Tips When Buying or Selling Austin Homes With Foundation Problems

There are many areas of Austin where homes with foundation problems are commonly found (East Austin, Pflugerville, etc.)  I’ve learned from inspectors that this is mostly due to the type of soil that we have, but it can also be attributed to uneven watering of your yard near your home (or the entire lack of watering altogether.)

Selling an Austin Home with Foundation Issues

Sellers who are aware of the competitive market they face usually opt to repair the foundation before putting their home on the market.  Although, there are many homes in need of foundation repair on the MLS.

If you are about to sell your home and you feel that it has foundation problems, here are a few cautionary words of advice that you should think about before listing it:

  • Have the foundation work completed prior to listing it, if you have the financial means to do so.

Buyers are going to heavily discount your home if they see visible cracks on the interior or exterior of your home.  We have seen many instances where the general public’s perceived cost-to-repair far exceeds the actual cost.  Sometimes a buyer will walk through a home and think that it will cost $20,000 to repair the home, when in reality, it may really only cost about $5,000 or sometimes less to bring everything back into order.  As a seller, it’s often better to get things back into top condition prior to listing it to better your chances at receiving fair market value for your home.

When a seller has had the foundation repaired, a warranty, in most cases, is attached to the property and can be transferred to the buyer at closing.  However, one thing buyers need to be made aware of is that many of these foundation companies impose a transfer fee in order for the warranty to be valid.

  • If you cannot afford to complete the foundation repairs prior to listing, do your research and obtain multiple bids for the job.

There are quite a few foundation repair companies in Austin, and nearly all of them will come out to your home and provide you with a free bid for the work.  Get as many bids as you can, so that you can present the best ones to the buyers.  It’s best to be up-front with the buyers about foundation issues to ease their fears. In doing so, you should better your chances at obtaining the most value for your home.

If you “think” that your home might have foundation problems, you can hire a professional that’s called a “structural engineer.”  A structural engineer will come out and measure your home’s slab deviation and provide you with a detailed report on the structural integrity of your home.  The typical fee for a structural engineer’s report is between $300 to $500+ depending on the scope of the project.

Buying an Austin Home With Foundation Repairs or Damage

If you are buying a home in Austin that has already had foundation work, request to see the warranty paperwork and find out if you will be required to pay a fee to transfer the warranty into your name.

If the seller’s position is that the home doesn’t need foundation work but you feel that it does, it would be in your best interest to obtain multiple bids for the foundation work while you are in your option period.  It might also be a good idea to negotiate with the seller to subsidize the cost of an engineering report if the initial bids for work come back saying that the home needs substantial foundation work.

There are many surprises along the way when you are buying a home.  Being represented by a Realtor who has experience helps prepare you and will make your home buying experience much smoother. If you are looking to buy a home in the Austin area and are looking for a Realtor, contact us today and let us help you into your next home.

About Shannon Ensor

Shannon Ensor is a Broker Associate with Sky Realty, the founder of our team and a published author. She began her Austin Real Estate career in 2005 and has earned her ABR and GRI designations. Shannon helps residential real estate buyers and sellers all around Austin and Central Texas. Shannon graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University, earning her degree in Journalism/Public Relations from ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications and a minor in Business Advertising & Marketing.

4 comments

  1. Great post on foundation issues. I bump into them periodically in Bastrop and surrounding counties as well. Working with Buyer Representation is also smart!

  2. Thanks for the tip!
    Look for a warranty

  3. So right – I also pay attention to who the company is – if its a tiny no name company that doesn’t do much business chances are they may not be around in 10 or so years to honor that warranty. I had a deal where the home was purchased by an investor at foreclosure, so he had no paperwork on the existing foundation. I called the three big foundation companies in town and sure enough one of them had done work on the home and had a warranty in place!

  4. Nice tips….regarding foundation repairs.

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