About to close on my first house and it has foundation problems.

9 Replies

I’m not sure if I should close on the house. It has foundation problems and the seller said he would not pay for the foundation repairs even if it only needs little repairs. It’s my first house so I’m not sure if I should just get my foot in the door or just walk away. So I’m just need some experience advise.

Thanks in advance,

Rene Araguz

Originally posted by @Rene Araguz :

I’m not sure if I should close on the house. It has foundation problems and the seller said he would not pay for the foundation repairs even if it only needs little repairs. It’s my first house so I’m not sure if I should just get my foot in the door or just walk away. So I’m just need some experience advise.

Thanks in advance,

Rene Araguz

Foundation repairs can be $20,000 and more or they can be $1,000. You need someone you trust to give you an estimate.

 

@Rene Araguz Did an inspector tell you the home had foundation problems or is it something that is obvious from just looking at it?

Get 2-3 contractors out there to give you quotes because this could be a huge issue or nothing at all. If it ends up being a deal breaker because of the cost just exercise your inspection contingrncy assuming you have one. 

Agree on what others say. Ask the seller you would like to have some foundation specialists look at the issue. Get quotes from the foundation specialists and renegotiate your offer from there.

If the seller does not allow you to enter the house again, you can take a risk and low ball the seller based on worst case foundation issues.  Or, just walk away.  Don't do a deal for the sake of doing it, make sure you perform your due diligence and make sure to follow through on it, if the seller is unwilling to allow you to complete your due diligence, then walk away.

@Rene Araguz  - There is more to foundation repairs than just the foundation. Here is what I collected as "warnings" or lessons (from various sources and some experienced myself) about foundation problems and/or repairs:

1. If you have brick on the exterior, you might have to do tuckpointing. $$$

2. If you have tiles inside, the tiles will crack. And if they have to drill holes for interior piers, you pretty much will have to replace the entire flooring. $$$$

3. You'll have drywall cracks, so you should factor in drywall repairs and repainting. $$$

4. If the doors were adjusted to a crooked foundation, you might need to readjust or even buy new doors. $$$

5. A hydrostatic plumbing test is recommended to be performed by a licensed plumber post Foundation work. Plumbing leaks may void warranty. Old houses have cast iron pipers that will disintegrate (because of age and/or foundation shift). You'll have to replace all plumbing at that point. $$$$

6. Depending on how bad is the foundation state (how many inches you have to correct), is very possible the sewer line will disconnect/break in the horizontal portions. Repairing that requires tunneling, a repair that could be very expensive. $$$$

7. If the driveway- garage differential is big (for example, the driveway slab is sunken and you need to raise the house, you'll end up with an even bigger gap after repair) you might need to replace the driveway. $$$$

8. If you are dealing with an addition built on 12" beams (or if the original foundation is old and not built to current standards), the repair company might not be able to push the piers down to refusal depth or psi due to the beam not taking the load, thus leveling it, but not guaranteeing it will not continue to move in the future, thus not providing warranty.

9. The owner may be required to provide a structural engineers evaluation prior to warranty work.

10. Read the fine print in the foundation repair contract: Damages to the property, interior and exterior as a result of the foundation movement are not covered, during and after works completion. This usually includes but is not limited to PLUMBING, flooring, landscape, utility lines and masonry. The foundation repair does not cover any repairs that may be needed to the home during and after works completion. And you'll have new cracks in unexpected places, old cracks that will not close, but instead enlarge. My suggestion is to add at least 25% to the cost of the foundation repair as mitigation to the problems that will come from the foundation repair.

11. The foundation repair company salespeople (and even owners, in some case) of structure companies are not engineers and though they may be right most of the time, there will be gaps in their assumptions. Unless it's a small job with an obvious solution, get an engineer ($250) to look at it and sketch up a scope of work for a contractor to do.

12. Many foundation problems have water as a root cause - be that infiltration in a crawl space, drainage around the site, cracked sewer line or water line. Before solving the foundation you might want to get to the root cause of the foundation issue and resolve it, otherwise you might repair the foundation for nothing.

13. If you repair the foundation on only select places, don't be surprised if the other sides will suddenly start "working". If the house is stabilized on one side, you might get cracks in the other side soon after. In other words, if you do a foundation repair, it's better to get the whole house stabilized and the warranty for the whole house.

If anyone has more experience with any of these, please correct me if mistaken.

Just to clarify...it's your first investment.  You have a cute kid on your shoulders.  And, the seller refuses to make any foundation repairs.

Know why the seller won't make any repairs? $$$$$

Know what they call a property with foundation problems? A money pit, a basement in progress, a bad bowling alley, a slippery slope...

Don't wait for the locust:  BOLT. NOW.  

As an investor and contractor, my advice is never have your first house be mold, Chinese drywall or foundation issues. No matter how great the deal may seem. First, they are not easy repairs and are very expensive. Second, if you are an honest person you would have to disclosure these issues to the next buyer and very few buyers want remediated houses like these.


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