There will be about seven million homes sold and purchased this year. Are you one of the many aspiring buyers looking to move into a new house?
If so, there are a few things you’re going to want to do before you sign on the dotted line, committing your life savings to a property.
One of the most important things you can do to ensure a wise financial decision is to order a home foundation inspection. Many new homeowners skip this, to their own detriment.
Home foundations are the most important component of your home, and if it’s jeopardized, the rest of your home can be, as well.
So what are the common foundation problems that an inspection can spot ahead of time? Read on below for three important reasons to order an inspection before moving in.
- Spot Cracks or Fractures
One of the main reasons you want to get an inspection is to identify if there are any cracks or fractures in the foundations. There are a number of symptoms that could point to cracked foundations.
For example, cracks in the floor, wall fissures, or damaged chimneys can all be a result of a cracked foundation. Cracks occur when the foundation experiences movement.
This can be caused by contracting soil around the home, serious weather events like flooding, freezing, heavy winds, or seismic activity if you’re near a faultline.
An inspection can determine what types of cracks are present along the foundation as well. It’s normal for tiny cracks to develop after a home is first built. But once they reach a certain size, they become a cause for concern.
Vertical cracks generally aren’t a concern. But if there are horizontal cracks emerging, it’s a sign that the foundation is experiencing too much pressure.
When cracks get too large, excessive water can make its way into the foundation. Water getting in will weaken the foundation at an even faster rate. Likewise, large cracks mean that insects can invade as well.
Every foundation will experience some degree of cracking. Most are not a cause of concern. However, it’s best to get it inspected to ensure that isn’t a bigger problem developing without you knowing. Dealing with problem cracks while they are small can save a lot of money in the long run.
If you don’t get an inspection, you’ll live with the uncertainty, never knowing if the cracks in your foundation are minor, or if they’re putting your home at serious risk.
- Foundation Sinking or Settling
Over time, it’s possible for a foundation to settle. This can cause your home to sink. Or it might mean that one side of your home starts to sink and sit lower than the other side of your home.
If you don’t deal with a sinking foundation, it can cause major issues in your home. It can damage flooring, walls ceilings, and even put the structural integrity of your home at risk.
Settling foundations often start with very minor movements of about half of an inch. But even then, it’s a sign that greater levels of settling are about to occur. It’s common for homes that start settling to eventually move a few inches into the ground.
A settling foundation can also cause cracking to your foundation and along your exterior walls. If your home is older, there’s a chance your house was built on poorly compacted soil. That means the ground under your foundation is weak and subject to greater degrees of movement.
A foundation inspection will spot any degree of settling or sinking, however minor or major it may be at the point. It can help you determine the cost of foundation repair, and if the home is worth purchasing or not.
- A Wet Crawl Space
Another problem that can occur as a result of the poor foundation is a damp crawl space. Your crawl space shouldn’t be wet.
If it is, it’s either suffering from foundation problems at the moment, or it will be soon, thanks to unnecessary moisture inside.
A damp crawl space can fill your home with an unpleasant odor. It can also lead to mold and mildew, and make lower the air quality in your home. This puts your health at risk.
And moisture can also attract pests, particularly termites. If your home is built on wood beams, rather than a concrete slab, termites can put the house at serious risk.
Every homeowner knows that excessive moisture inside the home is going to cause damage and lead to expensive repairs down the line. So a foundation inspection can pinpoint why a crawlspace might be wet.
One solution may be to waterproof your basement and crawlspace. Click here to learn more about the process of waterproofing for a safer, healthier home.
Foundation Repair Cost
Ultimately, a home foundation inspection is all about finding problems with your foundation before it’s too late. Knowing what problems a foundation has before you buy a home can help determine if the property is worth purchasing or not.
It’s unlikely the seller has performed any recent foundation inspections, so they would be unaware of any current problems.
On the low end, repairing minor foundation cracks and preventing them from becoming larger might cost as little as $1,000. Larger foundation repairs could cost closer to $8,000 or more, depending on the extent of the damage and how long it was left unattended.
With an inspection report in hand, describing the damage, you might be able to negotiate with the seller for a lower sales price on the home. If not, you have to decide if the house is worth buying, knowing you need to spend that money to make the property safe and secure.
Better Get a Home Foundation Inspection
A home foundation inspection is not going to be expensive. It might run you a few hundred dollars. But it could potentially prevent you from buying a home that needs thousands of dollars in repair right away.
Even if you decide to purchase the home anyway, the inspection will let you know what you can expect to spend to make the home safe and reliable for many years to come.
Looking for more home buying advice? Visit our blog now to find other helpful articles like this.