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)