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-   -   Looking at a house w/ foundation issues (http://www.diychatroom.com/f19/looking-house-w-foundation-issues-131776/)

rkwerchan 01-29-2012 08:39 AM

Looking at a house w/ foundation issues
 
I'm looking at buying my first house and I think I've found the one. The house was built in 1984. Everything is perfect (new counters, floors, appliances, size) except there are some foundation problems. There is an estimate of $13,800 for 23 steel piers under the slab foundation perimeter load beams and 8 steel piers under the foundation interior load beams. I've done research on the company and they are very reputable with many good reviews. I'm considering asking the current owner to split this cost with me. Does anyone have any advice?

joed 01-29-2012 08:58 AM

No splitting the owner pays it all or reduces the cost of the house so you can do it after purchase. I have no idea if the fix is actually correct however.

rkwerchan 01-29-2012 09:16 AM

They have discounted the house the full price of the repairs, but it's still a little more than I want to pay.

Joe Carola 01-29-2012 09:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rkwerchan
They have discounted the house the full price of the repairs, but it's still a little more than I want to pay.

So then why are you asking to split the repair cost if they are taking it off the price if the house. Doesn't make sense.

Is it because you have to pay the full amount of the repair? Your final number was discussed...good luck trying to change that.

You better find out what caused these problems. Foundation problems aren't something you want to buy into.

Joe Carola 01-29-2012 09:50 AM

Who came up with the solution to the foundation problems?

AtlanticWBConst. 01-29-2012 10:40 AM

If you have not done so already: You could get an independent engineer or firm to do "your own" inspection and review of the proposed corrections - before you commit to anything.

Its like getting a home inspection. Make sure that there isn't more going on in/under the home, and that the proposed corrections are adaquate.

rkwerchan 01-29-2012 10:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Joe Carola (Post 837826)
So then why are you asking to split the repair cost if they are taking it off the price if the house. Doesn't make sense.

Is because you have to pay the full amount if the repair? Your final number was discussed...good luck trying to change that.

You better find out what caused these problems. Foundation problems aren't something you want to buy into.

I haven't spoken with the seller, yet. I'm going in tomorrow to speak with the company that will be handling the repairs, to see if they can tell me anything about the current state of the foundation and the likelihood of damage caused by the repairs.
The sellers original price of the house, before the markdown for the foundation, is too high. So I would like to settle on a number a little higher than the current, discounted price, and have the repairs performed before I move in.
I am planning on going over the repairs with a qualified 3rd party, I just wasn't sure if anyone here has had similar repairs with good/bad results.

Joe Carola 01-29-2012 10:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rkwerchan
I haven't spoken with the seller, yet. I'm going in tomorrow to speak with the company that will be handling the repairs, to see if they can tell me anything about the current state of the foundation and the likelihood of damage caused by the repairs.
The sellers original price of the house, before the markdown for the foundation, is too high. So I would like to settle on a number a little higher than the current, discounted price, and have the repairs performed before I move in.
I am planning on going over the repairs with a qualified 3rd party, I just wasn't sure if anyone here has had similar repairs with good/bad results.

Has an architect or engineer looked at it or was it just a contractor?

Daniel Holzman 01-29-2012 11:30 AM

I am assuming that the repair plan was developed by the current owner, not by your contractor, since you do not own the house and therefore would not be in a position to sign a binding agreement with the contractor who is to perform the work. This puts you in a very awkward position.

First off, since you are not paying the contractor, you have no contractual right to their plans, which could have been developed by their engineer, or the contractor might have developed the plans themselves. As such, you are not in a good position to evaluate whether the project will be successful, which after all is the critical question.

When I purchased my house 20 years ago, it had a failed septic system, which was under reconstruction at the expense of the homeowner. In my case, there were approved plans by the Town, construction was underway, and had good reason to believe that the newly installed septic system would function adequately. I bid on the house based on the agreement that the septic system would be installed and functional prior to closing. In my case, the plans were publicly available, and there was an unambiguous way to determine if the installation met the plans, as the Town inspects the installation, and signs off on it. No sign off, no deal on the house.

You need an equivalent arrangement in order to be comfortable, but there are several challenges in your case I did not face. First, you may not be able to review the plans. Second, even if you can, there is no simple way to determine if the project will be successful. Personally, I would never purchase a house under the conditions you describe. I would wait until the repairs had been completed, and prior to purchase I would hire a competent structural engineer to review the installation and offer you an opinion as to whether the house foundation is now adequate. That means you would have to hire the engineer, on a matter this important I would never take the opinion of a third party I had not hired.

firehawkmph 01-29-2012 11:51 AM

With all the houses for sale out there, why would you want to take a chance on this one, especially considering it's your first house? Without a good foundation, that 'dream home' turns into a money pit. If you haven't seen the movie by the same name, go rent it. Walk on this and go find something a little more predictable.
Mike Hawkins:)

joecaption 01-29-2012 12:28 PM

I also would pass on this one.
The foundation is the most important part of a home. If it's bad there's gong to be on going issues from the ground up for as long as you own that house.

Aggie67 01-29-2012 12:50 PM

The price seems low, even for that quantity of piers. I would have questions, such as how low do the piers go, what's the warranty, etc. It's too easy for an owner to say "hey I received this price for foundation repair, I knocked it off the sale price, but you have to take care of it", and all the while the repair strategy was based on inadequate info (such as assuming a too-shallow refusal depth). It would leave you holding the bag for the balance of the cost if it didn't work or the contractor ran into poor conditions and had to push deeper.

I have been the engineer of record on a number of pier jobs, and I deal with the contractors. When a reputable outfit writes a proposal, they do so in a manner that clearly explains the unknowns (how deep down bedrock or refusal point is), and clearly explains the additional costs if they have to go deeper. (Also, for future reference, there is no "best:most cost effective" method that covers every single situation. The soil strata conditions under you home will dictate which strategy has the best performance:cost relationship. So it is very important to evaluate quotes for different strategies.)

Daniel has suggested the right course of action: get the owner to do it, and then get an engineer to review it. In fact, tell the owner that you're going to have your engineer review it after the work is complete. Personally, I'd want to see the report on every single pier (each pier should have its own field report sheet, listing the refusal dept and refusal pressure) before I bought a house with piers. And if anyone reads this that is looking into piers for their own home, avoid relying on the contractor. If you're going to spend thousands on a repair, it really is penny wise and pound foolish to not spend a couple hundred on an independent structural engineer for an unbiased opinion.

joed 01-29-2012 03:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rkwerchan (Post 837796)
They have discounted the house the full price of the repairs, but it's still a little more than I want to pay.


Make them an offer that is acceptable to you. If they accept then you have a house. If they don't accept then look for another house. Only you can decide what is an acceptable offer. If it is the seller who is providing the estimate then I would also be leery of that. You should have your own engineer inspect and report the conditions.

woodworkbykirk 01-29-2012 09:11 PM

i have to agree with the other posters regarding skipping on this house. even with having a very reputable contractor brought in to fix the foundation issues , that doesn't mean other issues wont arise.

when they go to do the work, they may have to jack the house up in order to do their work. by doing this you can run into issues such as drywall joints cracking and door frames going out of alignment. both will need to be addressed. i have seen this happen on several homes that have had foundation issues addressed.. if this contractor is only pricing to do the foundation problems i would consult another contractor as to what costs would be to fix the other problems

unless this house is a absolute perfect fit for you i would be looking for another house

firehawkmph 01-30-2012 09:05 AM

One other thing to consider also, even if you have the foundation repaired and everything turns out ok, when you go to sell the house, that information has to be disclosed. The potential buyer will be leery and want a price reduction or won't want to pay full value for the house. So your chance for any appreciation, (once houses start to really appreciate again) is quite a bit less than a house without any major problems.
Mike Hawkins:)


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