How An Engineering Slab Foundation Report Can Save Your Seller Money & Time

Why sellers should consider retaining a Texas Professional Engineer

I receive at least one call per week asking me to make a foundation report on s house under contract. Usually, the option period is at hand and the buyer is threatening to walk unless the seller pony ups for an engineering report on the foundation.  Sometimes the problem is that the appraiser has made the appraisal subject to an engineering report. Other times the problem is from the home inspector’s report.

In any case, time is short and the buyer is talking about walking. Sometimes I can help and other times I can’t.   

Advantages for the seller to retain an engineer

There are obvious advantages to convincing your seller to order a foundation performance report. The owner gets to pick the engineer. The report can be disclosed early so any questions can be resolved. The transaction is likely to go faster and more smoothly. If there is visible distress due to foundation distortion, it can be corrected before the house goes on the market. The distress should be addressed in the report.

In the large majority of situations, foundation repair will not be recommended unless there is a structural safety or integrity issue that cannot be repaired without repairing the foundation.

As far as visible distress is concerned, the report typically recommends repair using normal repair techniques. Ideally, the report would be issued before the house is put on the market. That way if there any questions from other agents or potential buyers they can be put to rest before they become an obstacle to the sale.

Just to give an example. I occasionally get a call from an agent after the house is on the market and has now been shown to area agents. The front entry floor is covered with tile and the tiles are cracked. The agent community is spreading a rumor that the house has foundation issues. This is totally  In a situation like this    in a  and  

How to determine if you should recommend the seller to retain an engineer

I am going to assume that every agent takes the owners for a walk through and around the house so the agent can recommend things to do to make the house more marketable. When you do this be on the lookout for indicators of foundation distortion. These include stair-step cracks in the brick veneer, diagonal cracks at the corners of window and door openings, cracks in downstairs floor tile and doors that do not fit squarely in their frames.

If you see signs of foundation distortion, suggest they consider retaining an engineer.   

What engineers owe to the seller & buyer

Regardless of who retains an engineer, there are certain things the engineer is required by the Texas Board of Professional Engineers. We must be fair to all parties that will be affected by the report. The recommendations in the report should be the same no matter who is paying the fee. Recommended repairs and remediation, if any, should be cost-effective.  


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