Real Estate

Foundation Concerns and Solutions

*The foundation might not be the most exciting part of the house, but it is arguably the most important.*

When you’re buying a home, there are plenty of fun things to focus on, like putting in an outdoor fire pit, chilling a bottle in that fancy new wine fridge, or relaxing in a soaker tub, to name a few. But before you start envisioning organizing your clothes in that fabulous walk-in closet, drop your eyes down a bit to focus on the home’s foundation. It holds up the house, after all. If what lies beneath isn’t good, it can cause lots of headaches (and cost you big).

Whether you’re a buyer with concerns about your potential new home’s foundation or a seller who has noticed some cracks, you’ll likely need to take some kind of action to resolve the issue (or at least know what you’re dealing with). Here’s what to do.

1. How to spot the signs of foundation damage

When you’re looking at homes for sale in Oklahoma  City, OK, or any other city, you’ll need to know whether there truly is a bad foundation or whether those cracks are from normal house settling. Here are some things to look for that could indicate potential foundation problems:

  • Misaligned doors and windows (could indicate a shift in the foundation)
  • Doors that stick or don’t latch shut
  • Windows that are difficult to open or that have cracks in the glass
  • Sloping floors or staircases (indicates a probable pitch in the foundation)
  • Cracked drywall
  • Gaps between the wall seams or between the wall and the ceiling
  • Large cracks in the exterior concrete
  • Water in the basement, crawl spaces, or around the perimeter of the home

If you spot any of these issues, consider hiring a structural engineer in addition to a home inspector "Don't Get Screwed on Your Home Inspection". “The average home inspector often won’t know the full aspect of the damages,” says Mayer Dahan, CEO of Prime Five Homes, a real estate development company in Los Angeles, CA. Hiring a structural engineer typically costs anywhere from $500 to $1,000, but if you suspect you need foundation repair, it’s probably worth the cost to find out for sure.

2. Should you buy a house with foundation problems?

In a word? Maybe. If the house you’ve fallen in love with has foundation issues, you might not always want to back away — especially if you live in a competitive real estate market 10 Hot Real Estate Markets To Watch In 2016. But don’t expect the purchase to be a cakewalk: Now that you’ve uncovered some real problems, it’s prime time to renegotiate the home’s price 9 Homebuyer Strategies That Win Negotiation Stalemates - See more HERE to reflect the amount of money you’ll have to put into it to shore up the foundation. “If you are getting a good deal and love the house, by all means, go for it.” “Foundation problems can be corrected.”

3. Foundation cracks? Beware, but be smart

Not all foundation cracks are created equal. Some point to normal settling, but others can signal a foundation problem. How can you tell the difference? Consider the size. “Thin cracks — less than ¼ inch — on foundations and walls happen as a house settles, and have probably been around for most of the house’s life,” says Kelvin Liriano, home inspector at Three Keys Home Inspections Inc. in the New York, NY, area. “They just have to be sealed to prevent water intrusion.”

But wide cracks or displacement could indicate a problem that needs to be addressed. Although it could be a costly repair 7 Ways To Save Money On Home Repairs, if you buy a house with a foundation problem, you should be prepared to take action quickly. “It will only get worse and more expensive to fix over time,” advises Dahan.

4. Selling a house with foundation problems? It’s possible

If you know that your house has a foundation problem, you might wonder if you should fix it before you list your home. It is important to be honest and upfront with buyers by disclosing what the foundation problems Buyer Beware: 5 Things Sellers Try To Hide are, but not to fix them. Here’s why: “The history of the repair will most likely require permits to be pulled, and it will be documented and become public record.” The problem with that is, potential buyers will probably cross your home off their list if they see there have been foundation problems. And if buyers don’t even look at your house, you won’t have a chance to explain that you’ve fixed the issue. It might be better to not fix the problem but let the buyer know about it so they can bring in people they trust to do the job.

But as the saying goes, even a pancake has two sides. There is another school of thought on whether you should fix a foundation problem before putting your house on the market: “It is advisable to fix the foundation before selling. The warranty and reputation of the contractor will be a strong selling point to a potential buyer.”

5. You can turn cracked lemons into lemonade

Sellers can market a foundation problem as a good thing. (Yes, really!) After coming down on the price of the home, let potential buyers know that while they’re fixing the foundation, they can easily add new amenities to the property

*Would you buy or sell a house with foundation repair issues? Let us know in the comments!*

Shannon Stiger
KW Platinum
4513 Memorial Circle
Oklahoma City, OK 73142


3 Reasons to Think Twice About A House

"It's normal to have pre-purchase nerves when you buy a home, but buyers remorse is no joke. Here are 3 reasons you may want to think twice, and 3 reasons to think you may have found the right place."


IT'S TOO EXPENSIVE– If it's too expensive for your budget, that's one thing. But you also shouldn't pay for something that's overpriced relative to other nearby homes. THE LOCATION ISN'T WHAT YOU WANT– The saying is true: you can change the house, but you can't change the neighborhood. YOU'RE UNSURE ABOUT YOUR FUTURE INCOME– You should feel confident in your job security, or that you have savings needed to handle a temporary interruption in income.


IT'S THE HOME YOU JUDGE OTHERS AGAINST– If you find yourself referring to one specific house even when you're visiting others, it may be a sign. YOU CAN SEE YOURSELF LIVING THERE– You already have the living room furniture laid out in your mind-and it fits! IT'S GOT "GOOD BONES"– Sure, maybe the wallpaper isn't perfect, but things like light fixtures and carpet are easily customized to suit your style.

Shannon Stiger
KW Platinum
4513 Memorial Circle
Oklahoma City, OK 73142

Homeowners Associations Can Be Your Best Friend or Your Worst Enemy

*Homeowners’ associations can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Here’s how to assess if yours is a good one.*

When it comes to homeowners’ associations (HOAs), some people are completely turned off, and others live by them. HOAs are in a delicate position, after all. On one hand, no one wants to be told exactly what shade of tan they must paint their house; however, no one wants to live next to a home that looks as if it has been abandoned for 20 years (Nightmare Scenario) either. Luckily, HOAs are not out to ruin homeowners’ lives, and they’re certainly not looking to get tied up in legal battles. In fact, HOA rules were created to keep neighborhoods safe, clean, and friendly.

But how do you know if the neighborhood in which you’re about to buy a home (or the one in which you currently reside) has an upstanding HOA? Use these tips to assess if your HOA is a good one.

Do your homework

Buying a house you love is a lot like a first crush. You’re so smitten with your beloved that you could fail to see the potential negatives and, in the case of a home, a really poorly managed HOA. Don’t want to end up in a hostile takeover situation of your HOA? Do your homework on the HOA before you buy. Some states even require it.

Attend a board meeting

What better way to get a real feel for how a neighborhood's HOA works than to simply attend an HOA meeting? (Check your state’s laws, though, as not all potential buyers are permitted to attend these meetings or have access to the board’s minutes.) If there’s no homeowner representation or the meeting is conducted poorly, those are red flags that something is amiss.

Learn more about the previous owners

You don’t necessarily need to know everything about the people who once owned your home. But it does help to find out if they were up to date on their HOA fees, if there are any existing fines, and, of course, any outstanding HOA requests.

Be aware of site inspections

To keep a community safe and looking good, the HOA or its management company will often do site inspections (How to Avoid “Gotcha!” HOA Scenarios). Some require an interior inspection of a home when you move in to ensure everything is up to date, while others will randomly inspect throughout the year, looking for neglected yards and landscaping or anything out of the ordinary.

Know how to get approval

Some neighborhoods are lenient when it comes to landscaping changes, renovations, or additions to a home’s exterior. But others are … well, not. Either way, if you plan to change anything on the outside of your home, it’s best to know the approval process — and follow it. “Some neighbors had requested permission to put an asphalt shingle roof on their house because of its low pitch, even though asphalt shingles are not permitted in our community roofing standards,” says Mary Westheimer, an HOA board member in Phoenix, AZ

Change the rules

It can be (and has been) done. “In many states, you can start a petition against a rule and get a number of unit owners or members to sign the petition,” explains Matt Jelinek, a licensed community and association manager for the Galleria Group in Oakland Park, FL “Another [way] is through the formal channel of the board of directors and getting a vote. You’ll see these interesting little slips of paper in most states when your annual meeting comes around. Usually, one is a general proxy and the other is a limited proxy. If you really want to effect change, knock on your neighbors’ doors and ask if they plan to attend the annual meeting. If not, ask if you can have their general proxy. A colleague of mine in an HOA had a board president who went door-to-door with a checklist in a 140-unit HOA. They had a seven-member board and he showed up with 130 general proxies. Guess who got what he wanted?”

Submitted by Shannon Stiger

5 Rooms Repurposed

Whether you're in your current home or planning for a new one, you want to make the most of your space. Here are a few ideas for re-purposing your underused rooms:

CREATE A NEW CLOSET OR EXTRA BATHROOM from a too-small guest bedroom.

TURN A WIDE HALLWAY OR UNDER-STAIRS SPACE into a study or storage area.

SHIFT A NEVER-USED FORMAL DINNING ROOM into an office or a game room.

DESIGNATE SPECIFIC AREAS IN A TOO-LARGE GREAT ROOM into different living, study, and play areas.

UPDATE A FORMAL LIVING ROOM to create a plush library.

I hope you find some of these ideas helpful to your situation.

Shannon Stiger
REALTOR - KW Platinum
4513 Memorial Circle
Oklahoma City, OK 73142