First, my name is Frank Kenny and I am a local real estate agent that grew up and lives in the "Soil Area" of Torrance. I have been around the area most of my life and sell more homes in the soil area than any other agent. I've seen lots of homes here and can help with your questions and concerns.
The soil area is located in south Torrance, basically with the following streets as borders:
Calle Mayor and Lomita on the north
Hawthorne on the east
Pacific Coast Highway on the south and west
This area was known as Walteria Lake up until the homes were built in the early 1960's. At that time the builder, Don Wilson, filled in the area with dirt in order to build the homes. Unfortunately that dirt was adobe soil. Adobe soil tends to expand and contract with moisture.
Did you know there are naturally occurring adobe soil areas throughout the South Bay? And a house and yard can experience the same expansion and contraction in those areas as south Torrance. The only difference is that they are naturally occurring adobe soil areas. In south Torrance, that adobe was brought in and placed here.
In the early 60's when the homes were completed and the new owners moved in, in a short time they noticed cracks beginning to develop in their homes, driveways and sidewalks. Long story short, neither the city or the builder would help these homeowners.
Over the years there were many complaints and law suits. In the end the homeowners were "stuck" with their homes. Many homeowners were upset and carried that anger through the years and thus the word spread, "Don't buy a home in the soil area...your house will crack and sink!" And so many people today still preach that negativity, although they themselves don't know the truth or the details.
Fortunately, a far majority of the homes have fared well since they were built. In most cases, when a home is cracking, etc., it's because the homeowner has not taken care of the house and yard.
South Torrance is a great area to live. Awesome weather, Lago Seco Park, South High, Calle Mayor and Seaside schools, shopping, peace and quiet, low crime rate, etc. The neighborhood is a very good neighborhood with amazing neighbors. And as the original owners have moved on, new owners, many with young families have moved in. And they LOVE the neighborhood.
The key to keeping your house and yard in good condition in any neighborhood is to keep the soil moist, not wet, install gutters to drain water from your roof, and drainage to move the water away from your house. The number one point being keep the soil moist. The one thing that makes homes crack in adobe soil is letting the soil get wet and then get dry. It will expand and contract and may cause damage to your house while doing so. Keep the soil moist.
So don't let people scare you away from the south Torrance area, soil and all. I'd be happy to help you with your decisions to buy and sell a home in Torrance and explain the many details of that process to you, including the soil details.
Here is a link to the City of Torrance web site that will explain more about the soil area, including the boundaries and recommendations: http://www.torranceca.gov/9220.htm
For more information and assistance with buying or selling a home, please contact me at 310-928-9035. My team and I are here to help you with your real estate plans. We are a top real estate team in the South Bay and have been helping clients buy and sell property since 1999. Call us today. We're here to help!
Frank Kenny Real Estate Team 310-928-9035