I have heard that there are often structural issues in Austin homes. Is there an area to stay away from or areas that are safer?

Asked by katie, Merced, CA Wed Mar 6, 2013

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Betina Forem…, Agent, Austin, TX
Thu Mar 21, 2013
Whenever you have a lot of clay or caliche in the soils that ground is going to move quickly when we have a serious rain event. Currently we are in a long term drought, so the soils are very dry and this has happened over a long period of time. However when we get rain it generally comes pretty fast and furious, so that dry soil will plump up quickly and can cause the house to shift and cause cracks in the house. Check the window frames and doorways for cracks before buying. Have any home inspected before you buy the home. Good luck!
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Erica Ledesma, Agent, Austin, TX
Sat Mar 9, 2013
Any home can have structural issues and there are many factors to consider. An experienced agent can walk you throughout the home and point out certain items that may indicate that the home may have some structural issues. I always recommend to my clients to have an inspection done within your option period. If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact me 512-971-4881 or Aske@kw.com.

Have a great day!

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Claire McInt…, Agent, Austin, TX
Wed Mar 6, 2013
Any area with a lot of clay soils. check with your realtor.
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Jon Kasner, Agent, Austin, TX
Wed Mar 6, 2013
I very general terms the areas west of the Interstate tend to be more rocky, The areas east of the interstate (35) may have 2 to 8 feet of clay (used to be farmland). The builders are smart and do compensate. If you would like to discuss it more my contact information is at kasner.com. Jon
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Don Moriarty, Agent, Round Rock, TX
Wed Mar 6, 2013
In order not to repeat the prior comments, I'd just add that you can check a home for free for foundation issues by looking above the doors and windows for spider cracks. You can also see if the door closes properly. After that, place a marble in the center of the room. If it rolls, you might have a sag. Should you have reason to believe there is an issue, the next to step is to have a licensed inspector check it out.

Don Moriarty
Broker Classic Texas Properties
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Tim Hendricks, Agent, Austin, TX
Wed Mar 6, 2013
The underlying soil varies throughout the City and surrounding areas. As a general guideline, the further west you get, you are more likely to be on solid bedrock, whereas the further east you get there is a greater likelihood for significant clay in the soil. The expansion and contraction of the clay is one of the major contributors to shifting foundations. As another contributor pointed out, ensuring consistent moisture levels around the perimeter of the slab can go a long way towards preventing any major shifts.

You really have to look at it from a neighborhood by neighborhood perspective. A knowledgeable agent can help you on that front. There are also several large, reputable foundation repair companies that provide free foundation inspections. Be aware, though, when your company is in the business of selling foundation repairs, it's difficult to find a foundation that does not need repair! Unless you are sure the slab needs repairs by visual inspection, and thus need the bids for repair, I would consider using an independent structural engineer that does not repair foundations to inspect the slab. It will cost some money, but you can be sure that you are getting an unbiased opinion.
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Ronald Culli…, Agent, Austin, TX
Wed Mar 6, 2013
Austin, and many areas of Texas have a very expansive type of soil that is mostly a clay like substance. It absorbs water like a paper towel and expands when doing so, then shrinks back a great deal when allowed to dry. Structural issues will happen if one doesn't take proper care of the foundation, or if one happens to have purchased a property that didn't have a good foundation installed and/or cared for. The thing to do is have an agent working with you who is familiar with our area and a good inspector to allay your worries.

I guess you could say that since Texas is now the second most populous state, a lot of people are living quite well with this 'problem'.

Ron Cullinan
Avalar Austin
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Randee Dillon…, Agent, Austin, TX
Wed Mar 6, 2013
Hi Katie....

It's the soil here in Austin....summer gets dry and the walls can crack....often very minor and NOT structural. However, it is always a good idea to have a foundation check before buying anyway. You can always contact a foundation company here in town, Centex is a good one, and just ask a few questions. They will be non-biased! Happy to help you find a nice "stable" home if your search lands you here in Austin!!

Take care,
Randee Hainline
Keller Williams, CNE
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Bryan Treat, Agent, Austin, TX
Wed Mar 6, 2013
Structural issues? Such as?

There are good homes and bad homes in every market. It's critical to review seller's disclosures, get homes inspected etc. to insure you know everything about the property. You can then make an informed decision about how/if to move forward. Find a great realtor to help birddog these issues!

Bryan Treat
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Steven Nusin…, Agent, Austin, TX
Wed Mar 6, 2013
Really, it is on a case by case basis. While there are areas where it is more common, due to the climate, geography, construction, foundation issues can occur anywhere in this area.

The best thing to do is look, analyze, and inspect. Please feel free to contact me for a no obligation consultation on the purchase of your home.


Steve Nusinow
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