Buying a Home in New Jersey
When you are house shopping, it is easy to forget to about the foundation. However, making sure the foundation is in good shape and structurally sound may be one of the most important steps when buying a home in New Jersey.
Inspect the foundation
First look at the foundation, and watch for any cracks inside or out. Small vertical cracks may be nonstructural but could potentially cause water infiltration. You can watch for mold or water stains to show the crack does leak. These nonstructural cracks should be fixed prior to moving in just to save you from dealing with major water issues come winter.
The horizontal cracks in a foundation wall are signs of structural damage. Also stair step cracks in block wall foundations or bulging or bowed walls are also signs of structural foundation problems.
Watch for signs upstairs
You can also watch for signs of settlement issues upstairs. If the doors and windows stick or if there are cracks in the sheetrock upstairs in the walls or the ceiling, you may have a foundation problem. Cracks can also be in the trim around the windows and doors. That is a sign the foundation is moving.
Look into the history of the site
Even newer houses can run into potential structural problems if the house was built on unstable ground. Do your research to see what the property was used for in the past. Past gravel pits, old landfills and dumps can be the cause of major foundation problems. Most developers will know not to build over past pits, but sometimes they don’t. There have been issues where developers will bury large tree stumps or garbage on the building site creating massive problems when those decompose. It will create holes in the ground and create an unstable ground.
Watch for water issues and signs of water build-up
Water issues in the basement should never be left alone. Always fix the leaks and other water issues in the basement because not only does it cause mold, mildew, and poor indoor air quality inside the home, but it also is the culprit of foundation damage. Leaving a basement leak or a leaky crack in the foundation will eventually start to deteriorate the foundation wall making it weak and fragile. Water damage to the foundation wall can result in spalling where the concrete starts to break off the foundation wall. Water infiltrating the basement is also a sign there is water build up on the outside wall. If there is water building up in the soil outside, then it is creating hydrostatic pressure, a common cause of structural damage in foundation walls. Basement waterproofing and proper outside drainage systems will relieve hydrostatic pressure and potential structural problems.
You can negotiate in the contract to have the seller solve these foundation issues before you buy the house. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy the house because most of these issues can be fixed. With a professional foundation repair contractor and/or basement waterproofer, you won’t have to worry. Just make sure it gets in the final agreement to either have them fix the issue or drop the price of the house so you can fix the issue after you buy it. It is a good idea to elicit the help of a foundation repair contractor if you suspect foundation issues. They will be able to provide an inspection and quote to help you negotiate and understand what you are really getting into. This information will help you make your decision.
If you’d like a FREE Estimate for foundation repair when buying a home in New Jersey, then please contact us!