cracked drywall
  • Gaps between the wall seams or between the wall and the ceiling
  • Large cracks in the exterior concrete
  • Water in the basement, crawl spaces, or around the perimeter of the home

Making a Smart Decision

If you do discover that there are foundation cracks on the house that you’re considering, but it’s the place of your dreams, should you buy it anyway? It depends.

If you happen to live in a competitive real estate market, you might not want to walk away from the purchase, but you can always try to renegotiate the price. Now that you have discovered these issues, you have some justification for getting a better deal on the house because of the amount of money you’ll have to spend to correct the problem. On the other hand, if the house is a great deal and you love it regardless of the foundation cracks, continue with the purchase knowing that foundation problems can always be corrected. Conterra Foundations offers Foundation Crack RepairFoundation Reinforcement, and Exterior Foundation Waterproofing services. Find out what we can do for your home today by Contacting Us.