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The Challenges of Selling a Home with Foundation Issues

In Residential Blog Posts by John Topa

Selling a home in Florida with foundation issues can be a challenge, and it can impact the listed selling price. There’s nothing that will derail a home for sale faster than an inspection that unearths a foundation problem. In most cases, the homeowner has no idea that a problem even existed. Unlike obvious signs of a leaking roof, engineering and structural signs of concrete damage can easily go unnoticed.

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Foundation issues in Florida, generally don’t happen overnight. They usually develop over time, and by the time you notice uneven floors, doors that don’t shut right, and cracks in your foundation, it usually is too late. Although the concept of fixing a foundation may seem mundane, the repairs can cost Florida homeowners thousands of dollars. Although your home may be livable, for prospective buyers, this can be a nightmare once they discover how much money it will cost to repair the problem.

What Causes Foundation Failure in Florida

The weather and Florida’s robust supply of Myakka sand and clay-based soil has a lot to do with foundation failure. Florida experiences a lot of tropical storms and heavy downpours with hot and humid summers. The clay-based soil in Florida drains water slowly after a storm; therefore, in some cases, water can slowly eat away at the concrete, and it can also increase soil erosion or expand a sinkhole under the house.

External Challenges

Outward appearance may reveal no issues at all to the seller and the buyer; however, when a buyer is interested in purchasing your home, they’ll typically deploy a certified home inspector to your residence to perform a thorough inspection, and this usually happens after the house is under contract. Potential buyers will either back out or ask to have the repairs to the home completed ASAP, and they also ask for a significant reduction in the selling price.

For the Florida homeowner, this can feel like a double-edged sword, and it’s not uncommon for them to feel like they’re being taken advantage of because to them, the home still has value. On the other hand, potential buyers can feel unsure of their investment, and the reduction in the selling price is one way to offset that fear.

Your best approach to this problem is to have a soil remediation company come and repair any soil erosion, sinkhole issues, and foundation repairs before you put your home up for sale. This will dull one side of the blade by eliminating the potential of a lower selling price.

Some other challenges that you may run into, most mortgage lenders will not grant a home loan to the potential buyer unless all the problems are repaired prior to closing. What does this mean? If you want to sell your home and keep the deal alive, you’ll have to come up with thousands of dollars in a short amount of time in order to meet the demands of the mortgage company.

These types of disagreements can cause a contract to be terminated and many homeowners in Florida have reported foundation repair expenses as the primary reason that keeps them from selling their home.

Internal Challenges

Once the concrete has been repaired, meets engineering standards, and the groundwork has been restored to its original condition, this doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods yet. Depending on how much internal damage was done to framing members and other construction components, you could have some interior repairs as well before you can sell your home.

Here are some signs that can add to the cost of foundation repair in Florida homes:

  • Concrete weakness
  • Cracks around windows and doors and on the walls
  • Lifted floorboards or separated ceramic tiles
  • Gaps between the ceiling and crown molding

The challenge now is finding a variety of general contractors to repair the interior damage caused by foundation failure and getting them there all in time to close the deal before the contract expires. This can add thousands of dollars to your expenses, and you might as well consider this a trade-off that will come off the listed price and your overall profits.

When the buyer sends the inspector, they inspect every square inch of your home. The foundation is always where they start. A house is only as good as the foundation on which it’s built on; therefore, the structural integrity of the concrete can disclose a wealth of information. They can tell if there’s evidence of ground erosion or a sinkhole by tell-tale signs in the concrete.

From there, they will inspect the floor, support members, and bottom wall plates as well as electrical wiring, plumbing, water lines, and HVAC systems. The inspector will check every square inch of your home, including the roof and components on the roof.

If there’s anything in the report that is considered unsatisfactory or doesn’t meet local building codes, you’ll need to have these flagged items or areas repaired before the mortgage company will approve the buyer’s home loan.

You can avoid some of these expenses by having a professional soil remediation company inspect the exact nature of your foundation problem before you contact a real estate agent and put your house up for sale.

Common Causes of Foundation Failure in Florida

There are many factors in Florida that can cause a foundation to fail. The most common factors include:

  • Soil Shifting: When the soil beneath your home shifts, it will move the foundation with it, which causes cracks in the concrete. Soil shifting can occur with flooding, sandy soil, and excessive overloading.
  • Poor Soil Compaction: This happens when the soil beneath your foundation wasn’t properly compacted by the contractor when the cement was poured. This can cause the home to sink and create foundation failure and other structural damage.
  • Soil Shrinkage: This usually happens when the temperatures are very hot or dry. This can cause the soil under the foundation to shrink due to a lack of moisture. When this happens, it can create voids in the ground and be the cause of foundation settlement.
  • Erosion: Erosion is the number one culprit in Florida for foundation failure. It basically washes away the soil under your foundation, which creates pockets or spaces under the slab. Erosion is very common in areas where sandy soil is present, and it can dramatically get worse after a severe rainstorm.
Solutions for Foundation Repairs Before You Sell Your Home

A common problem that a lot of homeowners in Florida face are sinkholes, and this is mostly due to the amount of limestone in the soil throughout the state. Most of these foundation issues can be solved by having a soil remediation company install foundation piers that support the home and stabilizes the foundation. The foundation piers are installed deep into load-bearing soils, ensuring solid foundation support.

Having your foundation repaired before you sell your home will eliminate a lot of potential costs and unnecessary challenges that can be avoided. Contact Helicon today to evaluate your options so you can maximize the profits of your soon to be sold home.