home inspection include foundation?

Does a Home Inspection Include the Foundation? Is that Enough?

You’re house shopping. Yay! But now you’re worried about accidentally choosing a home with foundation problems. Boo! You don’t know enough about foundations to know if foundation issues are an *issue* for the home you think you want. Yikes!

Anchor Foundation Repair Bryan College Station
  • Does a home inspection include looking at the foundation? 
  • Is that enough to determine if foundation problems are present?

At Anchor Foundation Repair, we’ve looked at thousands of BCS homes since our start in 1985. Many of these houses are part of a real estate transaction where home inspectors are involved. We can tell you about what a home inspector can do for you during the home-buying process about your foundation’s condition.

In this article, we review home inspections in general and how an inspection report typically records a foundation’s condition. We’ll also discuss where a home inspector’s expertise ends and when a foundation inspection from a foundation repair contractor could be needed.

What Is the Purpose of a Home Inspection?

A home inspection serves at least three (I mean, there could be more but I’m not in real estate so . . . ) essential functions during the home-buying process:

  1. To record the condition of a home at the time of the inspection,
  2. To identify problems during the option period of the sale contract – allowing a buyer to back out if issues are found that they cannot work through or get past,
  3. To allow potential buyers to make informed decisions and request repairs on some of the reported issues as part of the home sale negotiation process.

home inspections when buying
There are lots of reasons to get an inspection when home-buying . . .

A general home inspection is commonly referred to as a “snapshot” of a home’s condition on the day of the visit. An inspection cannot predict future issues, but can only report on the present situation. A home inspector cannot anticipate future functionality or breakdowns and is not responsible or liable for anything that happens to the home later on.

First-time home buyers sometimes carry the misconception that an inspection will tell you if something is going to go wrong in the future, but it doesn’t work that way. 

What Does a Home Inspection Include?

Licensed home inspectors review your prospective property and its major systems and fixtures, reporting on their condition. Inspectors will check these things:

  • Structural Systems: Foundations, grading and drainage, walls, roofs and attics, ceilings and floors, doors, windows, stairways, fireplaces, porches, balconies, decks
  • Electrical systems: service entrance and panels, branch circuits, connected devices, and fixtures
  • Heating, ventilation, and AC: Heating, cooling, duct systems, chases, and vents
  • Plumbing systems: supply systems and fixtures, drain, waste, and vents, water heating
  • Appliances: dishwashers, disposals, ranges, cooktops, ovens and exhaust, microwaves, bathroom vents and heaters, garage doors, dryer exhaust systems

checking all systems during home inspection, including foundations
A general home inspection covers a lot of stuff . . . in general . . .

Home inspectors have broad general knowledge of building codes and construction practices, allowing them to identify and document various issues for you to consider repairing as part of the home sale or in the future.

Home inspectors can spot and document some potential foundation problems, providing photos and possibly offering opinions on their severity. If repairs seem necessary, they will likely recommend consulting another professional for a more detailed analysis.

In other words, home inspectors identify issues but may refer you to specialists for deeper evaluation of significant concerns.

Will the Inspector Tell Me If the Home Has Foundation Issues?

Because home inspectors are mainly reporting on home conditions, they focus on reporting facts that can be verified visually or functionally.

door issues can mean foundation problems
  • Is the system working or not working?
  • Broken or functional?
  • Visually perfect or flawed?
  • Do they see a symptom or are no symptoms present? 
  • Is something up to code or not meeting the current building codes?

For example, a home inspector can report that there’s a door that doesn’t close properly in the home, but they may or may not suggest what could have caused it or identify the underlying issue. P.S. Door fit issues can sometimes be foundation-related.

In my observation and experience, inspectors tend to pick up on the more common signs of foundation issues and comment that they *could* be foundation-related, such as:

home inspections cover foundations

An inspector might also note other problems around the home without commentary on whether they are potentially foundation settlement-related or not. In other words, they might notice a visual or functional issue, but not draw any conclusions on why it’s there. They just point it out.

I’ve noticed home inspectors sometimes mention an issue on their inspection, but don’t connect it to foundation settlement like:

Also, issues like floor slope are often overemphasized, misreported, or misinterpreted, especially when Zip Levels are used during the home inspection process. We’ve got a whole article about this Zip Level topic.

So Does the Home Inspection Determine Foundation Problems or Not?

The short answer is: probably not with full commitment behind it. I guess what I’m really trying to say here is that home inspections can only do so much in the *determining if you have a foundation problem* department. General home inspectors:

  • Have less depth of knowledge on foundation settlement and problems, and
  • Might only detect highly noticeable defects and miss or misinterpret other cues,

home foundation repair

But on the flip side, home inspectors will certainly and very often recommend contacting other experts if there is any concern about foundation integrity. So if they think something might be going on with your foundation, they’re going to suggest that someone else check it out further.

More About Who Can Help Determine Foundation Issues

inspecting home foundations

A home inspector won’t hesitate to refer you to another professional if they think your foundation needs a closer look. Is there such a thing as a *foundation inspector* that does this?

*Spoiler Alert* there’s no such thing as a foundation inspector and you’ll likely want to talk to either a foundation repair company or structural engineer or both if needed.

Here’s an article about foundation inspections and who does this sort of thing for you.

How to Know if Your Potential Home Has Foundation Problems

Foundation problems are probably two parts true signs and symptoms and one part subjective thoughts and feelings. It’s about the visual and functional signs, plus how much they bother you.

should you buy a home with foundation problems?

We understand the stress and anxiety that comes with potential foundation issues. At Anchor Foundation Repair, we offer fair and impartial assessments, empowering education, and a fully transparent repair process. After 35+ years in business, we want you to know as much about foundation problems as we do and we’ve got no secrets to hide from the Brazos Valley community. 

It’s the house you want to buy and you deserve to be 100% informed before moving forward. You’ll want to check this out next: Should I Buy a Home that Has Foundation Problems? Are Repairs Needed?