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RE: Residential Fee Range (Was Porch Con

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Paul Crocker wrote:

. > I'm suprised there are people out there who would look to a structural
. > engineer to do a home inspection for anything but the most unique
. > structures.  There is a whole industry out there of folks who specialize 
. > in home inspection.  They look not only at the structure, but also the 
. > roof, drainage, wiring, plumbing, appliances, and anything else you can 
. > think of. In the Seattle area, these folks typically charge around $300, 
. > but are well worth it *if* you find a good one. It seems like work best 
. > left to the experts. 

I agree with you, Paul, home inspectors are worth their fee *if* you find a 
good one.  And a good home inspector will also "leave it to the experts."

Typically, a home inspector will give a check-off list to the buyer 
indicating what they have found that is "right" and things that they have 
found that aren't "right."  And a "good" home inspector will recommend to the 
home buyer that those things that "aren't right" be evaluated by an expert in 
the area, such as an electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, structural 
engineer, etc., to determine how bad they are.  A "bad" home inspector will, 
well, ... .   For example, a couple of years ago, I was called by a person 
who had recently purchased a house (burnt adobe bearing wall) and discovered 
severe cracking in the concrete slab-on-grade when pulling up carpet.  Doing 
a visual walk around, I found a 3/4-inch crack in one wall that had been 
patched (but still apparent) on the outside, and left open on the inside.  
The home inspector reportedly told the buyer that it was, "normal."  Another 
"red flag" were water lines that were mounted on the exterior walls.  This is 
commonly done if there had been a water line leak under the house and the 
water lines were rerouted.  Checking the water heater, washer, and sink area 
showed that the underground lines were indeed cut off and new lines run in.  
The home inspector did not report this to the buyer.  Another thing that the 
home inspector did not detect were peeled "tree trunk" wood posts supporting 
the porch roof that were embedded in concrete below the adjacent ground.

A person considering buying a house should ask the realtor to recommend some 
home inspectors --- and then stay away from those recommended.

The realtor wants to "close the sale" as quickly as possible and doesn't want 
the buyer to have time to think about it, therefor, offers to purchase are 
generally written up with a 10-day inspection period with closing on the 
11th day.  With housing sales as brisk as they are now, the seller is not 
motivated to extend this period and the buyer is generally unaware that they 
can specify an inspection period of any length they want in their offer to 
buy.  When housing sales are slow, the seller is more likely to agree to 
extending inspection periods.

A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
Tucson, Arizona

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