(Closed) Would you buy a house that needed structural repairs?

posted 10 years ago in Home
Post # 3
6350 posts
Bee Keeper

@MrsPinkPeony: Can you get a copy of the inspection report from the seller? Then you could bring it around and get estimates.

Structural damage just sounds scary to me.

Post # 4
7172 posts
Busy Beekeeper

I was just having this conversation with a friend… we both agreed we could tackle just about any home project EXCEPT foundation issues.  You have to wonder about the soil underneath and even if you fix the foundation issues, you wonder what else can go wrong.

If you end up getting the house at 130K, figuring in closing costs… that doesn’t give you a good chunk left to put towards the foundation.  

Could you get your parents contractor to come give it a look and a bid?  

Did the inspector note what kind of foundation issues?  Could it be simple fixes??

The other thing – since the owners didn’t know there wasn’t an issue and the house was that deeply discounted, perhaps they’d be willing to drop the price to help with the foundation issues, etc.


Post # 5
3942 posts
Honey bee

I wouldnt touch it. They have already dropped the price more than $100K, which tells me the repairs needed are very, very extensive. I’m all for fixing up a house but anything to do with foundations are scary to me. And if you were to buy it, it doesnt give you  much wiggle room if they find something else that needs to be repaired along the way. Too risky.

Post # 6
5787 posts
Bee Keeper

Not unless it was almost free. Home inspectors aren’t contractors and usually have no idea how much repairs may cost. They can give a guesstimate, but many times are way off.

The only way I’d consider it would be if I got several estimates to do the repairs, and then base my offer off of those.

We bought one many years ago, and after we started gutting it, the township shut down the job and actually condemned the house. We took a total loss.

Post # 7
3525 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

For the average homeowner I would stay very very far away from structural problems of any kind. Especially foundation issues.

I def think it’s a good idea to get a copy of the inspection report and perhaps bring it to a trusted structural engineer and contractor and get their input.

At 130K with structural issues that is skirting really close to your 150K. Factoring in closing costs and furnishings you will be well over your budget. I think with a budget of 150K that is way too close for comfort.

The daughter of a cousin in law bought a house in foreclosure that had foundation problems. However, her father is VERY VERY talented has been doing construction work on the side for years. He was able to fix the foundation problem himself! Now it’s fixed, passed inspection and appraisal and the house is worth now more than double what it was.

But again, for the average homeowner I would stay far away from structural problems. With a faulty foundation you also have no idea what kind of damage it may have done to the structural integrity of the house that is not seen to the naked eye.

View original reply

Very good point.

Post # 8
305 posts
Helper bee

Honestly, no.  When my Fiance and I were looking for houses before we found a perfect one, but it had structural damage.  The best the contractor I found could tell me is that it might cost $10-$50K+ to fix but there wasn’t a real way of knowing until after the floor was ripped up and they started on the job.

If you are seriously considering buying that house, you need to see a copy of the prior inspection report and consider having a few contractors come in with quotes.

If your max house budget is $150K and the house is $130K that isn’t a lot of leeway in case something goes wrong (and there is always unexpected costs when fixing a house).  You also need to consider why the owners would rather drop the house price by $100K rather than just getting it fixed themselves if the damage wasn’t that extensive.

Besides do you have the $20K for repairs in cash (aside from your down payment)?  I don’t know if you’ll be able to find someone to finance the house and give you that much money back for repairs.  You might even have a hard time getting financing if the damage is that extensive and this is the first house you’ve bought.

Personally, I wouldn’t walk away.  I’d run…

Post # 9
133 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

I would not touch it, strucural issues are huge and in order to fix them all the house generally needs to be torn down and the structure reset.

Post # 10
1656 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I work in the Building Dept. of a local City Hall and I would say NO.

I see permits and project valuations for things like structural/foundation repairs all the time…. the people always seem to end up having more issues than they were expecting (as with most repairs or renovations) and it ends up costing a fortune and taking forever. It just depends on how much money and time you’re willing to put in to a project like that. Personally, I wouldn’t go for it.

Post # 11
5496 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2010

I agree with everybody else. My husband and I have already talked about “deal breakers” when we buy a new house and foundation/structural issues are at the top of the list. Frankly, I wouldn’t do it!

Post # 13
444 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

As an engineer I would advise you have a structural/geotechnical enineer look at it carefully (though we’re not cheap).  Foundation damage can be expensive..Do you know any engineer/contractor who may be able to do a thorough inspection to determine the extent of the damage?  I work in geotech, so foundation support is my background…and the problem can be a number of several things..so I can’t begin to guess what it may be..  Where is it located? If it’s on the exterior..it may not be too terrible as the foundation can be bridged…however you need to account for the soil conditions and location of the property to start with.  You definitely need someone (an engineer) to come take a look before you buy so that you can be certain your house will not have major repair.  Foundation problem take a long time to cause any major damage to everything else because of how it was designed..so that may be the reason why the seller didn’t even know it.

Post # 14
7172 posts
Busy Beekeeper

View original reply
@MrsPinkPeony: it could be they priced it for a quick sell (because of the move) and now w/ the foundation issue’s they’ll go lower (assuming they are being truthful).  It could be a great deal, if you are willing to deal with fixing the foundation.  That’s awesome the contractor is a family friend – he should be able to give you an accurate assessment (especially if he’d be the one doing the work).  He may need to call in a structural expert… I’d get him over there ASAP so you can make your decision.  Good luck and keep us posted! 🙂  If comparable houses are selling for 229K and your starting point is 150K – sounds like this may be the route to go! 

Post # 15
1137 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

If you get quotes from several contractors and they come in at a number you can afford to pay out of pocket up-front to do the repairs, I would do it!

It seems as though the equity to make the repairs would more than justify the cost. If your house would go from a value of $130,000 to $250,000 just by fixing the foundation, it’s a great investment!

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