I just got back from looking at a potential duplex property. Overall, the property looked solid with minimal repairs in the living spaces. However, in the basement, there is a few horizontal cracks in the wall. The basement has poured cement foundation. It looks like the wall was once patched with cement and now that layer has cracked. I also found some cracking in the exterior and on the porch. Here are some photos I took:
Would appreciate any input from others with more knowledge about how serious this type of crack is. There was no water leakage in the basement and no humidity at all. Thanks for any help, really appreciate it!
That one to the door doesn't worry me as much as the one in the basement, although it would be smart to patch that one up, to keep water from doing further damage to the property. The plants and grass right up against the house is an issue, there is almost always going to be some sort of water damage. Especially if it is slopping towards the house. It will be well worth it to have a structural engineer get out there and have them give you an opinion. They may tell you the same thing they told me, on a similar issue. Take the grass and sprinklers(if present) away from the house. The engineer can also tell you how that basement crack is going to effect the home long term.
Find a reputable foundation contractor in the area to give it a look. Engineers are great but they will charge $400 and hand you off to the foundation contractor that will do the work.
The stucco is cracked on both sides so there has likely been some movement. How bad... can't see enough to tell. They have laser measures that can tell how much a house has dropped, if any. The downspout to the left there has no extension and may be the culprit. Proper slope away from a house and gutter extensions can solve about 90% of foundation issues caused by water is what I have learned from my foundation guys. If it needs piers, around here helical piers run about $1500-2500/each, just for a point of reference.
Its crazy how similar your situation is to what mine was. I put the offer in on the duplex I bought because they had paperwork and an engineer report on file for what they did to remedy the issue. Like Christopher mentioned in his comment, they had put in Helical Piers to lift the duplex, and the structural engineer signed off on the repairs. That gave me enough confidence to put an offer in so that I could do my own investigation into the repairs. Long story short, there was an additional $8K of cement work that needed to happen, and they knocked that off an already low sales price. So it worked out for me...
When I saw the pictures that you posted, the first thing that came to my mind was "it looks like it has been patched up once before; is there a paper trail from the seller on what they paid for, or a professionals opinion on the damages?" I would ask the seller agent if anything can be provided by the seller. Definitely talk to a pro to figure the estimated cost to repair and then see if the seller will come down any on the sales price.
Originally posted by @Michael Vu :
@Tyler Rowland @Christopher B. Thanks for your replies! So would you guys recommend putting an offer in and going to the inspection to see how bad it actually is?
Tyler is spot on. An engineer signing off on the repairs is a great thing because reality is they are taking on the liability of the repairs providing their stamp thus tend to over engineer things for a measure of safety. I don't want to downplay the value of an engineer, I use them regularly.
In short, yes. If everything else checks out don't be too concerned about the foundation if it is a simple fix. Tyler was right the first time, I gave bad advice saying you should go directly to the contractor. What is $500 for the engineer to provide a report of what needs done and get a reference to his preferred foundation contractor? Cheap really in the grand scheme. Using the engineer the foundation company will do it exactly how he/she has spec'd it and since the engineer is signing off on the repairs he/she will only refer a company who's work they have seen and trusts, cause they are carrying the liability on the repairs.
The foundation repairs are a good negotiating card for you and with an engineer letter stating what needs to be done exactly done and a quote from the engineers trusted contractor, what argument can the seller make?
Engineers charge differently. So just to clarify, they may charge to come out and then send another bill to get the stamped paperwork. My total last foundation repair I spec'd was $750 I believe. Good luck.
I am at a similar crossroads for a potential deal on a duplex. Did you end up going through with your deal? Any issues?
Free eBook from BiggerPockets!
Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!
- Actionable advice for getting started,
- Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
- Learn how to get started with or without money,
- Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
- And a LOT more.
Sign up below to download the eBook for FREE today!
We hate spam just as much as you