EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – The 22News I-Team’s investigation into crumbling foundations continues, this is a story anyone looking to buy or sell a home in the area soon will want to see.
One family thought the sale on their home was a done deal until a test was done on its foundation.
“I have a 5 and a 9 year old who know to check the basement, check the cracks, to check if there’s water coming in any time it rains. They know to look, and they know everyone here is worried about it.” Jessica Roberge
Back in February of last year, Paul and Jessica Roberge were ready to move into a new home. They had put a deposit down and had a bidding war going on for their current one. But then, their foundation tested positive for pyrrhotite, a naturally occurring mineral in concrete poured by now defunct JJ Mottes in Connecticut that causes concrete to slowly deteriorate as it’s exposed to oxygen and water.
“I can’t emphasize how depressing it is to think your house is sold, and then it’s not, and there’s no way you can fix it right away.” Jessica Roberge
It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix the problem and is not covered by insurance. Homes most at-risk of having a crumbling foundation were built between 1983-2015 and cracks usually takes about 20 years to show.
But the Roberge’s East Longmeadow home is only about 10 years old. “We’ve put all our money into this home. We have no equity right now because we have no sale possible. The only real option is to try to rent it, or we are saying goodbye to literally hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Jessica Roberge
Resources for homeowners:
Realtor John Wynne put a client’s home with a crumbling foundation on the market for $430,000, it only sold for half of that. “They owed nothing on the house. They were retiring. Now there was no insurance that would cover anything. There was no way for them to get money to fix it. So they had to just take the loss.” John Wynne from Teamwork Realty Group
Inspectors tell the 22News I-Team, it’s nearly impossible to determine if a home has crumbling concrete from just from looking at it. “One time I had clients that did a core sample at a house in Longmeadow that I would have said no way, there’s no way it has that mineral in it. They took a core sample and it came back with elevated levels.” Kyle
That’s why testing is crucial. Massachusetts does offer reimbursement for testing, for homeowners within a 20 mile radius of JJ Mottes. But Roberge told 22News, people who are dealing with this issue need more help than that.
In Connecticut, there is a fund to help homeowners pay for a new foundation. It’s funded through a $12 surcharge on everyone’s homeowner’s insurance.
“We need the state to do what they did in Connecticut, which is a hard thing to ask because it asks everybody to put a little bit more into their insurance. It’s just a small amount but it helps your neighbors, it helps your family if this is happening to them.” Jessica Roberge