“Trying to sell a home with foundation repair issues can be an experience in frustration” says Diego Gorgazzi of A-1 Engineering in San Antonio, Texas. What he has seen is that buyers may bypass a home that they think might have structural integrity issues. Or a financial institution will decline to loan funds until the foundation issue is “fixed.” And “fixing” the foundation may be ten or twenty thousand dollars or more. So what should a homeowner do?
Well, there is another option that usually does not get considered by homeowners. They can contact a structural engineer for a formal written opinion of their home’s structural soundness and foundation. Structural engineers are the only professionals that are qualified to write engineering opinions about the structural integrity of a home and its foundation.
An independent, formal engineering opinion will remove many of the doubts of both buyers and sellers of a home. “Many times I have inspected homes and found only superficial cracks, which are nothing to worry about. Other times the foundation cracks are minor and the house is structurally sound” stated Mr. Gorgazzi.
Not being engineers, homeowners do not understand that soil movement is normal in much of Texas. Soil movement can crack foundations but other factors such as temperature, moisture, and wind can also affect the walls and roof framing. A structural engineer can help determine if the foundation or other factors are responsible for any visible damage.
A potential home buyer is usually more willing to move forward after he or she receives a copy of a Structural Engineer’s report. The report will detail the structural condition of the entire house including the foundation. Usually a Level A Structural Inspection will address the needs of the various parties in the transaction. If the report states that the house is structurally sound then the lending institution will usually loan the funds without requiring any foundation repair.
The structural engineer’s report will also suggest possible solutions to any of the recognized structural problems. These solutions are often simpler and far less costly than a contractor’s foundation repair estimate. The last point made by Mr. Gorgazzi is that a Level A Structural Inspection report is well worth the money spent and far cheaper than an unnecessary foundation repair.
A-1 Engineering provides structural engineering and related services in San Antonio, Austin, and Houston, Texas.