Buying An Earthquake-Damaged Home: Is It Worth It?

29 October 2015
 Categories: , Blog


If you are buying a home in an earthquake-prone location, you may wonder if it's worth it to purchase a home that may have been damaged. After all, a residence that is not structurally sound will need a lot of restoration before it is safe for you to live in. No matter how tempting a home's selling price may be and how "normal" it may appear, you should take a few things into consideration before buying a home that may have been damaged by an earthquake. To know if a house is worth it or not, address the following concerns:

Where the damage is

A home may not even look like it's been structurally damaged after an earthquake. It may take the expert eye of a structural engineer to spot the many areas of a home that are in need of repair. A structural engineer will look for the following when inspecting a home you are wishing to buy for earthquake damage:

  • leaning or slanting doorways
  • cracks in walls or ceilings
  • shifting joints
  • sagging roof

All of these are indicators that a home may have been shifted off its foundation due to an earthquake. Knowing where the damage is in the home can help you prepare for repair and restoration needs should you consider buying it as-is. In some cases, the damage is too extensive for it to be worth it to buy an earthquake-damaged home. A professional inspection will help determine if a house is worth buying based on the amount of damage it has.

How much the repairs will cost

Foundation repairs alone can set you back several thousand dollars. You may also be facing roof repair or replacement or the replacement of weight-bearing beams in your attic. You need to consider how much repairs will cost when you are buying an earthquake damaged home, even if the home is being sold at a very cheap price to help offset these costs. A structural engineer can help determine how much your investment in repairs and restoration will be so you can negotiate a lower selling price for a damaged home.

If you are thinking about buying a home that has been damaged by an earthquake, you want to know 2 things: where the damage is and how bad it is, and how much the repairs will put you out financially. Knowing these things can help you determine if a home is worth it to be purchased or not.