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Sinkhole Swallows Building in China


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Probably the scariest moment of my home inspection career: was in a crawl space and saw what I thought was a hole from a burrowing rat.

I crawled to it, shined my light down the hole and the flashlight beam bounced off a pool of water maybe 20' below ground. I crawled out as fast as I could and informed my clients of my scare.

They didn't buy the house.

Don't know whatever happened to that place. . .

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True story. I was hired to inspect a house for a customer who was buying a house. When I arrived I found that the 15 year house had a entirely new foundation and the whole house sat about 10 feet higher than the neighboring houses.

The seller was there so I asked him what the story was. Here is the short version. When he bought the house five years ago two of the four foundation walls were new. The seller at that time said there a had been a little settlement and a contractor replaced the basement walls. This first seller was smart, he disclosed a problem and produced receipts showing that he had the problem professionally repaired.

So the guy selling to my client decides not to get an inspection or question the repairs, he just buys it. Fast forward a couple of years and the foundation has more serious settlements. It turns out that house house was built on top of an under ground spring. This guy ended up lifting the house high enough to get heavy equipment under it. He hired an engineer to design a repair. They used some kind of compaction technique to compress clay and soil under the house and built a complete new foundation 10 feet higher than it originally was.

He spent $120,000 for the house, $20,000 for engineering work including soil testing while they were making the repairs, and $80,000 for the actual repairs. Now he has $220,000 into a $120,000 house. Most people would have just walked away from that house and he never said why he didn't. He did say he tried to sue the seller but the cased was dismissed because the seller disclosed the problem as he knew it and had it professionally repaired.

Fast forward to today. Since he had all the repairs done his wife passed away and he can't stand to live in the house any more plus the market crashed and he was selling the house for $85,000.

The most unique thing is that this was not a foreclosure or short sale.

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