To the left you can see that a house that originally had a typical crawlspace when it was constructed, had been dug deeper to offer a larger area below the structure. Some of the things an inspector has to take into consideration are;
Q: Have the foundation walls been extended down below the final floor?
A: No. as you can see to the right of this picture, the cement footers (footing is the wider rectangular cement bottom below the cement foundation that is usually observed just below the siding on the exterior of the home) are exposed and about three feet above the final floor level. This is a poor support structure for this home.
Q: Is there a proper retaining wall since the foundation has not been extended?
A: No. A wood retaining wall was constructed to keep the back fill (soil or gravel that doesn’t allow the foundation to cave inward) in place so the foundation wouldn’t collapse under the weight of the house itself. If you examine further, you will also see the wood retaining wall doesn’t have any supports to hold the wall upright.
There are other things to notice here, and if you know what any of them are, email me and I will give you $25 off your next home inspection!