So here's the low down:
Bought a home about four months ago. Inspection made no mention of any cracks anywhere, and honestly didn't even mention a single thing about the foundation (probably a big red flag). After moving in I noticed a lengthy horizontal crack about 20 feet long, hairline, about five feet up from the slab. There area also a few horizontal cracks. Minor bowing, which I know to be hydrostatic pressure from the outside. Two contractors have recommended steel I-beams and a sump pump. One recommended entrenching the front of the house and backfilling with gravel. The other said the bowing is not bad enough for that. It is a block foundation.
On top of this, I've noticed a lot of cracks that were poorly patched with tape and mud. These cracks are now reappearing. They appear in the corner of several windows in one corner of the home. One that comes up from the floor on the second floor and goes to the corner of the window. The other starts on the same side of the window and goes up towards the ceiling. I should mention there is an almost identical crack on the outside of the window in the brick.
Also, all around the outside of the home, which is cinder block, I'm getting horizontal cracks, all hairline. I am showing two stairstep cracks in the foundation, one about 3/16" wide from one corner of a block window, another stairstep crack starts at the other corner of that window but is not wide.
I'm really trying to determine the extent of the damage. The fact that the cracks are reappearing through the crappy patch jobs tell me that the problem is ongoing, that it may have been settling at one time but the issue continues. Also, the fact that the cracks have been patched tells me the owner knew about the issues and disclosed "no" for any known foundational issues. I know people will say to get a structural engineer, which I plan to, just trying to get some more input before. I'd also like to add that the previous owner is a realtor and probably knows how to hide certain issues. Thanks!