On Nov. 30, 2018, the Anchorage area in Alaska went through a magnitude 7.0 earthquake, causing chaos among residents who immediately searched for cover. Apart from terror, the quake has damaged residential properties; some reported that their homes have become unstable.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides aid, such as grant money for temporary housing, home repairs, and low-interest loans for uninsured property damage, to the disaster victims. Meanwhile, about 1,200 properties in the affected area are waiting for public earthquake damage inspections.
Certain places, like Alaska, are prone to earthquakes, but it can happen anywhere. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimates 500,000 detectable earthquakes every year worldwide.
If an earthquake hits your area, a property inspection is necessary because you need to know if your home or building sustained damage that may put you and other people’s lives at risk.
Key Areas to Check in Your Home
Cracked drywall is one sign of serious damage in homes. You may call your local foundation repair contractors for a professional inspection and an appropriate solution for the problem. Real estate experts explain that a faulty foundation is not only costly but also dangerous.
A report by Realtor.com says that you can tell if a crack is a problem or not based on its type. It expounds that hairline cracks in the mortar between concrete blocks might not be something serious because it may eventually heal over time. But if they didn’t, it can indicate a serious problem.
Cracks in the mortar joint that look like stairs and wider than a quarter-inch, on the other hand, may require professional attention. You should also consider seeking professional help if horizontal or jagged 45-degree cracks appear on your wall.
Additionally, doors and windows can indicate foundation issues in your home. In case the doors and windows on one whole side of your home won’t close entirely, check if there are cracks in the walls around their frames. It may indicate that something has shifted in your foundation.
The Impact of Earthquake Damage to Property Value
Homes with earthquake-related damage may not do well in the market when you decide to sell it. For buyers, choosing a house with such problems can be risky. They have to spend more on the property to make it safer to live in.
Buyers of homes with foundation problems would need different financing. Lenders, like the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, usually finance structurally sound houses. Otherwise, they will give buyers higher interest rates on their loan, or they have to provide a bigger down payment.
Other than the foundation issues, home buyers may also spend on repairing problems that occurred due to a faulty foundation. These problems include crooked windows and doors, broken tiles, and uneven floors.
Make Your Home Earthquake-proof
When building your home, you to make the structure resistant to earthquake. Preparing your home for such a disaster doesn’t only protect your property, but it also keeps your family from harm.
Work with contractors on specific measures, including:
- Exterior wall-to-foundation connection using anchor bolts
- Exterior wall-to-foundation connection using retrofit foundation plates
- Cripple-wall shear reinforcement
- Earthquake-resistant bracing system for mobile homes
As Benjamin Franklin once said: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” With careful steps today to keep your home structurally sound after an earthquake, you may go through a future natural disaster unscathed and keep the integrity of your property.