Whether you buy a new Lake Havasu home or purchase an older property, you're bound to find cracks of some sort. As homes settle, it puts stress on the rest of the house. But how can you tell the difference between normal wear and tear and actual serious foundation issues? Look for these signs.

Even newly constructed homes may have cracks due to settling. But can you tell the difference between normal wear and tear and serious foundation issues?

How to Identify Foundation Issues

Wall/Ceiling Cracks

Search Lake Havasu homes for saleIf you see small, thin cracks in your walls or ceiling, these most likely came from your house settling. However, if the cracks are in a jagged stairstep motion, this could indicate foundation issues. Also, look out for cracks measuring 1/4" or wider. Beware of long horizontal cracks on your interior walls. These could signify trouble with your roof trusses. Left unchecked, these cracks could lead to a separation of your ceiling from your walls and will need a professional's skills and a lot of money to fix.

Sticking Doors/Windows

As a house settles, things begin to shift. That includes the frame around your doors and windows. If your interior doors stick when you try to open them up or your windowsills begin to slump, it could be an indicator that you have foundation issues.

Uneven/Sloping Floors

Uneven or sloping floors also provide a hint that there might be foundation issues in your Havasu home. How do you check if they're uneven? Set marbles or a ball down on the floor. If they move on their own without any prompting by you, the floor's uneven.

Powder on the Walls

Do you see a white, brown or yellow chalk-like substance on your walls? It could be salt residue left over from moisture inside. That could be due to foundation issues or plumbing problems. Either way, it's not something you want to see and should be addressed immediately.

What Do You Do Now?

If you think you might have foundation issues in your Lake Havasu home, contact several contractors. Have them come out to inspect the problem. Ask for an estimate from each. Then, get references. Contact clients who used that contractor's services a few years ago. That way you know whether or not their work held up over the years.

Suzan James, Havasu Realty, for all your Lake Havasu real estate needs