As a Portola Valley Real Estate Agent I am often asked "should I have an inspection on the foundation of the home I am buying in Portala Valley? The answer is always YES. The home in question may have a property inspection that does not sound alarming and home may even be a new home, but if you are buying a home in Portola Valley the answer is YES.
Portola Valley is a wonderful community with beautiful views, great schools, ample recreational activities, a pleasant shopping area, and a close knit community. The competition for homes to buy is much less than in neighboring Menlo Park or Palo Alto, but it is hilly, and close to the San Andreas Fault. Buying a home in Portola Valley is not cheap, and if you are spending over a million dollars at the bottom end, and up to twenty million on the top end, you should make sure you have as much information as possible.
Buying a home in Portola Valley that is on a hillside is not dangerous, but there are problems that can occur with the soil on the property as well as the foundation itself. A good foundation inspector will be able to tell you if he/she sees active or potential problems and how to mitigate those problems after you buy the Portola Valley home.
Some basic inofrmation you will get is:
1. Is the home bolted to the foundation to prevent problems from lateral sway in an earthquake?
2. Are the cripple walls braced to prevent problems from the height differential in the foundation in an earthquake?
3. Are the piers lined up and properly braced to prevent sinking in an earthquake?
4. Is the drainage directing water away from the home to protect the foundation from water damage?
5. Does the soil around the home appear stable, or does it seem to indicate soil creep?
6. Does the Hillside appear stable or are their signs of active or recent mud slides or land slides?
There are many other things the foundation inspector can discover during an inspection but the 2 most basic question you need answered when buying a home in Portola Valley is "Is there a good chance this home will survive an earthquake and is there a good chance this home will not be subject to a landslide or mudslide?
If the answer to those questions is yes, then you can look forward to a wonderful life after you buy a home in Portola Valley.
If you have any questions about buying or selling a home in Portola Valley please feel free to contact me.