Structural things to look for when Buying a House

Structural things to look for when Buying a House

Buying a home is both extremely exciting and incredibly stressful. You want to find a place that suits you and your family’s needs and is also in excellent condition. One of the biggest concerns is that the property you buy is structurally sound, and this often starts with the home’s foundation. Don’t forget these tips about how to spot potential foundation issues when looking at homes with your real estate agent.

Watch for these warning signs

When viewing houses, make sure to keep an eye out for the following signs of foundation problems. Pay extra attention if you’re looking at homes built more than a decade ago or in an area with clay soil, which is known for damaged foundations.

What to look for on the outside of the home’s foundation:

• Horizontal cracks in the foundation itself

• Stair-step cracking in exterior bricks

• A chimney that leans away from the house

• Gaps above windows and doors or around the garage door

• Sunken porches or stairs


What to look for on the inside of the home’s foundation:

• Cracks in the drywall

• Misaligned windows or doors that are hard to open and close

• Sloping floors or cracked tiles

• Cracks in the ceiling

• Any separation between walls and the ceiling

• Moisture in crawl spaces or the basement


What should I do if I see these warning signs?

Many buyers want to run for the hills when they think a home’s foundation isn’t structurally sound, but you don’t need to immediately rule out a house if you believe it has foundation problems. Take a deep breath and investigate the issues—the more you know, the better decisions you can make. Keep in mind that some situations will only require minor repairs, while others can be quite complex.

Start here to weigh the pros and cons:

• Ask the seller if they’ve had foundation repair work or an inspection done. In most cases, sellers are required by law to disclose foundation issues.

• A routine home inspection may not be enough, so have a professional local Des Moines foundation company assess the home.

• Research the potential cost of repairs to help you determine a fair price

• Find out if the issues will affect your financing. Often, houses with unresolved foundation problems can only be purchased with cash or a special type of mortgage.


What if a home I’d like to buy has had the foundation repaired?

Many buyers would look at this as a positive, especially if the repairs were done by a reputable contractor who offers a warranty. The best foundation repair companies offer a lifetime warranty that is transferable when the home sells. Just be sure that all the proper permits were pulled at the time of the repair and that there hasn’t been any trouble since. If the foundation has been stabilized, any remaining cosmetic issues can be resolved easily and quickly.

What if I’d like to make an offer but don’t want to end up with a nightmare on my hands?

Make sure your offer is written up with contingencies that protect you if things turn out differently than expected. A contingency will make your offer dependent on specific conditions, such as inspections or repairs. Discuss your options with your real estate agent.

Should I ask the seller to fix the foundation as part of the sale?

You can ask the seller to make the repairs, but it’s common for them to reduce the price of the home and sell it “as is.” If you aren’t up for making the repairs yourself, you may need to look for a different house. Additionally, some buyers worry that if the seller is held responsible, they will choose the most affordable option, not the most thorough option.


What can you do?

If you find yourself needing a professional waterproofing company, you can call BAM at 515-963-0226 or complete our online form. If you live in Des Moines or the surrounding area, contact BAM Basements and Masons for a free estimate. One of our experienced sales team advisors will evaluate your foundation condition. Once your sales team advisor has determined the causes and issues, they’ll review their findings and recommended options with you. As a team, you will decide on the ideal whole-home solution that is right for you to keep your home strong and healthy for years to come.


BAM Basements and Masons of Des Moines is your premier foundation repair company serving the Des Moines, Iowa area. If you’re located in Des Moines, Ankeny, Bondurant, Altoona, Pleasant hill, Ames, Boone, Adel, Waukee, Indianola, Grimes, Urbandale, Johnston, West Des Moines, or the surrounding areas, we’re the place to call. We can help you avoid costly and stressful foundation repair mistakes, by giving you a customized solution that’s going to work for you and your home long term. BAM Basements and Masons of Des Moines is a professional and locally owned and operated state registered contractor. We offer affordable honest upfront pricing, no hidden costs, offer free estimates and limited lifetime warranties. We use new methods and materials on all jobs. We would love to help!

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