Foundation Cracks in Potential Live in Flip

8 Replies


I'd love some feedback on how to best proceed with a potential live in flip that I'm considering.  I walked the house yesterday with my realtor and a GC who gave us a quote. There were three different horizontal cracks in the foundation, all on different walls. 

...worth proceeding? 

The cracks didn't seem very big, but if they're fixed correctly, will that be sufficient for the next buyer in 2-3 years? The current owner also gave us the receipt from fixing the 4th wall, which we think had the same issue, but not certain. It was around 12k to fix that wall.



@Pat Dansdill were you and your GC able to get into the property? I am an agent and investor, my office is in Wheaton, and I am NOT a home inspector, but have heard the inspectors my clients use say vertical cracks are the settling cracks. I am sure you agent/CG has a "guy". I have a great concrete guy, who we consult with for cracks and water issues,  if you need a second opinion. 

Hi Pat, I am a builder / flipper / investor and have done more than 20 properties in Wheaton & Glen Ellyn. Whatever you do, DO NOT hire PERMASEAL OR US WATERPROOFING! They are really expensive, will oversell you and erode house profits. I typically go in and take out walls, open up floor plan and put products in that look really high end but without the cost! If looking for 2nd opinion or 2nd quote (always smart) give me a call. Can show you actual flips, best use and profit scenario. By the way, in this market I love the live and flip. It is not easy to make large profits in this current environment so analysis is crucial. 

Good luck,


Hey Pat,

I sort of buried the lead. Most houses I buy have some sort of foundation issues and normally we can fix easily and inexpensively by injecting epoxy in the cracks and plugging!

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It's all about the numbers! I would have no problem fixing some foundation issues if you could get the property at the right price. I'm no expert on foundations, but from what I understand is that horizontal cracks are potentially more serious. It's typically from poor back filling / freeze-thaw cycles / poor site drainage. Are the cracks about 42" below grade? That is around the bottom of the frost line. If the cracks aren't too bad you could potentially add some band-aid fixes by filling the cracks and improving the site drainage to keep water away. If the cracks are wide then a more invasive solution may be required. Get a foundation expert / structural engineer to look at it. In any event, I wouldn't plan on finishing the basement until you know the issue has been resolved.    

Horizontal cracks are typically structural cracks. If the deviation from plumb is more than 3 inches, then something more substantial would have to be done.  There is a company in our market that does foundation repairs of minor cracks for $300 an I-beam.  These I-beams are placed every 4 feet.  This company gives a lifetime warranty that is transferable to the next buyer.  This warranty is pretty important, because the next buyer will likely not want to buy a house that has work without a warranty.

Usually when we spend this money on the I-beams we also install a waterproofing system and correct any water drainage issues on the outside. The waterproofing system relieves some of the pressure on the walls.  It also allows us to finish the basement, which is a major selling point in our market.

Disclaimer: I am not a structural engineer, and suggest you find and hire one to do the calculations and certify a solution.  It will be required anyways if you are getting the work permitted.

Pictures please.  

So the wall they fixed is performing good?  Is this a slab on grade?  Horizontal cracks in foundations are big problems.  How do you know they are horizontal cracks in foundations?  Typically racks on slab on grades are from differential settlement, so the cracks are vertically near column supports (or from corners of walls).  

If you are serious about this property, I strongly suggest to contact a Structural Engineer or Professional Engineer (PE) and have him/her evaluate the property.  DO NOT RELAY ON CONTRACTORS.  Most likely they are small business and without a PE within their company.  Some may have one thought.  

Thanks everyone! We ended up not pursuing that property after determining the amount of work necessary was going to be too much - I appreciate all your insight!

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