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How bad is this crack in foundation? Should we avoid this home?

I am just starting to look at homes to purchase, do not have a realtor, and I don't know all the ins and outs of the home buying process. I just went to an open house and I see a lot of potential in the home and do not mind a fixer, BUT there is a crack in the floor tile that runs through multiple rooms from one end of the house to the other. There is a large multipurpose/LR on the back side of the home that was added on without a permit (seller isn't sure). The home does not have a basement or crawl space, it is a slab on grade. I'm afraid that the addition is causing the soil to settle incorrectly which is causing uplift in the slab on grade, hence the crack.

With this said, if we want to know more, how do I go about getting a professional to look at this? When in the process does that happen? Anyone have experience with this sort of situation? Thanks in advance for any help!
  • June 23 2012 - Los Angeles
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Answers (3)

Dear Red,

I would be concerned about foundation issues, they can be expensive to repair. When you do start working with a Realtor, you will have a second pair of "experienced" eyes looking at the defects with you. It would be in your best interest to have this type of help when making such an important purchase. The best way to hire a "buyer agent' is to look for realtors who work in the area you wish to purchase in and make a few calls/interviews.
I also do not like unpermitted work in a home. There are times when these types of "additions" will have to be torn down. You really don't need that either.
A professional will advise you to have the property inspected by a Home Inspection Company who is registered with American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).
Most home inspectors have contracting experience and some are Licensed Contractors. They will take a good look at everything and let you know what you are facing in repairs. Do not buy any house without a Home Inspection!

 



  • June 28 2012
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If you are that concerned about soil settlement and slab uplift do you want to spend the money on an engineering survey?.
  • June 23 2012
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Unfortunately, this problem could be more serious than a typical property inspector could evaluate for you. You should contact a structural engineer. You can do this after you are in escrow during the inspection contingency period (typically the first 17 days). By laymans standards if the crack is so small you can't fit a dime in it, it's probably not serious. If it's so bad to can stick your finger in it, run fast. Everything in between should be checked by a professional. The additional issue of the unpermitted addition should really not have any affect on the original structure, but you never know what a home owner does if they don't use a licensed contractor or pull permits. Sounds like ahome to avoid if you don't have the skills or money to deal with something like this.
  • June 23 2012
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