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Old 01-30-2020, 07:05 PM
 
3 posts, read 2,752 times
Reputation: 14

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Hi,

We are finally planning to make the big move of buying a home in Valley ranch (Coppell School District). There are currently 2 Elementary schools and we are looking around that area as 1st choice.

What I am most concerned is, "Foundation".

So, please help me in answering the following questions:

1. What are the inspections I need to do?

2. Will the home inspector provide all the details of the foundation, plumbing, termite, soil etc.. Or do I need to hire specialist for individual assessment during the "Option" period?

3. What sort of foundation issues are acceptable and what are not?

4. Exterior has frieze board separations 1/4 th inch, soil is over brick line on the west side, brick cracks over nook window, garage wall

5. Interior has sheet rock cracks, over door, over window, over ceiling in the bedrooms, entry ceiling and garage ceiling.


6. Is installing 12 exterior piers on the front side of the house to fix a problem acceptable or will it cause major issues in the future, inspite of me taking good care of it?

Thanks and appreciate anyone who can help us with this questions.
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Old 01-30-2020, 08:55 PM
 
Location: Dallas, TX and Las Vegas, NV
7,219 posts, read 6,233,959 times
Reputation: 16445
Quote:
Originally Posted by dwarak_cit View Post
Hi,

We are finally planning to make the big move of buying a home in Valley ranch (Coppell School District). There are currently 2 Elementary schools and we are looking around that area as 1st choice.

What I am most concerned is, "Foundation".

So, please help me in answering the following questions:

1. What are the inspections I need to do?

2. Will the home inspector provide all the details of the foundation, plumbing, termite, soil etc.. Or do I need to hire specialist for individual assessment during the "Option" period?

3. What sort of foundation issues are acceptable and what are not?

4. Exterior has frieze board separations 1/4 th inch, soil is over brick line on the west side, brick cracks over nook window, garage wall

5. Interior has sheet rock cracks, over door, over window, over ceiling in the bedrooms, entry ceiling and garage ceiling.


6. Is installing 12 exterior piers on the front side of the house to fix a problem acceptable or will it cause major issues in the future, inspite of me taking good care of it?

Thanks and appreciate anyone who can help us with this questions.
I usually engage a general home inspector — get recommendations from friends or maybe check YELP. They often will advise you to also get an engineer to look at the foundation because they typically are not qualified to do a foundation inspection. A general home inspector will check plumbing for leaks and pressure, the electrical and appliances including HVAC and water heater. Also will look at roof, windows and doors, and will (extra fee) look for termites.

Cracks are pretty normal, but its a good idea to get an independent engineer (no, don’t ever use a foundation repair company for inspections) to give you an opinion. This will cost about $800 but if there is an issue, you will also get information on the proper repairs needed such as your question #6. Your realtor may know a good foundation engineer. I have used a few in the past. Jason Conklin, Lighthouse Engineering (214) 224-0549 has a good reputation. I haven’t used him but he’s in my (Landlord) contact list and I’ve heard good things about him.
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Old 01-30-2020, 10:34 PM
 
Location: Lake Highlands - Dallas
673 posts, read 2,528,619 times
Reputation: 627
We used Lighthouse Engineering with two homes and they were great to work with! Heck we saved ourselves from buying a money pit, so we’re extremely grateful to them.
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Old 01-31-2020, 08:40 AM
 
Location: Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
2,379 posts, read 7,056,159 times
Reputation: 4017
Quote:
Originally Posted by dwarak_cit View Post
Hi,

We are finally planning to make the big move of buying a home in Valley ranch (Coppell School District). There are currently 2 Elementary schools and we are looking around that area as 1st choice.

What I am most concerned is, "Foundation".

So, please help me in answering the following questions:

1. What are the inspections I need to do?



I would recommend a general home inspection
A pest inspection by an actual pest control company and NOT a general Home Inspector. The pest
company has much more to lose if they make a mistake.
Given your situation described below you are displaying signs of foundation movement. I do

recommend the first inspection you perform is one of the reputable foundation repair companies that
perform free inspections and proper level analysis readings. More below.


2. Will the home inspector provide all the details of the foundation, plumbing, termite, soil etc.. Or do I need to hire specialist for individual assessment during the "Option" period?


A good Home Inspector will identify all problems possible and provide guidance on where to turn next for any further evaluations that might warrant them.


3. What sort of foundation issues are acceptable and what are not?


That really is an individual choice. Obviously if the structure is not safe it is not acceptable however up to that point each buyer must decide this.


4. Exterior has frieze board separations 1/4 th inch, soil is over brick line on the west side, brick cracks over nook window, garage wall


These are (with the soil exception) common signs of possible foundation movement. However there are other possible causes not related to foundation movement. All of the available signs and conditions would need to be collected and reviewed to make a determination.


The soil issue is not only a possible grading/drainage indicator poor grading/drainage can contribute to foundation movement. It is also a potential for water penetration issues and undetected entry of various wood destroying insects (including subterranean termites).


5. Interior has sheet rock cracks, over door, over window, over ceiling in the bedrooms, entry ceiling and garage ceiling.


See #4 above.


6. Is installing 12 exterior piers on the front side of the house to fix a problem acceptable or will it cause major issues in the future, inspite of me taking good care of it?


Unfortunately nobody, including a licensed Engineer, can predict what might happen in the future with or without repairs. There are many variables to consider and many contributors to possible future foundation movements.


Thanks and appreciate anyone who can help us with this questions.

I've added some comments in blue above.



If it was my purchase this is how I would approach it. Performed in this order can help minimize your expenses for inspections and cut them short if at any step you're not happy and want to end the deal.



First you have typical signs of foundation movement. To better understand if it is or not have one of the reputable foundation repair companies inspect it. Most if not all perform this for free and you are not beholden to use them in the future. The reputable companies would like your business but also understand that being deceitful is more harm than good to their company. Besides we have plenty of foundation issues in our area and not having your business because you don't have foundation issues will not concern them. They can provide you an estimate if repairs appear to be needed and explain why they are recommending the repairs. If you're not comfortable you can end the deal there or continue with the knowledge that repairs may be needed.



Next have you pest control company perform the State WDI inspection. You can have it done the same day as the general home inspection if you desire or the same day as the foundation company inspection. Typical fees for this are not very high but if results of this are very unsatisfactory, and you have not had your general home inspection, you can stop the home inspection and save money there. Never use anyone other than a licensed pest control company to perform this inspection. Make sure it is their W2 employee performing it and not a general Home Inspector using the company to hold their pest control license just so they can do the inspections. A pest control company has a lot more to lose and any reputable company will try to make it right IF they make a mistake.


Given the area of the house you might have a pool. They are high dollar items which have a tendency for high dollar problems. Here again use a professional pool company for this inspection. If they are any good they will go WAY beyond what any general Home Inspector will do for an inspection. They can also provide you repair estimates for issues needing corrections where the Home Inspector will typically not and if they do I would not believe it. Any fee you pay the Home Inspector for this is much better spent on a professional pool company. You can also perform this on the same day as the general home inspection.



Next is the general home inspection. Check your Home Inspector out well since they are simply not all equal! How to pick one can take volumes but you want a full time Inspector and not one working it part time with another job. Ask them plenty of questions but keep the BS Meter turned on since you'll hear it all if you call enough of them.


Somewhere along the line above you may already have decided you do not want the aggravations of the house and pass on it. If you decide to continue you should already have names for the following.
  • A General Contractor can come in real handy to review all issues and provide a general estimate for all trades. If you option period is short this may be an option instead of dealing with other trades.
  • A good licensed Professional Engineer in the event foundation issues have been identified. The PE can verify the issues and if needed provide an engineered remediation plan for them.
  • In the event there are a small number of individual trade issues you can bypass the GC and call a licensed Electrician, Plumber, HVAC Contractor, etc.
One thing that many buyers totally misjudge are what may appear to be the small things. For example you're already seeing cracks in gypsum board (drywall/sheetrock). These are simple repairs but if you want them completely repaired (no visual signs) it can be time consuming and expensive. Same with cracking of the exterior brick veneer. Even something as simple as a bad electrical outlet can cost you a hefty penny to call in a properly licensed Electrician to repair. You need to be aware of these things instead of getting the big surprise after you move in.


If you would like to go offline and email me (my email contact info is in my profile, no PM's/DM's please) we can further discuss the possible steps and things to watch for that may not be covered here.
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Old 01-31-2020, 09:35 AM
 
Location: DFW - Coppell / Las Colinas
38,138 posts, read 42,639,952 times
Reputation: 47265
Shame you don't have a knowledgeable experienced RE Buyers agent who can answer most of the questions.
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Old 01-31-2020, 10:12 AM
 
1,224 posts, read 974,079 times
Reputation: 1410
You should be concerned with foundation in Valley Ranch. One of the worst places in the metroplex in terms of dirt. Not every house will have issues, but plenty will due to expansive clay soils...repair is often a temporary fix.

To me there are enough houses for sale around that don't have foundation problems that you should look around for one that doesnt have them. You can spend a lot of time and money on temporary fixes....and unless you fix the soil or the cause and really stay on top of it, you will likely have problems again.

Sounds like you know it already has issues.....home inspector will probably point out what you've seen hopefully and mark those issues as deficient on the report. They'll often say to get another expert to give you advice....they're reporting the status. So you'll then want to hire a structural engineer for another $450 or so and they'll tell you how to mitigate the impact....then you'll spend some money every 5-6-7 years to install and adjust piers and fix the cracks inside and out, and at some point probably have to fix some plumbing and sewer issues. Maybe this time though you can get the seller to pay for some of what's wrong.

You just have to decide what is acceptable to you and how much you are willing to spend over time to fix things. Personally I'd rather my buyers be spending that $4000-$10,000 on upgrading bathrooms, kitchens, flooring, painting, etc that adds value vs on foundation repairs.

Every buyer is different though...maybe location is so strong for you, that spending significant money every few years to fix these issues is more important than the money.
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Old 01-31-2020, 10:28 AM
 
488 posts, read 336,308 times
Reputation: 652
Get a TEXAS LICENSED Professional Engineer to inspect the foundation PERIOD! Home inspectors are not qualified to thoroughly understand foundation issues. Would anyone here want a home inspector to design their foundation, I hope not. It sounds like the original foundation was not properly designed for the soil conditions. Unless you want to continually invest in the foundation, I recommend looking for another home. Best to you!
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Old 01-31-2020, 11:58 AM
 
Location: Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
2,379 posts, read 7,056,159 times
Reputation: 4017
Quote:
Originally Posted by EcoDeb View Post
Get a TEXAS LICENSED Professional Engineer to inspect the foundation PERIOD! Home inspectors are not qualified to thoroughly understand foundation issues. Would anyone here want a home inspector to design their foundation, I hope not. It sounds like the original foundation was not properly designed for the soil conditions. Unless you want to continually invest in the foundation, I recommend looking for another home. Best to you!

Why not? I designed my own as well as the remainder of the home. It certainly isn't rocket science. The house has been setting on expansive soils for 20 years without design issues.

Last edited by escanlan; 01-31-2020 at 01:05 PM..
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