Despite seeing signs of possible foundation issues for several years, first-time Anna homeowners Matt and Denise Nix were told repeatedly by some experts there were no problems. But when NBC 5 Investigates Consumer Unit started looking into the issue, we learned otherwise.
“Finally they’re admitting there’s an issue,” said Matt Nix.
The Nix’s said they started noticing cracks on one wall in their home in 2011, a few years after buying it from the previous owners in 2008.
The home, which sits on a downward slope, was originally built in 2004 by D.R. Horton, America’s largest homebuilder, and was still under its original 10-year warranty.
So when the Nix’s saw the cracks, they called D.R. Horton. The builder contracted Advanced Foundation Repair to inspect the foundation.
The couple said it was told by Advanced Foundation Repair that the cracks were “cosmetic.”
Advanced Foundation Repair “advised that the home was within acceptable tolerances for new construction and did not recommend foundation repair,” D.R. Horton told NBC 5 Investigates Consumer Unit in a statement.
But the Nix’s said they believed problems continued to worsen so they called three other foundation companies. All three wrote estimates recommending repairs costing thousands. So again, earlier this year, Matt Nix called Advanced Foundation Repair. And again, Advanced wrote “we recommend that no foundation repairs be made.”
That’s when Matt Nix called NBC 5 Investigates Consumer Unit.
D.R. Horton told NBC 5: “These “cosmetic” cracks do not support a claim of structural failure in the foundation, and therefore, are not covered under the 10-year Structural Warranty of this nine-and-a-half-year old home.”
NBC 5 showed video of the house and the foundation repair estimates to civil engineer Sahadat Hossain. Unlike any of the companies that have a financial stake in this home, he has none. Instead he teaches a class on foundations at the University of Texas at Arlington.
“Everything suggests they have a problem.” Hossain said. “It’s not cosmetic.”
After NBC 5’s calls and questions, Residential Warranty Company, the warranty company for the Nix’s home, sent an engineer to inspect the home. A D.R. Horton representative was present during the inspection as well.
This time, the engineer wrote a 14-page fact-finding inspection report which Residential Warranty Company gave to the homeowners.
The engineer found there was some settlement of the foundation, especially in the rear left section of the home.
“This movement is primarily due to the steep slopes of the soil that exist in this part of the lot,” he wrote.
He also found, “the foundation has failed to resist excessive movement.”
Residential Warranty Company told the Nix’s in a letter that “the necessary actions will be taken” to fix the problem.
And the warranty company will pay for the repairs.
“Y’all got more done in two weeks than I did in three years. So, yeah, I really appreciate it,” said Matt Nix.
D.R. Horton told NBC 5 it retains Residential Warranty Company "to review, investigate, and make objective decisions on structural defect claims by homeowners during years three through 10 of warranty coverage."
Nix said he hopes his story is a lesson to others.
“If you’re not getting the answers that you want keep fighting for them, because it’s your house, it’s your investment,” he said.