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Selling a House with Foundation Problems

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Selling a home with foundation issues can be a tough job. Foundation problems can have a huge impact on a property’s value and marketability.

But, with the right preparation and disclosure, it is possible to sell a house with foundation issues successfully.

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How do you tell if a house has a bad foundation?

Using a spirit level to check for sloping or uneven floors is an excellent way to detect potential foundation issues.

Additionally, you should look out for cracks in the walls or floors, doors and windows that stick or don’t close properly, as well as water damage and mould growth. These are some of the warning signs you should be aware of:

Visible signs of foundation problems: These can include cracks in the walls, uneven flooring, and doors and windows that don’t close correctly. These visual cues can be a sign of underlying foundation issues.

Structural issues with the house: If you observe bending walls, leaning chimneys, or sloping floors, the foundation is likely affected.

How do you check foundations?

The only way to determine the foundation detail is to inspect it physically by digging exploratory test pits. It is a frequent misconception that house builders or local authorities keep a record of foundation types, but this is not accurate.

Selling a House with Foundation Problems
Visible signs of foundation problems: These can include cracks in the walls, uneven flooring, and doors and windows that don't close correctly.

How to tell the difference between house settling and foundation problems?

Most of the time, you can tell if your foundation is settling by noticing thin cracks in the foundation and hearing slight creaks in the floorboards.

However, wider or uneven cracks, horizontal or step-shaped spaces in the foundation wall, or cracks that go around corners are all signs that there may be an issue with your foundation.

What Causes Foundation Issues?

Understanding the causes of foundation issues can help homeowners and sellers take the necessary steps to address them. Common causes include:

  • Soil-related problems, such as clay, which expands and contracts with changes in moisture, putting strain on the foundation.
  • Inadequate construction techniques, like inadequate drainage or the use of low-quality materials, can also lead to foundation problems.
  • Leaks from pipes can add excess moisture to the soil underneath the foundation, eroding it and causing it to shift or settle.
  • The roots of large trees near the house can draw moisture from the soil, resulting in soil shrinkage and foundation difficulties.

Other causes include:

Poor drainage


Foundation drainage concerns

Soil and climate problems

Temperature changes

Tree roots



Soil composition

Fill soil compression

Foundation failure

Improper construction

Other foundation damages

Poor soil foundation

Soil erosion

Water damage

Cracks in brickwork

Frost heave

Hydrostatic pressure

Plumbing leaks

Soil composition beneath the foundation

How much does it cost to repair a foundation?

The cost of a structural engineer’s surveyor can easily run into thousands of pounds, depending on the severity of the problem.  The likely course of underpinning will easily cost tens of thousands of pounds – and this treatment must be disclosed to any potential buyer.

These are some of the common foundation problems:

Horizontal foundation crack

Cracks of this type are usually caused by either water pressure or soil pressure that results from inadequate drainage. Additionally, they can be the result of inadequate backfilling during the construction process.

Foundation erosion

This type of problem usually suggests that there are drainage issues. It happens when dirt is displaced from the exterior of your house’s foundation wall.

What is a Foundation leak
Foundation leaks can be the result of inadequate drainage, heavy rainfall, and high water tables - just to name a few potential causes.

Foundation leak

Foundation leaks can be the result of inadequate drainage, heavy rainfall, and high water tables – just to name a few potential causes.

Sinking foundation

This type of problem is usually due to settling of the soil beneath your foundation. If you notice that your basement or crawlspace floor is uneven, or there are sections that have sunk, it could be a sign that your foundation is sinking.

Shifting foundation

Foundations often settle due to soil movement, but if it shifts drastically, it can lead to major issues.

Bowing foundation

Bowing of the walls in your home can lead to its collapse if left unchecked. To prevent this, it is important to first identify and fix the underlying issue and then reinforce the foundation. Doing so will safeguard your home from further damage.

Crumbling foundation

There are several reasons why a foundation may be crumbling. These can include water penetration, settling, or simply due to its age.

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