So, you think a home needs a foundation inspection. Maybe you noticed cracks in the walls during a walk-through or standing water in the yard that wouldn’t drain, but you want to make sure the home is structurally sound before advising someone to buy, or sell, the house.
These days, many sellers are preemptively having home inspections done before putting their house on the market to avoid any surprises that could derail a sell, but sometimes you’ll need to make sure one is done before recommending a client sign on the dotted line.
Whether you’re dealing with an existing foundation issue or a check-up on a new house, one thing is for sure: you need to know the ins and outs of a foundation inspection.
What is in a foundation inspection report?
A foundation inspection is a thorough interior and exterior analysis of a home’s foundation by a trained foundation expert. Ultimately, it’s done to ensure the house is structurally sound. The inspection should evaluate whether the foundation is safely supporting your home—which is an important job! The inspection also indicates whether foundation repairs are needed.
When a foundation inspector evaluates a home, their report should break down what was examined on the property. Keep in mind this inspection should be internal and external, so the report should include both.
Internally, the foundation inspection looks for issues such as the following:
- Uneven floors/elevation levels
- Door or window jams
- Cracked, leaning, or bulging walls
- Standing water
- Damaged support beams/piers
- Cracks in concrete floors
External observations should include:
- Cracks in exterior walls
- Exterior walls pulling away from window or door casings
- Improper drainage or irrigation
- Leaning walls
- Proximity of trees to structure
- Water drainage across site
When should you tell your client to get a foundation inspection?
If you notice any of the above problems in a home, you’ll want your client to get a foundation inspection. Many of these problems, such as cracks in the concrete, stucco, drywall, masonry or brickwork are not uncommon and don’t pose any serious threats to the stability of the property.
But in some instances, the movement of the foundation can be more than what’s acceptable. Serious repairs, such as a re-leveling of the foundation, may be needed to fix larger issues, and that can drastically affect the sale of a home.
Other types of home inspectors — such as termite and general property inspectors — will often note foundation cracks and issues in their own reports. If you aren’t sure a foundation inspection is needed, reading through these reports will typically clue you in.
How do you find foundation inspectors to refer clients to?
Finding a trustworthy foundation inspector is integral to the foundation inspection process. The foundation supports an entire home, so you need to be sure whoever examines it is a trained professional. Here are some qualities to look for in a foundation inspector:
- The inspector should be a trained foundation expert
- The inspector’s company should be bonded, insured, and carry workers’ compensation
- The inspector should provide you with a written estimate if repairs are needed
- The inspector should have references or referrals
- The inspector should be reputable (hint: check the Better Business Bureau)
As an agent, it’s important for you to know several qualified inspectors who can perform these evaluations on a home. You’ll want to have multiple people to refer your client to so they’re able to find one who is a good fit for their property and price range.
You should also make sure the homeowner is with the inspector during their walk-through, so the inspector can point out the important things to focus on from the report.
Trusting someone with the foundation of a home can be daunting. You want to know the home is safe, and that you’re getting a thorough and honest report. To make the process easier, we have CHANCE certified specialists who will provide a free, no-obligation foundation analysis. Find one near you!