We recently learned that we have a crumbling foundation. We immediately requested an estimate from a highly recommended and reputable contractor. The estimate to fix our crumbling foundation is $328,000.
Let me put that in perspective. Tolland has assessed our structure at $299,800. In other words, it will cost more to fix the house than it is worth.
Our house is very well maintained. Because we are in the early stages of this disease, we have suffered only minor cracking and no real structural damage to the house itself.
If this were a car, an insurance company would simply write us a check for the assessed value and send the vehicle to the scrap yard. No financial institution could be expected to provide a loan for an amount greater than the value of the collateral. And even if we had no mortgage (which we do), we could not afford to carry a loan of this magnitude at this stage of our lives. Financially speaking, this is a no-win situation. It simply does not make financial sense to fix the problem. Yet we must still continue paying a mortgage or risk losing our credit and having no place to live.
As demand for reconstruction and restitution services increases, we can only expect to see prices increase, and more families will be put in this untenable situation where it simply makes no sense to sink any more funds into saving their homes.
Moreover, most estimates of the total impact of the crumbling foundation situation assume that it costs between $150,000 and $200,000 per property to resolve the problem. But if our experience is any indication of where remediation costs are headed, then the overall financial estimate of the impact of this disaster are significantly under-estimated. The human cost of forcing people to walk away from their properties is high enough. And when this happens, the ripple effects to the rest of the state will be extremely deep and long lasting.
- Homeowner, Tolland
I bought my house in Stafford Springs in September 2013 from a seller I knew personally. I asked the realtor to be honest with me about any repairs the house might need. She kept telling me the only issue was the plumbing in the upstairs bathroom. I asked about the frame and foundation of the house, with no response.
Every day and night I was hearing CRACKING noises. I thought it was the small 8×8 deck settling on back of my house. No such luck. My daughter and kids were living with me at the time. My daughter showed me how the foundation is CRACKING, CRUMBLING, and FLAKING AWAY.
Some of the cracks range in size from 1/8 inch to 1/2 inch thick. It’s a total disgrace that my basement walls look like a jigsaw puzzle. I measured the upstairs hallway’s structure, and within the last six months to a year, the house is falling in about 3/16 of an inch. The cracking is getting bigger each and every day. My daughter and children had to move out out for FEAR of the foundation’s crumbling, cracking, and flaking.
I lay in bed at nights hearing the foundation cracking most, just waiting for it to CAVE IN! I’m a disabled single dad. I cannot afford anything, I believe with my whole heart that the realtor knew about the foundation’s problem, but withheld life-saving information. A concrete contractor told me he came to this home to patch up some of the cracking foundation. Problems which were withheld from me. Again, I cannot afford to replace my home.
– Homeowner, Stafford Springs
My husband and I bought our home four years ago, It was supposed to be our Dream Home. We knew it needed some work: windows, doors, siding, and updates on some things inside the house, but all in all we were very happy with it. Two winters ago a pipe burst in our bedroom wall. After dealing with insurance, we hired a contractor and began doing repairs in the spring. One day our contractor came to us and said, “Hey, did you see these cracks you have in your foundation?”
After doing some investigating, talking with neighbors, and paying several professional licensed engineers to come and investigate, we discovered our home was one of the many affected by the concrete problem. After being denied by our insurance company for this claim, getting involved with a lawyer, and reaching out to every avenue we could think of, we have exhausted all options other than bankruptcy.
My husband and I are regular, middle-class, hard-working people. We were both taught growing up that if you work hard, it would pay off. So this is our payoff for our hard work. We took every cent we had and put it into this home—where we planned to spend the rest of our lives together. Now I dread coming home every day. I hope and wish and pray to see something on the news, hear something from the state, hear something from Department of Consumer Protection, to hear something from anybody and to find some relief, but there’s none in sight.
What do we do now?
– Homeowners, Union
I am one of the hundreds of homeowners dealing with crumbling foundations. My husband and I built our home in Vernon in 1986. We recently tried to sell the house, but at the inspection we discovered the foundation was crumbling and our house is unsalable. My husband is quite sick and requires full-time care. I retired to be his primary care-giver.
All this to say, we are strapped for resources, in terms of both money and time. I have given much thought to this issue, and I believe there are ways that we can ease the burden for homeowners and stimulate local business. Of course, this would require state support and funding. Given that it takes 20 to 30 years for these defects to become apparent, I believe this issue is disproportionately affecting people nearing retirement and who, as a result, need to recover their investment.
I feel the state should allocate funds to be able to purchase these houses from the homeowners, to allow them to recoup some piece of their investment. The state could then use these houses to provide employment opportunities for contractors and construction workers in Connecticut. Once they were repaired, the state could offer the homes as affordable housing for those in need. I recognize this would require a lot of planning and support but I believe it is a way to mitigate a very bad situation.
I appreciate all of the efforts on behalf of homeowners like myself. I really hope the coalition is able to negotiate some relief for the impacted parties.
– Homeowner, Vernon
We were proactive in trying to find out a year ago, when the news first hit, if slab foundations were affected and we were basically told no. We had considered moving to North Carolina for a couple years, and when my employer indicated to me earlier this year it would be best to move to North Carolina to have a better chance at avoiding a layoff, we decided to pursue it seriously.
We found a home in North Carolina and had planned to move in early August. Our home was on the market in South Windsor less than two weeks with Coldwell Banker when we found a buyer that loved our home as much as we did. We were truly excited, for the buyers and for us.
Monday, July 11th, at 10 a.m., the buyers’ home inspector let us know our home (on a slab foundation) looked to be part of the crumbling foundation issue. Imagine our shock, disbelief, and anger. The buyers were able to contact an inspector who specializes in examining foundations for this issue, who came out at 3 p.m. the same day. He confirmed our worst fears. We immediately contacted a contractor to come out to inspect, and give us a quote if he saw the issue. Within less than a minute, he said, “Yes, you have the issue.”
We have dealt with an extreme sense of loss and financial devastation within 24 hours. We have updated our home, poured our heart and soul into this home, only to find out it all was for nothing. Our home is basically worthless. The cost to fix is more than the value of our home.
– Homeowner, South Windsor
We have this awful problem. We just received the engineering report and an estimate for repairs that came in at very close to $200,000. My wife suffers from terminal cancer and does not have a lot of time to wait around for politicians and insurance companies to assess their potential losses.
I cannot believe that the foundation of a home isn’t covered by homeowners insurance! We have done all the right things over the years—paying our taxes, going to work every day, paying the insurance premiums, and trying to prepare for retirement. Now not only have health issues reared their ugly heads, but the home we worked so hard to pay off is now worthless.
The added stress to my wife has been enormous. Now she worries, not only about her mortality, but how I will be able to deal with this issue after she is gone. The insurance companies need to stand up and stand behind those who have stood behind them for all these years. If they are unwilling to do so our elected officials should force them to. Lots of talk and hollow nonspecific promises are not cutting it. We need help and we need help now!!!
– Homeowner, Union
Our foundation was poured in 1984 and began showing signs of cracking after roughly ten years. The cracks worsened on the south side of our house, breaking horizontally. It then separated a quarter of an inch as it began to bow in (up to an inch). We paid $35,000 to a company to have it patched. The company experts who patched our foundation told us the cracking would stop at some point, and they said their patching would fix the problem. We paid them thousands of dollars for patching in 2013 and now the cracking has accelerated. We do not have much time left. I’m 61 years old and we wife is 59, and we are facing serious financial problems.
– Homeowners, Enfield
We built our home 1983. J.J. Mottes supplied the concrete for our basement. We went the extra mile in the construction of this home, with wider walls and gravel and drains all the way around the walls because we did not want damage to occur to the walls. A couple of years ago we noticed spiderweb cracking on all of the walls. I was upset because it had been fine for so many years. I wondered if it was as a result of the earthquake we had recently had. I thought that until the cracks began to separate. Then I saw the segment on NBC by George Colli.
Facing financial ruin, watching the destruction of this asset we call “home,” has taken a huge toll on our well being. We have worked hard, paid our bills, including taxes and insurance for years and years. Now as we should be getting ready to retire, we are faced with this unbelievable expense, not too mention the stress of the deconstruction of our house. I would not wish this on any one. It’s a life-changing event; one that no one can prepare for. I feel so bad for everyone going through this. I feel bad for the thousands more who will be facing it.
– Homeowners, Stafford
In 2012 I considered selling my duplex since the outside work and upkeep cost involved in being a landlord had become physically and financially excessive. It was quite a shock when my realtor told me my home was unsalable due to the crumbling concrete in the foundation of the rental side. I immediately contacted my insurance company, which informed me they would only cover a collapsed foundation, not one in the process of collapsing. The irony is, since I reported the problem, I was no longer covered if the house did in fact collapse. In the mind of the insurance company, I was aware of the problem and did not correct it. My rental unit was vacant until I borrowed $40,000 to install two interior concrete walls.
Last summer, NBC Troubleshooters alerted me of the widespread concrete problem, and I learned of Attorney Brenda Draghi’s mission to bring relief to homeowners with concrete cancer. I hired a third structural engineer, and he confirmed the newly poured walls that I had financed with the $40,000 loan were not a permanent solution. He told me the basement walls of the unit I inhabited were collapsing as well.
I have worked hard to pay off my mortgage and become debt free, so I would have a nest egg at retirement. Now I have a home that is basically worthless and a large loan.
– Homeowner, Vernon
On December 29, 2015, the State of Connecticut hired University of Connecticut professors to help conduct a company to come into our home and obtain core samples of our crumbling foundation. This was a five-hour process and they obtained 10 samples.
core2The professor took our foundation samples back
to a lab at the University of Connecticut and we are waiting on the results! We were glad to be a part of finding the solution of why our and all the other homeowners’ foundations are failing.
– Homeowner, Tolland