4 Things to Remember When Fixing a Foundation

Whether you are attempting some minor DIY fixes for the foundation of your home or business (please make sure you have the proper tools and experience!) or are having foundation repair work professionally done, safety and preparation always come first. With that in mind, here are four important things to keep in mind when fixing a foundation. Remember, a foundation repair company serving the Garland area and other communities in Dallas-Fort Worth is always your best bet for fixing serious foundational problems.

Make sure the foundation actually needs repair

Homeowners may think their foundation is in trouble when, in reality, it’s still quite solid.

This usually occurs when someone notices hairline cracks around the home’s perimeter. In many cases, this is due to nothing more than normal foundation settling.

Use the right equipment for the job

Though there is lots of really useful home repair information on the internet, some of the ideas you’ll find online are dubious, if not downright dangerous.

This includes, for example, articles and videos that recommend using a standard automotive bottle jack for raising a building’s foundation. Not only can this put your home at risk, it may also put you in the hospital.

The only safe way to raise a home or large building off the ground is with industrial-capacity hydraulic jacks. If you don’t have access to this kind of equipment, or lots of experience using it, then it’s best to call a qualified foundation repair company in your area.

Don’t forget the landscaping

Trees, shrubs, and flowers add immeasurably to a home’s appeal. But they’re more fragile than you may think. That’s why a professional foundation repair service will typically take the time to remove landscaping features and replant them later.

While you’re going about this task, keep in mind that you may also need to disassemble man-made structures such as decks, porches, and patios.

If in doubt, call the professionals

When it comes to the stability and structural safety of your home or business, there is too much at stake for unnecessary risks. If you have any doubts at all about the safety of your home’s foundation, you have nothing whatsoever to lose by calling in a foundation repair professional to perform a no-cost inspection of your property.

If you live in any of our DFW foundation repair service areas, please call Align Foundation Repair to schedule your free inspection and quote.

Should I Buy a House with Foundation Repair?

People often ask us, “Should I buy a house that has had foundation repair work?” The short answer is “yes.” However, the buyer should:

  • Know specifically what was done
  • Examine the warranty
  • Have the foundation inspected again before closing to make sure it is still in good shape

When buying a used car, it’s good to know about the vehicle’s history. Was it involved in a collision that required extensive frame repair? You should have the same attitude when buying a house. What repairs were done on it over the years? Remember, that just because recent repair work has been done on the foundation doesn’t mean that no problems currently exist.

What You Need to Know about the Repairs

If foundation repair was done, that means that there were significant foundation problems in the past. If the workmanship was less than stellar, or if the soil conditions around the house are extremely poor, the foundation may run into serious issues again in the future. As a buyer, you can make an informed decision by learning as much as you can about the history of the repair work. Here are some questions to ask:

Who Performed the Repairs?

Look at the home seller’s repair report; what company is listed? Is it even a company or a freelance contractor? If a company, look up the service online. What are some reviews from prior customers? Be wary if the company has zero online presence. Even if the company doesn’t have a website, it should at least have one or two social media pages and a small handful of Google reviews.

What Repairs Were Done?

What method was used? For a typical residence, this will include concrete or steel piling or drilled piers. How many piers or piling were used? Were they concrete or steel? This should all be listed in the report. Were piers/piling installed in just one section or all over the home? The latter indicates a more serious repair. You should proceed with caution.

Get a Second Opinion

Perhaps the repair company has no online presence, or the repair work indicates significant damage. Is this a deal-breaker? Not necessarily; however, you should get a second professional opinion to err on the side of caution. This doesn’t mean a general home inspector but an actual licensed Dallas home foundation repair company. An evaluator can assess the previous repair work and determine whether it meets industry standards.

Ask About the Warranty

If the repairs were done relatively recently, then the warranty should still be in effect. Find out what the warranty covers and how many more years it’s good for. Some last a lifetime, while others are good for several decades. Most warranties can be transferred to the new homeowner for a small one-time fee or even for free if transferred within a certain number of days of closing the property sale.

Foundation damage is commonplace in the North Texas region, so foundation repair shouldn’t be a disqualifying factor. However, it does warrant additional research if you’re the buyer. Align Foundation Repair can be a part of that research. Our Dallas foundation repair solutions include pre-home sale inspections. We frequently work with home buyers, sellers, and their respective real estate agents.

Should I Buy a House with Foundation Problems?

Unless you’re moving into a recently constructed home, buying a house is like buying a used car. You have to actively check for existing issues. Foundation problems in the Dallas area are especially commonplace, so getting a thorough inspection of the house foundation is a must for buyers before they commit to an offer. Generally, you shouldn’t buy a house if it has existing structural issues. Nevertheless, various factors are at play, and buying a house with foundation problems isn’t completely out of the question.

Inspect the Home

First, if any foundation problems are present, the seller is obligated to list them in a disclosure form. You should also perform a visual inspection yourself. Walk around the home interior and exterior and look for cracks along the walls and ceilings. Also, open and shut the doors and windows. Foundation problems may lurk if you can’t do this without muscling it into place.

Get a Professional Assessment

Ask to see the report if the owner already had the foundation professionally inspected. If not, don’t proceed further until the owner agrees to a professional who specializes in foundation problems and not just a general home inspector. As part of our Dallas foundation repair services, Align Foundation Repair provides a free inspection and estimate.

What to Do Next

It’s not an instant dealbreaker if the inspection turns up problems; it’s up to you. This is where negotiations really come into play. This is actually a good bargaining chip for getting the seller to lower the asking price. Homes with foundation problems can sell for up to 20% to 25% below the original price. On the other hand, foundation repair costs rarely exceed more than 10% of the property’s value. In other words, this can work out in your favor if you play your cards right. However, if you go this route, don’t just purchase the home and move right in as is. Arranging for repairs should be one of the first steps as the new homeowner.

Leaving Repairs to the Seller

Alternatively, you can agree to purchase the house at the asking price on the written stipulation that the owner has the foundation repaired out of their own pocket and have it done before the closing date. Get this agreement in writing or stipulated in the contract. If you proceed this way, make sure you and the seller agree on the repair company. The seller may choose the cheapest contractor. Unrealistically low prices often translate to shoddy workmanship.

Also, repair agreements should include damages incurred as a result of the foundation damage. This might include any ruptured pipes, cracks/separations along the wall and ceiling, etc. The costs of these also need to be factored in should you decide to buy the home as is.

Know the True Condition of the Property

As the buyer, you should fully understand the foundation’s condition. You can buy a home if foundation problems exist, but proceed with repairs right away. Call Align Foundation Repair for a zero-cost inspection and estimate. The report will give you an idea of how to proceed and negotiate.

How Foundation Problems Can Impact Buying or Selling a Home

Are you putting your property in the Dallas-Ft Worth area up for sale? Perhaps you’re a homebuyer and searching for property in the region. In Texas, there is usually a quick closing period of 30 days. A lot has to be squeezed into that short window of time to ensure a smooth closing. This includes inspections of the house’s plumbing, electrical system, and foundation. Foundation problems in DFW are quite commonplace, and existing issues need to be resolved before the closing period.

Foundation Problems for the Seller

Begin with a DIY inspection for signs of damage. Examine your home for the following:

  • Cracks in the walls, ceilings, and house exterior
  • Opening and shutting problems with any of the doors or windows
  • Uneven flooring
  • Soil pulling away from the foundation

If any of the above is present, then you will need to schedule a professional foundation evaluation. If problems are present and require remediation, you can arrange for repairs before selling the home or put the property on the market as is. If you opt for the latter, you will need to make note of the foundation problems in a disclosure form. Keep in mind, you will likely also have to sell at a lower price. If foundation problems are only discovered during the closing process, the buyer may back out, or you will have to enter into last-minute fixing negotiations to decide you will pay to restore the foundation.

Your real estate agent can consult you on this manner and advise whether it’s more cost-effective to repair the foundation on your own dime or sell the property as is.

Foundation Problems for the Buyer

As the buyer, insist on seeing documents verifying the foundation was inspected by a qualified technician. If no inspection has been done, see if you can agree to an inspection with the seller, perhaps agreeing to split the cost. Align Foundation Repair provides a free and zero-obligation foundation repair estimate.

There is a prevailing belief that buyers should avoid homes with existing foundation issues. However, this is not necessarily the case. Due to an existing problem, you might be able to negotiate a lower price and use some of the saved money to cover the cost of the foundation repair.

Even if existing issues are present, you can still consider the property if it otherwise ticks all the boxes. You may also agree to buy the home at the seller’s asking price on the stipulation that the latter agrees to pay for the foundation repair before the closing date.

Additionally, some buyers will agree to fix the foundation because they already plan to do significant reconstruction or remodeling on the house.

We Work with Sellers, Buyers, and Realtors

Whether you’re a buyer, seller, or real estate agent, call Align Foundation Repair for a no-cost home foundation inspection or for DFW foundation repair services.

How to Inspect Your Foundation During COVID-19

Even if many Americans are staying home due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they can still remain proactive and perform a DFW home foundation checkup. This is actually easier than it sounds. Below, we explain how it’s done.

1. Inspect the Home Exterior

Perform a 360-degree walkaround of your house. Look closely for cracks in the concrete. Make a note of any cracks greater than a fourth of an inch. Also, examine the brick veneer for cracks and separations.

2. Inspect the Home Interior

Foundation damage doesn’t just affect the home exterior; damage will be visible in the interior as well. Perform a close visual inspection of the walls and ceiling, especially at the intersections where they come together. Are there cracks, bulges, or separation at these intersections? Do the same for the intersections where the floor and walls meet. If the damage is severe in this area, you will notice the floor is not perfectly level. You will feel slightly uneven or off-balance when you stand completely straight even if the sloping is relatively minor.

3. Examine the Windows and Doors

Fully open and shut every window and door; this includes glass sliding doors and closet doors. Do any of them have trouble completely closing or opening? Do the windows or doors partially jam or require more muscle than normal to get it to move? If these problems are present and everything appears fine with the hinges and latches, then the problem may stem from the frame shifting due to movements in the foundation.

4. Examine the Pipes

One may think a leaky pipe is a separate and unrelated issue; this could very well be. However, a burst pipe may also be due to foundation movement. A plumber can examine the source and determine whether a leak is an isolated problem or tied to a bigger problem (i.e., a shifting foundation).

Now Is a Time for a Professional Inspection

The state has designated foundation services as an essential business. As such, Align Foundation Repair remains open while strict quarantine measures are in place. If a self-foundation inspection in the DFW area yields problems, then the next step is to give us a call. Your health is our priority, and we strictly enforce all safety measures during a residential inspection. This includes disinfecting all equipment and keeping a respectable distance from our customers. While we may not be able to greet you with a handshake, we will certainly welcome you with a smile!