August 17, 2006,
C.W. asks from Dallas, TX on August 15, 2006
Buy a House That Needs Foundation Repair?? Need Advice!
We have a contract on a 10 yr old house in Frisco, and the structural engineer has determined that it needs minor foundation repair that the seller is going to pay for. I haven't read the full report yet, but I'm from Missouri originally and we don't have foundation issues like Texas does. My realtor keeps reassuring me that this is a normal thing and that a lot of houses have this problem. We have until 5pm tomorrow (Wed. 8/16) to back out of the contract with buyer's remorse. This is our first house and we are really confused about whether to buy this house or move on and start the search again (I've looked at over 30 houses). We are typical working middle-class folks that can't afford a money pit. I'm looking for advice on resale value of a home that has foundation repair. Does anyone own a home that has had foundation repair? Do you feel it hasn't ruined the value of the home or caused any other damage? What would you do?
So What Happened?™
Thank you for all your comments! The best part about this website is just needing to air out a huge worry to many other ears instead of repeating it 1000 times to my husband! haha! Anyway, we decided to go ahead with the purchase of the house. After doing A LOT of research, we determined that resale value would be fine and we could live with what may happen in the future. The seller is paying for all the repair and it is being done by a reputable company. Bottom line, the house is in a great neighborhood, and its not like they're going to condemn the house and bulldoze it - someone was going to buy that house, might as well be us. And someone will buy it from us in 5 or 6 years when we upgrade to a bigger house. So thanks so much for all your input! We're homeowners!
A. answers from Dallas on August 15, 2006
One of my neighbor paid $20.000 for foundation repair on his house that is a little older than 10 years. If you really like the house and you can afford the repair, go ahead with closing, otherwise, start your search allover.
T.D. answers from Dallas on August 16, 2006
I do not think this is a common issue in Texas. I would get away from that as quickly as possible.
I have lived in Texas all my life and owned two houses, personally. The only house that I have experience with that had foundation issues was not disclosed at closing and my dad was able to get out of the contract. We lived in the house for a month with the foundation issues and it was really obvious. Windows would crack before your eyes and the pool would lose several inches a day.
I would go with your second choice.
S.H. answers from Dallas on August 16, 2006
I would say DON'T DO IT!! It can be a real money pit. A police officer in my neighborhood just spend $30,000 to repair their foundation and it still has problems. The problem started because they didn't take heed to the warning that you MUST water your foundation. Having a home costly enough with all the unexpected expenses, but knowing that you may be spending tens of thousands of dollars on the one problem you want to avoid would be really frightening to me.
We moved here one year ago and purchased a wonderful home. I never expected to have $500 electric bills, but as the temperature climbs and the electric rates soar, the average of $200 in the summer for electric bills soon soared to $500 with no additional use. That's just one of the unexpected costs we've experienced. Although now we are about to put our house on the market and sell it, and I'm moving to Ohio, I can't imagine trying to sell our home if it had foundation problems.
I wish you well!! Best Wishes.
M. answers from Dallas on August 15, 2006
I can tell you from experience that you will be ok buying the house if you negotiate the cost in fixing it into the purchase price. If you can get an allowance of at least 75% of the cost to fix the foundation, and you will fix it, then purchase the house. Now that there is an engineer's report of a foundation issue, the sellers will be legally obligated to present the findings to any potential buyers if you back out. The fact that if they don't get you the allowance and let you walk away...that maybe everyone else will be scared off by it and the house will sit for awhile may lure the sellers into giving you what you want. Get the money, or don't buy it. As far as reselling a home that has had the foundation repaired, you won't have a problem. Especially in a sought after area right now in Frisco. But really anywhere...as long as there is a warranty on work and the work is done well, anyone will buy the house later. Hope this helps a bit and keep me posted on how it goes!
T.T. answers from Dallas on August 16, 2006
I would advise against this. If you like the house, simply have them put it in the contract that they will make the foundation repairs with a company that gives a "transferrable" warranty. You will surely be responsible for several thousand $ and will unlikely find another buyer for this house with out repairing it. I would also be weary of the realtor who said it was not that big of a deal and didn't advise you to have the seller repair it. I assume he/she is the realtor for both you and the seller?
K.M. answers from Dallas on August 15, 2006
Basically in Texas....if you don't have foundation work, you will! Texas has expansive soils that will and many, many times do cause these problems.I am a native Texan, and this is very typical. If it is only minor and the seller is willing to pay for this, and have the work done before you take posession of the home providing you with a lifetime transferrable warranty by a reputable company, then if you love the home, you should definitely do it! I am a realtor, and I personally live in a home that has had foundation work....with a lifetime warranty,and while you do have to disclose it should you decide to sell...I have yet to see a buyer(interested party) back out because a home has had foundation repair. Having the work already done is usually a plus. You will just need to take care in watering/soaker hoses etc.... as any homeowner with our without foundation repair should do.
Best of Luck to you
M.R. answers from Dallas on August 15, 2006
I'm with the other moms. In fact,few days ago, I was talking with a man who purchased his home with fundation problems, was told it would cost him $7000, after all was done it came to $17000. That's not counting all the other cosmetic jobs after fundation(cracks on walls, ceilings, etc.).Good thing about his situation is, he bought the house well below the market value. It is one of the biggest investment of your life, so keep on serching.Good luck.
L.K. answers from Dallas on August 15, 2006
I personally would not be comfortable buying a home that needed foundation repair, especially one that was only ten years old. There's no way to know ahead of time exactly how much it will cost to get it fixed, and I'd worry that we'd end up spending way more money on the house than we ever intended to. Not to mention just the hassle of getting it done. I guess it would just depend on how much you loved the house, and how sure you were that you could get it fixed for an amount you were willing to pay. Good luck!
B.D. answers from Dallas on August 16, 2006
Hi- find out how many piers are involved with the repair the higher the number the worse it is. Minimal damage is common in Texas- but to be honest I would not buy a house with foundation damage especially if this is the first note of it- because it could be the beginning of a problem. If the home is only 10 years old then they still should have a builder warranty on the foundation and I would NOT pay for any of it- the problem for you is if this is the first and only problem then reselling it with a minor foundation repair is not an issue but if you have another issue with it down the road then it makes resale hard- (trust me we have have bought and sold 6 houses in the last 7 years) Talk to the neighbors and see if anyone else has had foundation issues in that area- go door to door and knock if you ahve to and if they only want to give you until 5 pm tonight to decide then let it go. How long has the house been on the market and now that you have discovered the foundation issue if the house goes back on the market they have to fix it and disclose it- people will pass by the house because of it. I personally think that although the problem is common in texas doesnt mean it has to be your problem and with being your first home- definitely not worth the hassel. Best to you.
A. answers from Dallas on August 15, 2006
Cogratulations first of all, buying your first home is a great achievement!! I have to say I dont know lots about this tyoe of problem, but I do know that my parents just bought a home that the seller had to do foudation repairs on, and the company that did it gave them a lifetime transferable warranty. I dont know if that is standard, but if I were purchasing a home that I knew had foudation problems, but aslo had a warranty to cover it, I would not be as concerned. I will say to go with your gut!! I didnt do that once, and we are still paying for the mistake. Even if you think you love the house, if you feel reservations, I am sure you can find something else. If however your gut tells you to buy the place, but your logic is questioning, just make sure that you have totally protected yourself first. It could be the best house you ever buy! Good Luck!!!!
A.A. answers from Dallas on August 15, 2006
thanks for letting me know about the soaker hose locations on my other message.....
as far as buying a home with problems already, I would back out. Even repaired you will have to disclose it when you put the house for sale. A house is to big of a purchase to have regrets after the fact.
J.O. answers from Dallas on August 16, 2006
I am currently in a home that just had foundation repair. It is quite normal in older homes in Texas becuase the heat/ drought cause the foundation to shift and crack. Make sure you have a reputable company doing the work and that the cracks in the walls on the inside will be repaired also (in addition to the door jams being adjusted if necessary). It is quite expensive, so the fact that the homeowners are willing to pay for it, is a good thing. If you like the house and area, I would not worry about the repairs. It should only improve your resale value. Good luck!
D.W. answers from Dallas on August 16, 2006
Foundation problems are very common here in Texas. However, you should negotiate that the seller fix the problem, not give you an allowance to fix it yourselves. That way if it cost more than the estimate, you aren't out of pocket. Also have the seller pay the cost for the structural engineer to evaluate it again. Also, most quality foundation repair companies will guarentee the no further problems for 10-15 years. So you know you won't have any problems. If you like the house and can negotiate all of the terms you want I would go for it.
M.A. answers from Dallas on August 16, 2006
if you want my advice I would not but that house. The realitor does not care about the house just the money. When the foundation is messed up it affects the plumming, the doors will not close right including the cabinets, the roof could be out of place and so so so so many other things could go wrong. The are probably selling the house for a very good price right. There is always a reason for that. Houses might have problems but the foundation is what holds that house. It would be different if it was just pluming or a something small. My sister in law went through the same thing but she cant turn back in time or she would!!!!!!!!!!!
P.O. answers from Dallas on August 15, 2006
If you are just concerned about resale, then I would say that if you repair the foundation, it would not have much effect on the resale value. Many (many, many) houses around here have foundation problems over time and the difference in the value usually comes from whether or not the owner addresses the problem in a timely manner or allows it go unattended to the point that it causes severe issues with house or would be cost-prohibitive to repair. Unfortunately, your agent is correct that more houses than not have issues around here, so most people expect to read a report regarding the issues with a foundation and are mostly looking to see that the proper repairs were done.
Haveing said that, the thing that flagged me was that you said the structural engineer said it would need minor to moderate repair. Did he say what kind of repairs he thought it needed? Does he explain what he feels is "moderate"? I mean, to some that would be $2k worth of work to others it might be closer to $10k. I would find that out. Also, be aware that if the repairs are too significant, you might be looking at other repairs being necessary (some foundation repairs can damage pipes or sewer lines that would then need to be fixed, or it might cause cosmetic damage to walls, windows, etc).
Having just recently purchased a home (and looking and looking and looking), I know it can be a tiring, frustrating experience, but if you have misgivings, be sure to get the information that will either clear them up or help you decide to move on. A little more time looking could save you headaches in the end.
Best of luck!
N.B. answers from Dallas on August 15, 2006
The SELLER should be the responsible party for the foundation repair. Once the repair is made, the home would be as good as new in that area and should not be a recurring problem.
If YOU are out-of-pocket for the repair for any reason, I would urge you to reconsider. It can be very costly.
N.S. answers from Dallas on August 17, 2006
I agree with Calandra. We recently bought our first home and like you, looked at around 30 or 40 before we bought the one we're in. If the price is right and the seller is paying for everything I wouldn't not buy the house. What you really want to do your homework on is the company doing the repairs. A lifetime transferable warranty doesn't do very much good if the company goes out of business so check with the local BBB to see about complaints and find out the history of whatever company is doing the work to find out their reputation and how long they've been in business. I've lived in Texas all my life and unless the house is built on rock or has piers down to the bedrock before the foundation is laid you will have some foundation issues. The house we bought is 6 years old and is getting hairline cracks in the vaulted ceilings. I don't know if the previous owner had a soaker hose around the foundation, but I'm doubting it. That's just something I would expect. Good luck! I know how exciting and stressful what you're going through is.
M.F. answers from Dallas on August 15, 2006
The seller should fix the problem before you sign -- it should be in the contract. And they should fix problems that arise because of repairing the foundation (plumbing and electrical issues could come up when the foundtion shifts and is re-shifted).
Foundation repair could cost anywhere from $2000 to $20,000. You don't want that headache.
Run away, and fire your realtor.
S.V. answers from Dallas on August 16, 2006