Earthquake retrofit work recommendations and rebates

Hi all -- with the strong quake in the Humboldt area, I saw that many houses were separated from their foundations and that caused their house to get red tagged which means residents aren't allowed back in their houses (right?).  Otherwise, there seemed to be damage but not always enough to red tag a house.  So I am now thinking that I need to retrofit and am looking for recommendations, approximate costs and any rebate info that people may have.  Hope this helps not only me but others as well!  

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We received a $3000. rebate through the Earthquake Brace & Bolt program. They are only open for applications at certain times, and I’m not sure when the next open period is. They have only vetted companies working for them. I recommend the program if your timing is such that you qualify.

True story.  Houses themselves can handle the earthquake but if they come off the foundation they can't be salvaged.  I used Bay Area Retrofit.  Their website is very informative even if you don't end up using them:  My retrofit was simple, just bolts with only a couple of very small cripple walls.  It was around $9K (about 2 years ago) and took about a week.  I got an estimate from another contractor and the estimate was about the same.  

We did our retrofit with Quakebusters and I recommend them. We have a hillside house (mild grade compared to others) which required an engineer, and we used Dan Szumski. This was a few years ago, but the engineers plan was about 2k, and the retrofit on our 1600 sq ft house was 23K. We got an EBB grant which covered 3K. I have read about people with houses in the flats doing the retrofit themselves with a standard plan, and that being very cost effective -- however I suspect most people don't have that kind of time or knowledge, and also, a lot of houses in Berkeley need professionals doing the work. I certainly was happy to have done it after these last few quakes, it is just about the only thing you can do to protect your investment and your family! Reach out if you want to chat, the process for the grant and permitting can feel like a part-time job, much like any construction on your house. 

We participated in the Earthquake Brace and Bolt program which provides rebates for houses built before 1980.  There is a lot of work involved in selecting a competent contractor.  We interviewed 12 contractors, of which nine came to our house to inspect our crawl space.  The great thing about EBB is that they have client reviews.  I would also pay close attention to the California business license reviews. One contractor we were about to hire, promised to match any competitor bid, but did not.  When we looked up their profile with the state government we found they had been fined by the state.  In addition, one of their clients alleged that the firm attempted to raise their price midway through a seismic retrofitting project.  The contractor we ended up hiring failed to show up on the day the city inspector arrived.  This contractor apparently was not familiar with my city’s practices.  There was one individual from Oakland who struck me as very honest when he explained that he would not be able to retrofit my crawl space.  Here is the link to check a contractor’s license number:   A little background research will save you a lot of headaches.