Cracked Foundations in the Charleston Area

Theories vary about why we have cracked foundations here mostly for homes built in the 70’s.  Some think it’s because we have an earthquake fault in Summerville.  Others believe it’s poor site prep.  Probably a little of both.  Mount Valley and Ram Jack would be able to speak more autoratatively than me.  My approach is from a real estate standpoint.  It’s a pretty bitter pill to swallow for the owner to ante’s up the 10 to 20 g’s to get the repairs done, only to find their home is still devalued. 

Cara and I  actually bought one of these homes two years ago.  We were trying to get the most home for our money, the repairs were guaranteed, and we were thinking we were going to be here for quite a while.  Our theory was that it devalued the home by about $10,000 and we negotiated accordingly. 

When we’re working with buyers and we see one of these homes, what we tell people is that it puts a cloud of sorts over the property and makes it less marketable.  It will take longer to sell, and an educated buyer is going to want at least $10g taken off the price, when the repairs have been completed…and more if they haven’t.   You do have the possibility that someone will fall in love with your home and pay closer to full price, but that chance is pretty slim.  Whenever we’re looking at homes, we always inspect the garage carefully to look for any obvious cracks.  You can tell if it’s cracked all the way through by seeing if the crack is level….if both sides of the crack are on the same level.  It the two sides of the crack are at different levels, then it’s not a surface crack.  We also look for excessive cracking in the bricks outside the home if it is a brick home.  And we look for horizontal cracking inside the homes.  Vertical cracks are more typical from standard settling.  Horizontal cracks indicate potential structural issues.  You’ll want to have your inspectors look more closely. 

The biggest problem with buying one of these homes, is that you can pay 100 engineers to inspect the property, and they are all going to qualify any statements they make with disclaimers that say the the inspection is limited to what they’re able to see. 

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