Whether the reason for selling your house is because of a concern with your foundation or you were hoping to relocate and noticed the issues while getting your home prepared to list — suspecting there is something wrong with your home’s foundation is a very uneasy feeling.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for Texas homes to be affected by foundation issues, so just know you’re not alone here.
But what should you do in this particular situation? Fixing a foundation can be very costly, and it’s not likely you’ll see a return on your investment because this is a necessary repair that just maintains the value of your home.
However, if you don’t fix the problem, as soon as prospective buyers hear the words “foundation damage,” they start seeing red flags- which ultimately makes selling a house in this condition nearly impossible. Emphasis on the word “nearly”…we’ll explain more about that later on.
The good news is you came to the right place to find some answers. Below we’ll determine what constitutes a foundation problem, the Texas laws regarding selling a house with foundation issues, figure out if the problems are worth fixing, and share helpful tips for selling a home with a foundation problem in TX. So let’s get started!
What Constitutes a Foundation Problem in Texas?
Or in other words, what causes foundation problems in the first place? Well in the great state of Texas; there are several causes of foundation problems. Below are the five most common causes of foundation issues in Texas you’ll want to look out for:
- Soil and Climate Problems
The soil and climate in Texas are significant contributors to foundation problems. Unfortunately, there is a lot of clay in the soil, which is the worst type of soil to build a home’s foundation on. So what ends up happening is when it’s very dry, it shrinks, and when it’s wet, it swells. Ultimately this drastic change creates pressure against the foundation, which leads to foundation movement.
- Poor Soil Compaction
Besides the type of soil your house is built on, the earth needs to be adequately prepared before the foundation is laid. If the ground is soft, low in density, or improperly compacted beneath the structure, it can cause serious problems. It can lead to the foundation sinking under the load-bearing weight of the structure.
- Leaks from Plumbing Fixtures
Sometimes leaks can go unnoticed for weeks or months. For example, many homes in DFW, Houston, and Wichita Falls have cracked concrete slab foundations due to an unknown leak. Therefore, it’s important to periodically check for leaks from plumbing fixtures, pipes, and fittings to prevent expensive foundation issues.
- Lack of a Proper Foundation Drainage System
One of the leading causes of foundation failure is improper drainage. Having poor drainage can leave your home vulnerable to several severe safety, health, and financial concerns. In addition, slab foundation can be greatly affected by moisture. Flooding is a more severe issue which Texas definitely experiences from time to time. Some problems caused by too much water include:
- Dangerous loss of foundation stability
- Cracks in interior walls and exterior surfaces
- Sticking doors and windows
- Discoloration and premature aging of concrete and exterior brick
- Damage to landscaping and soil erosion
- Large Tree Roots
A properties foundation can also be affected by large tree roots. Roots of certain trees can creep under your home and damage your slab or even lift your foundation. Therefore it is important to select trees that don’t have any invasive roots. Trees are known to cause foundation issues because of their shallow root systems. Below is a list of trees known to cause issues with your foundation if planted too close to your home.
- Oak trees
- Poplar trees
- Ash tree
- Black locust
- Norway and Silver maples
- Tulip tree
- Evergreen species: Brewer’s weeping spruce, Crimean pine, loblolly pine, Norway spruce, and Swiss stone pine.
How to Spot a Foundation Issue
Now that you understand what can cause foundation problems, you’re probably wondering how you can spot them? Here are the most common signs that something could be going on with your foundation:
- Foundation settling or sinking – If your house appears to be sinking or having settlement issues, have it checked out.
- Foundation cracks, wall/floor cracks, and other types of fractures – If you notice gaps in your foundation or your home’s brick exterior, it may indicate that you have a foundation issue. Floor cracks, wall fissures, cracks in bricks, and a broken chimney can all mean trouble.
- Doors that stick or don’t open and close properly – If you notice your doors stick often, that’s an indication there is some sort of foundation problem. When interior doors are affected, they tend to drag or stick at the top. Exterior doors with foundation issues are more likely to drag at the threshold or hang down at the top and appear uneven.
- Foundation upheaval – If your slab foundation has moved in an upward direction, that means it’s experiencing a foundation upheaval. Basically, it’s the opposite of foundation settling. Upheaval generally affects the perimeter area of a concrete slab foundation, but it can impact your home’s interior, including doorways, hallways, and other areas. Exterior garage walls are almost always pushed upwards too.
- Sagging or uneven flooring – If you start noticing that your floors are not level or appear to be sagging, bowing, or dipping, that could indicate trouble.
- Gaps around window frames or exterior doors – Homeowners often notice gaps around their outer window frames, as well as spaces around their exterior doors. They may even become aware that their doors no longer latch. Unfortunately, this is yet another sign there could be a problem that might be affecting the foundation.
- A damp crawl space in a pier and beam house – Heavy moisture in the crawl space can signify that the foundation has problems or will soon be developing them.
- Counters and cabinets separating from the wall – If you notice that your kitchen cabinets or countertops seem to be tilting and pulling away from the wall, this can be cause for concern. Even if at first it appears that they’ve only moved a tiny bit the gap may continue to grow. And before long, your cabinets or countertops appear to be 1/2” or more away from the wall. At that point, you’ve got major issues.
Before jumping to any conclusions, if you observe any unusual things happening, make sure you investigate further. The first thing to do is to contact a qualified foundation repair contractor and hire them to perform a thorough inspection of your home. It wouldn’t hurt to get several opinions because these evaluations are generally free. In many cases, homeowners discover that they have absolutely nothing to worry about. If you do have an issue at least you got several professional opinions and estimates to choose from.
Texas Laws on Selling a House with Foundation Problems
So what happens if you do have a foundation problem and you try to sell your house? Besides buyers being leery of purchasing a house with a known foundation issue, there are also legal obligations to disclose such a problem. So if you were hoping that you could get out of disclosing this information, legally you cannot.
Texas Property Code requires sellers of residential real estate to provide buyers with very specific “Seller’s Disclosures” before closing. Usually, it contains verbiage like “this disclosure provides the seller’s knowledge of the condition of the property as of the date signed by the seller and isn’t to be used in substitute to any inspections or warranties that the buyer wishes to obtain.” So the seller is obligated to disclose defects and conditions that are known.
Specifically, one of the sections in the disclosure asks if the seller is aware of any defects or malfunctioning concerning the major housing components such as the walls, roof, plumbing, foundation, ceilings, and electrical systems.
These disclosures are good in theory especially if you’re a buyer, but for a seller, it can create an obvious dilemma when trying to sell a home. Morally and ethically disclosing the issue is the right thing to do but that does leave you at risk for the sale price to be less or even lose out on the sale entirely.
However, you do have the option to sell your house as-is, which lets buyers know what you see is what you get, or in other words, buyer beware. To buy property in as-is condition, an agreement is made to accept the risk that a property may have undisclosed or undiscovered defects or damage at the time of the sale. But you may be wondering what buyer out there would be willing to take on this risk?
Companies that buy houses in Arlington, Houston, Dallas, or other cities in Texas would be able to. Unlike traditional buyers that usually need a loan to purchase a home, “We buy houses Texas” companies have the cash on hand to buy a property. These companies also buy houses in as-is condition, so the foundation issue wouldn’t be a huge concern.
If you prefer to sell the traditional way, just keep in mind even if you were able to find a buyer willing to purchase a house with foundation damage, the lender may not loan them the money to close. They will likely see the home as a risky investment and may not finance the loan.
So what should you do? Fix the foundation issue or try to sell as-is to one of the cash home buyers in Fort Worth or another Texas city? Let’s find out…
Should You Fix the Foundation Issue?
So should you fix the foundation issue? Well, that’s entirely up to you. Two things to keep in mind, however, when making your decision is time and money.
The Average Time it Takes to Fix a Foundation
The average time it takes to fix a foundation issue can range from 1-3 days, but that doesn’t include fixing other interior and exterior issues caused by the foundation problem. Repair time can also be increased if the work requires digging. If your home needs piers, it can take several days (up to a week) to complete. Another variable is if the crew is even available, they may be booked out for a few weeks. If you need to sell your house fast, this can delay listing your home right away.
The Average Cost to Fix a Foundation
The reason why buyers steer away from purchasing a house with a foundation problem is because of the cost involved in fixing it. The average foundation repair costs in Dallas, Fort Worth generally range between $3,500-$7,500, although some foundations cost over $15,000 to fix, depending upon the amount of foundation damage they have. And that’s solely addressing the foundation repair; you’ll need to budget for other repairs around the house caused by the foundation issue too.
If you determine that you don’t have enough time or the financial resources to fix the foundation problem, you may want to consider selling your house as-is instead.
Tips for Selling a House with Foundation Problems TX
Selling a house, in general, isn’t easy; add the fact that your home has a foundation problem; well, you definitely have your work cut for you. The best thing to do is to decide how you want to move forward. If you have the time and money to fix the foundation issue, it would help your home sale. However, if you prefer not to deal with the hassle and extra expense, you can list the house as-is with the foundation issue. Both options have their pros and cons; you’ll just need to figure which one best fits your goals for your home sale.
Fix the Foundation Issue
If fixing the foundation issues is the route you’d like to take, you’ll want to contact several qualified foundation repair contractors to get estimates. That way, you can compare quotes and see if they agree with what is wrong with the foundation and their solution to fix it. Make sure whoever you choose is licensed, insured, and ideally, BBB accredited. Also, read their reviews to make sure they provide a positive customer service experience. Lastly, after the work is done, make sure to get a certification or documentation stating that the foundation was repaired and sound again. From there, you should be ready to go and put your house on the market.
List the House As Is with the Foundation Issue
If dealing with the foundation issue sounds too stressful, or you believe it will just open a can of worms to other problems your home has, you can always list your house as-is. Just remember your pool of potential buyers will be small, and it will likely be a hard sell if you were to sell to a traditional buyer. Ideally, you’ll want to find a cash home buyer that’s not obligated to bank financing, inspections, and contingencies.
Consider a Cash Home Buyer
Given your selling situation, selling to a cash home buyer could be extremely beneficial. Four 19 Properties is one such cash home buyer who buys properties in as-is condition, even with foundation problems.
They also don’t require your home to be updated or have any other repairs done to it before selling it to them.
You wouldn’t even have to list your home or hire a listing agent to sell it. All you would do is contact Four 19 Properties and request a cash offer for your home; they’ll present you with a no-obligation offer within 24-hours, which doesn’t include expensive agent commissions.
Once you agree to the offer, you can decide to close in as little as 7-days or longer, whichever works best for your schedule. They’ve made the entire process of selling your house for cash so simple and hassle-free.
So if this is how you’d prefer to sell your house, contact Four 19 Properties today. They’d be happy to answer any questions you may have or explain how it works.
If you suspect something is wrong with your foundation, start by getting it checked to verify if there is an issue or not. If you do indeed have a problem, it’s good to know you have several ways to handle the situation, including selling your house as-is and avoiding the hassle of fixing your foundation. Or if you prefer to repair the problem, you can always do that too. Ultimately choose the option that best fits your goals and expectations when selling your house with a foundation issue.