by Gilbert Migirditsian
professional engineer, building expert,
and founder of GM Inspection
In all the real estate transactions I see, few are able to detach themselves emotionally from a real estate transaction in order to look at things objectively. This is a very normal response as the purchase of a home is a very emotional process in itself where, even at the first visit, you’re picturing yourself and your family potentially enjoying your new home. The key is that the process must remain a happy one without covering your eyes such that this wonderful part of life doesn’t become a nightmare! The key is to focus on the major things that come up in an inspection while not ignoring the inevitable tally of little things that are a normal part of the wear and tear of any property.
So what to focus on? One of the most important areas to focus on is the exterior of any property. Majors costs can arise from issues regarding the roof, masonry walls, foundation issues, and drainage issues, to name a few. But does this mean that a few foundation cracks should send you running for the hills? That all depends on the gravity of what is being brought up by the inspector. For example, there is a world of difference between a single foundation crack and major structural issues that require the use of piles following the analysis of an engineer. Then again, it’s always my philosophy that everything can be fixed, as long as the potential buyer knows what he or she is getting into. Other issues that one should look out for is major movement of masonry walls, a deteriorating roof, and major drainage issues.
Now how about indoors? Again, structural issues should be on the top of a prospective buyer’s list. People often like open floor plans but have load bearing walls removed without proper planning may spell disaster. Sometimes, these issues are not visible right away but stress cracking is one of the tell tale signs that underlying problems may be present. But how about those issues that can’t be spotted with the naked eye? An example of this is water infiltration that may have begun only a few days before the scheduled inspection. Issues like this won’t start showing visible signs until the problem has had time to progress further. So how can you catch problems like this early on? Infrared thermography is a great tool for such problems and will show an inspector with proper training what would normally be invisible. Besides issues like this, electrical problems, aging windows, and indoor air quality top off the list.
Finding your dream home needs to be fun, needs to be enjoyable, and needs to be as smooth as possible. The key is working with the right people that will ensure that you can remain calm and collected. Remember, everything can be fixed but make sure you understand what’s being brought up. Ask questions, it’s your future home, your inspector, your hard earned money being put on the line.
See you next time when I’ll be back with more useful information!