Three Explanations for Sinking Soil (Two Good, One Bad)
Good home inspectors don’t just check out the interior of a home.
They also check the home’s exterior, and even the yard for clues that something “just isn’t right.”
That includes getting to the bottom (sorry) of a conspicuous depression in the yard — back or front.
The soil could be settling due to a problem with the main sewer line — essentially, the return from the home to the street or alley.
When there’s a leak, the escaping waste water erodes the soil and causes the ground above it to sink.
To determine whether that’s the case, the Buyer needs to have a drain and sewer contractor run a camera through the sewer line (and yes, they — not the Seller** — usually pays for it).
Given the cost, about $150 (vs. $5,000 or more to correct a leaking main sewer connection), that’s a smart step for a prospective Buyer to take . . .
**If the sewer inspection finds a problem, the Seller typically pays for that — that is, if they want to keep the deal together.
P.S.: Two other, benign explanations for sinking soil: 1) a tree stump that was removed; or 2) a kids’ swimming pool in that location.