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Old 07-15-2008, 12:43 PM
 
1,989 posts, read 4,107,565 times
Reputation: 1395

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I know this is weird, but here goes....

We came across a house that is close to what we are looking for. Small house, big yard, lots of trees, right neighborhood, etc.

All was going well on the home tour until we got to the basement. It was up on metal screw jacks. The original wooden support columns had rotted through at the bottom as if a beaver had chewed through them. And yes, there were signs of leakage in the cement block foundation. The current owner (a nice guy) said there was no problem using those screw jacks permanently and the water, although a trickle "wasn't really a problem." And yes, the floor in the kitchen had a speed bump in it.

Yikes.

Anyway, I called an architect friend and a structural engineer, and they both said it could be a minor fix or it could be MAJOR TROUBLE.

We like the house, but until we know what's up in the basement, we'd feel weird making an offer. Our realtor suspects that the guy won't come down much in price, so the basement could be a deal breaker.

So the question is: Would it make sense to get a structural engineer and builder in the basement before making an offer? Do people do that? If not, what would be the right thing to do?

Thanks!
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Old 07-15-2008, 12:55 PM
 
5 posts, read 19,839 times
Reputation: 12
traditionally, you place an offer, THEN get the house inspected.

If the inspector says the house needs to be lifted and the foundation rebuilt, then you ask the seller to do that prior to selling it to you.

The seller says no,

Then you say, then the contract is null and void.

Then you continue looking at other houses.

Good luck!
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Old 07-15-2008, 01:00 PM
 
Location: Central Maryland - Mt Airy
160 posts, read 747,749 times
Reputation: 61
I would submit an offer contingent on a home inspection and a structural inspection and proceed from there. If the seller accepts your offer, order the inspections, you can always walk away if the inspections find major issues that you don't want to deal with and/or the seller won't negotiate repairs. If you do the inspections without a contingent contract in place there's nothing stopping the seller from selling the place out from under you, after you have paid for the inspections.
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Old 07-15-2008, 01:10 PM
 
28,461 posts, read 76,229,870 times
Reputation: 18535
Unhappy Right on Debi18!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Debi18 View Post
I would submit an offer contingent on a home inspection and a structural inspection and proceed from there. If the seller accepts your offer, order the inspections, you can always walk away if the inspections find major issues that you don't want to deal with and/or the seller won't negotiate repairs. If you do the inspections without a contingent contract in place there's nothing stopping the seller from selling the place out from under you, after you have paid for the inspections.
The key is that you and the seller need to be protected with a clear contingent offer. If you are architect friend works in the business he MIGHT have a good contact but the key is you NEED a firm that is very hands-on and has the experience / tools to determine the best way to make this sound. From the sound of it I would be VERY worried about WATER, rotted wood and a floor with a speed bump. In my book any ONE of those would kill a deal, but all three?!? Maybe this is in a part of the country that people deal with this frequently but for me I put on that little Nancy Sinatra ditty. You know. "These boots are made for walking".

Other thread has some poor soul that sunk $100,000 into structural issues
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Old 07-15-2008, 06:40 PM
 
1,989 posts, read 4,107,565 times
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Thanks for the insight everyone. I saw the other thread with the "new" owner throwing $$ into the money pit. That's exactly what we're afraid of with this home. On the other hand, maybe it wouldn't be so bad.

Sounds like the offer will have to be made, then the inspection with very clear terms about structural problems and our option to void the deal.

I know we shouldn't even be talking about this house, but the combination of little house, big yard is fairly unique in this area. I think most of them got torn down.

So for now? We'll wait a bit and see if anything more solid comes on. A few months down the road, if this is still listed and we're out of patience, maybe we'll see about putting an offer on it. Who knows what to offer with this much neglect, though?

The weirdest thing was, he seemed like a really nice normal guy in every other way. His family is living in this house. It's beautiful. It's just rotting from the bottom up and he seems not to notice!
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Old 07-15-2008, 08:08 PM
 
28,461 posts, read 76,229,870 times
Reputation: 18535
Lots of clueless homeowners in good times and bad. Honesty has nothing to do with. It ain't like lenders make homeowners take a class called "how water will make your house rot"...
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Old 07-16-2008, 07:00 AM
 
Location: Charleston, SC
5,615 posts, read 13,496,656 times
Reputation: 2540
Where's this other thread?
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Old 07-16-2008, 07:03 AM
 
Location: WNY
1,049 posts, read 3,591,003 times
Reputation: 269
In my area some really gorgeous homes have been hit with foundation problems, make sure you also get a soil test done to make sure it can be fixed if you end up going with it. Best of luck, imho, from experience in my own neighborhood, I would continue looking. Best of luck!
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Old 07-16-2008, 09:42 AM
 
Location: Barrington
56,575 posts, read 38,974,763 times
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I am curious about the disclosure laws in your state. Has the seller disclosed, in writing, what's going on from a structural perspective?

In my area, it is becoming increasingly common for buyers to ask for the inspection before an offer is made. Such buyers are taking the position that they do not want to agree on price and terms until they know about the issues.

It's easy to convince sellers of the benefits of putting the cart before the horse.

The buyer is going to incur the expense of the inspection, regardless of when it's done.
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Old 07-16-2008, 09:43 AM
 
Location: Barrington
56,575 posts, read 38,974,763 times
Reputation: 18293
Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
Lots of clueless homeowners in good times and bad. Honesty has nothing to do with. It ain't like lenders make homeowners take a class called "how water will make your house rot"...
Love it.
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