Home>Discussions>PLUMBING>Possible New House has foundation problems & leaking sewage line - is it worth it?
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riley11211
Possible New House has foundation problems & leaking sewage line - is it worth it?
riley11211

Hi all,

We're in the process of purchasing a 30-year old house that both my husband and I love. The problem is that we've recently discovered that it has foundation issues and the sewage line is leaking under the house.

Re: the foundation issues, this is North Texas so the soil is clay. The house was built in the 80's and has a slab foundation. It has seen significant movement, with some corner +/-2 inches. They have installed piers over the past two years, but the levels remain unchanged.

More worrying is that our recent plumbing test showed "a dramatic loss of water level indicating a leak(s) in the sewer system." The plumber mentioned further tests to figure out exactly where the leaks are. To fix the issue we would need to tunnel under the house, mend the pipes, and I'm assuming also have to figure out clean up (laying lyme, etc.) To make matters worse, we noticed that one of the rooms has a floor that is bowing, so we're paranoid that the leak is causing the ground to swell underneath it, possibly damaging the foundation. Fixing this would be another huge financial burden.

It is looking dire, but we love house and the neighborhood/town is growing quickly with property prices skyrocketing. My question is: Is this worth it? We're hoping to come to an agreement with the homeowners re: repairs, but even if we do, is this house a lost cause? I don't want our first home to be a money pit. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated!

ed21
Re: Possible New House has foundation problems & leaking sewage line - is it worth it
ed21

From what you describe, I would walk away. Too many issues and I would guess a money pit and you may not be able to fix everything anyway. I'm not familiar with Texas soils, but expansive soils like clay can be problematic if not addressed properly.
BTW- replacing plumbing lines usually requires slabs to be opened up. Not sure what the latest technology for repairs is though.
I wouldn't let emotions get in the way of practically.

HoustonRemodeler
Re: Possible New House has foundation problems & leaking sewage line - is it worth it
HoustonRemodeler

Unless you can get it for a low low low price, I'd run away as fast as possible.

Calculate the cost of repairs, triple that, deduct that amount from the asking price.

dj1
Re: Possible New House has foundation problems & leaking sewage line - is it worth it
dj1

I read your posting twice. Run away from this house, even if you get it for dirt cheap, unless you want to do the repairs and you let your emotions dictate you.

A. Spruce
Re: Possible New House has foundation problems & leaking sewage line - is it worth it
A. Spruce
HoustonRemodeler wrote:

Unless you can get it for a low low low price, I'd run away as fast as possible.

Calculate the cost of repairs, triple that, deduct that amount from the asking price.

Regardless of price, my vote is to run away like your hair was on fire while being chased by a pack of rabid sqirrels!

God forbid you do buy this mess, do as Houston suggests in calculating repair costs. No good can come from ownership of this property, no matter what you can buy it for, how good the neighborhood is, or any other enticement.

HoustonRemodeler
Re: Possible New House has foundation problems & leaking sewage line - is it worth it
HoustonRemodeler

Years ago we looked at a historic property a few blocks from my home.

Price was reduced to 500k. New winders alone would run $100k. Then there was the huge hole in the roof that had been there a few years and rotted out the second floor floor. Repairs were higher than the asking price. I stopped counting when I reached 750k. Since its in the historic district, it has to be restored and not torn down.

Its still for sale today.

To me the equation is simple; purchase price = sale price after repairs minus the cost of repairs minus interest carrying the loan until sold minus profit.

Mastercarpentry
Re: Possible New House has foundation problems & leaking sewage line - is it worth it
Mastercarpentry

The only guaranteed solution to this is a complete slab replacement which will not help with any underlying soil issues. The cost? Astronomical. Patched slabs sometimes hold up fine and sometimes don't and nobody can say for sure till it happens, but with soil expansion already happening I'll bet on a slab failure being in this house's future. When patched slabs fail the patches get bigger and more expensive each time till there's not enough left to patch and the whole slab needs replacement. So yes, it's time to make good use of your Reeboks. Next, please!

Phil

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