Pier & Beam Foundation

sarovenMarch 11, 2009


We are in escrow on a 1910 house in Southern California. We just have the home inspection done and the report came back saying:

"Raised-pier construction. Sub-floor access is located on the

left. Home is not bolted to the foundation. Cracks and

deteriorating sill plates noted at stem walls. Some piers are not

set on concrete footings. Deteriorating wood framing and

sagging sub flooring observed. Water stains noted at the

kitchen and bathroom floor sheathing. Corrosion noted at the

plumbing supply lines, no leaks observed at the time of inspection"

Now the over $200k question is - is it worth moving forward on this house? We are still in the home inspection continguency period, so can get out relatively easily.

Any guesstimates on cost to fix/stabilize the foundation?

(this house also needs a new roof and siding, but that's a whole other story)

ANY & ALL help would be VERY much appreciated!!!

Thanks much!


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I'd get a couple estimates. Long time ago I bought a house that had plenty of issues but an estimate came along with the inspection, inspector did work also. The cost was less than I thought it might be when we heard about the issues. It might be worth your time to see if you can get a couple contractors out to give an estimate. You can work with the seller possibly depending on what the repairs might cost if you want to try.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 8:40PM
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Thank you! I completely agree. I have 2 guys coming out tomorrow, and just put in a request with a company that specializes in foundations (we'll see if they get back to me) The house does have a slight tilt, and the porch floor bows, as well as the living room.

The ultimate cause is most likely: age (100 yo) and improper water drainage from the roof. Oh, and possibly termite (we are still waiting for the report)

We just don't want to move into the money pit.

The unknown is the scary part! It could be a relatively simple, inexpensive fix, or it could be very costly. We have til Friday - only 1 full day - to make our decision before we're locked in, so it's a mad scramble. We only got the home inspection done yesterday and report came today, with more details.

It's a REO, so negotiation may not be an option.

Thank you again - and any other thoughts are appreciated.
All the best,

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 9:01PM
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In this market - especially in socal - I wouldn't rush into any purchase that you had big questions about. There are just so many houses out there selling at deeply discounted rates. If you can't get reasonable estimates for the repairs you know about, then you should move on to the next property. Foundation, framing, water damage , plumbing - those all have the potential to be huge unknown costs.

By any chance, did the inspector specialize in older homes? Often times, inspectors that are used to looking at new houses are well versed in modern building codes, but don't know a lot about the safety (or lack there of) of older building methods.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 9:12AM
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Were older homes ever set on concrete footings or bolted to the foundation? I don't think any of the houses that I've lived in have been.

Can you let us know what the foundation expert says about cost and difficulty of repair?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 12:41PM
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