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Old 06-10-2017, 09:51 PM   #1
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Please help! Buying a house


Hello,

We are thinking of buying a house built in 1959, in Chicago. The house has several cracks in the foundation and a short section of step cracks in the brick. There is only one area where water in getting into the basement through a crack, although there is a corner crack, at the overhang of the building where where goop was poured around it. There are no visibly cracks inside of the house. The floors are slightly uneven.

Is this a major foundation issue or can we seal the cracks and direct water away from the house? Will this worsen over time?
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Old 06-10-2017, 09:56 PM   #2
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More photos...
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Old 06-10-2017, 10:17 PM   #3
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Re: Please help! Buying a house


All the cracks in the mortar joints and in the foundation indicate a sinking of the footers at some point. Monolithic pours were not in vogue in 1959, so that part of the building was added on in the near past. Some of the minor cracks are in the stucco and may not pose a problem, however.
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Old 06-10-2017, 10:33 PM   #4
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Thank you for that information. Could this be considered "settling" or does it point to a more serious problem that will worsen ove time. Will simply hiring someone to fill in the cracks work in the long term? Here is the house. It was custom made...could they have used a out of vogue foundation for that reason?
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Old 06-11-2017, 06:55 AM   #5
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Re: Please help! Buying a house


Get a professional to look at it in person. I can't tell what you have there but if you are getting water in the basement, it could cost over $20,000 to fix properly.
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Old 06-11-2017, 09:18 AM   #6
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Re: Please help! Buying a house


I am with Johnson.

And do your own research on professionals. Do not take any advice from the realtor.

There was a case in my area where people were buying relatively new homes in a neighborhood. Some of them took the recommendation of the realtor on an inspector who it turns out worked for the realtor.

A number of houses had cracks developing in the walls which the perspective buyers were told was just due to settling and easily fixed. There were also unusual depressions in the back yards which the inspector also attributed to settlement.

Long story short, the houses were settling..., into a sink hole. After purchasing the houses the cracks only got worse and the depressions in the yard turned into large holes running from the foundation out.

The owners sued the realty company which after a long trial was forced to buy back the homes.

Lesson learned: When buying a home, never use a contractor or inspector recommended by the realtor.
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Old 06-11-2017, 09:49 AM   #7
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Re: Please help! Buying a house


I agree with the need to have a professional look at it and give you an estimate, standard procedure for evaluating a new home.

If your objective is to renovate that basement into living space, more difficult than just liquid water problems. When built (1959) the required steps to block moisture vapor were not part of the building process which limits what you can do down there. As a basement to hold up the house it is fine. As finished living space it will require moisture management methods.

And ditto for Drachenfire " Lesson learned: When buying a home, never use a contractor or inspector recommended by the realtor." If they were to actually find problems they would no longer get the calls from the agent.

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Old 06-11-2017, 12:00 PM   #8
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He inspector recommended a stuctural engineer, but said he felt like the house was structurally sound. He wasn't the guy referred by my realtor. The thing is, I can't find an engineer to do it in time, they are booked weeks out.
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Old 06-11-2017, 12:18 PM   #9
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Re: Please help! Buying a house


I'm sure with everyone above to get a good third party engineer to evaluate the issue.

(But, I would also note, that you do have the test of time behind you... ie 1959 build and 50+ years, at least indicates that this is the extent of issues... no evidence it is a reent and deteriorating condition..

If that was a new build, I wouldn't waste the $300-400 getting an engineer, I'd just run)

But, as feasable, I'd use the risk of those cracks to ensure you are getting your best price...
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Old 06-11-2017, 12:25 PM   #10
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Re: Please help! Buying a house


Not having enough time to properly evaluate a new home purchase (here I go getting in trouble again) is part of the real estate selling rush to closing. The seller and the real estate industry DON'T WANT TO GIVE YOU THE TIME TO FIND ANY PROBLEMS. They will say otherwise but some reading on these forums will provide many complaints about new purchases where problems were not disclosed or discovered.

Unfortunately there is minimal defense against this rush as if you don't buy it another (sorry) sucker will, gone.

One option is to attach a high estimate to the cost of repairs and have that money set aside in an escrow account. Once the repairs are made they are paid for from that account with the balance being forwarded to the seller. In most cases the seller will simply refuse and wait for another offer or simply wish to simplify the process by lowering the price.

On the good side, those issues don't look that bad, that house isn't going to fall down after standing that long (IMO). My primary concern was any expectation of converting that space to living quarters needs to include moisture management which is both limiting and a bit expensive. If it is to remain a basement the repairs are probably reasonable.

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Old 06-11-2017, 07:35 PM   #11
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Re: Please help! Buying a house


Quote:
Originally Posted by Summermariemc View Post
He inspector recommended a stuctural engineer, but said he felt like the house was structurally sound. He wasn't the guy referred by my realtor. The thing is, I can't find an engineer to do it in time, they are booked weeks out.
Get a foundation waterproofing expert not an engineer. I'm sure the house is on sound footing but you need the leaks fixed. Get an estimate for waterproofing. You probably won't be able to use it in the negotiations due to the sellers market but at least you'll know what you have. The inspector is just passing the buck by telling you to hire an engineer that you probably don't need.
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Old 06-11-2017, 07:37 PM   #12
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Re: Please help! Buying a house


Here's one who offers free inspections



https://www.permaseal.net
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Old 06-12-2017, 11:55 AM   #13
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Re: Please help! Buying a house


Foundation cracks are fairly normal, as are short step cracks in the brick work, the foundation crack that you say has water entering, can easily be sealed with a polyurethane or epoxy sealant, the thing that bothers me the most are those two wires with wire nuts holding them together. Here's a link to a sealant.

http://www.emecole.com/pages/product...urselfers.html
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Old 06-20-2017, 02:30 AM   #14
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I would really appreciate your opinions.


I am worried about this crack at the end corner of the house, under the overhang at the foundation. This is a close up photo, so it doesnt look as bad in person. Still, I am considering buying the house and I'm afraid of what has caused this damage. I would really appreciate your opinions.
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