It may go without saying, but the foundation of a home is one of the most important aspects of the entire property. The foundation literally holds the structure up. When there are issues with the foundation, it can lead to serious concerns about structural integrity and can cost quite a bit to repair.
Whether you are looking for a new home or planning to list your current one, the foundation plays an important part in the overall value. A home with foundation damage could lose 10-15 percent of its value. For reference, a $300,000 home could lose anywhere between $30,000 and $45,000 with foundation damage.
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Why the Drastic Impact?
Simply put the foundation is the heart of a home. It is so crucial to the structural support of the house. And because it isn’t the easiest thing in the world to repair, it can cost quite a bit to get structural damaged fixed.
But that doesn’t really tell us why it can impact home values so much. The value lost can be from a variety of things as foundation damage can come in many forms. Perhaps there is cracking in a poured concrete wall. Maybe there is a block wall that has inward bowing. The slab flooring could even have upward heaving.
Whatever the case, these issues lead to questions of structural integrity. When the structural integrity comes into question, there is concern over safety. Coupled with the expensive repair costs involved, it only makes sense that the value of a home can take a major hit.
The number one reason that a home’s value will suffer when presented with foundation issues is due to the costs of fixing it. Even minor repairs are not a quick, easy, or chip fix. And if structural damage is on the serious side, the foundation is going to need repairing.
Fixing it yourself is certainly possible, but there is a caveat to do-it-yourself work. Unless you have a vast amount of experience in foundation repair, there will be questions about the overall quality of the repairs instituted.
So, this means a foundation repair specialist is likely. Foundation repair depends on the size of the home, the type of foundation involved, the severity of the issue, and a number of other factors. If you’re lucky, it can cost as little as $500 to implement repairs. Major foundation fixes, the ones involving hydraulic lifts, can run you as much as $10,000.
The average homeowner can expect to spend in the range of $1,763 to $5,880 on a foundation repair. The repair costs alone are enough to drag down the value of a home with foundation damage.
If you live in or buy a home that has foundation damage and don’t immediately deal with it, you could wind up dealing with what is known as “referred” symptoms. These are similar to health-related issues in that the problems aren’t actually involved in the core problem, but they are absolutely a result of it.
The most common referred symptoms that come from foundation issues include roof problems, compromised insulation, sagging floors, cracks in ceilings and walls, cracked or broken windows, and a ton of other things.
Dealing with a damaged foundation is something that you should deal with for the safety of your home, but it is also something that can cause a lot of other damage to other areas of your home. This is a major reason to get the problem fixed as soon as you can.
Curb Appeal is Impacted
When selling a home, the first impression is often the most important aspect. This is what as known as “curb appeal”. When the foundation has damage to it, it can negatively affect the curb appeal of the home.
When buying a home, people have certain aesthetic expectations. Ceiling cracks, sagging floors, visible cracks in the foundation, and other problems can impact the appeal. Even simply knowing that there is a foundation repair need can turn a buyer off.
The market plays a role in the ability of a seller to move a home with foundation problems. In a buyer’s market, it will likely mean lowering the price of the home. Not only that, it may turn out to be more difficult to move the home with the knowledge of foundational repair hanging out there.
Preventing More Damage
Knowing that you have foundation damage is bad enough. Unfortunately, as outlined above, there are plenty more issues that are tied to a bad foundation. If you are in the process of handling the foundation repair, there are some things that you want to be aware of that could result in further damage to the home.
What you may not have known is that you can compromise the foundation of a home by planting trees too close to the house. This is because some plants have deep roots. When those deep roots are close to the home, they can actually impact the foundation of your home.
If you plan on planting a tree in your yard, do your research on how far the roots stretch and space them out accordingly. Something as well-meaning as a tree can have long-lasting, expensive impacts on a home.
Watch for Water
Generally speaking, foundation issues are either the direct cause of water or they are further worsened by the presence of water. So, if you know that your home has foundation issues, be on the look out for water.
Given the different areas that water can permeate, this can be somewhat difficult. If you do see a buildup of moisture or water, calling a professional is imperative. It is best to not let a damaged foundation go on any longer than it needs to, but water is the flashing red light.
Watch Yard Slope
This goes hand in hand with the previous warning sign. One of the contributing factors to pooling water can have to do with the slope of your yard. To do this, ensure that the yard’s grade is sloping away from the home. The slope is meant to carry away any excess water that may have otherwise seeped down into the foundation.
Speaking of water distribution, it is important to make sure that gutters and downspouts point the right way. If they drain improperly, this is just another way that water can pool around the foundation of the home. All of this means bad news for your home.
Don’t Buy Damaged
Generally speaking, buying a house with a damaged foundation is not a good idea. The only instance where this would be okay is if the discount on the home far outweighs the cost of having it repaired. Most of the time, this won’t happen.
Buying a home with a damaged foundation will require repair on your part. That means a substantial investment and one that should be factored into the cost of the home if you still plan on buying it. If you are looking to sell your home, bite the bullet and get the foundation fixed. Even if you don’t repair it, it will cost you in the end by dropping the sale price substantially. You’ll save money in the long run by having the repairs implemented.
Common Signs of Foundation Problems
The best way to know if your foundation has issues that need repair is to look out for the common signs and symptoms. These include:
- Wall Cracks and Bowing Walls: Keep a look out for walls that bow or buckle. These problems will also likely have cracks as well and are a direct result of an unstable foundation.
- Foundation Settlement: Visible signs that your foundation is sinking or settling may indicate major failure. Over time, your foundation will settle a bit normally but it’s best to have it inspected to verify.
- Ceiling Cracks: In addition to wall cracks, ceiling cracks could indicate foundation problems. These types of cracks will come in a variety of shapes – horizontal or vertical, angled cracks, or spiderweb cracks. Bigger cracks that spread all the way down the wall or arise near windows and doors are generally more serious.
- Uneven Floors and Floor Cracks: Separation between the walls and floors of your home or cracks in the flooring can portray that your foundation has settled unevenly. Cracks in the floors may also be accompanied by bounciness or sagging.
- Sticking Windows and Doors: If your doors and/or windows are not closely correctly or are sticking closed, this may be sign of foundation failure.
- Foundation Cracks: Though this sign may be obvious, visible cracks in either the exterior or interior of your foundation are a strong indication of foundation problems.
Should You Sell Your Home with Foundation Problems?
The most important thing you must do when you want to sell a home with foundation problems is to disclose the damage. However, if you’d rather not taint the overall impression of your home or possibly end up receiving less money for what it’s worth, you should hire a contractor to repair the foundation damage first.
Not only will this take away the need for you to disclose the foundation issues, but it will also make it much easier to sell your home for more money.