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Old 08-19-2010, 01:06 PM   #1
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How big of a problem is a questionable foundation?


I am looking at buying a house, and I have maybe found one which is a fixer-upper, but I think it still it would be worth fixing up. I going to say this, but don't just jump into a reply with out reading on. I have only seen the house on line. I am NOT buying it with out seeing it in person, I'm not a complete idiot. I am still in the just looking stage. I am only mentioning that because when I ask my question I will not be able to give you specifics on it.

So the agent I am talking to said that the house was built in the 1920's and the foundation is questionable. The house is 1800 sq ft (not sure how much of that is the ground floor). I am not sure what makes him say the foundation is questionable.

So how big of a problem is a bad foundation? Is it something that can be fixed? Can you fix pieces of the foundation or do you have to replace it all? What should I look for when I do see the house? Thanks.
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Old 08-19-2010, 01:24 PM   #2
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Anything can be fixed with deep pockets. It really depends on what the issues are that make the foundation "questionable". In my early stages of home searching I came across a "fixer upper" that had some serious foundation issues. but the issue was only around a 30 foot section of foundation block along one side of the house. The wall had partially collapsed into the crawl space leaving a 20 foot void where the house was no longer supported. The estimated repairs for this was only around 20K to jack up that side of the house and rebuild that wall. The house was not on the verge of collapsing.

Every situation is different, it could be something as serious and jacking the entire house up off the foundation, rebuild the entire thing, and set the house back down which could run 100K or more. It could be something simple as replacing a few columns or a section of a basement wall. It really depends, you need to look at the issues, take pictures and find out what needs to be done to fix the issues before moving forward with an offer.

I have an offer in on another fixer upper that has some questionable foundation issues, but its only related to several temporary wooden posts, adjustable jack posts and some old powder post beatle damage on the main cross beam that are in the basement. I would go in there and replace the wood posts and temp metal columns with permanent concrete filled lally columns and reinforce the area around the pest damage and call it a day.
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Old 08-19-2010, 01:40 PM   #3
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Perhaps this may help for the moment. When the realtor wrote me back about the house stating the foundation is questionable he mentioned "It was built in 1928 and may not be on an acceptable foundation for a loan" I don't know at what point a foundation would begin to effect if a house is loan worthy. I will ask him if he has or can take specific pictures of where the foundation is questionable.
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Old 08-19-2010, 02:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJcantsay View Post
Perhaps this may help for the moment. When the realtor wrote me back about the house stating the foundation is questionable he mentioned "It was built in 1928 and may not be on an acceptable foundation for a loan" I don't know at what point a foundation would begin to effect if a house is loan worthy. I will ask him if he has or can take specific pictures of where the foundation is questionable.
That doesn't sound right at all, the house I want to buy was built in 1838 on a pile of rocks with no footings or anything and not once did my mortage person mention anything about the age of this home and how this house was originally built on fieldstones being a problem for obtaining a loan.

If the house is leaning or has noticable visual foundation damage, either outside or inside, that may be an issue, but as long as the foundation is solid and not crumbling, leaning or otherwise looks damaged or deteriorated, you should not have an issue. I trust the house I want to buy thats been standing for 172 years more than a house built last week by a shady contractor. This place has been through multiple hurricanes, countless blizzards and who know what else and is still standing strong and level, and all it sits on is literally a pile of rocks.
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Old 08-19-2010, 02:56 PM   #5
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I sort of get the feeling that he wants me to go with his in house loan officer. Because on the phone he mentioned how some houses can't be bought with va loans and that sounded really odd to me. I mean I have no commitment to this guy as my realtor, should I contact someone else for a second opinion?
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Old 08-19-2010, 04:44 PM   #6
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You just added the ultimate response to your own issue. You said you were using a VA Loan. They have a slightly different set of rules and requirements and trade it off for certain other things like cheaper costs, etc.

I just bought my house on a VA Loan. If you are using one also then you were military ....... think back and said it aloud ..... "military requirements" ..... you should realize that you have to play their game to get their OK.
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Old 08-19-2010, 05:22 PM   #7
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Noooo I did not say we are using a va loan. We do have that option but it is not the ONLY option. I just mention it because the way the guy sounded when he asked what sort of loan we would be using and I said we had not decided. He then started talking about how the va loans are great and about his in house loan officer and he just seemed like he isn't very willing to help unless I have a pre-approval in hand. Maybe it's just me, but the area we are moving too kind of sucks and I just wanted to see my options if we were to buy over renting. I'm just tired of money going into someone elses pocket when it could be invested in a house.
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Old 08-19-2010, 07:49 PM   #8
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From your description something seems off.I'd suggest hiring your own inspecter or contractor to inspect the foundation not someone reccomended by the salesman.Use your own realtor.Arrange your own morgage.Trust your gut instinct.
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