How A Drought Could Be Depreciating The Value Of Your Home

In Texas, expansive clay accounts for 50% of most of the soil. The clay acts like a sponge and makes a property swell when it absorbs moisture and shrink when dry. Thus, high clay content often leads to soil shifting. This continuous expansion and contraction of the soil may lead to the movement of the foundation as well. During a dry spell, the soil contracts greatly and shrinks, causing the foundation to sink or settle.

If the settlement happens evenly there will be minimal damage. However, since the soil right under the foundation is more moist than the soil on the edges of the houses, owing to its direct exposure to the sun, the soil on the outside shrinks more, resulting in an uneven or rather differential settlement. This causes a distortion in the foundation leading to its damage. That’s when you notice the cracks. The problems may start out small but they increase considerably over time and the issue here is that by the time the signs become visible, the problem has already taken an ugly shape.

Foundation damage signs to look out for

The signs to look for in a home with foundation damage, are obviously cracks in the brickwork of the walls and ceiling. However, other signs may include:

  • Doors and windows getting jammed or failing to latch
  • Gaps between built-in fixtures like a fireplace, kitchen cabinets etc.
  • Uneven or sagging floors
  • Large crevices where walls meet at the ceiling and floor
  • Displaced or cracked moldings
  • Crumbling or flaking of exterior concrete or bricks
  • Warped ceilings

Taking care of structural issues

If you wish to sell your home with foundation problems, the first thing to address is, whether you wish to do so after fixing the damages or you want to sell the property “as is.” Some of us might want to sell the house without carrying out the repairs. However this might require a significant reduction in the sale value of the house, owing to the fact that the buyers would want you to scale down the prices for them to cover the cost of repairs, which they need to make after they buy the your home. Finding a buyer for such properties can be a concern since generally people purchase the house with a mortgage, and lenders do not typically offer loans for acquisition of damaged property. Usually, you would only be able to sell a property with significant damage, such as foundation damage, to buyers who are willing to pay from their own pocket. Moreover, while buying a house people generally go for the first impression of it and the visual footprint is an important factor in most residential home sales. If your house has obvious structural damage (i.e. fractured walls, sagging door frames, crumbling moldings), it will be difficult to make it appealing for a buyer looking for a home as their primary residence. As a result the resale value depreciates further and your house may stay on the market for longer than you would want it to.

If you plan to perform foundation repairs on the house prior to its sale, the costs have to borne completely by you, unless your agent is able to negotiate some form of compromise with the buyer. The benefit to covering the repairs yourself are that you get the repairs done under your supervision and can be sure that the problem has been fixed properly, with all the authentic documents handed over to you by the repair contractor. If you have the repairs done by a reputable foundation repair company, this will often times include a transferrable lifetime warranty on the repair. You may then add the cost of repair in the sale price of the house, and having a warranty can be a big selling point in Dallas/Fort Worth, where it is almost guaranteed that a home will at some point require foundation repairs.

Whatever the case maybe, if you suspect any structural issues in your house, it’s always best to get it fixed immediately. Although some repairs maybe easier to fix by yourself, when it comes to problems related to the foundation, it’s always advisable to get it inspected by a professional in order to avoid the massive cost of repairing the damages that would ensue if left neglected. Foundation damage is almost a certainty in North Texas, so be diligent when you notice the first signs of settlement or foundation movement, and you could save yourself considerable amounts of money in the future.