Seeking advice on a rental property purchase

4 Replies

What’s up BP?

I’m in the market to buy my first rental property, and I came across a property in a prime location and it’s 100k under market value. Needs a rehab and more importantly a re-leveling of the house. The foundation is raised.

My question is how costly/complicated could a foundation problem be? And could other things go wrong with the property during the process?

Any advice would be great.


Ohh snap, foundation problems can be a never ending battle. I would recommend getting an expert in your area to come out and bid the job before moving forward.

If the home is needing to be moved inches on a side then you will end up with cracked drywall, doors that don't close, windows that can't be opened.. and a bunch of other issues.

Run away... run very far away from that deal. 100K isn't enough for a full rehab an major foundation fixes. 

@Joe Barnitz  ​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.

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