Home Buying in Thousand Oaks>Question Details

Pacificdude85, Home Buyer in Thousand Oaks, CA

After 2.5 years in a 1960's home that was flipped before purchase: major cracks from window corners. Inspector said no foundation issues? Can I?

Asked by Pacificdude85, Thousand Oaks, CA Tue Mar 20, 2012

sue? The home is on a raised foundation with a center concrete support wall. One crack (now the worst going from a windows corner all the way to the floor) was apparent after less than a year. But now there are cracks from both the upper and lower window corners on one side of the house... I know this is indicative of a foundation issue. There is no soil around the outside of the home (all concrete, not even a flower bed) ... This is my first home, and I'm already in a battle over Title with fraud and a former owner previous to the flippers that I purchased from. My big question is, can I seek damages from the flippers since they hide this from me?

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Bonnie Sterling’s answer
Barry is correct, there are several areas affected by cracked SLAB foundation. Some with long and interesting stories. However, you are talking about a raised foundation crack. Your situation sounds unusual. I think you need a professional opinion about what it would take to fix the problem. I recommend Rob Geiger with Able Construction, he's great.797-4303 and I think you also need an attorney.
I also just want to say, I am very sad for you that this is your home buying experience. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 27, 2012
BEST ANSWER
Many homes in T.O., especially west of the 23 and along the Avenida de los Arboles corridor have loose soil conditions, resulting in foundation cracks. Other areas in Ventura County, such as the Santa Rosa Valley, also suffer from this ongoing condition. You may want to check with your insurance agent first, to see if the structural condition is covered. Talk to neighbors, to see if they have knowledge of this and are experiencing the same scenario. The TDS, SPQ and SSD that was signed by the previous sellers/flippers will likely exonerate them from any responsibility, since they did not live in the home. If you insist on pursuing this more, simply call a local real estate attorney. I can provide a name of one with an office in Westlake.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 20, 2012
Barry, thank you ... I am just west of the 23 Corridor between Arboles and the 101. I won't pursue it any further. I just wanted to make sure, with this being my first home purchase, that some one didn't drop the ball where they shouldn't. The flippers had cut corners other places (roof repair), and it just seems like the house has aged significantly these last 2 years with the wood under the carpet creeking loudly throughout the house, and my discovery that the sewage line was improperly sloped under the house causing a backup shortly after move in... You know, typical stuff you don't notice until you live here. I guess I failed to see that the flippers wouldn't necessarily notice these things without some ongoing use first. Thank you for your help.
Flag Tue Mar 20, 2012
You may want to call your inspector and ask for his help in determining what might be happening. I know we often get calls from past clients and do our best to discuss things or re-visit the property if needed. The inspection company is probably not liable after this long, but professional companies understand the need to maintain strong relationships with past clients. If they are no longer around you can find reputable inspectors at http://www.ashi.org or http://www.creia.org that may be able to assist you since the primary goal should be to prevent further damage if possible.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 20, 2012
The major questions are when did this occur and what does it take to fix it? You would have to prove that a previous owner knew of the issues and covered them and didn't disclose them or the inspector saw them and didn't disclose them.

You should investigate the source of the problem. Is it a support or possibly a slow leak somewhere,.. That would be my first step.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 20, 2012
First of all; you must understand that your house, (particularly with a raised foundation,) is a living, breathing thing. It is litterally floating on the foundation, and the foundation(s) are floating on the earth and the earth is moving.
The latest earthquake technology has determined that the builder best suited to surviving an earthquake are not solid, strong units, but rather flexible units that can roll with the punch.

All houses develope cracks; I have never seen a house that didn't have some cracks.

The inspector was determining the condition of the house AT THE TIME of the inspection: He determined that there was nothing serious. He cannot be held accountable for the earth moving 10 months later.
And even if he could be held accountable; what are you going to sue him for?
Or the previous owner?

Good luck and may God bless
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 20, 2012
Thank you Ron. I am from Florida, so I have little earthquake education other than "duck/tuck against a stable wall and never run outside".

I was not considering putting pressure on the inspector, but the flippers. I was skeptical (without disclosing too much on open litigation) because the flippers knowingly continued to sell this home after being served an order to cease the sale because the home was allegedly being illegally acquired (not by me, not by the flippers, but by a bank that repo'd). It's a big mess. The thought just entered my mind that the flippers might have cut corners and hid certain conditions to get the home off their hands quickly after being served the day I went into escrow.

Thank you.
Flag Tue Mar 20, 2012
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