Selling a home with foundation issues isn't easy. It gets even more complicated when a buyer discovers them during an inspection.
your best bet isfind and repair the damagebefore putting your home on the market. Your home will be easier to sell, and you'll likely get a better price, which may more than cover repair costs.
If this is not an option, either because you are unwilling or unable to pay for foundation repairs, you will likely have toreveal the damage🇧🇷 This can complicate negotiations with buyers, making it difficult to sell quickly and at an attractive price.
The good news is that foundation problems are often cheaper to fix than you might think. In fact, you can fix some minor problems yourself. There are also financing options that can help cover or defray out-of-pocket costs.
In this article, we'll describe everything you need to know about selling a home with foundation problems, including how to identify potential problems, typical repair costs and financing options, and when it makes sense to sell "as is."
SKIP TO SECTION
- Why Foundation Problems Make It Difficult to Sell Your Home
- Should I disclose the foundation's problems?
- Should I fix foundation issues or sell my home as-is?
- Residential Foundation Problems and Average Repair Costs
- Basic problems you can solve yourself
- Does home insurance cover foundation repairs?
- How to pay for foundation repairs
- What if the buyer's home inspection reveals foundation problems?
Why Foundation Problems Make It Difficult to Sell Your Home
Fixing foundation problems can be a huge headache, but so is trying to sell a home with unrepaired structural damage.
More than half of all homebuyersconsider foundation issuesa "deal breaker". If you don't address the damage before listing, you risk your home languishing on the market for a long time or selling for a much lower price than you expected.
Buyers who don't panic may face challenges getting a mortgage, depending on the extent of the problem. Most lenders will not provide conventional loans for homes with significant structural defects. Buyers may be able toget a rehab loanBut the process requires more time and effort than most are willing to give.
Should I disclose the foundation's problems?
In most states, real estate sellers are legally required to disclose foundation defects, along with other information about the property, on a standardized disclosure form.
Even though it's not mandatory, it's almost always a good idea. according to areport from Zillow, over 80% of buyers hire a home inspector, so there's a good chance they'll discover evidence of the problems anyway.
The handful of states that do not require sellers to make comprehensive disclosures about their homes are called "Caveat Emptor" or "buyer beware" jurisdictions. The following states generally follow the Caveat Emptor principles:
- Dakota do Norte
- West Virginia
However, you may be subject to local regulations even if you are selling in a Caveat Emptor state, so check with your realtor to determine what disclosures you must make.
What about the damage from the past that I've already repaired?
Depending on your state's specific disclosure requirements, you may or may not be required to disclose past foundation repairs. But as long as a qualified professional completes the work, past foundation repairs are advantageous—not something you want to hide from potential buyers.
quality basisrepairs should lastfor the life of the home, and many repair companies offer lifetime warranties that can be transferred to future homeowners.
If you're worried that previous foundation work will make buyers nervous, hire a structural engineer to inspect the foundation.prior tolist, and then make the inspection report available to buyers.
Should I fix foundation issues or sell my home as-is?
Fixing foundation problems yourself is a good idea if...
Consider selling your home as-is if...
If possible, it's best to address foundation issues before putting your home up for sale. As-is listings essentially advertise that a home has issues that the seller doesn't want to fix, which puts most average homebuyers off.
As-is sales attract one type of buyer, investors, but they will pay much less than market value for distressed properties.
At the very least, you should pay for a foundation inspection to find out how much it costs to fix the problem before you decide to sell your home as-is.
What you need to know about selling your home as-is
When yousell a house as is, you are telling buyers upfront that they will have to accept the property in its current condition; it won't solve anything.
While most sellers survive if they handle the repairs themselves, there are situations when it makes sense to sell as-is.
More often than not, people sell as-is because they can't afford the repairs, need to sell quickly (and can't risk an uncertain construction schedule), or fear the repairs won't add enough value to justify the time and money. 🇧🇷
If you decide to make a sale as-is, you have two options:
- List your home as is.This is much like a traditional home sale. You can work with a real estate agent who will advertise your home and communicate with buyers' agents on your behalf.
- Selling directly to a "we buy houses for cash" company.These sales are usually quick, most closing in just seven to 30 days, but they can net you a lower price than putting the house on the market.
Either way, you should expect the final sale price to be well below market value. Many investors adhere to the "70% rule": they generally pay no more than 70% of a home's Post-Repair Value (ARV), minus the cost of repairs.
" MOST:Companies "We buy houses in cash": what you need to know!
Do I have to do foundation repairs?prior toDo I put my house up for sale?
No, you can put your house up for sale under the conditions you want. However, your best chance of maximizing your home's selling price is when it hits the market. If you expect to make repairs, try to complete them before listing.
Also, since you'll likely have to disclose the problem to buyers anyway, you'll put yourself in a better negotiating position if you can document that the damage has already been fixed.
That said, you may decide to delay repairs if:
- You cannot pay for repairs untillaterfor sale.If you can't afford the repairs before listing but have plenty of equity, you can disclose the damage early and offer buyers a repair credit at closing.
- You are selling in an active real estate market.If the local market has many buyers but few homes for sale, buyers may be willing to buy a home that needs repairs.
- You are selling in a Caveat Emptor condition.If you are selling in a Caveat Emptor or “buyer beware” state, you may decide to list your home first and wait to see if the buyer discovers foundation issues during the inspection period. However, this is risky: inspection "surprises" are one of the main reasons buyers walk away from contracts.
Should I fix foundation cracks that are just cosmetic?
not youTerfor repairing foundation cracks that are cosmetic only, but it is generally prudent to repair them if you think a buyer will discover them during a home tour.
The average buyer won't know that the damage is cosmetic only. Although an inspection of the foundation shows that the cracks are not serious, many buyers scrap their home right away rather than pay a structural engineer to take a closer look.
Sealing foundation cracks rarely costs more than a few hundred dollars. And if you're reasonably helpful, chances are you could complete this repair yourself.
How to pay for foundation repairs
The typical homeowner pays about $4,500 tofix common database issuesAlthough repair costs vary greatly depending on the severity of the damage and the nature of the repair. You'll also need to budget for a foundation inspection, which can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000 depending on the size of your home.
Don't worry if you don't have enough savings to pay for repairs out of pocket. Although home insurance is likelywill not cover damage, most people can get financing. And you might be able to cover the full cost withfixing small problems yourself.
Residential Foundation Problems and Average Repair Costs
Here are the common signs of basic issues and what you should pay to fix the underlying issues:
Typical repair costs
Up to $4,000
Fontes: HomeAdvisor, HomeGuide, Fixr
And these are the repairs a structural engineer might recommend for common foundation problems, along with their typical costs:
Typical repair costs
Basement Shoring/Piring (8-10 pillars)
Elevating/leveling the foundation
Base stabilization (12 strips)
Fontes: HomeAdvisor, HomeGuide, Fixr
" MOST:Get foundation repair quotes from trusted local contractors
Basic problems you can solve yourself
While most foundation repairs require a qualified professional, there are a number of minor issues that homeowners can resolve themselves.
Possible foundation repairs
Can I fix it myself? (Experience Level)
fine external cracks
damp in the basement
Sunken floor over crawl space
Unless you're just sealing fine cracks, you should hire a structural engineer to inspect your foundation.prior totrying to fix any of the damage yourself.
Never attempt serious repairs yourself unless you are qualified. It's a safety issue, and for large projects it will be much easier to convince buyers that the repairs are sufficient if youhire a professional.
Does home insurance cover foundation repairs?
Probably not: Home insurance policies generally only pay for foundation repairs if the damage is the by-product of another covered peril. Most structural problems occur slowly over time, and damage caused by negligence is rarely covered by insurance.
For example, home insurance is likely to cover repairs if a pipe suddenly bursts, flooding the basement and causing mold to grow. However, insurance will not pay for foundation repair if the same pipe has a small leak that encourages mold growth over a period of years.
If you want to be sure, call your insurance agent and ask. It will probably be difficult to find out just by reading your homeowner's insurance policy.
How to pay for foundation repairs
Homeowners can choose from a wide range of financing options for foundation repairs. What's best for you will depend on factors such as upfront repair costs, credit score, sales schedule, and revolving credit tolerance.
home improvement/personal loan
Real estate loan*
Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)**
Financing through a repair company
FHA Title I Home Improvement Loan
USDA Section 504 Home Repair Loan
Don't be discouraged from financing repairs just because you have bad credit. For one thing, a lower credit score can increase the interest rate you pay by up to four times. On the other hand, a high-interest loan might be worth it if your home sells quickly; just make sure you pay for it immediately after the sale.
And since you plan to repay the funds quickly, you should also be careful to avoid early-payment loans or early cancellation penalties. This is especially true if you get a home loan or line of credit (HELOC); These loans are tied to the ownership of the house, so you have to pay them off as soon as you sell the house.
What if the buyer's home inspection reveals foundation problems?
It's always preferable to find and fix foundation issues before putting your home on the market, but if a buyer discovers damage during a home inspection, they can still salvage the sale.
The first thing the buyer will do is decide whether to hire a structural engineer to do a full foundation inspection or to void the contract. If they hire an engineer, it shows that they are still very interested in buying your home. However, you should be prepared to renegotiate based on the report's findings.
Seller Lease Negotiation on a Home with Bad Foundation
Upon inspection of the foundation, the buyer will submit a revised bid based on the structural engineer's recommendations. They'll likely start by asking you to do all of the recommended repairs before closing the deal, but repairs aren't the only thing you can offer buyers to close the deal again.
Here are four common concessions you can make to compensate buyers for undisclosed damage, along with their pros and cons:
Make repairs before closing
Lower the selling price
Buyer payment closing costs
Give the buyer a repair credit at closing
you are belowwithout the obligationaccept any concessions, but will probably have to give the buyersomethingif the damage is serious and they were unaware of it when they initially signed the contract.
When negotiating concessions, you should try to honestly assess your leverage. This includes analyzing the status of thebuyer's perspectiveHere are some questions to discuss with your agent when evaluating counteroffers.
- How much will the repairs cost?
- Will the buyer lose financing if they don't make repairs?
- What does the mobile shopper timeline look like? And you?
- How long has your home been on the market?
- Are there similar local homes in better condition, or is inventory low?
- What is your risk tolerance?
- What would you do to deal with the damage if the sale fell through?
Unless the buyer is unreasonable, try to be flexible. Seeing a home "returning on the market" is a red flag for buyers' agents, and you're unlikely to find a buyer willing to pay market value for your home in its current condition.
On the other hand, remember that you are not the only one who has something to lose. The buyer clearly envisions himself living in your home. And at this stage in the process, they've probably invested around $1,000 just between the two inspections.
Can the buyer withdraw from the sale?
If you and the buyer can't reach a new agreement, you can void the contract. Buyers can generally opt out of real estate transactions as long as the contract has an inspection contingency.yvoid the agreement during the formal inspection period.
In the rare event that the contract does not include an inspection contingency or the buyer withdraws after the inspection period is over, you may forfeit the down payment you made when you signed the contract. However, aside from a lengthy and expensive process, you have few resources to force them to complete the sale.
How hard is it to sell a home with foundation problems? ›
If your home has a cracked foundation or needs other major repairs, it can be difficult to attract a buyer willing to take on extensive home repair projects. However, it is still possible to sell your home. Let's talk about some options available to you to sell your home according to your budget and timeline.How do you prove a seller knew about foundation issues? ›
Communicate Amicably with the Seller
Instead, calmly outline the situation, letting them know by citing facts and providing video or image proof that you've found undisclosed foundation damage and would like to resolve the issue.
How much foundation settlement is too much? The industry standard is 1 inch of differential settlement in 20 feet. Anything greater than this can be considered too much.When should you walk away from foundation issues? ›
You should walk away from a house with foundation issues if the problem will cost too much to fix and the seller won't lower the price to compensate.Will appraisers look at foundation? ›
He or she will be looking for defects in the home's general construction and any damage to these components. A problem with a roof or a foundation can quickly make a home inhabitable, so be aware that the home appraiser will focus intensely on these.Do foundation problems affect appraisal? ›
Foundation repairs neither decrease nor increase overall home value. However, NOT getting foundation repairs can affect home value quite a bit. If you don't get the foundation fixed, you should expect the value/price of your home to be lower. There are a few things that typically decrease home value.What are reasonable things to ask seller to fix? ›
In general, it's reasonable to request repairs for any problems in the home that lead to health or safety concerns. Consider the home's key systems – from plumbing to electrical – as well as the home's main foundation and structure.What do inspectors look for in foundation? ›
The engineer will visually inspect the exterior, interior, and the nearby terrain for any signs of damage or drainage problems. This also includes getting into any crawl spaces to look for damage of any kind and checking how level the floors are and if the walls are straight.What is considered a failure for foundations? ›
Generally, foundation failures refer to both the failure of the structural elements of the foundation such as footings or piles, and the failure of the soil. The first type of failure occurs as a result of overloading on the foundation.Can a foundation be irreparable? ›
However, there are times when a foundation may be considered to be irreparable. That can happen when the cost to repair the foundation won't add enough value to the home. Fortunately, this rarely happens and usually, if it does, it's because the foundation has totally collapsed causing irreversible damage to the home.
How long does foundation settlement take? ›
How Long do Foundations Settle? For the most part a house will finish settling after about two years. Homes can continue to 'settle' after two years but it may be for different reasons than the initial two years. If your home was built atop soil that was not correctly compacted before the foundation was laid.Are foundation issues a big deal? ›
Foundation issues are serious and can't be ignored, no matter how minor they may look and how much you love the house you're trying to buy. Even if you're willing to overlook them, your lender won't be quite so accommodating.Is it OK to buy a house with foundation problems? ›
Yes, in most cases it's safe to live in a house with foundation issues. Foundation problems are generally not a sign that the house is in danger of collapsing. Instead, they're a concern because foundation issues can cause side effects like mold, or they can hurt the home's value when you try to sell in future.Is foundation damage a deal breaker? ›
Foundation issues are a huge undertaking to repair, and our experts agree it tops the list of home-buying deal breakers—especially if you're a first-time buyer without the extensive funds needed for a lengthy and costly repair.Will people buy a house with foundation issues? ›
The Bottom Line: Your Lender Won't Ignore Foundation Issues, And Neither Should You. Foundation issues are serious and can't be ignored, no matter how minor they may look and how much you love the house you're trying to buy. Even if you're willing to overlook them, your lender won't be quite so accommodating.Can a house collapse from foundation issues? ›
Yes, serious foundation issues do put your home's stability at risk. This is why, if a foundation wall collapses, you need a structural engineer or a highly qualified contractor to assess the damage.