You want to sell your house, BUT you know you have some telltale signs of foundation issues, like diagonal wall cracks, and sticking doors. You have foundation problems that haven’t been fixed yet. Oh boy, what to do?
You’re at *a bit of a crossroads* because you know there’s a lot to consider with this situation. It probably feels more like one of those highly complicated highway intersections than a simple 4-way stop. You’re probably frazzled just thinking about it . . .
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we frequently work with homeowners who are in some stage of home selling or buying. After 35+ years in business, we have helped guide many folks through all the considerations when you’re faced with home selling and foundation problems. We can tell you what’s important to think about to help you decide how to move forward.
This article will cover the biggest things you need to come to terms with on selling your home with foundation settlement. By the end of this article, you will have more clarity to make a decision you feel good about. Let’s get right to it . . .
1. Consider Your Foundation Repair Options When Selling
Some homeowners don’t know what they can and can’t do when it comes to selling their home with foundation problems. You have several options and one requirement.
Foundation Issue Disclosure Is Required By Law
The only thing you absolutely need to do in all circumstances is to disclose if you have knowledge of past or present foundation issues. The Texas Property Code Section 5.008 stipulates the details of this requirement.
According to the Texas Real Estate Commission Seller’s Disclosure Notice, a seller is asked if they are “aware of any defects or malfunctions” with your foundation or slab. A seller is additionally asked if they are “aware of any of the following conditions . . . Landfill, Settling, Soil Movement, Fault Lines, Previous Structural Repair (which would include foundations) . . .” among a list of many other conditions.
For example, if you had a foundation inspection and a foundation problem was confirmed, you should disclose that info when selling your home because you have an awareness or knowledge of the condition. Or when you bought the house from someone else, they disclosed that foundation repairs were done previously, you should also pass along that disclosure.
Foundation Issue Options Moving Forward
Once you disclose any information you have on the condition of your foundation, you do have options on how to handle selling your home. You can:
- Get Foundation Repairs Before Listing Your Home,
- Know the Cost for Repairs and Prepare to Negotiate,
- Wait Until It’s on the Market and See What Buyers Want,
- Offer a Credit at Closing, or
- Do Nothing and Sell the home “As-Is”.
Sometimes people think they only have one option, but that’s simply not true. You don’t HAVE to do foundation repairs before you put your home on the market. There are ways to negotiate real estate transactions and get deals done even if foundation issues are in the picture. Any home can sell if the terms are right for the buyer and seller.
All of these options truly depend upon the conditions in your local real estate market. Some markets are competitive for sellers and you have to fix your foundation first to even get a buyer to consider your home. In some markets, home inventories are low and buyers are willing to take just about anything in any condition.
Most markets are somewhere in between. Get advice from a real estate professional that you trust to talk through this. Some of the options above might be off the table right away depending on your market conditions. Finding a knowledgeable Realtor® to advise you is the first step here.
Also, it doesn’t hurt to begin thinking about what type of buyer you are trying to attract.
We’ve also got another article that goes into more detail about these options: Should I Fix My Foundation Before I Sell My Home? 4 Ways to Handle Repairs.
2. Consider the Pros of Repairing Your Foundation Before Selling
Buyers can be very picky, and they can be even pickier in a buyer’s market. Fixing your foundation before putting your house on the market can make your home attractive to the widest range of buyers. The problem is handled and your foundation is in the best condition it can be when you put a for sale sign in the yard. It’s fixed.
The pros of fixing your foundation before your home is even on the market are:
- It takes the problem off the negotiation table right off the bat,
- It gives your home the image of being better maintained,
- It can make your option period run more smoothly,
- You can then fix cosmetic problems like wall cracks with confidence, and
- You know you’re not passing off a problem to an unsuspecting buyer.
Getting your home in the best possible condition pre-sale is a smart sales strategy. You’re thinking of the home from a buyer’s point of view and trying to appeal to the most people in hopes of an easier, quicker sale. These are good things.
This option puts your faith in a positive outcome and knowing you did everything you could to make your home desirable to buyers. Does this sound like you?
3. Consider the Cons of Repairing Your Foundation Before Selling
Let’s say you go ahead and fix your foundation before putting it on the market, but it doesn’t help get you that easier, quicker sale you were hoping for. How will you feel about it then? There certainly are cons to going ahead and getting the repairs done if the outcome doesn’t match your expectations.
Some downsides or cons to repairing the foundation before selling are:
- It might not help get you that faster, easier sale,
- It costs you money upfront,
- The process can be messy and take time,
- You should probably also fix cosmetic things afterward, and
- Other unexpected costs might come up too.
There’s no guarantee of when/if a home will sell, ever. So many factors play a part in home sales from location to amenities, to market conditions, and lender requirements. The list could go on forever. There’s no way to predict how things will turn out with your home sale.
So you have to decide if you are okay with spending time and money to get all the needed (foundation, cosmetic, and unexpected) repairs done first. Would you be mad if you spent the money and it didn’t make a difference? Would you rather try a different strategy that does not involve upfront effort, time, and money? How do you feel right now just discussing this?
4. Consider Your Return on Investing in Foundation Repairs
Homes with foundation repairs tend to sell for about the same price as homes that didn’t need foundation repairs in the first place. You’re not going to be able to sell your home for more money than a comparable house.
A remodeled and upgraded bathroom or kitchen can get you more money than an otherwise comparable house. A home with a freshly painted interior and new flooring can get you more money than a comparable house. Unfortunately, foundation repairs are not an upgrade, they are a fix to a known problem.
Doing foundation repairs brings your home to an *as expected* condition, not an *upgraded* condition. So it’s not the kind of work that gets you a significant return on your investment nor does it typically result in a higher appraised value.
It can have the opposite effect if you don’t do repairs though. If you don’t get the foundation repairs done, your home will likely have to be priced or appraised lower than an otherwise comparable home to compensate for the needed repairs.
This is a tough concept to cover quickly, so here’s another article that expands on the topic if you need more info: Does Foundation Repair Affect the Value of My Home If I Sell?
5. Consider What It Takes to Get Your Foundation Repaired
Getting your foundation repaired is *kind of an undertaking*. Even though you’re not the one who’s physically doing the work, there are things you need to do.
- Research Prospective Foundation Repair Contractors,
- Probably Take Time to Get Multiple Bids,
- Figure Out How to Finance or Pay for Your Foundation Repairs,
- Allow Time for the Foundation Repairs to Be Completed, and
- Get the Cosmetic Signs of Foundation Problems Repaired too.
You would want to make sure any warranty policies are transferrable to a buyer as well. Since you are planning to sell the home, a transferable warranty is something to check for when selecting a foundation repair contractor.
All of these steps take time, energy, planning, and decision-making on your part if you choose to get the foundation repairs completed before selling your home. This is an addition to whatever else you are doing to try and get your home ready to go on the market and look for a new place to live too.
A prospective buyer might also want the option to choose their own contractor. They might not want you to pick who does the foundation repairs for them. If you do it before the sale, you control the choice of a contractor. If the repairs are done during the sale, contractor choice can be part of the negotiation. If repairs occur after the sale, the burden is on the buyer to choose.
I don’t know about you, but I certainly think some sellers would rather wait and let the buyer worry about all that stuff later if it’s possible to do so.
Deciding What To Do About Home Selling and Foundation Repairs
We’ve explored a lot of scenarios here and you’ve been on an emotional foundation repair roller coaster. You’re still wondering what to do! Let’s see if we can break it down for you with some handy *if, then* statements . . .
Do The Foundation Repairs Before Putting Home on the Market
- If you want to put the best home you can on the market, then do the repairs.
- If you want to increase your chances of an easier transaction, then do the repairs.
- If your Realtor® thinks it’s the best option for your local market, then do the repairs.
- If you have the funds and are okay with spending them on this, do the repairs.
- If you have sufficient time to handle everything before listing, then consider repairs.
- If you think it’s the right thing to do before selling and you can, then do the repairs.
Wait on Foundation Repairs and List for Sale
- If you want to see what buyers think of your home first, then wait on repairs.
- If you are okay with listing and selling for a lower price, then wait on repairs.
- If you think someone might buy it without the foundation fixed, then wait on repairs.
- If you’re not in a hurry to sell and are okay with it sitting on the market until the right buyer comes along, then wait on repairs.
- If you don’t have the time or funds to pay for repairs before listing, then wait on repairs.
- If your head might explode just thinking about trying to take care of it first, then wait on repairs.
I’m sure this doesn’t cover every scenario out there, but I can’t stress enough that no one can predict the outcomes of how fast and/or easily a home will sell. Throwing in the factor of foundation issues adds to the uncertainty.
Trust your experienced and knowledgeable real estate professional when it comes to what the market is doing in your local area. That’s your best indicator to help you decide on whether to do foundation repairs before, during, or after the sale.
Find Out How Much Foundation Repairs Will Cost
Just how much money are we talking about anyway? Knowledge is power here. You might do something completely different if the repairs cost $5,000 vs. $15,000. If you know how much slab foundation repairs will cost for your home, it will give you further insight into how to move forward through this problem.
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we inspect AND repair foundations in the Brazos Valley all day, every day, since 1985. We are ready to spend two precious hours at your home providing you with a quote for foundation repairs and guiding you through this decision-making process.
Getting a foundation inspection to confirm your issues and give you a cost estimate is a logical next step. Here’s a basic primer on home foundation inspections for you: The Fast Guide to Home Foundation Inspections – Purpose, Process, Cost.