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First time home buyers found dream home, previous buyer dropped out due to foundation cracks  XML
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Johnb81
Rolling Stone

Joined: 09/16/2015 05:17 PM EDT
Messages: 3
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Offered 225k on 250k house in NJ, after not getting reply. There realtor replied they didnt counteroffer to to being "insulted" by our low offer and our agent negotiated for us and came back at 240k to which we agreed. House has been on the market for about 75 days and although house is beautiful, surrounding homes have sold for 200-220k.

Now the issue, after agreeing to above price the sellers wanted us under contract asap so they could sign a lease for wherever they are moving too but also disclosed to our agent that a previous potential buyer backed out after there home inspector found cracks in the foundation walls, they hired structural engineer who quoted 25k in repairs and they backed out. Sellers then hired another engineer who said cracks are due to settlement, foundation is stabilized and sound.

What should we do at this point? nothing has been signed yet only verbal agreement but we do want and love this house, but not if the foundation is bad obviously. Also shouldnt this have been brought out before price negatiations? It seems to me its like buying a car at msrp but then before signing the dotted line they said oh by the way it has been in accident or has frame damage...

reports below
sellers SE
http://s17.postimg.org/8pct1klsv/Screenshot_2015_09_16_16_47_40.png

Previous Buyers SE

http://s8.postimg.org/yzokf7x11/Screenshot_2015_09_16_17_03_18.png

http://s27.postimg.org/lrlgnst37/Screenshot_2015_09_16_17_02_08.png


Thanks for any replies
Juan Jimenez
Seal Team 6
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Joined: 06/18/2014 08:53 PM EDT
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Location: Richmond, VA
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If it were me buying the house, I would hire my own structural engineer.

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Mike Casey
General
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Joined: 06/28/2014 07:21 PM EDT
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Location: San Diego CA
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I would think this should have been disclosed previously, but you'll need to check with someone with a license to interpret NJ real estate law. Sometimes disclosure statements are not presented until there is a contract. I agree, I'd get one more opinion from another SE. This certainly could be an issue when you are a seller.

Mike Casey
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Johnb81
Rolling Stone

Joined: 09/16/2015 05:17 PM EDT
Messages: 3
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Juan Jimenez wrote:If it were me buying the house, I would hire my own structural engineer.


that was our initial thought. Playing the best out of 3 hand? any ideas on cost of hiring a SE?
scotbaker
General

Joined: 07/01/2014 10:28 AM EDT
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I deal with foundation cracks all the time. Without pictures the documentation means nothing. Where are the pictures? Size, movement, quantity, location?
LauraHoward031
Rolling Stone

Joined: 11/30/2015 02:14 AM EST
Messages: 5
Location: Killeen, TX
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Buying a house is a big decision. Think practically, get its structure inspected and make sure that it is worth investing the money.

Cloud Real Estate
bspann
Expert
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Joined: 12/23/2014 09:12 AM EST
Messages: 223
Location: Central Indiana
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It looks like the first engineering report noted some horizontal cracking in several locations, the second report does not mention horizontal cracks. That is confusing. Definitely get a third opinion

Blake T. Spann CMI
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jeff32@satx.rr.com
Maverick

Joined: 12/05/2014 10:07 AM EST
Messages: 87
Location: San Antonio, Texas
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We call those engineers whores, tons of them out there to be bought, they make their living from working for insurance companies, realtors and sellers.

Keep in mind if they failed to disclose these past reports and issues to you certainly they failed to probably disclose all the details to the second engineer as well.

Few things stood out in the 1st report I'd like to explain. 1st this engineer was hired to asses the foundation walls, he could careless if his clients bought the house or not he was their to render an opinion to the damage.

2 his report stated hollow block wall without appearant re-inforcement to sto lateral movement.

3 the cracking observed was stated from movements of soils behind said wall, this can be a common issue of unreinforced walls. Depending on Plascicity Index, liquid limits, water hydraulics behind the foundation walls and frost heav against the wall lots of strong forces applied to the wall.

The only way to prevent failure of he walls from lateral movement would be from stiffening of the walls, not sue what all he thought should be done but when there is a will there is a way. This may also be an indication of an issue with sub surface moisture behind the walls. You can look at the walls and you will probably see some deflection or inward bowing of the walls, the cracks that are visible is just become a relief joint, something had to give to prevent basically an explosion of the block materials under the thousands of pounds of pressure from the back side of the wall.

Most of the better engineers I know would discuss this in detail with you, most will charge a nominal fee but would go into detail on their opinion if you ask the right questions. If given you a starting point and talking points to discuss with him.


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jeff32@satx.rr.com
Maverick

Joined: 12/05/2014 10:07 AM EST
Messages: 87
Location: San Antonio, Texas
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Few other points, the sellers guy did not do an engineers report, there is no seal on the report. This is just a letter and not a report without a seal, I see this a lot. Many times when I get these in my office I call the engineer and tell him he needs to stamp it and they won't, that is not an engineers report, furthermore the code dictates with verbiage it must bear his seal.

No with reading the report read the wording, he mentions some cracking of the walls but tends to talk about vertices movement not being observed and no real vertices deflection of the foundation. Vertices deflection and horizontal deflection are 2 different things, the second engineer wrote a letter address a different issue altogether and really did nothing to disprove the 1st engineers opinion, why??? Because he was paid to address the foundation deflection and not paid to assess the foundation wall deflection. I would put the weight in the first report as being more accurate.

I don't live anywhere around your area but if you need to discuss this I am more than happy to help if you want to call.

Proven Experience
Adams Home Inspection is the right choice !!!

18 + years experience
TREC Lic #3813
Certified Applicator #0557483
Pest Control Business #12101
NAWT #61921TC
FHA/HUD Lic # H717
25 + years of construction experience
Adjunct Faculty San Antonio College
Experienced Arbitrator

Http://www.adamsinspectionservice.com
Http://www.proinspector.net
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Adams-Home-Inspection/151468024893792
[Email] [WWW]
 
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