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Local Articles in Kountze


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Angie's Answers

For this type of job, you need plans and specs from an Architectural/Engineering firm before thinking about contractors - and to get a building permit. Ben's method would work and done incrementally could cost well over $100,000 plus as he says, but this not really the most economic way to approach this big a job. A House Mover or Foundation Underpinning specialty company can usually slide your house onto a whole new foundation, or jack it up on steel beams and hold it there while a basement is dug underneath it, without any intermediate piers. The jacking/move cost would probably be on the order of $30-40,000, and a new basement probably about $40-50,000 - rough ballpark, though I have been involved in some 1000-1500SF single story jobs that went for under $70,000 total. I have been involved in a fair number of these type jobs - and the way the numbers come out, if there is room on the property to move the house, it is almost always nearly as cheap or cheaper to build an equivalent square footage (basement plus ground level) addition rather than add a basement under the house, and that way your new footage is half above ground so worth more on resale, plus you do not lose use of the house for a month or two. Second cheapest is usually sliding house to a new foundation, if property is large enough to do this - though house is totally cut off from utilities for a week to three. Most expensive, and usually only done in tight city environments or with full 2 story or higher houses, is adding the foundation in place, though your utility interruptions should be on the order of hours at a time rather than days or weeks. Talk to an architect - I think you will quickly lean towards the addition option rather than adding a basement - it is just too expensive to deepen foundations in most cases, plus you WILL get cracking in the house and possible water and sewer pipe problems in a move/underpinning job, which is not the case with an addition. This become more likely the case since you want to add 8 feet off the back of the home anyway - so why not just enlarge the addition and do it all that way - MUCH simpler, and MUCH less disruption of your life, and you get much higher resale return on your investment.
Yes, but you won't like what will probably happen (this is a worst case scenario, hopefully you will avoid most):

The purpose for a building permit is to ensure meeting the minimum standards for construction practices and minimum safety standards.  A contractor who works without a permit, does so because they know they are not in compliance (and to save money at your expense).  They knew they should have had inspections and permits for their work.  Who ever built the addition should be reported to both the building official as well as the Better Business Bureau.  It is ultimately the homeowner who is responsible for ensuring the proper permits have been applied for, though.

So when you apply for your permit, you will be pretending as if the work is not completed (you do not hide this fact, you just have to follow the correct process as if it hadn't been built).  Your first stop will be with zoning; can you even add an addition, do you have the proper clearances from the side, front and rear property lines.  If it is a bedroom, does the septic system (perk test) support an additional bedroom.  If your building already meets or exceeds the amount of building allowed on the site or if you do not have the clearances required from the property line, your addition may be required to be removed.  There are appeal processes and variance requests you can try before tearing down the addition (Get an architect).

If your zoning review is fine, next you go to permitting.  Here you will submit plans (drawings) of what was built.  If you do not have these plans, consider hiring an Architect to generate As-Built drawings for this use.  Hopefully the plan review comes back with no changes, or you will alread know your addition is not in compliance and may face rebuilding.  Depending on the type of construction, your zoning and your local building requirements, you will be required to have inspections of your foundation / footings, the framing, the electrical, mechancial and HVAC systems, etc. affected by the work. 

This may require digging the ground back up so the inspector can confirm foundation depth, size and draingage requirements.  The interior wall finishes (gypsum board, panelling, etc) may have to be removed in some or all areas so the framing and electrical can be inspected (If one area fails, be prepared to pull all areas down).  At each inspection, if the work is found to be lacking, then you will have to correct the work before getting permission to use the room.  If there is an electrical or safety violation found, it is possible the Building Official could declare the entire property inhabitable until the offenses are corrected (IE you are homeless until it is fixed).

As you can see, you have to hope beyond belief that the builder constructed everything correctly and that the building officials will work with you to minimize the amount of deconstruction necessary to inspect the work.

Also, you will be charged all the fees associated with plan review and permitting, and you will be charged for each inspection visit (as your builder would have been charged initially had they followed the law).

As for value, here is the real concern:  If your home burns down or faces some similar disaster, your home owners insurance will balk at paying; they will blame the illegal construction as the cause.  As for the value of your building, not having a permit will make any buyer have a difficult time getting their own insurance, thus harder to sell.  The room itself will add value to your property, if it isn't a hazard (IE permitted). 

Also, taxes are based upon assessments, which use the land records.  Building without a permit, can be seen by local officials as an attempt to avoid paying property taxes, since the land records do not show the addition.  Until the official tax records reflect an accurate statement of your building, you may face fines, tax fees and other costs associated with the improvement depending upon how long it has been there unreported.

You may wish to contact a local, licensed Architect who works with the local building department.  They will know the personel, know which forms you need to fill out first and how to protect you from an overzealous Building Official (there are exceptions and options within the Code that the Building Official may forget or ignore that an Architect can request be used to prevent tear down or damage).  Next time you go to build get the Architect first to protect yourself from what this construction firm did to you.

Good luck!
Unfortunately this is not something you will easily resolve; and even if you were to win, the amount of time and funds spent will probably exceed the cost of the actual repair.

Each state has different rules on what "as-is" means, but almost all use the term when it comes to realestate sales.  At two years, you are facing a hurdle that any issue could be the result of new conditions, acceptable wear / settlement, etc.  Has there been any changes in the area? (New house built next door, new addition, earthquake, flooding, etc?)

While you may have been given a home warranty with the purchase (do check your sales paperwork to see if there is any warranty and what it covers for how long) the house is sold to you as-is; it is your responsibility to raise concerns prior to taking over the house, so going back two years later is a huge up hill batle.

The home inspector is also going to be found faultless, as their reports almost always have words like "consult with an expert. . ." after each report section and they have disclaimers for missed items, etc. I got certified as a home inspector and was surprised at just how little they actually require you to know to become an inspector. They are really just an extra pair of eyes to help inexpereinced home owners look where most people don't look or go.  You even mention that the repair work was well masked, so you didn't notice it until you began looking for it.  A good inspector might have caught it, but you won't win any court cases proving yours wasn't good enough.

The Seller will claim that any foundation issues were fixed and resolved, which is why they marked "No" on the foundation issue section.  They fixed it; so it was no longer an issue.  If it came back, that is a new issue.  You and I know this is bogus, but to win in court you have to prove intent; and the builder can easily show they thought it was fixed.  Or, they might even be able to claim they were unaware - the repairs were from the previous owner, and were hidden so well HE and YOU didn't notice them.

So the next step is to meet with your home insurance agent.  As I mentioned above, if there have been any enviromental changes (a new house next door could have changed the underground water table flow or pressures, for example) you may be covered.  Even if there are no issues, you still may have a policy that allows for major repairs to be covered after a certian cost threshold, etc.  You'd be surprised at what your home owners insurance covers - find out first; they might have in house or low cost engineers who will do the initial inspection, etc.  They also will provide advice on your home sale; if they think you have a case against the Seller.

Best of luck on this issue.  Make sure any solution you pay for solves the cause (Stress on the wall), and doesn't just fix the results (cracks).

"Like a sunroom" indicating the addition has yet to be built?  If it's just a remodel there are several remodeling contractors to choose from.  If you also need the addition built pick a general contractor with experience building new construction as well as additions.  If s/he provides a price before the plans and specifications are on paper drop them like a hot potato.  They don't know what they're doing.  Whether they have the ability to provide the plans and specifications first or they refer you to an architect you must have plans to properly bid a major remodel or addition.  It is also good practice anyway just to make sure both parties are on the same page and understand exactly what will be done.

Just a note about the "type" of contractors described in another answer.  The one's who do most or all of the work themselves are not very profitable without doing something illegal or cutting corners somewhere, if they finish the job.  The time a contractor spends on a job takes away from the office time needed to run a proper business and chase new leads to keep working after your job is finished.  There are honest people out there who do everything themselves and don't need to make much money in a year but they are few and far between, typically retired and so the work as a means to keep active and make a little side money.  Others try to do a couple of jobs at once and rob from the funds of one to help pay for the other.  They just aren't experienced enough and were probably sub-contractors who suddenly thought they could run the show.  I've seen it repeatedly.  They hit up the customer for more money due to their own budget planning or abandon the job because they aren't making any more money.  be leary of a contractor who does not either use an employed or sub-contracted crew, meaning they manage the project's quality, time, and money distribution.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services

Home Builders in Kountze, TX

Companies below are listed in alphabetical order. To view top rated service providers along with reviews and ratings, Join Angie's List Now!


2519 10th Street

AB Construction Co

2205 N 16th St

ABCO Roofing and Construction

1515 S. MLK

AGY Enterprises

PO Box 30006

AK Utilities

310 Morton St



Brackin Properties

515 S. 4th St

Build | Inspect | Design

260 Manor Street

Caillavet Homes

2119 Smith Street

Cares Contracting and Construction

5627 Grant St.
Port Arthur








2325 S Main St


13782 FM 421 RD

Glenn's Custom Homes

4490 Revere Ln.

Gold Medal Builders

3924 Liprie St

Halls Construction

108 Hilldale Dr

Imagine Kitchen & Bath

900 S. Main #908

Innovative Builders

2516 Canal St.

Integrity Contractors & Developers LLC

15201 East Freeway

Jones Services & Construction

5595 Linda Ln



Kodiak Steel Homes

9748 Maumelle Blvd


11988 FM 365 RD


19699 HIGHWAY 62 S

Nations Reliable Lending - Dallas

7616 LBJ Freeway

Provost Construction

121 N 23rd St.

Ramirez Construction

2945 10th St
Port Arthur

Rockin' D Services

164 Wood Farm Rd

Stonewater Inc

914 Grigsby Ave
Port Neches

Stout Homebuilders LLC

5525 Gilbert Dr

Take it from Jen

4210 Mcfarland cir

The Fence Guys

PO Box 246


5084 HIGHWAY 69 S

Wes Vice Hardwoods & Supply Inc.

3407 N Twin City Hwy

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