There's no denying that buying a home is a major commitment, which is why having a home inspection done before finalizing any sale is extremely important. However, you may be able to save yourself some time and hassle throughout the home-buying process by simply knowing what to look for when it comes to potential issues with the foundations in these homes.
Check the Closets
A lot of times, home sellers who know their home has foundation problems and want to hide that from potential buyers will patch up or paint over cracks in the home's foundation before listing the home. As such, it's important to be on the lookout for signs of a drywall patch job; it's also a good idea to ask sellers when the home's interior was last repainted. Specifically, however, be sure to inspect closets and crawlspaces for any cracks, as these are often overlooked by homeowners with the assumption that buyers won't think to look in these spaces.
Look for Diagonal Cracks
Furthermore, understand the difference between typical drywall cracks due to natural home settling and cracks that may be a sign of a more serious problem. For the most part, vertical and horizontal cracks are normal and simply indicate natural settling of the home over time. However, if you see any diagonal or "stair step" patterned cracks, you should see this as a red flag, as these are almost always signs of a foundation issue. Specifically, look for these cracks around door and window frames.
Check Door and Window Frames
Finally, even if you don't spot any obvious cracks in the home's drywall, this doesn't mean that there aren't foundation problems within the home. Another way to spot possible foundation problems is to open and close windows and doors throughout the home. If you can't get a door fully open or closed, this could be a sign that the frame has shifted over time due to foundation problems; the same goes for windows that don't seem to fit properly into the frame and are therefore very difficult to open or close.
As you can see, there are a few ways in which you can spot potential foundation problems within a home before you even think about paying hundreds of dollars for a home inspection. By being on the lookout for these signs, you can enjoy greater confidence while you shop for a new home and avoid future problems as well.