LESLIE: We’ve got Texas on the line with Gary who’s got cracks on the inside and outside. Tell us about them. Where are you seeing them? Are they new? Are they big?
GARY: Yes, I have cracks outside. We’ve been in the house three years and after we’d been in the house about six months they started on the outside of the house and then eventually they started on the inside of the house. The builder came in and patched the ones on the inside but they just kept getting bigger and bigger on the outside til I have gaps in the brick up to an inch in several places outside.
GARY: And on the inside they have repaired the cracks twice and I have cracks continually coming up. The builder had his engineer here and they’ve done all sorts of foundation testing and everything and last Friday they told me that they can find nothing wrong with the house and just simply contact my 210 (ph) warranty company.
TOM: Listen, you’ve got a serious problem here, Gary, and you need to get some independent expert advice and I don’t mean from the builder’s engineer. If you have cracks that are continuing to reform you have an active problem with your foundation and I would do two things: I would get an independent expert to review this – preferably a structural engineer; and secondly, if you haven’t done it yet, make sure that you are notifying not only the builder but the warranty company of the ongoing structural problems with your home. And actually, there’s one more thing. You may want to also consult an attorney because I’ve got to tell you that those warranty programs are written to protect the builders, not the consumers.
TOM: They love to rap that around you like it’s a warm blanket but it’s really a wet blanket and it doesn’t have a lot of protection. So you really need to take some steps to protect your investment here. The fact that this home – they continue to patch this home and it continues to open up to the point where you have gaps of one inch is a very serious structural problem and any engineer that says otherwise is just not being forthright with you.
GARY: OK. Well, the engineer told me that in the initial package that was given to him by the builder, my back patio was not on that package. But now the roof line comes down and goes over the back patio, which is the way the house was originally built, and he said the house was not approved to have that on there.
TOM: Well, I mean these are problems – this is why you hire a builder. They’re supposed to be responsible for making sure the home is built safely in accordance with plans and if it’s not it’s not your fault. So you need to protect yourself here, Gary. Talk to an attorney. Get a good engineer to review that and find out what’s going on and once you have the information then you determine what the next step should be.
GARY: OK, sir.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.