Buying property in the Bay Area is not only an expensive endeavor but one that inherently implicates earthquake concerns. So, while you should not only think think about safety, you will inherently think about protecting your investment. This is one of those situations where each property presents its own set of unique characteristics that it’s hard to generalize what’s right and what’s not so right.
The two relevant documents that discuss seismic issues is the seller-completed residential earthquake hazards report and the standardized JCP report that uses USGS seismic maps to illustrate the soundness of the ground upon which the property sits. Each property is different enough that it’s best to consult a licensed professional structural engineer (or two) and get some professional opinions about how a property may fare in a seismic event. We’ve been along many a tour with seismic engineers, contractors and others that we can give you some high-level thoughts.
Here are a few questions and points to consider.