House Leveling: A Quick and Easy Guide

House Leveling Can Save the Value of Your Home

house levelingAs a homeowner, realizing that you may need house leveling and repair can be unsettling. You’ve probably heard that having a home leveled or having your foundation repaired will cost you a small fortune, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Having your foundation repaired might be less costly than you think, particularly if your home features a pier and beam foundation. Regardless of cost, however, having your foundation issues resolved is essential. Luckily, understanding a little more about having your home leveled can make the process less intimidating and can help you make the right decisions in regards to maintaining and repairing your home.

What is House Leveling?

Over time, your home’s foundation can begin to fail. This can be due to a lot of things, such as excess moisture or soil-related problems, a foundation that wasn’t really designed to effectively support your home’s weight and more. Ensuring that your house is on a sturdy foundation is essential, however, to prevent costly repairs and other issues. Fortunately, companies that focus on foundation repair can resolve these issues for you; not only can they repair your foundation, but they can also point out the causes of your problems and can help you fix them. This will help ensure that your home has a level foundation and that you don’t have to worry about the many issues that can go along with foundation failure.

However, it’s very important to do your due diligence and select the best foundation repair company to do the job.  Here’s an example of what can go wrong when hiring a shady operator:

Why is a Level Foundation So Important?

Your home’s entire weight sits on its foundation. As you can imagine, houses are pretty heavy, so ensuring that they sit on a solid foundation is imperative. This is true for any home but can become even more of an issue with two-story houses.

Foundation failure can cause more problems than you probably realize. Although it can be easy to ignore these issues at first, they can begin to get much more serious over time. As your foundation continues to fail, your home can sink and sag significantly. Both interior and exterior damage can occur and become increasingly serious, and your repairs can get even more costly.

Does Your House Need Leveling?

You might have noticed what seem like clues, or you could just be concerned about the structural integrity of your home. Luckily, it’s possible to identify whether or not your home has foundation-related problems. There are a few signs that you can look for if you’re unsure of your home needs to be leveled. Here are a few clues to keep your eyes open for:

-Have you noticed cracking in your walls? These cracks can be small or quite long, and you might spot them in one or more areas of your home.
-If you have a brick home, you may have noticed cracks in your chimney, exterior walls, near your windows and doors and in other areas.
-Are your doors sticking or otherwise failing to shut properly?
-Are there gaps between your floors or ceilings and interior walls?
-Does your home seem to be sinking, shifting or sagging?
-Have you noticed issues with your floors? For example, are they sagging or bowing? Have you noticed that they are softer or bouncier? Do they seem to be uneven?
-Does your home appear to be uneven or unlevel when you look at it from the outside?

If you have noticed any of these problems, it is essential to have your foundation looked at by a professional as soon as possible. The right contractor can take a look at your home, assess the damage and tell you whether or not you need house leveling and what the cause of the problems could be. This will allow you to move forward and make necessary repairs to your home, and it can also help you become proactive to help prevent these issues from occurring in the future.

How are Pier and Beam Foundations Leveled?

If your home has a pier and beam foundation and a dirt crawl space, you’re in luck. These foundations are generally much easier to repair because there is much easier access. Plus, the materials and tools that are used aren’t as costly.

There are a few common methods that are used for house leveling with pier and beam foundations, including:

-Installing new piers along with a new concrete base and heavy-duty steel or block supports
-Leveling the girders and joists beneath the home with SmartJacks
-“Sistering” fresh, high-quality lumber to any damaged or rotted joists and girders
-Using steel I-beams to retrofit any damaged beams

Along with using one of these proven methods, it’s essential to get to the root of the problem. For example, if your foundation damage has been caused by moisture-related issues, it’s essential to solve these problems by fixing any leaks and potentially installing a new water drainage system. In many cases, moisture is the true problem for foundation damage with homes that have pier and beam foundations. Another problem could be that your foundation simply wasn’t adequately designed to support your home, such as if the piers are spaced too far apart. Fortunately, having a professional install more piers can fix this problem and make for a sturdy, permanent foundation that you can rely on.

How are Slab Foundations Leveled?

Slab foundations have been becoming increasingly common since the mid-1950s. Even though these foundations are popular, they can fail as well. Foundation damage with most slab foundations is generally due to the soil; in many places, especially here in Texas, it is common for soil to go through periods of extreme moisture and extreme dryness. This causes soil to expand and contract, which can cause your home to shift. Over time, this shifting can cause cracks and other problems, and there could be the need for professional repair.

Here are a few ways that your home’s slab foundation could be repaired during the house leveling process:

-Helical Piers
-Drilled Bell Piers
-Concrete Pilings and Piers
-Resistance or Steel Push Piers
-Pressed Pilings and Piers

Many homeowners are overwhelmed by the idea of having their foundations repaired, but this process is critical if you want to maintain the structural integrity of your home. Luckily, working with the right foundation repair contractor will allow you to determine the causes of these issues and can help ensure that your home is safe and stable into the future. Additional benefits can be gained by hiring a professional structural engineer who can offer an independent evaluation of your home and make suggestions on the best approach to fixing your foundation.

Related:  Slab foundation repair project

5 Tips for Making a Smart Fixer-Upper Investment

The Smart Fixer-Upper

Buying real estate is a great way to turn over a profit and build your collection of investments. If you don’t have a lot to spend or simply want to increase your profits, it isn’t a bad idea to look for a fixer-upper investment. Not all fixer-upper properties are good options, but these five tips can help you make the right decision.

1. Don’t Spend Too Much

Some fixer-upper properties are worth more than others, but you should never spend too much on a property that is in need of serious repair. When choosing a property to invest in, total up the estimated charges for making repairs, and add this number to the cost of the property. Then, make sure that you will be able to make a comfortable profit after all of these costs.

2. Have a Professional Take a Look

Some issues with fixer-upper investment properties can be more serious than they appear. If you don’t have a good eye for potential damage, such as structural issues, it’s a good idea to have a professional take a look. Although you will have to pay for an inspection, you can actually save a lot of money in the long run by knowing exactly what condition the home is in.

3. Pay Attention to the Location

Homes can be repaired and made to be worth much, much more than their current value, but the location isn’t something that can be easily changed. Along with looking for a house that you can restore to make more valuable, you should also pay attention to the neighborhood that it is in. Look for a safe neighborhood with reasonably high property values for best results. If you do choose to invest in a fixer-upper that isn’t in the best of areas, you should keep that in mind when determining how much to spend.

4. Hire the Right People to Do the Work

fixer upperA lot of repairs can be very costly when you factor in the cost of materials and the cost of labor. By finding the right people to do the work, you can save a lot on these repairs and therefore turn over a higher profit. If possible, it’s a good idea for you to do some of the work yourself; this is one of the best ways to get the work done right while still saving money. If you don’t know much about making these repairs or don’t have the time to handle them, you should shop around for a repair company that will handle the job for a reasonable price. All of the costs that you can cut during the restoration process will add to your bottom line later on.

5. Make the House a Home

Make modern repairs, and make sure that the home is structurally sound. Ensuring that it looks great and is safe before selling is the best way to make a nice profit off of your fixer-upper investment.

Buying properties, restoring them and selling them for more than you paid for them is an excellent way to turn a profit, and following these five tips will help guarantee your success.

Related:  Buy Fix and Flip Properties

5 Important Components of Subdivision Development

Subdivision Development Considerations

Developing a nice subdivision is a great way to turn your land into something great, but you have to go about it the right way. Starting a subdivision without a plan in mind is like setting yourself up for failure, but keeping these five important components of subdivision development in mind is a great way to help ensure success.

1.  Where is the Subdivision Located?

One of the first most important components of subdivision development is choosing the right location, but builders do choose different locations for different reasons. For example, it’s a nice idea to set up a subdivision in the suburbs or near a military installation, but subdivisions can also do well in areas where there aren’t many single-family homes. Regardless, it is essential to choose an area with a healthy population or that is growing relatively quickly.

2.  How Much Space is Available?

When developing a subdivision, it is essential to make sure that there is enough space for the neighborhood to really grow. Along with making sure that there is ample space for the beginning plans and to make sure that each residence has a large enough lawn, it isn’t a bad idea to invest in a bit of extra acreage; this will allow for a bit of breathing room if the neighborhood really takes off.

3.  What Types of Homes Will Be Built?

subdivision developmentDetermining what type of homes will be built is one of the essential components of subdivision development. Failing to have a plan in mind can cause you to end up with a neighborhood that doesn’t have a cohesive look and feel, or the neighborhood could go in the wrong direction. For example, you will probably want to determine an average size and price for the homes in the subdivision; although they all won’t be exactly the same price or size, they should have something in common. You might even want to opt for homes in a certain style, or you could choose that you want all of the homes to be brick or to have something else in common aesthetically.

4.  What Amenities Will Be Offered?

Since there are a lot of different subdivisions out there, you have to add enough amenities to make people want to call your neighborhood home. For example, you might choose to offer a swimming pool and a small park for the kids to play in. Or, you could opt to plant beautiful gardens. You don’t have to have everything, but you will want to have a few things to offer that will make your subdivision different from the countless others that are out there. When planning these amenities, however, make sure that you put them in your budget; not only do you have to worry about initial costs, but you also have to think about maintenance and upkeep as well.

5.  How Will the Subdivision Be Developed?

Who will be in charge of the subdivision development? For example, are you planning on having the homes built to your specifications and then sold, or will you be selling lots with restrictions? Also, will there be a homeowner’s association?

Related:  Development Strategies

The Basic Real Estate Development Process

When it comes to real estate development, there are a lot of different aspects of the business one can delve into. In the broadest terms, it refers to anything involving land and the construction or renovation of structures. And developers are the ones who serve as coordinators and overall head of the project.

While the work of developing real estate can be complex and daunting, it the whole process may be simplified into a basic model.

One way to look at it is that development involves scoping the market for properties with potential, purchasing the lot, developing the area or structure and selling it at a profit.

While a lot of work also goes into looking for that perfect property and finding a buyer, real estate development is mostly about the rehabilitation or reconstruction of houses or buildings.

You can go through the process by starting immediately with the purchase.

Once you have a piece of land or a house or an old building you would want to improve and sell for a higher price, you should start creating a plan.

What exactly are you envisioning for the place? If it’s a piece of land, are you aiming for a residential or commercial building? Will it be a stand-alone house or a row of townhouses?

real estate developmentThere are a lot of possibilities but you should be choosing the one that would allow you to reap the greatest rewards. Many factors come into play when it comes to real estate development. You should consider the area. If it’s a commercial area, it won’t be a good idea to build a house. Perhaps an apartment complex would be better with the first floor reserved for shops. This will raise the value of the property because it could be rented by a large number of people and not just one family or one shop. The same rule applies when renovating a house. Will the renovations increase the property’s value?

The next step after finalizing the real estate development plan is getting your team together to start the construction.

Yes, as a developer you need a team. If you are just a small developer, you just need a handful of people to help you coordinate and lead different aspects of the work. You should have a broker or property specialists who will help you find properties and sellers, as well as estimate the value of your developed property.

Next is your contractor who will lead the day-to-day operations of the renovation or construction of your property. But while everything should be left to his capable hands – it is assumed that you hire someone who is experienced and trustworthy – a developer should from time to time monitor the daily construction work.

In real estate development, being hands-on is a good thing. It enables you to ensure that everything is going as scheduled and the quality of the renovation or construction is at par with your standards.

The construction process may vary, depending on the work needed to be done. It could be as easy as repairing and refurbishing an old home, most likely foreclosed or mortgaged. Or it could be as challenging as replacing parts of a house or installing major features such as a pool or a second floor.

Just make sure that you have the necessary papers and that the rehabilitation is within budget.

At this point, a developer should be regularly computing the costs of the renovation and check if there is still room for a good profit. Know when and how to adjust. There are times in real estate development where the plan cannot be followed completely. When that happens, you either have to stop and make do with what you have already because of a shortage in the budget or you can push through with an alternative and cheaper plan.

Eventually, you will have to be knowledgeable and well-versed in construction. You will have to make decisions as to what kinds of materials should be used and what particular features would help you raise the value of the property.

Renovation and real estate development may last for months. Keep the timeframe as short as possible since you would most likely want to be able to sell as soon as possible. That is, after all the purpose of house flipping. Extending the days of your operations will only result in added costs and erode your potential profits.

Once the real estate development is finished, you can start advertising your property. You can do it yourself through advertisements posted in news paper, buy and sell magazines or websites. Or you can tap a broker or property specialist to help you find a perfect buyer. Remember also that there are different buyers – some looking for their dream home, others looking for a good investment. Learn what kind of customer your property caters to and brainstorm how you can reach your perfect buyer.

Related:  Components of Real Estate Development

Strategies for Real Estate Development

When it comes to real estate development strategies, there’s no one way to do it. There are multiple strategies to consider, not to mention varying factors.

But there at least three real estate development strategies being followed by successful investors today.

The first is the bargain purchase which means you were able to buy the real estate for at least 20 percent below its current market value. How do you make such a real estate investment? Easy. Buy foreclosed houses or those in a pre-foreclosure short sale.

These are actually easy to come by if you know where to look.

The first place to look for such an opportunity is at the classified ads. Look for banks with scheduled foreclosure auctions. Banks are often at the receiving end of mortgaged houses and regularly sell these at auctions. They will usually come out with advertisements with a couple of details about the property and the minimum bid.

If you are not able to find such advertisements, you can go directly to the bank or check their websites. They usually have this kind of information available in document form with the listing of all properties up for sale.

foreclosure REOYou can also look for brokerages specializing in selling foreclosed homes. Often there are companies that cater to such. They buy the properties from beleaguered owners who cannot pay their loans anymore or whose houses are already about to be foreclosed.

These houses are then included in their database listing all the houses up for sale.

Before making your first real estate investment by buying a mortgaged house, make sure that there are no problems with the property’s documents. The companies selling you the property will most likely detail the issues or problems surrounding the property.

The second way to make a real estate investment is through the increase-value strategy. Under such a strategy, you purchase a property even if its cost is the current market value. Just make sure that it has some unrealized potential you can tap into once you renovate the place. This can be a house in the suburbs that you will turn into a commercial area or a simple bungalow with a large lot and a nice view of the sea. Play up on the property’s potential and you may find yourself with a gem of an investment.

However, time is of the essence with such a real estate investment. You must be able to increase its value by at least 20 percent within six months for the investment to be worthwhile.

Under this strategy, you can also buy lots and build townhouses or other kinds of infrastructure. Just make sure that the end result will give you a profit and not a headache.

Finally, the most common real estate investment strategy followed by even those not interested in home flipping and development is buying a property and waiting for its value to increase in the market.

These are mostly done by long-term investors. But others tend to look down upon such a strategy because it’s mostly based on speculation. Some buy properties near the cities, hoping that in five years or so the demand for such places will increase, and so will its value or market price.

While a handful had become wealthy because they followed this strategy, it does not fit in the flipping industry that requires you to sell your property as soon as your acquire and repair it.

Remember that while a real estate investment usually needs time to mature, in the home flipping business you are the one that makes sure that the property appreciates in value, not time.

In fact, you will be always running against time because the costs of upkeep and operations will start to pile up. You don’t want to spend on the maintenance of a home you’re itching to sell. As days pass by without you making a sale, the costs of upkeep will erode your profits and you might eventually end up breaking even or worse, selling on a deficit.

There are some home flippers who actually sell before buying a property though this is rare. They do this by striking a deal with the owner of the property and the potential buyer. The buyer might be interested in the house but would not bother to repair or renovate it by himself so he’ll rely on the flipper.

To be able to do this, you should be really experienced in the industry and have made a mark and a lasting reputation. Clients who are willing to buy into such a scheme would have to truly trust you, either because they know you personally or you had already done it for one of their friends.

In the end, it will all depend on your ability to spot a great real estate investment, the property’s potential, and the needs of your market.

Related:  Buying properties wholesale

Home Inspection of a Property Prior to Purchase

One of the complicated tasks in purchasing a house is the assessment of its physical condition. Since repairs to structural and mechanical systems are usually costly, a preliminary home inspection can help you avoid them, or at least anticipate the cost and factor it into the buying price. Even if you are looking for an old home that you want to renovate, you’d be in a better position to sign the purchase offer by pricing it right considering the current condition of the property after doing a home inspection.

home inspectionA home inspection requires some technical knowledge on structural and mechanical systems. Shown in this article are some important technical considerations when looking at a property for sale.

Home Foundation

This is probably the most important feature to look into when doing a home inspection. A house might be built over a basement, a crawl space or over a concrete slab that lies flat on earth. Whatever the base of the foundation is, it is important that this part of the structure is able to support to whole weight of the house above it and that it is evenly distributed to the soil below. Lateral forces of the earth that tend to push the foundation inwards should also be covered to avoid leaks and cracks on the foundation. For areas prone to very cold climate, make sure that the concrete slab which serves as the main foundation is covered in walls well below the frost line. Home foundation repair can be an expensive item and should be checked out completely during the pre-purchase inspection.

Building Materials

From the foundation to the roof, houses can be made of different materials and a varying composite of these building materials. For the foundation, poured concrete and concrete blocks with metal reinforcements are the most common building material used. Both wood and concrete are resistant to moisture penetration and when properly placed offer a good foundation for a house to be built on. When doing a home inspection, the materials for the foundation may be hard to inspect as they can be hidden beneath layers of dirt. Look for exposed part of the masonry foundation for cracks. While it is not possible to diagnose foundation problems with cracks alone, it can be an indicator of a potential problematic condition. Also, check if the gutters and downspouts are in good shape. If they are not, chances are rainwater has run down the foundation walls and has caused damage to the foundation. Further, it is prudent to really test by digging through the pile of dirt.

The main part of the house is the easiest to see when doing a home inspection. However, it could be made of a composite of different building materials. Wood is usually durable and may last for a long time. Keep an eye on the glass components such as the windows, doors and partitions. Broken glass can lower the value of a property. While they are easy to replace, they are most often costly. Plastics and other materials that may tear with use or go out of style should be noted.


The floors of the house can have multiple purposes. One is that it is used to support the walls and the roof. When on a home inspection, floors at all levels should be inspected. Make sure that it is sturdy enough to support the weight of the people and furniture that you are planning to utilize within the property. Look at the ceiling joists that support the floor in the higher levels. Test for signs of decay. A soft wood can be an indicator of moisture damage or insect infestation.  A home with a crawl space (pier and beam foundation) can experience sagging or settlement from damaged support structures beneath the floors. These two factors can seriously affect the floors and the whole area damaged. Floor surfaces should also be examined. Most floors in old houses may have a need for refurbishing. A tile may have cracked or a carpet soiled and stained. These needs thorough attention in the home inspection.

Walls and Partitions

The exterior walls also functions as a support to the roof. In doing a home inspection, never forget to see if these load – bearing walls are sturdy and in good condition. Otherwise, replacing or repairing these walls can be very costly. Interior partitions might be less costly. However, check to see if the placement, design and décor are to your liking or can easily be adjusted to suit your test. A major renovation can again cost you a lot.  Also, be wary about dismantling inner partitions as they might also be load bearing. It is always wise to consult and engineer or architect for these types of repair work.


Lastly, check the roof of the property. This can be the easy part in a home inspection. Problems with the roof can easily be detected with a visual inspection. However, make sure that the materials used are not the banned types such as asbestos or others that are made of hazardous chemical components. Otherwise, you will end up replacing the whole roofing system at a gargantuan cost.

For more on home inspections and appraisals check out this site:

Related:  Fixer Upper Investments