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buying a house with a foundation problem

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by WildBillyCrazyCat, Feb 11, 2007.

  1. Mrs. CrazyCat and I are buying are first house.

    We've been looking for the last few weeks, and finally found a nice home that is exactly what we've been looking for and it's in our price range. It would be a no-brainer, except for one problem.

    The house has some considerable bowing in the foundation, and an eight-foot horizontal crack in it. Our inspector told us that's the most serious kind. We had a structural engineer come out and take a look. He suggested installing I-beams on the two walls in question. He seemed to think that once the beams were installed, this would be a permanent fix and we'd have no further problems.

    The seller has agreed to pick up the cost of repairing the foundation. The repairs also bring a lifetime warranty. So the repairs would be at no cost to us.

    Part of me thinks this should solve the problem. The other part of me wonders if we will have problems when it comes time to sell. On one hand, potential future buyers could think, "There was a problem. They were pro-active and fixed it, and it comes with the warranty." On the other, they could think, "this could be a problem, and I don't want to touch it."

    I don't know. We're torn. Like I said, it's our first home purchase, and above all things, I really like this house a lot, but I don't want to screw up.

    Anyone out there have experience in these matters?
  2. joe

    joe Active Member

    Is it just a foundation, or is there a basement? If it's just a foundation, the fix you have described should do the trick. Hell, my grandparents' house sits on cinder blocks and bricks. The floors slant a little, but, hell, the house is nearly 100 years old.
  3. MartinEnigmatica

    MartinEnigmatica Active Member

    I don't want to slam down an iron fist here, but don't make this your first home purchase. My childhood home had a foundation problem - it was never built correctly - and actually started to slide downhill. The house was tilting ever so slightly. It's not like you could watch a bowling ball at rest roll from one end to the other, but still.
    The point is the hassles. My parents engaged in a years-long legal battle with the builder, and even though it sounds like you're going to avoid that with the fix-up warranty, what if the I-beams don't work? Then you've got to find another way to fix it. It may be that nothing ever really works, and you spend years chasing a non-existent answer. That's probably the worst-case scenario, next to the house buckling while you're in it, and while this isn't supposed to be some horrific cautionary what-if, this is a huge investment you don't want to regret
  4. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Find another house.

    Seriously. The lifetime warranty is a nice idea, until you're living in the house dealing with the problems (regardless of who pays the bill, you're the one living in the mess). And you won't know how successful the repair is until you're already living there.

    It's your first house, don't settle for inevitable problems.
  5. Just_An_SID

    Just_An_SID Active Member

    Don't buy it because eventually you'll have to sell it. It probably won't appreciate as much as another house would and you'll have to live with the fear that it will all come tumbling down.
  6. Rough Mix

    Rough Mix Guest

    I wouldn't buy it. There is a house down the street from us that was on the market for close to two years because of foundation problems. Houses in our area move much quicker than the norm, but this one sat there. Lifetime guarantee on the work to fix the problem, but it didn't matter. Potential buyers always backed off because of the foundation, according to both of the agents who had the listing. It finally did sell, but you can see from the street that the foundation has moved since the work was done two years ago. There are other houses, especially in the current market.
  7. standman

    standman Member

    I'm not sure where you are located, but if the house is in Texas I would consider it. Foundation problems are so common there that it's not a question of if but when.
  8. Roscablo

    Roscablo Well-Known Member

    Never be so in love with a house that you can't turn it down if something comes up. If this was a perfect fit, there are certainly more perfect fits elsewhere, maybe even in the same neighborhood.

    Now, the lifetime warranty sounds good, and I've heard that evidence of fixing foundation problems greatly improves the resale value of homes that have had past problems. But if there's that doubt, which it seems there is, I'd pass. Nothing worse than being in a house and wondering what's wrong with it or what might go wrong next. (I've been down that road.)
  9. cougargirl

    cougargirl Active Member

    Don't buy the house. If there is a structural problem, that gives you and Mrs. CrazyCat the right to refuse the purchase.

    Look at it this way - do you want instant gratification, or do you want years worth of problems and questions?
  10. heyabbott

    heyabbott Well-Known Member

    Buying a home with a foundation problem is like marrying the town slut, either you're thinking about when it will go wrong or you're trying to live the damage.
  11. It's your first house, and no matter how long you plan on staying in it right now, you'll likely leave it before then. Trying to sell a house with a history of foundation issues will cost, both in cash and headaches.

    Buy a nice cookie-cutter, turn a profit in 2-3 years and learn about how it all works (and what you both like and don't like about homes).

    We lost money on our first when we job issues forced a move after 10 months. Our second made us a small profit after 3 years, and our third made us a small fortune after 3 years.

    Our fourth, well, I'm sitting in it now and plan on sitting in this same spot 20 years from now.
  12. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Don't do it.You have to think of resale. Another house will come along.

    If you buy that house you will always be worrying that the repair worked. It's not worth it.
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