Are foundation issues a reason to sell a duplex?

9 Replies

I own a duplex that is unfortunately starting to show signs of foundation issues (floors becoming uneven, cracked tiles, hairline cracks in the wall, doors won't close, etc). The issues aren't bad right now, but the signs are certainly there. I bought this place a few years ago with the intention of keeping it as a long-term buy and hold, but now with the foundation issues starting to slowly show themselves I'm wondering if I should sell before the foundation problems get worse and make the Duplex hard to sell.

What do you all think? Should I look at selling and moving on from this duplex or am I over thinking the foundation stuff?

Hi @Christopher Oliva ,

Any competent buyer will see the issues and discount accordingly, so if I were in your shoes I'd first figure out what's causing the problem and see if it can be fixed economically.

Example, is it a crushed sill plate that termites ate up?   You can jack up the foundation and sister in a new sill, if that's the case.

If it's just general ground settling (i.e. not a sink hole) try to stabilize it.  Use a couple 11,000 lbs metal jack stands you can get at most big box stores like Lowes or HD.  A few of those placed strategically on top of 3-4 inches thick of concrete pavers might keep the problems from getting much worse.

Foundation issues are some of the worst problem investors face, unless you know how to fix them economically.  Now would be a good time to do the research.

@Christopher Oliva how much will it cost to properly repair? Im afraid if you sell, you must state this in your disclosure or you will be misrepresenting the property, and for that it could cause a discount in price.

@Christopher Oliva good advice here. What city are you in? Is this pier and beam or concrete. I have had some major foundation repair jobs done in San Antonio. PM me if you need a contact in SA. I think this is just part of the game in Texas. I agree with others to act early rather than later as it will likely worsen. Catching it before plumbing is involved (if concrete) can save a lot of money on tunneling.

Best of luck!

Your house might need gutters, dirt at certain locations where water is pooling or maybe just have the tenants water the yard. THAT is what it usually is. Watering regularly will keep the soil from heaving so much and causing the foundation to move.

OR you might have some plumbing issues under the house. 

Get the plumbing checked along with drainage issues.

Originally posted by @Theresa Harris :

Get them fixed before they become a big problem.  Plus now that you know about it, you will have to disclose it when you sell and that will affect the sales price.

Disclose what? Unless its a survey done by a professional its only an a opinion. Even a Home Inspector will give a generic opinion on the visual and will recommend an engineer look into it. 


Thanks for the input, everyone! @Will Pritchett I'm in San Antonio as well. I'm pretty sure the foundation is a concrete slab. I appreciate the offer on the foundation contact, especially because I hear that it's easy to get involved with shady foundation companies.

@Rick Pozos I'm willing to bet part of the issue is the tenants not watering the yard. I added dirt in areas that needed it when I purchased the duplex, didn't do gutters though. I've thought about having a sprinkler system installed to water around the foundation, but I wonder if the tenants would complain about the sprinklers affecting their water bill or if they'd turn the sprinklers off all together?

This can be tricky and will depend on the situation.

If you're seeing shifting happen at a quick pace you will likely want to get it leveled and stabilized immediately. Some foundation companies charge a lot less just to stabilize the slab if you aren't having to lift it very much.

On the other hand if it's shifting very slowly, I would probably suggest waiting until your planned exit time (if you're planning on selling within the next decade or two), and level it completely with permits and have an engineers letter and warranty to pass on to your new buyer. Otherwise you may level it now and have to do it again when selling time comes.

Hey @Christopher Oliva If its just some slight settling it shouldn't be to big of a problem to just get it fixed quick and easy. Definitely wouldn't want to stress about selling it, especially if you're looking for a long term rental. And if you do fix it while its cheap, down the line you'll probably make your money back if not more because the new buyer/owner will know the foundation is solid/fixed and would be willing to pay more.