Lets face it, there are two types of older homes, ones that have had foundation repair and ones that will need it. There are several reasons for foundation failure in Houston not limited to our gumbo soil, broken plumbing pipes, differential watering patterns and original construction defects. As a Houston Realtor, I am use to seeing what to me is one of the most deceptive promises to a buyer – “previous foundation repair with transferable lifetime warranty”.
There are many reasons why a buyer should be very cautious about previous Houston foundation repair. Here are several questions you should be asking:
- Is the company still in business? It doesn’t matter how good the warranty is if the company is out of business.
- Is the warranty really transferable? Often times there are forms and or fees that need to be paid for it to transfer. If the foundation repair was done by the previous seller, they might not have taken the correct steps to get it transferred. Another reason to verify the transfer is because occasionally the foundation repair company has been sold and no longer honors the previous companies warranty.
- How much of the home was repaired? Often times if only one section of the home has been repaired, the warranty only covers that section. So for example, if the left side has been fixed and the right side starts to sink, the warranty only covers the left side.
- How many companies have repaired the foundation? Due to homes having multiple sellers over time, there is a very good chance there was more than one company that performed the repairs. This could lead to different warranties, different repair methods etc..
- What type of piers were installed? There is a wide variety of repair methods. They range from the inexpensive and ineffective press pilings, all the way to the bell bottom piers.
In closing, let me say that when it comes to older homes, I would prefer complete foundation repair with a valid transferable warranty over a home that has never been repaired, but as a buyer, you need to make sure the questions above are answered to your liking. One other piece of advice is don’t necessarily judge the need for foundation repair based on age. It might seems natural to assume you might need foundation repair in older neighborhoods such as The Heights, Meyerland, Braes Heights, Tanglewood, West University, Afton Oaks, etc.. but I have seen recently built homes that were in need of foundation repair.
If you liked reading this article, please read Problems with Older Homes