It is common, and usually required for a home to undergo an inspection prior to closing a sale to a new owner especially when there will be a mortgage loan involved. Banks insist that an appraisal and inspection be conducted to make sure the house’s value is consistent with the investment being made by the lender. These services are vital and their importance should not be diminished, but it is a fact that they often miss flaws in a property especially an older one.
Structural damage and defects are hidden faults that are the most serious defects of all because they can have rippling effects on other parts of the house including plumbing, electrical, and roofs and walls. While a small crack in the exterior of a house may be noted by a home inspector as “minor cracks” it may be a sign there is something sinister behind the crack, possibly a failing column. Columns hold up a house.
Making an investment into real estate is usually a safe and financially sound strategy but people lose their investment when a property has major defects and repairs become cost-prohibitive.
Some of the common structural defects missed by appraisers and home inspectors are:
- Rotted wood inside walls and ceilings. Surface appearance might be great with new paint and drywall, but lurking behind is often rotted wood. This kind of defect repairs are immensely expensive.
- Water Intrusion. We have seen hundreds of incidents where there is evidence of prior floods and damage is not immediately visible.
- Structural roof issues. Homeowners often patch leaks in their roofs and then pain the ceiling which is a short-term fix but a structural inspection will involve getting into the attic to see if there are problems with beams, trusses, girders, tiles, and other roof components that might be disastrous in the future.
- Foundation flaws. If a foundation is slowly sinking in the ground it may not be noticed at all to the human eye, but an inspection by a structural engineer will catch it. Once a foundation starts to drop, every other part of the house will start to be affected. Pipes may burst, windows can crack, and supporting beams and columns can fail. The foundation is the basis for everything else above.
Justin Hall, P.E. has been working with real estate investors for many years, conducting thorough structural inspections to look for defects, and when defects are found, his team finds out who or what was the cause. Determining cause is a major element to assigning blame and eventually who should pay for repairs. Disputes that arise from construction or repair errors often end up in court, and Justin Hall P.E. has vast experience preparing expert witness reports and testimony that accurately describe the cause of structural defects in residential and commercial homes and buildings.
Justin Hall P.E. can be reached by calling (501) 240-9213.