Foundation Issues

Real Estate Agent with DFW FINE PROPERTIES 0506509


A Real Estate Agent should never go outside of their area of expertise, especially when there are signs of foundation problems. A Home Inspection is, in my opinion the most important part of the process of buying property. Whether it's pre-existing or New Construction, I highly recommend an inspection by someone licensed and qualified. Understanding foundations problems are something every agent should at least be aware of and leave their analysis of the problem to the Structural Engineer. Areas of concern may include signs of problems:


Causes of Problems Related to Foundations

  • Not enough moisture will leave large cracks in soil
  • Large cracks in soil around the property when other lawns don't 
  • Too much moisture when other lawns don't seem to have that problem
  • Too much moisture in one area of the house and not the rest when there is no septic field
  • Exterior signs of brick cracks and separation of expansion joints - follow the cracks track
  • Window separation from bricks - water penetration and erosion; no signs of chalking
  • Frieze board is deflecting, separated and you can visibly see a vacant space
  • Separation of brick from slab around doors or corners of the slab not including spalling
  • Wide open sheetrock cracks and visible signs not disclosed by homeowner
  • Doors not opening or closing by themselves or out of square with cracks around the corners


A Structural Engineer will take an evaluation and measurements. A Foundation Company may be free but only a licensed Structural Engineer is qualified to say whether or not the property is in need of foundation repairs. Foundation Companies in Texas are not licensed but may do the work. Check to find out if the Company has their own employees or are they contracted. If so, will there be any supervision over the contractors work? What about insurance and liability? If they offer a warranty read it carefully and question what it means getting everything in writing. Get the preliminary drawing of the evaluations and after the completion of the foundation work. Never make assumptions when you're not qualified to give advice.


For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

--- H. L. Mencken, Journalist, Author, and Literary Critic (1880 - 1948) 











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 dfw fine properties



                                        3575 Lone Star Circle, Suite 315
                                        Fort Worth, TX 76117
                                        Office: 817-748-4800/FAX: 817--748-4900

                                         Patricia (Peace without Panic) Feager (Faith without Fear)
                                                        Cell: 469-951-4758



MBA (University of Dallas)
(Bachelors of Arts & Science)
Paralegal (Southeastern Career Institute)
Associates (3) (College of Lake County)
KU (University of Kansas)


CRS (Certified Residential Specialist)
SRES (Certified Senior Residential Specialist)
PSA (Certified Pricing Strategies; Mastering the CMA)
CRS (Certified Military Relocation Specialist)
RENE (Real Estte Negotitions Expert)

"With self-discipline most anything is possible." --- Theodore Roosevelt 





Comments (22)

Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Patricia Feager - You had me at "A real estate agent should never go out of their area of expertise..."!! Great blog - for us lay people, it gives us an idea of when to get a certified structural engineer involved. Thanks so much for the info. 

Jan 28, 2017 07:19 AM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Plumbing, electrical, or structural problems.... I call the experts!

Jan 28, 2017 07:38 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Patricia

I suspect many of us can recognize that there may be an issue with the foundation but know that it needs further evaluation by an expert who can determine what the issues might be, what's causing them, how to correct them and the cost. Another issue we see here from time to time are cracked slabs and depending on the cause that can get mighty expensive to fix.


Jan 28, 2017 08:07 AM
Gloria Valvasori, Accredited Senior Agent
REAL Experience | REAL Commitment | REAL Results!

We as real estate agents should always refer anything of a structural nature to an enginer.. same for electrical or plumbing issues.. This is beyond our expertise and if we do give advice it could come back to bite us in the .... .

Jan 28, 2017 09:16 AM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate Brokered by Real - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

Call the professionals in the fields where we are not educated about, exactly Patricia! I recently had a client ask me if granite should be sealed....uh, hmmm. I told him to call the granite contractor who installed the slabs in their new home for the answer.

Jan 28, 2017 12:57 PM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Patricia crumbling foundations have become a major issue here in CT in the last few years.  There is a compound in the cement mixture which was quarried in a part of CT which if two much water is added to it will cause foundations to start crumbling about 20 years later.  It appears the only way to correct this situation is to raise the house from the foundation and pour a new one.  This is a very expensive process, and insurance companies are refusing to pay for it.  Right now our State Legislature is looking into this and coming up with a bill to address it, but in the mean time the homeowners with these foundations are up a creek until a solution is found.

Jan 28, 2017 01:24 PM
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, Broker/Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Huntsville AL - Huntsville, AL
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource

Hello Patricia, most of the foundation issues I've seen here in Alabama are either due to too much or not enough moisture. George's scenario in #8 is one I've not encountered fortunately.

Jan 28, 2017 03:55 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Patricia great wisdom in this post, not only should an agent not go beyond his/her scope, when it comes to foundations, but the same advice not to offer Legal Advice, Plumbing or Electrical to name a few....Endre

Jan 28, 2017 05:35 PM
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


Informative post on foundations. Thanks for sharing your insight.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Jan 28, 2017 08:09 PM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I learned a lot from reading your post. Thank you for sharing. Have a good day.

Jan 29, 2017 04:03 AM
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Patricia - Good advice - it's always the right move to call in the experts, especially with foundation issues, which, with our expansive soils, are not uncommon.

Jan 29, 2017 11:50 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

George Souto - Anyone who has foundation issues will complain but typically the problem gets fixed. What you described sounds like the worst nightmare ever! The owners who have the money to fix it may never get out of debt. Those that don't have the money will be worst off. And those who choose to wait and see what the legislature has to say may discover it's a lost cause. Please keep me informed about this situation. 

Jan 29, 2017 01:25 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Nick T Pappas - I have never heard of that type of foundation problem that George Souto described either. It sounds like it could be a legal battle that lasts a very, very long time. It will be a devasting loss to many. I wonder if the Concrete Company is still in business?

Jan 29, 2017 01:28 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Endre Barath, Jr. - Your point can't be stressed enough. 

Thank you!

Jan 29, 2017 01:29 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Lou Ludwig and Gita Bantwal - I really appreciate your kindness. Membership here on ActiveRain means a lot to me when there are people like you!

Have a wonderful day!

Jan 29, 2017 01:30 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Dick Greenberg - Expansive soil is something we live with and builders know it when they build. It bothers me when owners ignore it or fail to install sprinkler systems or water when they can. Droughts can be tough on foundations and everyone needs to be informed and educated. 

Jan 29, 2017 01:33 PM
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Condo and Home Specialists

Good advice to contact a Structural Engineer for foundation issues. Agents can have knowedge, but we leave it to the experts to give the whole story.

Jan 30, 2017 09:43 AM
CA COASTAL ESTATES Lauren Selinsky Perez CRS
California Coastal Estates - Aliso Viejo, CA
"Your Real Estate Broker" #oclauren

You are absolutely right. Must call in the experts and not try to conquer something out of your real estate realm.

Jan 31, 2017 10:36 PM
Mick Michaud
Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107 - Granbury, TX
Your Texas Lifestyle is Here!

Good post on foundations.  I used to build homes and ALWAYS recommended a soil test and an engineered foundation design to prevent this scenario. 

I see you are from Dallas.  Interesting fact about foundation issues.  Here in North Texas, were' in the epicenter of foundation issues for the country.  Draw a line from Houston through Dallas up to Tulsa and go 60 miles on both sides.  That area accounts for 4x more foundation issues then the rest of the country combined.  The reason?  Our black gumbo clay.  Great for farming, absolutely terrible for building on.

Feb 27, 2017 05:05 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

An agent should also try to be an attorney or a CPA or anywhere we make judgements that are absolute when we are not proficient.

Feb 27, 2017 07:21 AM