The very phrase “foundation damage” strikes fear into the hearts of homeowners and professional renovators alike. Serious foundation issues can leave lasting scars, cost tens of thousands of dollars in repairs, and even threaten the stability of a property. So, when it comes down to a property sale, it’s safe to say that finding foundation issues in the middle of the process is less than ideal.
Recognizing Foundation Damage
The one thing that can be said of all foundation problems is that they are the easiest and cheapest to repair when they are found early. This is why you should learn the signs of foundation damage and why you should seek help as soon as you recognize these signs; it will never be easier to fix the problem than it is when you first see it.
The most common signs of foundation damage are:
- Bowing or leaning walls
- Spreading cracks in your basement
- Sticking windows and doors
- Uneven floors
- Foundation heave
- Tilting chimney
- Foundation settlement
These symptoms of damage can be accompanied by dampness, mold formation, leaks, and even pest infestation, all of which can cause issues of their own. If you find that a property you are trying to sell has foundation problems, you have two choices: undertake repairs or sell the property as-is. If you intend to sell as-is, you must disclose this information to potential buyers.
The Pros of Selling a Property with a Faulty Foundation
The pros of selling a damaged property are few but distinct. The most obvious is that you will not have to undertake repairs by yourself. This will save you money, time, and stress, which is preferable for many, especially if you are not in the business of renovating homes. Those who, for example, are trying to sell an inherited home, those who lack the time to undertake repairs, and those who need the money from a sale quickly may choose to sell the property without repairing it. In short, the pros of selling a damaged property are:
The Cons of Selling a Property with a Faulty Foundation
The drawbacks of selling a property with a faulty foundation are more numerous. The most obvious is that it will reduce the value of the property quite substantially. Secondly, it can make buyers harder to find and delay the process. If you are willing to negotiate with buyers, however, and the house is otherwise attractive it is definitely possible to sell a property in need of foundation repairs. So, to sum it up, the cons of selling a property with foundation damage are:
- Lowered property value
- Smaller pool of potential buyers
How Can I Sell a Property with a Damaged Foundation?
If you are determined to sell your property without repairs, there are a few things you can do to make it more attractive to the kinds of buyers that are willing to take on badly damaged properties. First and foremost, you should adjust your expectations and asking price, even if this means simply making it clear that you are open to negotiation. In an ideal world, a buyer would be happy to buy your property as-is, but realistically, they will want to account for the money you are saving by passing the repairs to them in their buying price.
If you want to sell successfully, you should take these three steps:
1. Have the Property Fully Inspected
Organize a formal, professional inspection of your property and its foundation. What you need is a report which details the damage to your property and estimates of repair costs as of the time of inspection.
2. Disclose Findings to Your Agents (or Buyer)
Turn over a copy of your inspection report, or its details, to your real estate agent or to potential buyers you are in contact with personally. This disclosure is required by law but also ensures that you will be on the same page when it comes to negotiation.
3. Negotiate Cleverly
While you should expect to see your property value lowered, you should still prepare yourself to negotiate. Talk to your real estate agent to get an idea of a reasonable price for a property in the same condition as yours and decide how low you are willing and able to go.
These three steps will make it more likely that you will sell your property successfully and for an acceptable price.