Buying a house with foundation issues – anyone have experience?

posted 2 years ago in Home
Post # 2
1102 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I wouldn’t buy a house with foundation issues, foundation is everything and not to be a total downer but that high feeling you get when you find “the one” will wear away and once it does you don’t want to be left with a money pit. Buying a house is a huge deal, you need to really think with both your heart and your head.  good luck!

Post # 3
4140 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013


Post # 5
5800 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Every experience us unique. Depending on where and how the repairs are made, the house may settle unevenly. That could mean shifting, cracks in the walls and further foundation repairs a few years down the road, most likely when it’s way too late to go back to the seller and ask for more repairs (like 5-15 years). That could be more likely if you’re in an area with unstable ground, like certain parts of Louisiana, Florida, anywhere on/near a fault line, or anywhere on reclaimed land. If there’s even moderate earthquake activity, you may be at higher risk. If you’re in an area where cracking is possible in the future, even 25-50 miles away, your risk of earthquake goes way up (these are usually the small tremors that only animals notice, but take a toll on a house). I’d be most worried that the post-repair settling will lead to cracks in brick or pavement that helps water damage start setting in.

Or, it may be a-ok and you’ve just gotten a great deal!

where is the house, that foundation damage is so prevalent?

Do you know an unbiased home inspector, structural engineer, home builder or architect who you could ask for advice?

Post # 6
556 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

accorn:  I don’t know much about foundations honestly. However, my husband used to for a foundation repair company and it was really interesting how they fixed them. He told me all about it. They basically put piers all around the foundation and jacked up the house with a bottle jack until it was level. All the cracks and everything closed. As long as the owner is willing to pay for the repairs, and their is no underlying issue (like continuous settling), that may cause future issues, I woundn’t think it should be a dealbreaker.

Post # 8
12 posts
  • Wedding: March 2012

I’m in a similar situation! First time homebuyer in Texas. Under contract (option period) on a house that was recently flipped. Main issue is the foundation. There are a few piers with gaps above them, and quite a few places have wood rot on the sill plates. We are having a foundation specialist come Monday to give us an estimate, and we are unsure if the seller is going to work with us on this. I would say you should get the house you are looking at- I don’t think all sellers would be this willing to agree to repair everything! I hope our seller will agree to the repairs!

Did your foundation report say if the drainage in your yard is part of the problem? Might be worth checking into and getting the drainage fixed also.

Post # 9
240 posts
Helper bee

All the nice historical homes in our area have foundation issues at well. Most of the time it’s very manageable. It can be expensive, but usually, one lump sum should take care of the problem for many, many years. However, it has to be maintained and managed, like everything else with a house.



Post # 10
4879 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

I would’t be surprised if your lender had issues with making a loan on a house with foundation problems.

Post # 11
254 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012 - Motor museum

I know your not asking this but I am going to say it. I wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot barge pole. 

Post # 12
5883 posts
Bee Keeper

I sold my Father’s house last year after having a realtor come out and look at it and giving me his best guesstimate on how much it might cost and how involved the foundation issues might be. The house was a ranch style with full basement, and every wall had both vertical and horizontal cracking, which we’d attempted to maintain with surface repairs over many years. My Dad didn’t want to spend the money to fix it, but once we had to sell it, those problems became mine. The agent said if I called the city inspectors in before repair,they would likely condemn the house.

After doing my homework about possible solutions to extensive damage like this, I had 2 basement repair companies come in and finally a structural engineer. The engineering solution was the most extensive (and expensive) but it had to be done. Estimated cost was approximately $30,000.

We sold the house to a house flipper/realtor/contractor for well under market value and the repairs were done by them. Since my Dad was in long term care and we needed the money for his ongoing expenses, we couldn’t afford to have it fixed and wait for it to sell.

You would never know by looking at the basement walls that there was such extensive cracking issues. None of the walls or floors had any  buckling or cracking either and after all inspections were done, the house sold in less than 2 months.

In our case, most of the damage to the walls was caused by a concrete patio and driveway that was poured touching the exterior foundation along the back and side, and were also pitched towards the house. Over time, the puddling water and shifting concrete put too much pressure on the walls, causing them to crack. Before addressing the walls themselves, both the patio running the length of the house as well as the driveway were broken up and taken out to remove that pressure. We were told it wasn’t worth fixing the foundation unless the exterior problems were remediated first, and all remaining landscaping was removed and redone after being built up and pitched away from the house.

As long as you know exactly what and how this work will be done and are aware there may be more things they find as they go along with repairs, only you can decide if you’re willing to risk it. Best of luck with your decision!


Post # 13
643 posts
Busy bee

keranos:  +1. I’d sooner spend more on a newer house than buy someone else’s problems. It sounds like OP has already made up her mind though and wants validation from others who have made similar decisions. 

Post # 14
3828 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Nooo. My husband is a tradesmen and we have an old house but the foundation is solid. We had friends who discovered a foundation issue bit by bit after they bought the place. DH said drywall over it and sell Again. Honestly you don’t want those issues. For this couple 8 grand to patch, 30 grand to actually fix it. I don’t know why 95% of the houses have foundation issues, but I would save an build a new one in that circumstance. 

Post # 15
3806 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

accorn:  *putting on my civil engineering hat*<br /><br />

good news -economically, sounds like a good deal because the owners are paying for all of the repairs.

bad news – you will have problems in the future. once the new foundation settles, and the ground shifts over the years, you will end up with cracks in your walls and perhaps in other surfaces. personally, i wouldn’t buy the house. i think the damage may extend beyond aesthetics and may even affect your plumbing. you never know how long you will live in that house (in case you were planning to move out in a set number of years. plans change) and you don’t want it to turn into a money pit. sorry.

walk away.

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