Foundation Issues: Are They a Deal Breaker for Your New Home?

You’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage and, after months of looking, found the home of your dreams. The sellers accepted your bid, and all the paperwork has been signed, and all you’re waiting on is for it to pass the inspection. But when you received the results, you found out that it has foundation issues.

The good news is this doesn’t automatically doesn’t mean the deal’s off. It does, however, mean that a professional foundation expert will need to inspect the foundation to find out the extent of the damage. Once you have this information, you can decide your best course of action.

Read on to find out if a home needing foundation repair is a deal-breaker or just a small bump in the road. This information is provided by our professionals for foundation repair Cincinnati OH.

What Is The Purpose of a Home’s Foundation?

A home’s foundation is what gives the house stability. It helps it to resist movement from temperature fluctuation and other external factors. It provides insulation to keep cold air out. Plus, it prevents insects, rodents, and moisture from invading your home.

Foundation Issues That Are Deal Breakers

Some foundation issues are simple fixes that are no big deal, while others are pretty extensive. If the structural engineer finds any of these issues, you should consider walking away from the agreement.

Cracked, sagging, or uneven foundation

Nearly every home will have cracks in the foundation due to the house settling over the years. However, a good builder will engineer a foundation to withstand settling without creating issues for the rest of the home. When caught early enough, these are relatively simple fixes. However, it’s crucial to have a professional inspect the foundation to give you an estimate of the cost for repairs.

Major home foundation repairs may cost thousands of dollars. Make sure your contract has contingencies to protect you against issues that haven’t been disclosed. There are a few things you can do if extensive damage is found. You can ask the seller to repair them renegotiate the sales price, but if you’re getting a mortgage for the house, the lender may back out. If the seller refuses either of these options, then walk away.

Foundation Leaks or Flooding

It doesn’t matter if a small leak is discovered or a flood; this type of foundation issue is a sign that there’s a problem that needs to be taken care of quickly before it gets worse. This issue is usually much more expensive than needing a few cracks repaired, and a professional needs to inspect the house before you commit to buying it.

Below are the most common causes of foundation leaks

  • Groundwater Leaking

Water can enter the home through cracks in the floor or the wall. However, the most common place is through joints in the wall or the floor.

  • Sump pump failure

The good news is sometimes fixing the issue with a sump pump can be as simple as hitting the reset button. This fix isn’t usually that expensive and can cost anywhere from $600 to $2,000, depending on what’s needed.

  • Poor soil

If there is a lot of clay in the soil, it causes the water to back up because it cannot drain properly. Too much moisture causes the soil to expand, putting pressure on the foundation and, over time, causing cracks.  When the soil is too dry, the opposite happens, leaving a gap between the home and the soil, which causes the house to shift.

  • Inadequate drainage systems

Improper draining is one of the main reasons for foundation failure. Check out the gutters to see if they are draining too close to the house or clogged. It can also be a much worse problem requiring excavation and an entirely new drainage system. To determine the extent of the problem and what’s needed, have an expert inspect the foundation.

A history of flooding can cause many problems and be expensive to fix. Before moving forward, think about if this is something you’re willing to dump a lot of money into.


There are times when moisture in the basement isn’t a significant issue, depending on where it’s coming from. However, make sure to have the house inspected to know why it’s damp, where it’s coming from, and how to fix the issue.

Gaps or Sticking Windows

If you notice gaps in the doors or windows aren’t opening easily, this may signify that the foundation is shifting. This could be a big problem, and you may want to reconsider purchasing the house.

Do Foundation Issues Affect Getting A Loan?

The approval process depends not only on how good your credit is and your financial situation but also on the home’s value. Another thing that factors in is the type of loan you are getting.

  •  Government-backed loans

FHA, VA, and USDA loans have strict requirements that need to be met before approving the loan. These loans are geared towards helping low to medium-income earners buy houses that are safe for them and their families. The final inspection must show that the roof and foundation are sound, as well as other things. If you need home foundation repair, this may delay the process or void it altogether. 

  • Conventional Mortgage

Unlike government-backed loans, private lenders are concerned about the home’s value. If the seller agrees to pay for the home foundation repair and does so quickly, it probably won’t delay the process too much. If there are minor foundation issues, the lender may agree to an escrow holdback. This allows the sale to proceed, but the lender would keep a portion of the seller’s proceeds to cover the home’s foundation repair cost plus a premium to make sure the work is completed. 

Do Foundation Issues Affect The Home’s Value?

Yes, foundation damage issues do affect a home’s value. A damaged foundation can lower a home’s value between 10-15%. It does this in a few different ways. If the damage is extensive, it’s going to cost quite a bit of money to have it repaired, and someone has to pay for it. A home with a cracked or sinking foundation is unsightly and much less attractive to others. 

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