This section is from the book "Practical Real Estate Methods For Broker, Operator & Owner", by Thirty Experts. Also available from Amazon: Practical Real Estate Methods for Broker, Operator, Owner.
It is impossible to tell in the finished building whether the foundations were put in correctly and substantially or not, but cracks in the stone work or in the brick work, particularly in the window arches, lintels and sills, and in small brick piers, indicate a settling which is due to either faulty mason work or foundation work - generally the latter. A house built upon rock foundation is always superior to that built upon any other foundation soil, and, if possible, the character of the footings should be ascertained, either by borings in the yard or cellar, or by reliable hearsay evidence. In tall buildings, the obtaining of a certificate from an engineer as to the character of the foundation work is almost an essential, and a buyer of improved property of this character should hesitate before investing until he has ascertained the manner in which the foundations have been put in, and as to the character of the under-soil.