Structural Inspection

How an engineer can help you decide whether to buy a property

If you’re in the process of buying a home, you probably have a list of specific things you’re looking for. Let’s say your must-haves include a rural neighborhood, a farmhouse kitchen, and outdoor space for hosting soirees. These are totally reasonable “wants.” However, there’s a lot more to searching for the perfect house than what meets the untrained eye. That’s where a professional home inspection, and sometimes a structural inspection, comes in.

A home inspection is a top-to-bottom analysis of your future house, including all major systems. This is an important part of every real estate transaction, as a home inspector will identify any red flags that need extra attention and make recommendations for a specialist to take a closer look. One of the things your home inspector will check is the structural components of the house, including the foundation and framing.

If a home inspector finds the foundation of a home to be uneven or sees any suspicious cracks in the slab, a structural engineer is called in to help a homebuyer determine if there are any major structural defects before they sign on the dotted line. This minimizes the risk of any unpleasant surprises or significant financial burdens down the road. There are three phases of a structural inspection. Here’s what you can expect:

Phase 1

An experienced engineer will visit your future home where he or she will visually inspect the entire property and look for any structural problems. After checking out the foundation and framing, the engineer will determine the extent of the damage.

Phase 2

If the engineer determines that the structural damage is severe enough as to where it needs to be repaired, he or she will submit a detailed report about the problem as well as suggestions to restore the structure back into its original alignment.

Phase 3

After learning about the time and costs involved in fixing the foundation, you will need to decide whether you actually want to buy the house. If so, the third phase entails making the repairs and receiving a final letter with a PE stamp stating that the structure is stable.

When buying a home, we know how easy it can be to get caught up in details like the kitchen appliances, hardwood flooring, and vaulted ceilings. That being said, it’s important to remember that the most basic function of a home is to provide you with a safe place to live. A structural engineer can swoop in at the final hour to evaluate the foundation and structural integrity of your future house to prevent major headaches and unexpected expenses in the future.

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