Crack in basement, is it a serious problem?

Asked by Dan, Chicago, IL Sat Mar 28, 2009

I am interested in buying a townhouse, everything seems OK, but found a crack runs from ceiling to the ground at the corner of the wall in basement. I'm wondering it's a big problem or not big deal? My agent told me that is fine for a 20years old house, is that true?
Thank you for your any input.

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Lisa Santaca…, Agent, Las Vegas, NV
Sat Mar 28, 2009

Although your agent may think it is fine, I am willing to bet that they would not want to stake their license on the fact. An agent with you best interest in mind would recommend a mechanical inspection (home inspection) on your home. An inspector will come in a note any items that may be a cause for concern or reuire further evaluation by a specialist, in this case a Residential Structural Engineer. Personally speaking, peace of mind is priceless.

I came across this information on one of my favorite "resource" sites.

Crack Appearance:

Vertical or Diagonal Cracks in a foundation wall. Cracks start at floor and run to ceiling. Cracks are wider at the top or the bottom.

Possible Cause:

Vertical movement between the two pieces of foundation. Crack is the hinge. Poor fill, soil creep, erosion, etc. are possible causes.

I hope this information helps, please see the web reference below.

Good Luck!


Lisa Santacaterina
EcoBroker Certified, a New Kind of Realtor
(702) 540-2956
1 vote
Keith Manson-…, , Milwaukee, WI
Sun Mar 29, 2009
dan, I would submit your quesition under remodel & renovate you may get better responses. In general vertical cracks that go through the bricks are not a good indication. The other thing to look at is how level the walls are. It there is moverment and the walls are not level I would get a foundation expert to look at the house. You realtor might be right but you are investing the money and I would get an expert to review the situaition if I was you. Remember the house is built on the foundation!
0 votes
Lucy Perna, Agent, Arlington Heights, IL
Sat Mar 28, 2009

Trust your instincts. If you are asking the question, it's your instincts talking to you . Just have it checked out during your inspection/attorney review period. Have an expert out to check it out. The inspector is not always your best person to answer this question for you. Worth the money and peace of mind. Best of luck.

0 votes
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Sat Mar 28, 2009
No one can determine that unless you have a professional foundation company who render an opinion. YES older homes have some foundation problems HOWEVER you want to protect your investment. If an appraiser is there sees the same it may not pass lender approval.

I would have concerns. GREAT QUESTION

~ National Featured Realtor and Consultant, Lecturer regarding Credit Repair, Mortgage Loan Officer
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