Major foundation problems in a 43k home (buffalo ny)

13 Replies

I was just informed by my newly hired property management company that I have major foundation issues at one of my properties (walls starting to cave in and bow inwards, according to their report).  The price I was quoted to fix this issue was 11k. This is my entire down payment for the home which was bought 2 years ago.  

So here are my concerns... Why was this not found during the inspection? Could this really happen in 2 years in a  100 year old home? Is it worth it to do this repair and if not what's the alternative? Welcoming all input especially from property owners in Buffalo Ny. 

How many estimates did you receive?

just the one from my property management.. need to get more, and I'm working on it... 

@Diana K.  home inspectors miss this kind of stuff every day. Some have no idea what they are doing and others provide a great service and can avoid this kind of thing.

Yes this kind of thing can happen in a 100 year old building in 2 years. I saw an old brick house that had a failed sewer line the owner didn't repair. The water from the sewer softened the foundation and the wall fell out and the house was condemned and had to be torn down.

Now to slow down a bit. Get some pictures. An issue like you/they have made it out to be will easily be visible. If it's a real issue, of the magnitude described, then you need several contactors and a few engineers (you may have to pay the engineers) to look at it. Everyone will have ideas about how to fix it. Talk to them and ask questions. The engineers will want to write a report or something. Pay them to show up and give you their thoughts verbally. If the fix requires stamped plans then hire the one you want for those. You should make sure that the people (contractors and engineers) are very familiar with this kind of work. Ask and verify this prior to spending your time meeting them at the site. Absolutely do not sign or agree to do anything until you have meet with them all. Listen to them all and ask questions. After you have done that then post back and we can give you further guidance.

Diana,  In all my years as a contractor in Buffalo, I have never seen a catastrophic foundation issue as you describe pop up on 2 years.  Either your home inspector was a complete moron or your new management company is taking a slightly leaking or weak foundation wall and trying to make a major paycheck on it.  

Either way, I would call several of the large foundation / drainage companies locally and have them give you an estimate directly.  The large guys I know of do great work but are always by far the most expensive too so this will give you a ballpark to start with for cost and exactly how bad the problem is. 

Originally posted by @Diana K.:

just the one from my property management.. need to get more, and I'm working on it... 

 Yeah, I find it strange that out of the blue it has a foundation issue. It does happen and this winter was Brutal, but I agree with @David Niles, something is amiss. Have them send you pictures of the issue immediately and there are VERY Good Foundation companies and GUYS here that would look out for you to make sure you get a good estimate ans quality work. 

@Bill S.  and @David Niles are absolutely correct - you need multiple quotes from qualified contractors who do this type of work and understand what needs to be done.  Your property manager shouldn't hesitate to send you photos of the issue as well.  This could be anything from a "weeping wall" due to poor grading to a full foundation wall replacement. Make sure you are heading down the right path.

I have photos.  Most of them don't show me anything. I see slight bowing but since I'm not a foundation expert I don't really see it as severe.  I called for a second estimate already and will get a few more. 

thanks gentlemen! 

 First Its your newly hired property manager ,  saying its major issue and its going to be 11 grand , thats a big red flag right there .  Second , what paperwork did they provide you , to come up with an estimate to repair that bad of a foundation , they should have had an engineer already look at it .  Sounds like someone is possibly trying to churn some money .

I set up for 3 more estimates next week by companies that only do foundation /basement work.  Will be making a trip to buffalo! Sigh... 


Just returned from buffalo. I obtained 3 estimates from reputable companies. Basically one thing all 3 said in common is that I need a new drainage system put in (a drain tile system and a sump pump). However they all had something different to say regarding the bowing walls. First guy said I need both side walls completely replaced. Second guy said only part of one wall, the third guy said they just need to be reinforced. Go figure! So now I want to have a non biased structural engineer come to take a look at the walls then I will decide . Anyone have any recommendations for a structural engineer by chance? My price quotes were from 10k to 70k!!!

scratch that already found one!

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