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Deterioration of foundation and deceptive real estate purchase

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Junior Member
A resident in Oakland, California.

We bought a property last June through an FHA loan from two house flippers (working together) who flipped the property in East Oakland and we have started to notice many issues arising as time passed by after moving in.

Issues that arose when we moved in:

Foundation: After moving in, a crack was becoming visible between the ceiling and wall and after a few months, the crack has grown longer and wider. A tile behind the toilet in the master bathroom started to crack and I kept an eye on it. Not too long after, the crack has become bigger and reached from one side to another. I evaluated the crack and it was still even, but then after a month, now the crack is uneven, one side is lower than the other. The doors also started to not fit properly. We are currently working with a structural engineer to investigate this further, but we have been told that the foundation is unstable and may not stand during an earthquake, rendering the house unsafe.
Severe dry rot in subfloor: Originally, the new bamboo flooring was not even and some sections of the floor were not stuck together properly so we decided to remove some bamboo flooring to put them back together again. To our great surprise, there was dry rot covering a large area under the flooring. A certain area of the subfloor where the bamboo flooring was not even was chipped because the subfloor was buckling. The contractor refused to install tiles in our kitchen until it was replaced with plywood because the subfloor was weakening (due to dry rot) and the screws wouldn’t stay in the floor. Our kitchen counter has become uneven due to the dry rot and the contractor was not able to replace the subfloor unless we remove the kitchen cabinets to make it accessible, which we couldn’t due to the constraints of our budget. Upon further investigation, we learned that the people working on the house, instead of replacing it, went ahead and installed the plywood and kitchen cabinets above, masking the problem.
Numerous of code violations
- Second bathroom: We wanted to make a change in our bathroom and we took off the drywall and to our dismay, we discovered that there was black mold behind the wall, despite having been installed less than a year before by their crew. This prompted us to remove further drywall, just to learn that there were more problems.
- Electricity in the second bathroom: After removing the drywall, we observed the electrical wiring seemed to be improperly installed. Within the electrical enclosure, the wires seemed to have no rhyme or reason; it was just a jumble or wires that were stuffed into the enclosure. Because we had already torn down the bathroom down to bare bones, we thought we might as well add some light fixtures while we were at it. This prompted us to call several electricians for their bids. Not only that, but shortly after we moved in, one outlet in our bedroom mysteriously stopped working. One electrician came to our house to make a bid, only to have him tell us that the wiring in the enclosure in the non-working outlet was not installed properly AT ALL, and he actually gave us a discount to fix that problem because he felt bad that he knew that was only a minor fix compared to what else had to be done. He refused to make a bid on our bathroom unless we agreed to rewire the entire house. Another electrician unknowingly shared his concerns , and walked away without bidding, for the same reason. (The seller assured us that new electric wires were installed.)
- Improper header in the second bathroom: As the drywalls have been removed, we learned that the back door and window had cardboards installed to keep those even and there were no double headers above the back door and window. A single header is a violation per city code.
- Window leak: New windows were installed throughout the house. As you know, we all were hit with frequent heavy rain recently and one of our windows started to leak, resulting in a wet subfloor and crawlspace. I caulked the entire siding and window (Yes, I caulked the window, to have it sealed shut) and it was still leaking. I had to put a plastic tarp over the entire side to prevent further leak. It was only the solution that worked. If you are curious, yes, we still have the plastic tarp covering that side.
- Improper header in the kitchen: After caulking the entire side where the window leak was, I decided to remove a small part of the drywall above the window, I learned that there was an improper header above the window. The single header was obviously new as we could see that the wood was brand new whereas the other studs were darkly colored. A single header is a violation per city code.
- And too many more to list here.

During the process of the purchase, one of the sellers was there EVERY time we visited (also during the inspections). We had the opportunity to chat with the seller every time we came to the property and he assured us that the foundation was good and that it had seismic reinforcement. He bragged about how many properties he has flipped throughout the Bay Area and New Orleans and he showed my partner the other property he was flipping, assuring us that he’s knowledgeable and experienced. He also assured us that a new electrical panel and electric wires were installed. He gave us confidence that the house was in good condition.

We also had the opportunity to chat with the inspector about the property, he reassured us that there was nothing major that we had to worry about and we were good to move in after having minor issues addressed; such as caulking shower fixtures, toilet, etc. Whatever he put down on the inspection report, we had nothing to be alarmed about, because it’s all formality.

So here we are, left with numerous of code violations, an unstable foundation, and tens of thousands of dollars in need of repair.

On the other hand, when we first moved in, we have noticed that the lawn on street side is always soggy, and sometimes has a puddle and still is soggy to this day even though there has been no rain for over a month now. When the person from a foundation repair company came over to look at our foundation, he has noted that our backyard is very wet, the lawn on the street side is very soggy, and excessive moisture in our crawlspace. He said that the excessive moisture in our crawlspace is likely a factor in the foundation problem.

We are extremely concerned that it may pose safety and health hazards to all of us who are living in the house.

Since we have purchased the house last year and poured money into repairing the house, only to learn more problems, we do not have the means to pay for an attorney or to pursue legal claims. We are not sure what we can do.


Senior Member
You have learned a lesson why to never buy your home from a flipper. You cannot always prove what they did and did not know, they often throw things together with cheap unlicensed labor and cover it with a pretty exterior. They will claim they had sub contractors do the work and knew none of this.

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