Buy a House with Foundation Repaired

Updated on February 13, 2010
C.Y. asks from Richardson, TX
26 answers

I am planning to buy one house in Plano TX. However, this house had foundation repaired in 1994 and no warranty available right now. The repairs were in the north east and southwest corners. The inspector found there are stress cracks in brick veneer, interior drywalls and ceilings. Specially in rooms in southeast and northwest corners. (means torque stress may exist). However, the inspector thought the stress level does not require another fooundation repair and just need maintainace. I moved here from Northeast and I am hesitating to buy this house. My inspector is a very experienced person who used to repair foundation. Any suggestions? Thanks.

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So What Happened?

Hello,
Thank you so much for your responses.

I decide to pass this house and looking for another one.
Reasons:
1, The foundation repair company is no longer in the business and no paper work is available. (The current owner said that they did not receive the paper work from the previous owner). I think I am OK to buy a house with foundation repaired but at least the paper work should be there to support the repair job.
2, There are several cracks located in the middle of the house. One is quite long (3~4 ft runs from ceiling to middle of the wall). Even no repair is needed at this point. if the repair will be needed in the future, it may cost much more simply because of the repairing location.
3, Someone told me "The true value of the house will not have any increases even tens of thoudands of dollars have been spent on foundation repair."

Thanks and regards,
C.

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S.B.

answers from Dallas on

There are 2 types of houses in the Dallas Metroplex:
1 - houses that have had foundation repair
2 - houses that will have to have foundation repairs

2 moms found this helpful
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S.K.

answers from Dallas on

I'm coming in late on this and I read that you are passing on that house (VERY smart!). I had to add my 2 cents because we are about to have foundation work done and the estimate is $14,000. OUCH! If I were you, I'd look for a house with a pier and beam foundation instead of the slab foundation. My parents always built homes with pier and beam in this area and never had major foundation issues. I've been told that they are easier to fix if there ever is a problem. JMO
Good luck with the house hunting!
Stephanie

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J.C.

answers from Dallas on

Welcome to TX...everything here has foundation problems!!! However, I would not buy a house that doesn't have a warranty.

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G.A.

answers from Dallas on

I would not buy that house. I bought a brand new house which was able to go to the builder who tried to weasle out of repairs. Then I went to an attorney and she told me about. TRCC then got a report inspection from them. They sent out an order for it to be repaired. Builder honored it and I had to have my driveway replaced. Brick repaired. The house jacked up and leveled. The patio fixed and more cement on top. Cracks in the walls and around windows and fire place and sky light. Then the floors where replaced in the kitchen, entry and master bath. Tons of caulking and they had to put plastic all over with zippers and filters for all the dust. Also because I work from home made it easier. You would have to take time off work to have all these men in and out of your home. Inspections work meetings with repair people. I have a life time warranty now. So I can give that to my next buyer. Please if you buy a house with needing those kind of repairs get one that has been repaired and has the warranty. God Bless, They had to dig around the house and put in piers these repairs were probably over $20,000. There were houses in our neighborhood that were $90,000. We have bad soil and builder did not prepare the soil right. So tons of homes in here were repaired. So I would not do it and get a life time warranty if you do. Ann Stark was the attorney and she did not charge me and helped me. First time in my life an attorney had done that. She only deals with big bucks. A policeman in our neighborhood bought a house that he could put his whole body between the front door and wall. Not in our neighborhood but he made sure he was there when they poured the foundation and had someone on site take soil samples all the way. New homes are not hard to get into. I put $1,000 down and got to pick all my colors and changes and watch it being built. Fun and did two like this. Would do it again in a heart beat. Just make sure you can get the loan. My last one I could not sell the house and lost it. Cost me all the upgrades out of my pocket. I wanted a trash compactor and the backyard retainer wall made so the yard was level. Someone came in bought it for less then what they were charging me and I lost $3,000.Also who did the repairs and warranty was Advanced Foundation Repair very professional. I got three estimates from foundation repair people sent those reports to the TRCC they have a time frame as to what they want you do do and it is very important to follow it. I got scared when I saw some bad reports online they did nothing in some cases but they were right on for me and my builder. God Bless G. W

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C.M.

answers from Dallas on

Welcome to Plano - land of foundation issues!! This is so, so common up here. If you really are concerned, have your agent recommend a structual engineer. Also, have a different foundation company come give you a bid. (I like Perma Pier.) That way you know what you're dealing with. When you buy a "used" home, especially up here, you shouldn't expect it to be new, but also, you should know what you're getting into.

Best of luck!

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B.S.

answers from Dallas on

A couple of years ago, we planned to sell our house. I contacted the company that had done the foundation repair before we moved in. The warranty was not transferred withing their window so the repairs were not warrantied. However, I asked if it was possible for them to come and check out the house to see if the repairs had stuck. They sent someone out with all of their gauges and they determined that the house was still sound. They could have easily told me that their were problems since it wasn't under warranty but they didn't.

The damages you see could be unrepaired damage that occurred before the repairs were done. We still have some exterior cracks in the brick but the foundation is sound. Contact a foundation firm and ask them to come check it out. They may also be able to tell you how much it would take to fix it if the foundation has gone bad again.

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A.M.

answers from Dallas on

go with your gut. if it doesn't sit right with you don't go through with it.

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C.M.

answers from Dallas on

C.,
It looks like you already have some sound advice on getting a structural engineer to inspect the home.
After buying a home where foundation work was performed, I learned a valuable lesson - all foundation work is not equal and not all warranties are worth the paper they are written on. A year and $18,000.00 later, it was a hard lesson to learn. My home was at the bottom of a hill and had all the water from above that flowed down to me and caused more damage and I had a beautiful yard with lots of trees... but those tree roots can cause the damage too.
Good Luck on your decision.
C.

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M.W.

answers from Dallas on

Hi C.,

I agree with Susan B. There are the houses that have had foundations problems and then there are the houses that will. If you truly in love with the house, then you should hire a structural engineer. Otherwise, keep looking. Most of the houses my husband and I looked at had some kind of foundation issues. When we bought our home (last year), our house needed some foundation repair. The seller paid for the repair and the warranty was transferable (very important). Our house has finally settled, but there is some repairs we need to make (cracks in the walls/ceilings) from the new settling of the house. It could be that they intended to repair all of those things and never got around to it... You should go with what your gut tells you though. Your perfect home is out there somewhere, don't settle! =) Good luck in your search for a home and welcome to Texas. Oh, and our foundation was repaired by MBR Foundation.

M.

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A.D.

answers from Dallas on

Stay away!!!!!! Never, ever, ever purchase a home that has foundation problems. You can get yourself into such a big mess, that your home could actually end up being worth negative amounts. No kidding, it happened to a neighbor of ours. Foundation repairs can be extremely costly, and you wont recoup your money if you decide to sell. My dad tells me to never buy a home with any foundation problems, and he is always right=)

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S.M.

answers from Dallas on

My advice would be do NOT trust the inspector alone! He used to repair foundation, but obviously doesn't anymore. There are 2 options. The first is to get free evaluations from several companies. I say several b/c MOST will probably try to sell you some kind of fix, however then you end up with 4 saying to fix and 3 saying it's OK. Still hard to swallow if you haven't purchased the house yet. Second option, and this is what I'd do, is to have a structural engineer come and evaluate the house. It should cost somewhere around $200.00, but it would be worth it for your piece of mind. If he says more repairs are necessary, I'd have the home owner pay for them using a company YOU select (you want to get a company that has been aruond for a while and will still be in business should anything come up in the future. I did like Longhorn Foundation, although he only did an evaluation for me, never any work). If the structural engineer says everything is OK, keep that report with your important house papers and you'll have that to show the people you sell the house to since the warranty for the original work is no longer available. Foundation repair can be pricy, so I would NOT cut corners here.

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A.C.

answers from Dallas on

C.,

I ditto the idea of hiring a structural engineer to asses the house if it's a house you really want. My husband is a structural engineer, but he said their company doesn't do foundation assessments. He said there are some structural engineering companies that do that kind of work.

Be sure to update us on what you decide!

A.

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A.A.

answers from Dallas on

Most houses around here need foundation repair work eventually, some in a couple of years and others make it to 25 or 35 years. My husband is a native and he and his family have lived in DFW for over 50 years.

Foundation problems can be made worse with certain types of soil and some DFW cities/neighborhoods are better than others. Most foundation companies can tell you where the high "problem" cities are. Also, if someone hasn't done the proper watering or there are drainage problems, it can affect the foundation too.

I would spend some extra money to get an engineer out there, not just a housing inspector. (Matthew Joseph is an engineer that also has a housing inspection company. He might be a good one to try. He did a great job for us a few years back, especially when we had to go up against a builder's attorney. http://www.rshengineering.com)

Try not to freak out over the foundation problems; they really are pretty common in Dallas.

$500 or so = some peace of mind. Best of luck to you!

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J.G.

answers from Dallas on

I have been a Realtor for over 10 years. There are many areas and degrees of foundation work. Even if you ask the seller to pay for an Engineer report, they are all opinions. If you call 3, you may get 3 different answers.
Can you get a copy of the work that was done in 94? If there has not been much movement since then, it was stabalized and probaly just needs a watering program. You will notice movement if the moisture is not kept even around the house. A lot of it is common sense. If you will always worry about the foundation, move on to another house. What ever house you decide on, maintain the foundation. Do not plant big trees and study what plants you put next to your foundation. It is not uncommon in Texas to have movement. FHA loans even allows for some movement.

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M.H.

answers from Dallas on

C.,

I am from NJ. We never really had foundation issues either. Welcome to TEXAS! My husband and I own a Roofing and Remodeling firm in Richardson (since 2000). He has been in construction for more than 20 years. Foundation issues are VERY COMMON here- even homes as young at 8 years old have been found to have issues.

Having said that, we have found/ used a foundation firm both personally and professionally. We found them several years ago and have recommended them to several of our customers. They are honest (they will likely come in on cost somewhere in the middle)and they warranty their work. they've been in business something like 25 years. The company is MBR Guaranteed Foundation Repairs. We deal with Phillip Duffin ###-###-#### or ###-###-####. www.mbrgfr.com.

My final word. Be careful. Get at least 2 foundation companies to inspect and give their opinion. If you let the Sellers handle it- they will go the cheapest route and sometimes the warranty will not transfer with the sale of the house.

Good luck.

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M.D.

answers from Dallas on

Unless your inspector is a structural engineer, I would get a second opiniom from a structural engineer. Here on texas there is alot of foundation issues. You should make sure you know what you are really getting yourself into before buying. Your real estate agent should be able to recommend a qualified structural engineer that will take mesurements and analyze things so you can make am informed descision. Good Luck!!

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L.B.

answers from Dallas on

You will find that foundation problems are not at all uncommon in this area. But if you take proper care of the foundation, you can avoid most of them. When I was looking at houses the last time, I found one I really liked. It also had had foundation repairs done. Even tho I liked the house and the location, I passed it up. If if were me, I would pass it up and keep looking. You can find plenty of houses where the homeowners took care of the foundation and you won't be starting out with a known problem right from the beginning.

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C.G.

answers from Dallas on

If it does not come with a warranty, I would advise against the purchase. Foundation repair should always come with a warranty (escpecially in TEXAS). I had this experience happen to my mother after buying a home similar to your story. When she filed the insurance claim the insurance company completed the repair but than canceled her policy and she is having to pay so much more for insurance coverage because of this. I did not think that was possible.....but it has also happened to other friends I know too. I would get a second opinion or look at other homes that have not had this happen or if they have make sure the warranty of the work can be transferred over to a new home owner when it is sold.

K.M.

answers from Dallas on

C.,

If you are concerned at all about this, I would hire a structural engineer to confirm what is going on. Your Realtor should be able to give you a recommendation. If not, you can respond back to me and I can give you a few(I am a Realtor also)

Good Luck! Hope it works out!

K.

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A.C.

answers from Dallas on

I personally wouldn't buy a house with foundation issues. Whenever it needs repair work done, it shifts EVERYTHING and causes damage to interior doors and walls and often to plumbing as well. Too much expense and trouble for me.

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K.P.

answers from Dallas on

C.,

You've had lots of good information. I agree go with what you feel and if it doesn't sit right pass it up. I purchased a house with foundation problems and boy do I wish I hadn't. I hired a company that supposedly fixed it, but it was never right and we had continued plumbing problems. I finally sold it on an owner finance and advised the people of the situation. They said they had friends that could fix it. I was glad to be rid of it and they were glad to get a good deal. I'll never do it again.

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C.B.

answers from Dallas on

Wow I am surprised at all the advice; I hope you are learning about the homes here in North Texas. This is not a complicated issue, but as a new Texas homeowner there is a decision you need to make: How you personally deal with foundation issues.
1) Avoid it like the plague (and hope it doesn't happen to you later)
2) Live with it (because you love the house and neighborhood)
Many of us choose to live with it, and have learned that adequate lawn watering (with a sprinkler system and soaker hoses) can really help mitigate the issue. We have also learned that foundation repair many times is not a permanent solution - even with a warranty. One responder mentioned that now is such a buyer's market that you can probably find a home that doesn't have foundation issues - this is probably true. The decision is yours - good luck!

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J.D.

answers from Dallas on

I personally would not purchase a home with that type of periodic maintenance. There are plenty of homes on the market at this time to take on the responsibility of possible foundation issues. Even maintenance can be expensive in the long run.

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W.S.

answers from Dallas on

call jjlfoundationrepair and ask for special offer of $225 each pier ###-###-#### or email [email protected]____.com

T.F.

answers from Dallas on

I think you answered your own question when you wrote the request for info.

We've never purchased a used home and most certainly never would purchase one with such a serious past problem.

Keep looking around. Plano has a lot of good homes on the market.

Good luck.

D.L.

answers from Dallas on

I'm sure you've heard this from your realtor and many others by now but foundation issues are big in Texas. You won't find a whole lot of homes that have been around for any length of time that doesn't have some sort of settlement and foundations issues or repairs. If you just love the house ask the seller to provide a foundation inspection and or warranty. Or, you could hire the inspector yourself but I would hire one specifically for foundation repair rather than a general inspector.

I'm sure your inspector has lots of experience, but I'd only feel comfortable with a foundation professional giving me a report and estimate for repair.

Good Luck!
D.

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