I am recently ready to buy a house from a friend. house looks ok. but after foundation engineer checking. he told me front left side of the house is around 6 inches higher than other parts of the house. in that room, the door is hard to open and close. he said foundation did not need immediate repair but he could not tell me what gonna happen in the future. i took some pictures of that room and share here. see if anyone and give me idea what i can do. or how much chance i may need repair foundation in the future. house was built 2007. i am in mississippi, here the yazoo clay frequently made house foundation problems.

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  • 6" over what distance? What is the slope from rear to front of the house? At what point does the sloping begin (as seen in the floors)? Dec 17 '16 at 18:05
  • this is a 1458 square feet house. i do not know exact distance. but approximately 30 to 35 feet long. from left corner room to kitchen which is right side on middle of the house. Dec 17 '16 at 18:20
  • slope says 0.3 X 0.4Y. curtain on floor in that room so hard to see floors. Dec 17 '16 at 18:24
  • It's only my opinion, but if it was built only nine years ago and is already having problems, how much confidence can you have in the structure or its foundations? Can you ask the foundation engineer if he would feel safe living there? Dec 17 '16 at 18:51
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    I think you have enough evidence now that you should NOT buy this house. Especially from a friend if you intend to stay friends over the long term. As a seller your friend is saying things that cover his butt to be able to sell with a clean conscience. Also you are not getting any "concession" if he is selling it for the same price he paid for it.
    – Michael Karas
    Dec 17 '16 at 19:41

Your question "how much chance i may need (to) repair foundation in the future" cannot be answered, because whether or not you choose to repair it is a choice only you will be making. The homes in my area have extensive history of foundation and slab floor cracking and movement due to expansive soil. Some people choose to take steps to remedy the movement, some live with it and engage in continuous plaster and stucco repair and trimming/rehanging of doors. My home was built in the late 1950s and has undergone repeated wall, door, and floor repair, and a corner of the house has subsided considerably, but I have not yet seriously considered a full foundation rehabilitation.

Your question "what i can do" could best be answered by the foundation engineer you already spoke with. Strengthening and reinforcing a foundation on expansive clay soil to prevent future movement is possible and, in fact, is done frequently. None of the various methods is easy, cheap, or non-invasive.

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    I should clarify, "I have not yet seriously considered a full foundation rehabilitation" is not quite true. I have considered it but have chosen not to do it at this time due to the expense. You should be able to get significant concessions with the purchase price if you buy it "as is" with a known/confirmed foundation/soil issue. Dec 17 '16 at 18:33
  • thank you, Jimmy. this is a friend change job relocation sell. house price should around 165000 to 170000. he did give it to me 160000. i do not know if this consider concessions. but he said he did not know the problem when he bought the house. and also said door was hard to open since he bought it. he bought it 160000 2 and half years ago. Dec 17 '16 at 18:49

How old is the house? In a hundred-year-old structure, some shifting is almost certain to have occurred and nothing should be expected to be perfectly square or level or straight.

If plaster isn't cracking (diagonal cracks being an especially good sign that things are moving unevenly), it's probably pretty stable in its current condition, even if that's somewhat tilted.

If there is an ongoing problem, an engineer can look at the stresses and advise on whether and where to place laly columns to stabilize it, or even to gradually lift it back to level. It might be worth spending the money for that expert analysis before you buy.

Sticking doors are pretty much universal in older buildings (see above), and are most often solved by trimming the door slightly or shimming the hinges to make things line up properly.

My dining room has one corner tilted enough that I am using wedges under the cabinet's feet to level it. My living room has a much subtler tilt that goes unnoticed unless you look too closely at ceiling heights in opposite corners. One of the bedrooms has a tilt that feels pretty bad walking around the empty room but goes almost unnoticed after furniture is brought in (and will be even less obvious when I level the bed). There is a step at the entrance to one hallway to level its floor. But given that the place dates back to 1890 or so, all of that is minor enough that I'm perfect content to just accept it as the history of the building.


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