The House Leveling Dilemma
Why should I worry about house leveling, my house is only 5 years old? The truth is age of the home has nothing to do with whether or not a particular home has or will have a foundation issue requiring some sort of remediation. For example, it’s been estimated that as many as 15% of new homes built each year in the U.S. have foundation issues almost immediately.
Evidence of foundation issues kind of creep up on you, little by little. Maybe you notice minor cracks in your exterior brick walls; or maybe cracks in the sheetrock around a window frame; or maybe a door becomes difficult to close all the way. Other symptoms include leaning chimneys, bowing basement walls, sagging floors over a crawl space or sinking porches, and larger cracks in the garage floor.
Ok, you’ve seen the visible clues, you’ve had a home inspector or a local foundation repair company out to confirm the problem and a geotechnical engineer to pinpoint exactly the reason the foundation is failing.
The house leveling dilemma always comes down to this…money.
Foundation Repair: How Much Does It Cost to Level a Foundation?
There are so many variables that go into answering this question: type of foundation i.e. basement, slab or pier and beam; soil type i.e. sandy or expansive clay; existing drainage; depth to bedrock, the need of piering (steel or concrete); settlement (sinking) or heave (rising); location i.e. San Francisco or San Antonio; foundation contractor skills; contractor competition.
Now that you have some idea about how much it is going to cost you, the basic questions arise: Where or how do I get the money to fix the foundation problem or do I just let it go, forget about it and live with it?
Where’s The Money to Level My Foundation?
It always seems to come back to the money…how much and where am I going to get it? For the purpose of this discussion, let’s assume the repair job at your home is going to cost the national average of $4,000. There are not a lot of alternatives but here are a few:
- Whip out the ole checkbook and pay cash for it. Great idea if you have the resources available because it saves you time, effort and interest expenses.
- Borrow the money from a relative or a friend. Usually not a good idea for obviously reasons.
- Arrange for a loan through the foundation repair contractor. Some but not all contractors have relationships with “hard money lenders” who will provide the funds on the short-term basis if you are creditworthy; expensive but available in certain situations.
- Get a HUD home improvement loan – these are great for homeowners and certain investors that qualify. Good terms and reasonable rates. These loans are obtained through a HUD lender, not directly from HUD. For loans less than $7,500, you don’t need to put your home up as collateral.
- In rare instances, your foundation repair may be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy. Generally, you need to have purchased a “special policy endorsement” or the damage must have been “sudden and accidental” i.e. sudden plumbing leak.
Fix It Now or Forget About It?
The Pros and Cons of Forget About It – the good news here is that you don’t need to spend a dime. You just continue doing what you’re doing, live your life and accept that your foundation and home is deteriorating. The bad news is that foundation problems are cumulative or progressive meaning the situation will get worse over time as the settling or heave will continue. And the value of your home will continue to decrease.
The Case for Fix It Now – whenever you decide to sell, ask yourself this question: Who will want to buy a house with foundation problems?
Answer: an investor who has access to the cash (because banks won’t finance it) and who demands a huge discount below fair market value. Plan on at least a 25% discount below what a house would otherwise sell for in your neighborhood. That’s a lot of money to lose in lieu of a $4,000 repair bill!
The longer you wait to fix the foundation the more it is going to cost you in the end. And in the meantime, as the foundation continues to deteriorate, serious safety issues could arise regarding structural integrity. House leveling, with all the intricacies’ involved, is the smart approach.
The obvious solution is to get your foundation fixed right now. Get a geotechnical or structural engineer to give you an unbiased report on the cause of the problem and then get a bid from our company, Foundation Repair Pros and get it done.
Give us a call right now at 210-622-2630