Author Topic: Home Inspector - structural & foundational issues  (Read 1714 times)

PloddingInsight

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Home Inspector - structural & foundational issues
« on: June 25, 2014, 09:21:18 AM »
My father-in-law is very handy and he has viewed the (rather old) home we want to buy.  He says his main concern is the structural soundness of the basement/foundation.  Not that he sees anything wrong at this time, but it looks like additional support was added under the first floor at some point, and the basement walls are actually brick and mortar rather than concrete, presumably dating from the construction of the house in (we think) 1923.  According to my wife's uncle, mortar from this era is not as long lasting as mortar from later years because of the way it was made.

If our offer is accepted, I want to make sure I get an inspector who has the expertise to identify any issues in that area.  What sort of person would that be?  What kind of job experience would provide the necessary skills?

Thanks for any tips.

eil

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Re: Home Inspector - structural & foundational issues
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2014, 09:57:39 AM »
Home inspectors vary wildly in terms of their skills and knowledge, unfortunately. Best bet is word-of-mouth recommendation from someone you trust. It sounds like you want someone who has been inspecting houses for a while (at least decades), and has perhaps owned or worked for a company doing foundation repairs. (But obviously no longer does.) I like the ones who will talk your ear off about their trade because it shows that they're both experienced and interested in their work. Insist on following the inspector around the house as he does his work and ask lots of questions.

My unprofessional and potentially unreliable opinion: if the house has stood for 90 years, it will probably stand for 90 more. The fact that there have been repairs isn't problematic on its own and might even be a good thing for you if the repairs were recent. Generally, even the untrained eye can see serious problems developing. I personally wouldn't put anything particularly valuable in a basement that old, but that's due to the possibility of minor water leaks rather than structural unsoundness.

But yes, get a good inspector. Where is the house? Maybe someone in the area will have a recommendation for you.

Numbers Man

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Re: Home Inspector - structural & foundational issues
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2014, 10:57:45 AM »
I think the view that your Father In Law expressed is beyond the scope of what a Home Inspector does. You probably need a structural engineer to give you better insight as to any possible problems with the integrity of the house.

Better Change

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Re: Home Inspector - structural & foundational issues
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2014, 12:45:13 PM »
we were a little worried about the cracks in our late 50s-built home.  we hired a structural engineer to come out and check them out before we closed.  I think it was $130 for the consultation and another $200-something to get him to write up the report (in case we wanted to try to get the homeowner to fork over dough to fix things that didn't ultimately need to be fixed).