Inspector missed possible foundation issue

I took possession of my home June 1st and had an inspection prior. A few days after moving in we noticed that one of the basement windows is tilted inwards and the wall underneath it is not only cracked but also is pulling away. We have a wood basement and chatted with a structural engineer over the phone. They said this could be indicative of a foundation issue.

This was missed by the home inspector and had this come up in the inspection, we would have required a structural engineer inspection prior to closing and there is a good possibility we would have walked away from the purchase.

Any suggestions on the next step would be greatly appreciated.

It’s best to take pictures, using a ruler and level.
Then expose the area to see what’s going on, again with a ruler or level.
Figure out what’s really going on first, before taking any more steps.

Try to remember what the area looked like during the showing, and during the inspection.

Look in particular for signs of water intrusion, as below ground level most serious foundation issues will result in a water problem. More often or not, the water problem is what the inspector will see first, and then trace it back to the source.

It matters what certification your inspector holds, along with the location of the home.
The documentation chain matters.
Jumping right to blame? Not time for that yet.

You didn’t notice this when you first looked at the home, before making an offer? The way you described it it sounds pretty obvious.

Have you contacted the inspector? That should be your first step.


If it was “quite visible”, why didn’t you see it yourself as you likely spent more time in the home (and with other people… extra eyes) during your searching, walk-through, and buying process than the inspector did during the inspection??

What’s that? It wasn’t like that before? Then how was the inspector supposed to see it??

So many questions, but let’s just throw the inspector under the bus right away!!

BTW… did you bother to contact the inspector to have him came back out and review the situation?

No? Why not??

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As in a wood foundation or wood walls covering the foundation?

First thing you should do is have the original inspector back to look at it. You are already looking for recourse but do not fully understand the problem. Talking to a structural engineer over the phone means zilch.

You may also consider reading the agreement you signed before the inspection, they typically give you clear guidance as what to expect in this sort of event.

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It was probably covered up. Seller knew about it and decided this was the perfect place to stack 1,000 boxes of Christmas decorations.

Oh…Angela, do not forget the seller in all of this. If it was so noticeable, perhaps it should have been disclosed by the seller.


Do you have any pictures of the area in question Angela? Many of us would be interested in seeing them, especially if this is a wood foundation. Is the basement finished?

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What made you decide to contact a structural engineer? Do you have any pictures of the area?

  1. The next step should be checking the Sales disclosure. A copy of it should be in the packet from the title company.

If the sellers disclosed an issue with the foundation, then you are liable. If they didn’t disclose it, it’s possible that they lied. Check with your new neighbors. It’s likely they have the same type of foundation and same problems.

2.Then you should check the inspection report. Did the inspector say anything about the foundation being inaccessible or obstructed?

  1. If all of the above checks out, now you should contact the inspector. Schedule an opportunity for the inspector to come back to the house and look at it. Follow up with a letter confirming the appointment.

I hope this information helps.

When looking for a new house avoid wood foundations.