Expert Basement Inspection

I recently had a home inspection completed. The inspector found minor cracks in the foundation that he suggested were within normal expections. The report was submitted to my lender who is now saying I need to have an “expert basement inspection” completed to the tune of $300 dollars. Since I just paid $325.00 to the home inspector, I am a bit upset. Can someone explain to me why I need to have this done? Or if I need to have this done? Why would I not have a basement/foundation contractor come and give me a free estimate?

Look for a professional consultant having broad experience in foundation repair with a working knowledge of the foundation design process. The ideal candidate will hold state licenses in both civil engineering and general engineering construction. Alternatively, look for a foundation contractor who works closely with foundation engineers or a foundation engineer who works closely with foundation contractors. Most importantly- be sure that your expert has a solid track record of diagnosing and solving foundation and structural problems.

Your expert should be prepared to conduct a thorough foundation and structural inspection and issue a written report. The report, often called a “distress analysis”, should itemize all structural defects observed on the property to include foundation cracks. The report should also include observations about the property which may include comments about the geology, soils, drainage, slopes, retaining walls, foundation walls, subfloor, floor slab, general construction methods, and construction materials.

How does your bank know about the cracks and report? Why is your bank privy to your inspection report? It’s too late now. You need a PE to inspect.

Your “lender” is just covering their butt, before they lend you a bunch of cash for something that might be more than minor issues. You have to remember that Home Inspectors do a visual examination, and most are probably not engineers. It should be no surprise that the lender wants a more thorough inspection by an “expert basement inspection”.

To all future readers, never give information to the bank regarding anything in the home inspection report. If the know of a “defect” no matter how small they will demand it be repaired.

Unfortunately once they know, you will have to jump through their hoops to get loan approval.

Where it is always best to have an active employed relationship with Architects and Engineers who can provide additional support for your findings when the need arises…

Thanks for the replies, everyone.
@ Cameron and John: The loan is pre-approved but I am going through a particular program called American Dream so I am required to provide the lender a copy of the report.

@Chris: That is exactly what they wanted. The seller, a bank, has come forward to pay for the additional inspection and my offer requires them to pay for any costs to repair any items found in the inspection reports so I’m all good.

Could have paid me $500 and have been done with it…

Lender should always get a copy. They are the one paying for the house. I don’t understand why any lender “wouldn’t” want a copy of all reports. Just my two cents.

Your inspector is a generalist, not a specialist. Pointing out the existence of cracks is within the scope of a home inspection where defining their structural significance is not.

Calling in a contractor for a “free” estimate is unwise since the bank knows (as we all do) that contractors make up for their “free” estimates by bidding on work. The lender has to determine from a “free” estimate whether the cracks are actually “serious”, or if the finding of “serious” is actually a marketing tool.

The inspector found the crack and a professional who specializes in evaluating foundation cracks … who does not have a financial interest or potential to gain from his report … is the right guy for your lender to seek for additional advice, but in my opinion he should pay for it since it is for his reassurance.

Home inspections are not normally required for a loan. We all know most buyers are stupid and pay big bucks for a house without any inspection whatsoever. If I did furnish a copy to the lender, it would be just the summary (which most likely would not include comments about things such as small, insignificant cracks).

First you have to define “lender”, most “lenders” are just the people that are in the middle and they work on commission. These people want the loan to go through so they get paid. But they have some rules from the underwriter that they need to follow, if these rules are written like most business documents they have gray areas, loop holes and are simply just not written with much common sense. This method of writing is taught by law and business schools so they can choose which meaning to use based on the instant need. When it backfires on them they can still win because they are already in a position of control. They will win by using red tape techniques, delay/runaround techniques and outright “our way or the highway” mentality.