Inspection day is often one of the most exciting moments of home buying because it’s likely the first chance you have to go inside the home since you made your offer. It’s also usually the last chance you’ll have a final walkthrough. But more importantly, it’s your opportunity to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into when it comes to the condition of the home.
What’s the Difference between a Building Inspector and a Structural Engineer?
Are you ready to purchase a new property, or build the home of your dreams? Perhaps you’re planning a major renovation project for a home you already own, but whatever your plans may be, it’s always wise to work with the right professionals.
Unfortunately, if you’re not familiar with the building trades, it’s not always easy to know which professional is suited for the job you’re planning to undertake. Before you start scheduling consultations and appointments, take a bit of time to familiarize yourself with a professional building inspector versus a structural engineer, so you’ll know who to call.
Understanding a Building Inspector’s Role
In most cases, when you’re purchasing a property, planning a new build or getting ready for a major renovation project, you’ll want to first contact a professional building inspector. Reputable companies will hire only experts within the building trades who have the experience necessary to evaluate all aspects of your project.
From pre-purchase inspections before you assume ownership of a home to stage construction inspections designed to ensure your new project is completed properly every step of the way, a professional building inspector is your first line of defense against unforeseen defects, poor workmanship and structural flaws.
A professional building inspector will come out to your property in order to check specific areas of concern, based on pre-defined criteria. When the inspection is completed, you’ll get a full inspection report detailing the inspector’s findings. Unless you specify otherwise, most building inspections are a comprehensive evaluation designed to give you more information about the condition of the entire property, from drainage to potential structural faults.
When Do I Need a Structural Engineer?
There may be times when a structural engineer is a person best suited to attend your needs, but these professionals aren’t typically the first ones you should call. A structural engineer is trained to look for fault only with load-bearing walls, foundations and other areas which can have a deleterious effect on the building’s structural integrity.
An inspection conducted by a structural engineer generally will not cover things like faulty drainage, wiring or plumbing issues. In most cases, a structural engineer should only be called in when a fault has been found with a building’s underlying structure, or there’s concern about potential problems. In fact, most structural engineers will only come to evaluate a property when a builder or professional building inspector has recommended their highly specialized service.
As a general rule, a professional building inspector is your first line of defense, and will take a broad view of the property overall to determine whether or not the attention of a structural engineer is warranted.
Home inspections can be reassuring, fun and exhaust all at the same time.
Home inspections don’t just provide you with a list of problems you want to negotiate with the seller to fix or something catastrophic that makes you back out of the deal altogether. It will provide you a detailed report that is something of a “new owner’s manual” for the home. It will include maintenance tips and schedules you should follow.
FINDING AN STRUCTURAL INSPECTOR
You should hire a licensed, professional inspector to conduct a thorough inspection. How do you choose one? Along with agents, lenders and other home pros, has lists of inspectors with reviews. You can use the tool find all kinds of real estate pros, including inspectors. Get recommendations, check their online reviews and study their websites. Get a sample report to make sure what they will produce is thorough. Your agent probably has suggestions but you don’t need to use them.
You will want to be clear on exactly what is and isn’t included in the inspection price. Will they test for lead paint? How about asbestos in the ceiling tiles? Is that part of the basic inspection or will it cost more? The price, though you will pay it, is probably the least of your concerns. Most inspectors are in a similar range of $300-$500 anyway and any fluctuation is a small price to pay for what you will get. Early in the home buying process start researching inspectors and have at least a couple in mind, especially if the market is busy. You’ll need to be sure you can get an inspection scheduled within your contract timeline, so if your first choice isn’t available, you need someone waiting in the wings.
You should plan on being there and your agent should be right there with you the entire time. Chances are the seller’s agent will be there, too to help get any quick answers the inspector might need. Block off the entire morning or afternoon. Home inspections take time and you don’t want to rush through it. During this time, follow along as much as you can. You don’t have to follow the inspector into the crawlspace – they bring protective clothing just for that – but anyplace reasonably accessible, you should go too.
You aren’t being a pest. (That’s a different inspection altogether. If you have any reason for concern, hire an additional pest inspection.) You’re being a student. Inspectors will explain your home’s systems and give you maintenance tips. Those should also be in the final report, along with pictures. But hearing and seeing it in person is helpful. The day of inspection will probably feel like a whirlwind of activity. You may be a little nervous about what the inspector will find. It will help if you make like a Boy Scout: Be Prepared.
Home inspection checklist
You should start preparing for a professional inspection when you initially tour the home, before making an offer. This will give you anidea if there are any areas you want the inspector to pay special attention to. A good inspector will address these issues in the report you pay for. Use this checklist to help figure out what to look for ahead of time and in the final report. If any of these items aren’t covered in the inspection report, ask why not.
Foundation: Look at the base of the walls and the ceilings in each room. Are there obvious cracks or apparent shifts in the foundation? Do the same around the outside. Are there any trees encroaching on the foundation?
Lot: Does the drainage appear to be away from the house? Are there any obvious soggy areas?
Roof: What is the overall condition? When was it last replaced?
Exterior: Does the house look like it will need repairs or repainting soon? Are gutters and downspouts firmly attached? Are there loose boards or dangling wires? Is there asbestos in the exterior material, which would require added costs if it needed to be repaired or replaced?
Attic: How does the interior of the roof structure look? Are there any signs of leaks?
Interior evidence of leaks: Check ceilings and around windows in each room.
Basement: Is there dampness? Adequate insulation? (If there’s a crawlspace instead of a basement, you might want to leave this for the professional home inspection.)
Electrical: Do the switches work? Are there any obvious malfunctions? Have the outlets been grounded? Is the panel updated and expandable for additional appliances or a potential remodel?
Plumbing: Any unusual noises or malfunctions? Has the sewer line been scoped to check for potential cracks?
Appliances: If these are included, what is the age and condition of the stove, dishwasher or refrigerator?
Heating/cooling system: Does it seem to do the job? How old is the furnace? If the system has been converted, are the old systems or tanks still in place?
Odor: Does the home smell? Can you detect what it might be and whether it could be fixed? Beware of musty odors which could signal a wet basement.
In addition to your own eyes, ears and nose, you should get a seller’s disclosure statement before your inspection. Use the statement to help you pinpoint anything you want your inspector to look at. If they disclosed that they had a leaky window replaced or repaired, make sure that gets some extra attention from your inspector.
Disclosure requirements vary by state and sometimes local jurisdictions, so ask your real estate agent if you have any questions about what is included. Disclosure typically comes in the form of boilerplate documents with a series of yes/no questions for the seller to detail their home and their experience there.
One thing to look for is whether any unpermitted work has been done. If so, you could be on the hook for bringing the house up to code should you ever remodel. Even if that’s not even remotely on your radar, unpermitted work needs to be carefully inspected, particularly electrical and plumbing work.
Inspectors aren’t perfect
What happens if your inspection comes back clean but you find problems after you move in? It depends. First, the inspection will only cover things they can see. They aren’t tearing out walls and don’t have x-ray vision so problems that are truly hidden aren’t really their fault. (Unless they missed what should have been obvious signs of a potential hidden problem.)
Look carefully at your contract. Will they pay for repairs of things they should have caught but didn’t? Or will they only refund your inspection fee? The bottom line is that you may end up taking them to court if it’s a big enough deal. So a leaky faucet? That’s just the joy of homeownership. A structural failure that leads to the home being condemned? Probably worth talking with a lawyer. But you should also understand that things happen. This is part of being a homeowner. An inspector can’t forecast the future. Sometimes stuff happens.
¿WHY TO DO THIS STRUCTURAL HOUSE INSPECTION IN MIAMI HOMESTEAD?
Miami is a major port city on the Atlantic coast of south Florida in the southeastern United States. As the seat of Miami-Dade County, the municipality is the principal, central, and the most populous city of the Miami metropolitan area and part of the second-most populous metropolis in the southeastern United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Miami’s metro area is the eighth-most populous and fourth-largest urban area in the U.S., with a population of around 5.5 million.
Also Miami USA is a major center, and a leader in finance, commerce, culture, media, entertainment, the arts, and international trade. In 2012, Miami was classified as an Alpha−World City in the World Cities Study Group’s inventory.
In 2010, Miami USA ranked seventh in the United States and 33rd among global cities in terms of business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience, and political engagement. In 2008, Forbes magazine ranked Miami “America’s Cleanest City”, for its year-round good air quality, vast green spaces, clean drinking water, clean streets, and citywide recycling programs.
According to a 2009 UBS study of 73 world cities, Miami was ranked as the richest city in the United States, and the world’s seventh-richest city in terms of purchasing power. Miami USA is nicknamed the “Capital of Latin America” and is the largest city with a Cuban-American plurality.
Miami USA has the third tallest skyline in the U.S. with over 300 high-rises. Downtown Miami USA is home to the largest concentration of international banks in the United States, and many large national and international companies.
Home inspection Miami Homestead • Commercial inspections Miami Homestead • Inspection of a home Miami • Insurance inspector • Mold inspection Miami Homestead • Wind mitigation inspection Homestead • Commercial building inspector Miami • Wind mitigation Homestead• Property inspector Miami Homestead• What will a home inspector look for Homestead • home inspection company Miami • Commercial building inspection services Miami • Housing inspector Miami Homestead • New home inspections Miami Homestead • Building inspection cost Miami Homestead • Inspector for house Miami Homestead•