Home Buying in San Pedro>Question Details

Stevet445, Home Buyer in Belmont Shore, Long...

I'm looking at a home that looks like it might need foundation work...

Asked by Stevet445, Belmont Shore, Long Beach, CA Thu Aug 25, 2011

Is the seller required to disclose information regarding faults in the property preinspection? Or do I have to pay for the inspection and gamble with the cost to do so? If there is foundation work needed, I won't buy the home. Is there an industry high rated inspection service I should be aware of?

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Older homes, and especially those on a hillside, may experience foundation issues. If the seller is AWARE of foundation problems, they must disclose this to you. However, don't count on them being aware of problems, unless they are severe. And as many have said below, have your agent ask the seller's agent for disclosures.

That being said, if you suspect foundation problems you want to have that looked at by the appropriate professional. Many home inspection companies do not employ licensed contractors to perform the inspections. So paying for a home inspection may not get you what you want. Consider calling out a licensed contractor, preferably one that does foundation inspections and retrofits. Many licensed contractors will come out and look at a suspect foundation and give you a bid for repairs at no cost.

Even if you have to pay $100 to $200 for a contractor's inspection and estimate, I don't see it as a gamble. I see it as insurance that you are buying a sound home (or one that can be made sound). Like Don pointed out below - you can often get a pretty deep discount on a home with foundation issues. You just want to know in advance the severity and cost of repairs. If the numbers work, this might be a great way to get a great home at a discounted price. Dare to Dream.

Shel-lee Davis, QSC®
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 25, 2011
Good answers already. Let me address something else in your question. You say: "If there is foundation work needed, I won't buy the home."

At any price?

It's your decision, of course. And I'm certainly not encouraging you to buy a property that needs some foundation work. On the other hand, everything is fixable for a price. I know some investors who've made a lot of money by buying homes with foundation problems. The problems have scared everyone else away. They hire an engineer to determine how much work is needed. Then they factor that into their offer. I've known investors who've gotten a property for $50,000 less than it would have gone for with no foundation issues, when the foundation repairs themselves ran only $5,000-$15,000.

Just something to consider.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 25, 2011
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
Hi Steve,

These are great questions, and some of the most important ones to ask in a home purchase. ABSOLUTELY the seller is required to disclose WHAT THEY ARE AWARE OF, and pretty much all of the disclosures say exactly that..."ARE YOU AWARE OF..." That being said, most people don't go under their homes to see what's going on under there unless they have a reason! I also tell my clients that the price of a home inspection is insignificant compared to the investment they are making in their new home. For the same reason I stated above, there may be many things the seller is not aware of, and even homes that have been upgraded on the surface may still have bigger underlying issues. All of us have well-qualified inspectors to help you; general home inspectors as well as structural inspectors.

Also, depending on the extent of the needed repairs and the value you are getting on the home, don't unilaterally rule out a home that might otherwise be exactly what you want! We may be able to get seller assistance, or there are also loan programs that allow for repairs to be done and financed into your mortgage! Then you will have a home that's better than new! In Belmont Shore and An Pedro there are a lot of beautiful older homes that may have issues, but they are absolute classics!

I'd love to help you find one!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 25, 2011
An inspection is not a gamble when purchasing real estate. The cost of having a skilled and knowledgeable inspector is fairly minor compared to the dangers of the unknown problems that go undiscovered until after you buy.
Save yourself a ton of money. ALWAYS do an inspection! Let me know if I can send you professionals I recommend to inspect and/or give you a repair estimate for this property.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 25, 2011
Instead of spending money upfront on a home inspection, you can ask your agent to ask the Listing agent to give you the Seller's Disclosures BEFORE you make an offer. Many agents are not aware of this, but the intent of the
"Seller's Property Questionnaire" and other Seller Disclosures is to provide these to a prospective buyer BEFORE they make an offer so they have as much info on the property as possible. A Home Inspector will advise you to hire a structural engineer if they think there may be a problem, but why lay out money unnecessarily for a home inspection if you can get the info you need upfront. Wise agents always ask their sellers to have a home inspection and termite inspection done at the time they list the property. It takes the guess work out of equation.
Call me if i can help
Sue Wylie, Broker
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 25, 2011
Hi Steve - In MOST cases the seller is required to disclose what they know about the property. MOST, not all, depends on a number of selling scenarios. Regardless of seller's disclosures, it is essential to get a general home inspection at the very minimum. With a competent home inspection report you can determine if you're interested entough to follow up and invest in a specific inspection (such as foundation), or just move on.

An experienced and competent agent will help you with this. If you would like to discuss further, feel free to contact me, I specialize in San Pedro homes.

Best Wishes, Andrea Kowalksi
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 25, 2011
If the SELLER is aware of FAULTS: Is your seller a GEOLOGIST? How would they know where the FAULTS are? Do you?

If the SELLER is aware of cracks in the foundation; YES,

If you are aware of the cracks before the Contract has been signed; certainly you can walk away.
If you want to continue, you shouldn't invest any money until you are under Contract.
Then, while in Escrow, you perform your Inspections:
If you find something that is unacceptable to you, you may walk away, re-negotiate, or bear the cost yourself; your choice.

Understanding that I am not a Lawyer, nor a Structural Engineer; I doubt that you will find a slab that does not have some cracks in it; not in California.

Good luck and may God bless
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 25, 2011

The seller discloses whatever needs to be disclosed after there is an accepted offer. It is customary for the buyer to pay for the home inspection. During that inspection the buyer almost always discovers something that either needs further inspection or repair.

Have your agent ask for a Seller Property Questionnaire as well. They need to request this document be delivered before the home inspection is done. This will give you an idea of any systems you may want to inspect more closely

All my best,
Dot Chance, Realtor®
Certified Distressed Property Expert – CDPE®
DRE License #01494182
Keller Williams Realty World Media Center

WHEN YOU THINK OF REAL ESTATE...Think DotChance.com! My business thrives from your referrals!
Web Reference: http://www.DotChance.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 25, 2011
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