Need some opinions on possible structural issue.

6 Replies

So looking at purchasing this reo property in my town as a rental. Its an older 1920's built house. Needs a roof, has some knob and tube wiring etc. But looks like I can get it at a great price, only thing is there's an addition to the house that looks like it's pulling away from the rest of the house. You can also feel in the floor from the inside that it's leaning. Here's a picture, any thoughts what's going on here or what to expect as far as repair cost? Thanks!

anyone got any ideas? 

Hello Rick

It is hard to tell from the picture but it looks like two possible problems:

1.  Foundation settlement.

2.  The addition was not properly connected to the existing structure.

You should have a structural engineer and a contractor that is experienced with foundation underpinning take a look at it and give you an estimate or repairs.

+1 for @Gary Landon

Yep.  Differential settlement.  I'd put my money on the fact that they put the addition on spread footings without doing much to improve the soils under them.  For additions, I like to do one of two things:  (1) Make the addition a free-standing structure with an expansion joint between it and the existing building or (2) use helical piers under the new foundation to mitigate any differential settlement.

I recommend hiring a local structural engineer experienced in foundation repair to see if the addition can be or needs to be further stabilized.  Ask about adding helical piers to the newer foundation or perhaps mud- or foam-jacking under it.  He'll know works well for your area.  I'm not an estimator, but I usually hear that helicals come out around $650 or $750 per pier (the engineer can tell you how many you'd need).  Don't know anything about the cost of jacking, though. 

Brian hit it right on the nail! Usually its just dirt to a contractor and that's about as far as it goes. Only the contractors that have been burned in the past with soil/water issues actually pay attention to soils. I've also seen multiple engineers completely overlook soil issues on projects to only have very costly repairs later down the road. One would think the foundation of anything would be important right? I guess it wasn't for this house....

Get the house in contract with your contingencies intact, get a structural engineer to come out and give you a price to fix that part. Use that bid to negotiate the price down--you can feel free to back out if they won't come down to cover some of that extra cost

REOs are usually pushovers with this sort of negotiation.

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