Horizontal crack in foundation - found on home inspection

My daughter and her husband were purchasing a 10 year old home and had it inspected. Here is what the inspector found regarding the foundation: HORIZONTAL AND STEP CRACKING WAS OBSERVED ON FRONT FOUNDATION WALL IN PORCH AREA OF BASEMENT AND WALL IS ALSO PUSHED INWARD ABOUT 1-2". THERE WERE NO SIGNS OF ACTIVE MOVEMENT AT THE TIME OF INSPECTION. NO LESS THAN OBSERVATION FOR CHANGE IF NOT REPAIRED, TO INSURE STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY OF FOUNDATION. EVALUATION BY QUALIFIED STRUCTURAL ENGINEER SHOULD BE CONSIDERED.
Would it be worthwhile to hire an engineer to examine the property or just get of the deal right now based on this finding. There were some other problems, but nothing of this magnitude.
Thanks so much for your help. Barbara
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Well yeaahh That's what the inspector told you to do isn't it ? and you paid for his opinion , yet you seek a free opinion, duh. Hope they didn't buy it yet
kickstart
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.

The reason for the "free opinion" was to try to save them from throwing good money after bad. They spent $800 for the inspection. If they spend another several hundred and the guy says a horizontal crack is as bad as it sounds, then they just wasted more money. If on the other hand a horizontal crack is not as bad as it sounds then it would be worth spending the money and getting another opinion. Sorry if I wasn't clear to begin with.
Barbara
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Barbara wrote:

Interesting, your thought process......

good money after bad. They spent $800 for the inspection. If they spend another several hundred and the guy says a horizontal crack is as bad as it sounds, then they just wasted more money. If on the other hand a horizontal crack is not as bad as it sounds then it would be worth spending the money and getting another opinion. Sorry if I wasn't clear to begin with. <<<<<<<
I would consider none of the money they have spent (or would spend) as good money after bad......
They are spending money to obtain "information" to help them make an "informed" decison, so extra opion from the SE will give more / better info.....better info, better decision
The inspector noted a "non-confroming" condition so he noted it; that's his job. Unfortunately his observation is merely a snapshot of the house at the time he did the inspection.....he cannot know w/ ultimate certainty that the crack is stable.
So he says
"at a minimum....keep your eye on it If not repaired"
"consider" an eval by an SE
Ken's advice was sound
It's probably nothing but's hard to tell from the keyboard
If they really like the house ask for a few $1,000 to repair, that will cover the engineering & the repair
but aren't home prices going down? Maybe they should wait?
cheers Bob
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wrote:

I'm afraid only you and the kids can answer that one. How hard is it to find a comparable home in a comparable neighbourhood at a comparable price>. But I can offer you some perspective.
The inspector has said two things: there has been movement in the past which has resulted in cracking and buckling of about half an inch. More important, it does not appear to be recent.. and there is no suggestion that the house is still moving.
I have the same thing in my house (I'm a contractor); I bought it that way; it's been that way for twenty years.
Is the foundation wall poured concrete or block? Block would explain the stepping.
He says keep an eye on it and then, (to cover his butt), maybe have it looked at. There is no sense of urgency in what he is saying ... In areas of clay soil, houses will settle and foundation walls will crack and even shift for a few years after they're built..
If he doesn't comment on doorways being out of square, etc., then it's likely minor.
The easy answer is to "move on to the next house" ... but that may not be possible or to their advantage.
I can tell you that in all likelihood a future buyer will want some discount off fair market value because of the crack ...and perhaps the kids ought to be getting that.
In terms of foundation work, you can do a lot for a few thousand dollars.
Ken
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Thanks Ken. I'm going to send them your post and let them decide. What you said makes sense. It's all very daunting to a nonprofessional especially when they start talking foundation problems.
I appreciate your help.
Barbara
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Barbara wrote:

The way I read your post it says one to two inches not a half inch. That is much more significant. As a home inspector for twenty years I would say two things. (1) You paid $800 for the home inspection??? Wow I am not charging enough. (2) Get the advise of a professional structural engineer.
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. (2) Get the advise of a professional

too late , she already heard what she wanted to hear kickstart
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Not really sure why we need to be so condescending on these boards. Not only does it show a lack of maturity and class it also discourages others who may not be as "all knowing" as yourself from seeking advice. Thus detracting from the purpose of these message boards in the first place. In the future I suggest you rethink your postings prior to actually posting them. Regardless of how "stupid" the question may be. As for the content of this thread, I am the one that is looking at the house in question and I do agree with what you're all saying. I have always heard that horizontal foundation cracks are bad news, however the main concern here was that this was not included in the disclosure, and the owner had indicated that he was aware of it to the inspector. The seller is a general contractor and has a lot of experience in these matters so in the larger view it was thought that there may be more to the story than meets the eye. I can tell you that wall that has issues is not a load bearing wall, it is under the front porch. The porch is concrete. There is evidence of this same crack on the outside as well near the concrete steps. Again only on the foundation wall that supports the porch, not the floor or walls.
Currently as it stands the sellers are going to be bringing in a SE to look at the wall. We are rethinking the deal, but currently were are terminating the bid b/c of this.
I do appreciate your advice in these matters, your opinions matter and we may reconsider based on what we are hearing here. Also the 800.00 price tag included dye testing of the septic tank, well test, radon test, mold test and some other things. It was a thorough examination of the property.
Thanks for the assist Barb...
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OK Ill put more effort into to this, just for you. 1. First of all the only "expert" that actually looked at this recommended you get a professional opinion. 2. No one on this list has seen this crack first hand. Some even misinterpreted 1-2" as 1/2". 3. Some, if not most people that inquire here and others in person, Ask the opinion of "experts" until they hear the answer they are looking for. Don't expect the final answer from any list that your repliers may or not know what they are talking about, let alone have not even seen your problem first hand. Also local conditions have allot to do with whether or not a problem is as serious where you live vs. where I live. We don't even know where you are, another variable to consider. I live in the land of sand and sinkholes, I take foundation crack seriously. You may live on a solid rock and it is merely a settlement or stress crack that has no chance of ever moving again. The best advice was given to you by the person who actually inspected the home first hand. Your Mother in law answered the poster that said gave the answer SHE wanted to hear. Good luck, I hope everything works out for the best. caveat emptor kickstart
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Thanks Kickstart...I do appreciate your effort and the post, I apologize for my remarks earlier.
BTW the property is in Western PA which is wrought with old coal mines, many buildings tend to show cracks as the mines settle, but usually not within the first few years.
There may be more to this story than meets the eye....

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