Searching for a new home is exciting, especially for first-time buyers looking for their dream home. There are countless beautiful houses on the market in Jacksonville that have great neighborhood potential and ample curb appeal. However, few people stop to think about what lies beneath their prospective new home. Buyers who ignore the home’s foundation may have their dream of home ownership turn into a nightmare. Purchasers must look beyond the outward appearance to avoid catastrophe or foundation repair later on.

The most important aspect when inspecting a new home is its foundation. A poor foundation cannot be seen from the street, but if a faulty foundation goes without repair, curb appeal will no longer be high on the owner’s priority list. There is so much more at stake, and if gone unchecked, a lousy foundation will negatively affect the view of the house from the street.

Florida’s marshy soil drives home the importance of a sturdy foundation. Jacksonville’s soil is prone to shift and is very susceptible to water movement, which is the primary culprit behind foundation trouble. Shifting soil beneath the foundation will cause the foundation to also shift. The result of an unstable foundation will eventually be obvious structural damage to the house.

Jacksonville buyers should be aware of the telltale signs that accompany a house in need of foundation repair. They will not be difficult to recognize and depending on the severity of the problem may even be quite obvious.

A few signs of a home with less serious foundation concerns include the following:

  • Separation of bricks or blocks on the outside of the home
  • Separation of bricks or blocks on the inside of the home
  • Cracks that run along the outer walls/sheet rock
  • Misaligned doors

The signs of severe foundation damage include:

  • Plumbing breaks
  • Rafters pulling in the attic
  • Bending or warping of framing

Here are some interior signs that indicate a foundation problem:

  • Doors and windows that will not operate properly
  • Un-level floors
  • Obvious gaps above the cabinets
  • Cabinet doors that will not stay shut
  • Diagonal cracks in walls

Before signing on the white line, it is imperative that potential homeowners take a walk around the inside and outside of their dream home to determine if the foundation is firm. Evidence of damage is not necessarily a deal breaker. Cosmetic damage does not always indicate a compromise in the foundation’s load capacity. A foundation repair specialist will be able to advise you if foundation repair is warranted.