Ok so maybe the picture above is a bit dramatic, but here in North Texas, we do face foundation issues when dealing with the buying and selling of houses.
Almost every house that I have ever gone into shows some signs of the foundation settling. Examples of this would be cracked tiles, sheet-rock seams separating, doors slowly closing on their own, etc… And then some houses show real apparent signs of foundation issues. Examples of this are large gaps in the brick or garage flooring, horizontal cracks in sheet-rock, large expansion joints, etc… Often times your opinion of the severity can be based upon to your perspective, sensitivity or knowledge of foundations.
What I mean by this, is that say you are a first time home buyer. Usually large mechanical deficiencies will cause the hairs on your neck to raise that make you want to want to run for the door! Now say that a buyer has bought and sold 10 homes here in North Texas (or say that they are a Realtor like me and have seen hundreds of homes). That buyer will likely be more comfortable with the signs of the foundation settling at the home that they are considering buying.
Now back to the first time home buyer… what if they have a good friend or family member who works at or owns a foundation repair company. Likely then, they will be more comfortable moving forward with a purchase, based upon that friend or family members opinion. Not to mention they might get a financial break for any future repairs that need to be made. But what if the buyer had lost his home to a shifting foundation sliding right into the creek! Ya… that buyer might be a bit more sensitive to some “minor” settling. So as you can see, it is very subjective at best.
A friend of mine had a house listed for sale. After only 30 days on the market, an offer came in and the contract was signed buy the buyer and seller. After the inspection was complete, the listing agent received a Repair Amendment in her inbox asking for $17,000 in lieu of repairs. $17,000!!! The buyer and their inspector felt that the foundation was in need of major repair, hence the $17k (I guess so!). The seller was not interested in offering up an additional $17,000 off of his already agreed upon sales price and thus the contract terminated. Upon the contract terminating, the buyers agent got real feisty with the listing agent (to try to convince the seller to cough up the $17k) and promised that this issue would HAVE to be fixed before any buyer who was financing a loan would be able to purchase this house (due to the fact that lenders want the foundation to be solid for their investment). The buyers agent GUARANTEED it! The listing agent and the seller disagreed and so they went about finding a new buyer.
One week later the house was once again under contract (for more money than the first offer!), the inspection came and went and there was no mention of any foundation concerns from the buyer or his inspector. This buyer was also financing his loan and as you might guess, we had no problems there too and the deal closed 30 days later.
Point to the story, yes foundations are something to take a close look at to be sure that they are in good working condition, but be aware that one persons opinion of its condition may differ greatly from another’s. It’s all subjective my friends!
Kevin Rhodes with Keller Williams Dallas/Fort Worth
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