Buying house with 'sagging beams and joists'?

abby2010July 7, 2010


My husband and I offered on a 4,000 sqft house that was priced well for the area and build. The home appeared very nice and we debated on even getting an inspection because it is new- 2006. A structural engineer inspected home several months ago when someone else had made offer on home and found some very frightening sounding problems though:

Crawl space conditions judged to be damp across entire west side of house.

Fungal growth and deteriorated lumber at entire west side

multiple sagging beams and joists under center of home.

significant differential foundation movements along entire perimeter and much of interior. Foundation is pier and beam.

I assume this is why the home is priced approx 100,000 less than comparables in the area?? I am inquiring about the seriousness of these issues- do they have a solution at all?? The wood floors in the house are cupping and buckled in one room, which I guess should have tipped us off. Any advice or thoughts are greatly appreciated.

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i would politely RUN .... and thank my lucky stars I had that inspection.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 2:53AM
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The solution would be to tear down the house and start over - in another location!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 5:10AM
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When I first read the headline of your post, I thought you were talking about a very old house so not an unexpected issue. When I read the post and found out you were only talking about a house that is 4 years old, I thought to myself NO WAY WOULD I BUY THAT!!!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 7:37AM
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Sounds like a poorly built spec house thrown up at the height of the housing boom with little regard to site preparation, drainage, or a suitable foundation for the site.

Anything can be fixed, given enough time, money, and willing authorities. Doing it without taking a financial bath in this case is highly doubtful.

Given what you have already found, there is a virtual certainty that there are other serious issues waiting to be discovered.

In a word, don't.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 10:58AM
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Sounds like a candidate fro the knock down pile.

An old house might have age issues and be worth salvaging for its other details.

A house this new is a money pit.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 11:40AM
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My house is 230 years old and doesn't have the issues the house you are considering does. If you can see these problems after only 4 years, just imagine how poorly it was built. "Run Forrest, run!!"

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 4:15PM
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I've got a old house (180 yrs) and tho my floors may have settled some they do not having sagging beams or joist.
If I were you I'd run from that house while you still have money in your pocket and your sanity intack!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 5:44PM
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Forget the offer!!!!!!! Run, Run, Run away!

The only solution to this is a wrecking ball! Way too many serious problems for a four year old house.

Enjoy the journey,
eal51 in western CT

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 7:21AM
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This is a tear down. Even if you purchased the house for a $100,000 less then comparables, you would end up spending that and probably a lot more just to get the house in livable condition. Walk away from this or you will be buying a money pit. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 10:37AM
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Sounds like the house may have been built on swampy land that might not have been correctly filled. This would result in improper drainage/standing water and could be the direct cause of the foundation shifts.

Concur with everyone else. Don't walk; run.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 11:51AM
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Really??? You should run as others suggested. It is never a good idea to not have an inspection done. You are lucky that the structual engineer one done before was disclosed at all since you were debating having one done on your own. Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 3:29PM
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Nothing a gallon of gas and a match can't fix.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 2:20PM
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"It is never a good idea to not have an inspection done."

It lets folks who know how to inspect and purchase without ANY contingencies quickly get a house under contract.

Sellers are often shocked when I purchase investment houses without a single contingency.

No appraisal, no financing, no inspection.

A 'clean' contract often with a very short settlement date, and a healthy earnest money deposit.

The only thing that has annoyed a few was the 12 hour acceptance deadline.

I do not want the offer 'shopped.'

I have also been purchasing and renovating for almost 30 years now.

Only a very few ties have costs gone over what I anticipated.
I held those houses as rentals until the value increased enough to sell them.

One even went as lease with an option to purchase.
He took care of the place as well as I would have if it was my residence, and purchased it and still living there over 10 years latter.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 4:47PM
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