This is a major problem and requires blocking and boxing to repair.
Also get a FOUNDATION REPAIR company to look at the house. This is
beyond the scope of a standard home inspection service. Also, the
foundation repair estimate better be free or look elsewhere.
This one was hidden by a tall freezer so the
Take lots of pictures!
After the next rain take some pictures as evidence. It is obviously not
But in which way? There are several ways. A google search showed a way to
retro-fit piers, but most likely that does not apply to the OP. I found nothing
searching on "blocking and boxing" (or the reverse) and foundation in Google.
Banty (just curious about this stuff)
In pennsylvania a neighbor didnt disclose her main sewer line was bad.
the new owner had a back up, she was a bookeeper for a plumber, he
cameraed the line, all bad. they asked around neighbors reported the
plumber was there a lot.
end of story gal sued old owner and won for whole new sewer line,
replaced wall, line was under wall and new driveway, line crossed
reportedly about 15 thousand...........including attorney fees.
old owner pid thru the nose
We didn't rip out the closets. They were built over the block wall with the
wall as the rear of the closet. When we looked at the house, the closets
were jammed full of boxes. The home inspectors in our area do not move
boxes and look behind things.
They don't work up a sweat here, either. Mine didn't tell me anything I
didn't already know, and missed several things. But his report was still
worth it in the price negotiation with the seller. I SWAG'd some numbers
to repair everything in his report, and provided the report and my
estimate to the realtor, as my starting point OFF the asking price. I'll
spent $350 to save $12.5 k any day.
As to the cracked walls- get a long straightedge, some plastic, and some
tape. Use the straightedge to see if the walls are bowed in, vertically
or horizontally. Use the plastic and the tape to tape some square-foot
sections over the cracks for a day or two, to see if any water is coming
in. If the walls are flat, and the cracks stay dry, don't lose any
sleep- you can repair them at your leisure. As others have said, if the
walls are bowed, time for a lawyer.
Settlement cracks may be normal. If in basement and walls bulging
inward, then you have a problem. You should have had a professional
home inspection before buying but now might be a good time for you to
I've been following this post for several days and have a couple of
thoughts. It sounds like you've been had. To make you whole you will
probably need to litigate. Take a set of good photos that illustrate
the problem(s). Make the measurements suggested elsewhere to determine
if the walls are moving, and are now non-planar. Find an attorney with
a good track record in this area, not one that a friend of a friend
suggests. Do your homework and interview several. You are hiring them
as a consultant...approach it that way.
A first order search could be done by using Martindale-Hubble
(www.martindale.com) Talk with the attorney, ask him to suggest an
engineer. The reason for this is that the attorney will know which
engineer will provide the evaluation and opinion that is most likely to
aid you. This may not be the same engineer you will use later to design
a remedy, but the best engineer, complete with plastic pocket protector
may not be the one your attorney wants testifying.
If you can find an attorney who will take this (perhaps on contingency)
then have at the seller. After you know what resources you have to fix
the problem talk with a good engineer and perhaps a hydro-geologist if
water is an issue. Remember though that little can be accomplished to
hold back water from the inside of the foundation. Diversion of the
water from the outside is the most effective approach. French drains,
perimeter drains at the level of the footings, etc. are most effective.
I'm an engineer who has worked with numerous attorneys as an expert
witness...we've never lost a case. (I don't do it any more. I'm
retired.) However, I feel quite confident when I say that as with any
profession, 90% of the engineers and attorneys are not in the top 10%.
Feel like coming out of retirement?
Seriously, thanks for the advice. I hope I'm better at choosing an attorney
than I am at real estate agents and inspectors.
I'm concerned though, if I go with an experienced attorney that has been in
the area for a while...he may know the seller. The seller was a businessman
in this area for almost forty years. If I go with a young hot shot, he/she
may lack experience. Should I look for someone with a limited area of
expertise (including real estate) or one with a broader scope?
I will do my homework and take the measurements.
Again, any advice would be appreciated.
I'd look for an attorney outside the town/city you live in. Find out
where the court for your county is. Look for an attorney in that city.
Some individual practitioners are very good, but the larger firms tend
to have resources that may be useful. The hourly cost is not as
important as the total cost. I find that the more experienced folks
often cost less at the end of the day. Negotiate. Contingency, fixed
price, not to exceed, etc. Attorneys are in business too.
Before I get all lawyered up, I'd find out the total extent of the
problems, which no one knows at this point. If you have only $5K in
repairs, then small claims is likely going to be the best option.
It's very unlikely an attorney is going to take this kind of case on
contingency, unless the potential recovery is large. Between
attorney's fees and expert witness fees, you have to make a rational
decision of what this could cost, vs what you MIGHT win. And then
there is the issue of collecting. Getting a judgement and collecting
are two different things.
I'd ask around for references for lawyers from people you know.
He can consult once with a lawyer about property matters in order to know what
the law is and requirements are w.r.t. disclosure. He doesn't have to "lawyer
up" to gain benefit from legal advice.
Yes, many lawyers offer a free consultation. But you need to have
some common sense going into this. He doesn't even know the extent
of the problems. I'd concentrate on that before worrying about
choosing a lawyer. If he's out $2K, it's a whole different picture
than being out $50K. It's better he know which it is before he wastes
time with a lawyer based on hypotheticals.
two rolled on coats of an epoxy paint (always have pinholes etc
with on coat) would seal the surfaces just fine (and look good).
Of course that will not do anything about why the cracks formed or
stop future cracking. Cost for the epoxy would be about $1 to
$1.50 (for 2 coats). you could just epoxy and fiberglass cloth
the cracks one by one.....
On Jan 28, 8:41 am, email@example.com wrote:
This wasn't a skyscraper, it was an 860 sf house. Expert testimony
cost less than $700, and the attorney's fees were less than $3K. In
the end, they settled and dismissed the case. I believe that their
attorney's fees were part of the settlement. I don't know where you
live, but in civil cases where I am, in WI, the loser often has to pay
the winner's attorney's fees.
Settling out of court is a bit different than going to trial. You
said it spent 18 months in court, which I took to mean it was resolved
in court with an actual verdict.
Those fees are pretty modest. It's not a skyscraper, but expert
testimony for court action doesn't come cheap. $700 sounds about
right for a simple written report. But if it had not been settled,
the expert has to spend hours to get deposed, hours to attend court
for a morning to testify, including things like travel time, it would
be a lot higher. And the legal fees for an actual trial are going to
be a lot higher as well.
Keep in mind the award of legal fees in a case like this, even in
states where it happens, is a very double edged sword. If you LOSE,
you pay their costs, which, depending on who you're fighting, like a
big insurance company for example, could be huge. Which is one reason
many states don't have this policy.
So, spending $3700 more to try recover $15K, doesn't necessarily sound
like a great idea to me. I guess if you really believe you have a
slam dunk case, it could make sense. Personally, depending on the
limit for small claims, I think I'd go there and receive maybe a max
of $5k if you win, without the expenses if you lose.
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