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Buying and Selling a House with Foundation Problems

Foundation problems often manifest in multiple ways throughout the home. Sagging or uneven floors, doors that won’t shut properly, cracks in ceilings/walls, bowed walls, and various moisture issues in the basement or crawl space are indications of foundation damage. For many buyers and sellers, a home with potential or verified foundation and/or structural damage is a common occurrence.

Most states require a seller to disclose information regarding the home’s foundation damage or structural issues. If you are selling a home with foundation damage and are unsure how the disclosure works, consult with your real estate agent or property lawyer. Trying to hide the issues will not fool the buyer’s home inspector. Inspectors are trained to detect issues and include a detailed report to the buyer.

Buyers should insist on a thorough home inspection by a qualified inspector. A licensed structural engineer should perform an inspection if the buyer suspects foundation damage. If damage is found, the buyer may obtain estimates for repair. Reputable foundation repair companies, such as Olshan Foundation Solutions, offer free estimates to the homeowner. These estimates then can be used during price negotiations.

Buyers and sellers should keep all copies of disclosure reports, inspections, and details regarding any foundation repairs. The buyer will need the full documentation for the mortgage process.

On occasion, the buyer and seller may work out a deal where the seller arranges and pays for the foundation repair before the real estate transaction moves forward. The buyer may agree to have the price of the repairs included into the price of the home. This allows the buyer to have that amount as part of the mortgaged amount if a loan has been acquired.

Buyers planning to “flip” a home need to consider the amount of foundation damage and how much it will cost to fix the damage. Extensive damage can eat into a profit quickly.