I looked at a house and saw steel channel along a couple of the block walls, anchored to the floor and through bolted to the floor joists with a piece of similar joist material. The channel was placed about 2' O.C. I didn't look along the walls but vertically, they look ruler straight and the walls look newer than early '50s vintage, going by the house I grew up in and others that I have seen. They have been painted but they look different from the block I remember (they look fresh). I asked the guy who did the work (phone call) and he confirmed that the walls had bowed but didn't say which direction. When I asked if he dug the soil out along the walls, he said that he hadn't. He didn't pull any permits ofr any of the work he's done and I live in the same 'burb, I know the inspector and I know he wants permits and inspections for structural or foundation work.
The house is probably 3'-4' above the street grade, there's a ditch about 35' from the front of the house and about 85' from one side, the back is sloped away slightly and the other side (the end with the garage) is, too. If necessary, drainage could be installed and run to the ditch. I haven't checked into soil conditions.
I want to go back now that we have had a lot of rain but my questions are:
1) How can bowed concrete block walls be straightened without digging?
2) If I can get it for a decent price (dropping my offer due to the foundation), is it worth buying, assuming it's a solid house in all other respects? I'm not worried about the location or market and I know of people who have had done major foundation work done to their houses and they seem to be OK now.
3) Should I call the inspector and tell him that the work has been done, so he can inspect it (at the owner's expense) and have him give the big Okey- Dokey? The house would have to be inspected for code compliance and any non-permit work would get mandatory inspection, as well as charging for any fees and penalties. I would want to have the inspections and approval as a contingency clause and then we could negotiate on the price.
4) Should I walk on this one? Nice location, big lot, on a corner but there are no sidewalks in the area, street/sewer/water and other infrastructure is up-to-date. House is in good condition, although I noticed the base moulding sloping down from the entry closet door to the outside wall (or, it may be raised at the closet- I haven't checked into that, yet).