A new client we’re working with noted a listing in the Greenwood area that has many comments by the listing agent that state the house’s value is really in the land. The conversation turned toward the foundation and a small tutorial about what foundations are made up of and why some might be better than others. My edited response to them is below:
“You can certainly consider it but look at the outside with a keen eye. This area of Greenwood is where a lot of the peat bog is located so you want to look for heavy settling. This house has what is called Post & Pier (aka Post & Pillar) construction as the foundation. Not many houses are built this way unless there is a compelling reason to do so nowadays.
An online presentation I found about foundations can be accessed here: http://www.abag.ca.gov/bayarea/eqmaps/fixit/ch5/sld001.htm It will help you learn more about foundations and their definitions.
This link will show a bit more specifically about post & pier construction types:http://www.countryplans.com/foundation/index.html
You’ll note that P&P is not recommended for areas where earthquakes might be present – such as the Pacific NW. It was a commonly used method of construction back in the early 1900′s but that was also before concrete had become a stronger material to build with so it is less used now in modern construction and is now usually limited to smaller homes or cabins or in areas where bringing in construction materials is cost limiting.”
I’ll add on here too that Post & Pier foundations are becoming more and more difficult to get insured. We’ve found that the following items are more difficult to get coverage for: post & pier foundation, knob & tube wiring (mostly whole house but sometimes even partial), and fuseboxes (most want upgrades to circuit breaker boxes), aluminum wiring (some 60′s/70′s houses). Some insurance carriers will also deny coverage by age of the home with early 1900′s homes being targeted. Before going out and looking for houses it would be a good idea to contact your insurance company to confirm what housing issues they will, or will not, cover.