Buying a Home? Get a Foundation Inspection
When buying a new house, a home inspection is standard practice. During these evaluations, the home inspector is usually able to identify potential foundation problems. For home buyers, a foundation inspection report by a structural engineer provides valuable information about the investment.
The Difference Between a Home Inspection and a Foundation Inspection
The goal of a foundation inspection is to determine if the underlying base of your home is structurally sound. A licensed engineer looks at these factors:
- Is the foundation performing its intended function?
- Is the foundation compliant with building codes?
- Are foundation repairs or modifications needed?
Why Is This Important?
While a home inspector will examine your foundation, a structural engineer has more specialized expertise to do a more comprehensive inspection of your foundation.
What Does a Foundation Inspection Report Include?
Foundation inspection reports vary from state to state, but most include at least the following:
Using internal contour lines, the inspector verifies elevation levels throughout the home are consistent. In addition, the engineer will also:
- Isolate internal cracks and determine their threat levels
- Examine support beams and load-bearing devices
- Test how snugly doors, windows, and vents fit
- Assess the integrity of concrete walls and floors within the foundation
- Look for water damage, mold, and improper ventilation
During the external evaluation, your foundation inspector will look at:
- Water drainage, landscaping, and irrigation
- Cracks and fissures on exterior walls
- Crumbling concrete or degraded building materials
- Buckling walls, exterior bulges, or irregular slopes
Your inspection report will include recommendations and suggestions that outline:
- The extent of the foundation damage (if any)
- Approximate repair costs
- Turnaround times
After You Receiced Your Report, What Do You Do With Your Report?
As a home buyer, it’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities. In the Carolinas, the seller must disclose any foundation problems. If the buyer paid for an inspection that uncovered foundation damage, he or she may be able to get reimbursed for the evaluation.
Although home sellers are legally obligated to disclose foundation damage, they aren’t required to fix them. If the seller refuses to cover the cost of foundation repairs, you can push for a lower asking price.
Simply ignoring foundation damage usually isn’t an option. Your lender may require foundation damage to be repaired before financing the home purchase. Insurance providers may also require repairs. It’s best to speak with your real estate agent and a real estate lawyer to understand your responsibilities as the home buyer.
What’s the Next Step?
The structural engineer’s foundation inspection report may recommend repairs. Your next step is to contact a foundation repair company. The foundation contractor will visit the home, assess conditions on the property, review the engineer’s report, and develop a repair plan.
If you’ve received an engineer’s report that recommends repairs to the foundation, call us to schedule a site visit.