Warning Signs of Foundation Problems

If you’re shopping around for a home you probably have a checklist of things you are looking for. But do you have any negative items on your checklist? Learning to recognize and check off the early warning signs of foundation problems could help you foresee costly repairs that sellers could be trying to hide. Most homebuyers get a home inspector to check for foundation problems before they finalize their buying decision, but some signs are actually quite easy for you to spot on your own before you bring someone in to confirm. Here are some warning signs that the home you want to buy has foundation problems.

Home-Foundation-Problems1Inside the House:

Diagonal and horizontal cracks in the wall at corners of doors and windows can be a sign of a faulty foundation, and tend to be more serious than vertical cracks.

Horizontal cracks can be a sign of a shifting foundation, an indication that wet soil outside froze and expanded, damaging the foundation.

Sloping or uneven floors are another strong indicator of a possible foundation problem.

You might notice right away if the floor is sagging a couple of inches, but if you feel like you’re walking on a cruise ship that is listing, you may want to make a note of it.

Doors and windows that don’t close properly also hint at foundation problems. But don’t panic — a lot of the time it’s a sloppy paint job or rotten wood that’s making them stick.

As you continue through the home, also keep your eyes peeled for gaps above kitchen cabinets, cabinet doors that will not stay shut, leaks and cracks in and around the fireplace.

Look to the basement for signs of trouble.  A basement that is leaking water could mean nothing more than a minor crack that needs repair, or could indicate an eroding foundation as water has permeated the concrete.

Water that has penetrated a foundation over a long period of time can cause erosion of the foundation.  Obvious signs of mold could indicate the leak is an ongoing issue.

Outside the Home

Outside the home, you also want to ensure that doors open and close properly and that there aren’t any diagonal or horizontal cracks by the doors and windows.

Cracks in the exposed grade beam or in the bricks and mortar should also raise concern. Using your bubble level tool once again, check for leaning walls. If the top of the foundation appears to stick out beyond the walls in one area, the foundation wall may have tipped and could be a sign of trouble.

Any signs of shifting or bowing could mean that the soil is expanding and contracting, putting pressure on foundation walls.

Last but not least, take a look at the garage door since gaps between the garage door and the pavement at either side of the garage door could suggest a foundation issue.

A foundation problems is not a deal breaker

If you find one or more of these issues above on the inside or outside of a home you’re considering buying, don’t automatically eliminate the home! While foundation issues are serious, they can certainly be fixed.

Get a home inspector of your choosing to take a look and verify if your concerns are valid. If the home does in fact have foundation problems, but you like everything else about the property, get an estimate for how much it would cost to fix the issue.

You can use this information to negotiate the price of the home or potentially have the current owners pay for part of the repairs.

If you’re in the market for a new home, visit ComFree.com today to browse thousands of listings!

1 comment

  1. Keith Dower says:

    It’s very important to identify problems like these as early as possible.

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