When buying to renovate, it’s the problem that all property purchasers dread discovering: foundation problems. If you are buying a fixer-upper, issues with the foundations of your property can be expensive and time consuming to renovate – worse, it can make your property unstable and dangerous. When looking to invest in an existing property it’s worthwhile doing your homework to ensure you’re not buying a money pit. At Sydney Beach Homes we’ve seen and heard many stories of people buying to renovate and commencing work on their property, only to discover some serious issues. If you’re concerned that a property you’re looking to purchase could be sitting on problematic foundations, the following warning signs should help.
- Cracked brickwork
One of the biggest tell-tale signs of foundation problems is cracks in the brickwork of your house. These are usually much deeper than superficial cracks and tend to be wider at the top and narrower at the bottom. You can find out more about this particular issue in the article, from SPI Property Inspections – Cracking: Is My House About To Fall Down?
- Cracked floors
Cracks in your floors is another sign to watch out for. These cracks can appear anywhere and may differ in size and shape, but a cracked floor nearly always indicates that your foundations are affected by settlement. Minor cracks may not be a problem, however it’s always worth investigating further.
- Windows and doors not fitting correctly
This is often missed as a sign of foundation problems as they don’t appear to be directly related, but if your fittings are gaping in their frames or are jammed shut, it is possible that the pressure of your faulty foundations is pushing the brickwork apart or together, causing your fittings to misalign. Every new house build has to ‘dry out’, meaning there will always be some movement – but if you see a significant movement, that should ring alarm-bells.
- Chimney leaning away from the house
If the property has a chimney and it’s leaning away from the building, this is another indication that you have problems with your home’s foundations. Note that this is only true when the chimney is leaning away from the house – a chimney leaning towards the house is more indicative of a structural problem (which could be just as bad).
- Sinking concrete
The concrete around your home can also show signs that your foundations are problematic. In particular, if the concrete is starting to sink or sag. You may be able to notice this by sight, but another sign to look for is water pooling on the concrete. As the water pools it can cause further cracking.
- Poor air quality
Is there a smell inside? You may have noticed that the quality of air in a property isn’t great. This can be caused by a number of factors that go hand-in-hand with faulty foundations. For example, if your foundations have shifted and caused cracks in your walls or gaping around your windows and doors, your home may be letting moisure in. This may cause condensation, damp and mould growth which can cause coughs, sore throats and chest infections.
If you’re concerned that a property you own, or are considering buying is sitting on faulty foundations, we highly recommend having a detailed inspection.
It is simply not worth taking the risk!
If you need help organising an inspection, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to assist.