Home sellers usually have a lot of work to do. They have to come up with an asking price for their home and have their property listed and marketed. Sellers will eventually start fielding offers from interested buyers and start thinking about where they want to live.
Homes with foundation issues may pose some challenges. There are many reasons why a house’s foundation may start to shift. Cracks in siding or concrete, separated siding or bowed walls are common indicators of foundation problems.
Selling a home in Tennessee isn’t always easy. The entire process can take several weeks or months to complete, and there may be unexpected bottlenecks or other delays that can occur along the way. Staying patient, determined and following your plan can help you succeed. Here are a few things to consider if you’re trying to sell a home that has foundation issues:
Most foundation problems can be readily remedied. The average cost is around $4,000. Certain concerns are less expensive than others. For example, a bad downspout can easily be fixed or replaced for $100 or less. On the other hand, bowed walls can run about $5,000 or more because they need to be supported. Waterproofing a basement or installing a new drainage system to prevent leaks can cost $10,000 or more.
Many experts recommend repairing the foundation problems before putting your home up for sale. However, it can depend on the market and the severity of the issues. There may also be certain buyers who are looking for a good “fixer-upper” project or who are planning on renovating the home either for themselves or so that it can be flipped for a profit.
You should take the following steps if you’re planning to sell the home as it currently stands without making repairs:
- 1. Have the foundation inspected.
- 2. Put everything in writing.
- 3. Provide a copy of the home inspection report with potential buyers.
- 4. Keep the foundation issues in mind when negotiating with a buyer.
- 5. Home for sale in an "as is" condition
- 6. Working with a real estate agent
- Have Questions? Ask The Lumiere Team!
1. Have the foundation inspected.
Your first call may be to your real estate agent. They should have enough knowledge and experience to determine some of the telltale signs of foundation problems. It might not even be as big of a deal as you may have originally thought.
You can also have a foundation company or a licensed inspector come in to assess the home’s condition. If they require the assistance of a structural engineer, it’s probably a more substantial concern. You’ll also probably have to pay your realtor and other professionals that you consult with for their time and evaluations.
2. Put everything in writing.
Tennessee requires that any foundation problems with a home need to be properly disclosed in writing. The Tennessee Residential Property Condition Disclosure form is a multiple-page document that you can easily download and fill out as needed. This form is necessitated under the Tennessee Residential Property Disclosure Act.
Disclosing everything can create less stress during the offer negotiation process. It also gives interesting reasons to come back with questions. Failure to provide this information can result in a voided contract, or you could be sued for not including essential details.
3. Provide a copy of the home inspection report with potential buyers.
A copy of the home’s inspection report should be made available to people who show interest in buying your home. The estimate or invoice describing what actions will be needed to resolve the problem should also be included.
This can remove doubt from buyers’ minds. They’ll know exactly what’s wrong with the home and how the situation can be remedied. It can also be an important part of negotiations.
4. Keep the foundation issues in mind when negotiating with a buyer.
Foundation issues will undoubtedly affect negotiations with interested parties. You may have to reduce your asking price, or offer to lower your price if the buyer agrees to pay for the necessary repairs or upgrades. On the other hand, you might be able to increase your asking price if you pay to have the foundation problems fixed.
Whatever you decide, it’s important to negotiate with the foundation condition in mind. It’s something that you and the home buyer will need to be concerned about. Be upfront and honest with everyone who submits an offer, and be prepared for contingencies in the purchase agreement that may be drawn up in regard to the foundation issues.
5. Home for sale in an “as is” condition
Foundation problems definitely shouldn’t be ignored, no matter how major or minor they may be. Feel free to get a few estimates if you’re not satisfied with the initial assessment that you receive from an inspector, foundation company or structural engineer. It’s not uncommon to receive estimates that may vary by tens to even hundreds of dollars.
You could also opt to list your home for sale in an “as is” condition. This doesn’t mean that you’re hiding the home’s condition. It just states that you won’t be making any recommended or required changes to the home. Those responsibilities will belong to the home buyer.
6. Working with a real estate agent
Another option is selling the home to a real estate investor. You may have more competition, but you could also raise your asking price depending on market trends. One potential drawback is the fact that many investors prefer to purchase homes that are in good condition. Foundation problems could scare away potential buyers, or create less demand or interest for your home.
Working with your real estate agent can help you come up with a course of action to get your home sold. Your realtor should have a network of industry professionals who can repair the foundation issues. It’s up to you to decide when this work will be done and who will take on the costs: you, the home buyer or having the costs split evenly between the home seller and home buyer.
Foundation problems are a cause for concern, but in most cases, they aren’t deal-breakers. Noticing problems early and having them repaired immediately can prevent larger issues from occurring over time.
Take a realistic approach to the situation and think about what you can do, both physically and financially, to improve the situation. Being proactive can get things resolved sooner than later. Once that’s out of the way, you can concentrate on getting your home sold and moving on to the next phase of your busy life.