Cracked Foundation-opportunity? - Posted by Al

Posted by Jeffers CT on March 02, 2001 at 09:36:46:

New England is loaded with old houses on stone foundations.

Picture this:
Owner obtains all permits based on architect drawings
Rigger jacks up house
All plumbing, services, etc., disconnected
Construction Co excavates complete cellar
Foundation replaced with new sub and block walls
House replaced, utilities replaced
At this point, settling has caused several major cracks in walls. Removal of old lath and plaster required to repair same.
Etc., Etc., Etc.,
Cost…WAY more than house is worth…!!

Cracked Foundation-opportunity? - Posted by Al

Posted by Al on March 02, 2001 at 09:10:50:

The 2 story building I considering
as a sagging foundation. It’s was
built in the 1930. I probably could
talk the seller into a discount, but
should I even bother? Has anyone fixed
a sagging foundation and how much did
it cost? Roughly…

Re: Cracked Foundation-opportunity? - Posted by Jim Kennedy - Houston, TX

Posted by Jim Kennedy - Houston, TX on March 07, 2001 at 05:48:21:


In order to answer your questions, it would be helpful if you had provided the following information:

Where is the house located (City and State)?
What type of foundation does the house have?

Here in Houston, our house foundations are either concrete slab on grade, pier & beam, or block & base. Homes built since the 1950’s all have slab on grade foundations. There are NO basements in our area. We have two types of soil (sandy loam and black gumbo), both of which are conducive to causing foundation problems, so foundation repair is big business here.

Most inexperienced rehabbers shy away from houses with foundation problems because they perceive the repair cost to be exorbitant. And their perception is confirmed if they call the foundation companies with the full-page ads in the yellow pages. Here in Houston there are seven companies with full-page ads in the yellow pages and there are three companies that run full-page ads on two facing pages. Motivated sellers of properties with foundation problems tend to be more flexible with their price when you point out the “average” cost of foundation repair. Of course, I don’t pay anywhere near the “average” cost.

Awile back, a friend of mine got a bid of $15K for a 32-pier foundation repair job. That works out to $468.75 per pier. There is one company here in Houston that charges $195 per pier and another company that charges $155 per pier. Both offer lifetime transferable warranties. I found a guy that charges $100 per pier, but he only offers a four-year warranty. Last Saturday, at the monthly meeting of our local REI club, another investor/rehabber told me about his guy who charges $125 per pier and gives a lifetime warranty. I haven’t used him yet, but will do so on my next foundation job.

Also, foundation repair costs can vary widely from one part of the country to another. There even seems to be a large price differential between here and Dallas. I would shop around. Ask some rehabbers in your area who they have used. That?s how I found both the guy that charges $100 per pier as well as the guy that charges $125 per pier. Neither of these guys is even listed in the yellow pages.

There are also several different systems that are used in repairing foundations and that also accounts for price differences.

In summary, here are my direct answers to your two questions:

“I probably could talk the seller into a discount, but should I even bother?”

If I were in your market and had the opportunity to talk to a motivated seller with a foundation problem, you can bet that I’d jump at the chance and I’d be asking for a severe discount. I’d run the numbers . . . if they made sense, I’d go for it. Should you? That’s a tough call. Depends on your experience level. It’s definitely a riskier proposition than a less extensive rehab job.

"Has anyone fixed a sagging foundation and how much did it cost? Roughly… "

As I mentioned before, I pay SIGNIFICANTLY less than the average. The least I’ve paid was about $2K and the most I’ve paid was just over $6K. But I would gladly tackle any rehab with a fixable foundation regardless of the cost as long as the deal pencils out with my profit intact while allowing for the worst case scenario for repair costs. The deal must make sense.

Hope this helps.

Best of Success!!

Jim Kennedy,
Houston, TX

Depends on the extent - Posted by Rolfe Kurtyka

Posted by Rolfe Kurtyka on March 02, 2001 at 10:11:15:


Anything can be fixed for a price. The cost of repairing foundation walls depends on the location and the extent of damage. The repair of a short section of wall might be worthwhile, while replacing the entire foundation, as described in the preceeding post, would be very expensive. Of course you should seek a dicount for the damged foundation, and have a concrete & masonry contractor look at the job.