Home Buying in Northgate>Question Details

Nicole Ellio…, Home Buyer in Sacramento, CA

How much does a structual engineer cost and is it worth it?

Asked by Nicole Elliott, Sacramento, CA Mon Aug 18, 2008

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Nicole Elliott’s answer
We have a FHA loan which now requires 2 appraisals. The first one went fine but the second appraisor is requesting a structual engineer evaluate the home before he completes his appraisal. So my husband and I are about to lose this home because we have to have this engineer look over the house.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 18, 2008
I would never tell a buyer not to get an inspection they wanted to get an inspection by a structural engineer can cost anything from $500 to $800. You can often get a clue as to whether you need a structural engineer from the pest inspector and the general home inspector.

Good Luck
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 18, 2008
The cost will be dependent on what type of service you need from the structural engineer. At one property, the seller had violated the truss when installing a whole house fan. The engineer needed to provide a report on how to remediate that ($400). In another there was a crack in the foundation that needed to be investigated.... I might suggest that if you have a question about a home you are purchasing, get whatever experts you need to allow you to know about that property, rather than inherit a nightmare.
Web Reference: http://www.suearcher.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 18, 2008
The second appraisor was questioning a crack in the stucco near a rear window. He thought there may be structual problems.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 18, 2008
Hi Nicole,
I'm curious as to why you would need a structural engineer to examine your purchase so unless you are considering an addition to the existing property I would re-visit your reason for purchasing such a property in this buyers market. Also, I would make sure that whoever you hire has done the type of work your are requesting they investigate. In other words make sure you're not paying for his learning curve. Some people say they are "familiar" with a certain problem but have never actually done the corrective work so make sure you get at least 3 opinions before deciding who will be doing the work, it might cost more for the bids but it would be well worth it in the long run.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 18, 2008
I hired two walk through structural engineers, to evaluate and collect data. One received $560 for the structural integrity analysis of my roof over an older 58 year old roof, a sort of double truss structural design. Strength is a consideration. ( I am sighting solar.) The old roof may need to go with an installation of new trusses and roofing. The bid for installing his specially designed trusses was much higher than I was willing to pay.

A second structural engineer accepted an up front walk through of $480. I paid. He made a non contractual agreement for a redesign with truss to roof completion at 40% the cost of the first estimate. Two months later he said he was unable to meet this cost and he was full of work. He would be unable to design any resolutions. He did receive payment for an initial site inspection.

The third structural engineer has proposed a $10.5K inspection, data collection, complete structural analysis, and an architectural design. He wants $2K for a site visit to evaluate and collect data, and the rest is for analysis and hard copy design layout. I think I may let this one go without paying for an initial fee.

So far I am out $1040 for a very unique roof structural complication. The home is 1400 sq ft and the structural integrity may be complicated. However, I am a bit smarter. I have discovered new production trusses for the whole remodel at a cost of $6K, delivered to my door. I will be able to utilize the truss company’s delivery truck-crane-operator for $150 an hour. At least I am bought by the truss manufacturer. I will go that way after I find a structural engineering firm suggesting a price I can afford.

I am happy to accept suggestions.
Flag Wed Nov 5, 2014
It is 100% worth it and especially if you have doubts, questions or an inkling something is wrong. What It will cost you is dependant on what or how much of an inspection is needed. Also the size of the property and if it is residential or commercial.
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 18, 2008
YES it is worth every dime spent could save your from purchasing a nightmare !.... These professionals are usually used when a home has foundation issues.
http://www.lynn911.com http://www.homes-for-sale-dallas.com
Web Reference: http://www.lynn911.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 18, 2008
I've never hired a structural engineer before. I would imagine it would be worth it, especially if you don't know how to do their work. They can follow correct safety regulations and will be trained to work with the right equipment. http://www.tolsafcranes.com.au
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 8, 2015
A structural home inspection is a no brainer. The cost of an inspection is small compared to the cost of most legit problems, including your safety. Better to walk away or make the owner pay.

The cost for an inspection will depend on the scope of work and the cost of living in your market. Definitely try to find a licensed engineer with more than 5 years of experience (engineers know nothing coming out of college) and with experience with residential remodels and ideally historic architecture. The reason is that a lot of factors may come into play, including the method of construction and construction materials at the time the home was built. Residential structural is actually more complicated than light commercial in most cases, and this type of inspection requires even deeper knowledge than design.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 22, 2014
The chance of the stucco near a window having a crack is 100%. - There are cracks in the stucco at windows always, There are never any exceptions. Ah, but how big is this crack? Is it a really big crack? Is it just big enough for the Geico gekko lizard to disappear into or is it large enough for the Geico alligator to emerge from?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 18, 2008
Jim Walker, Real Estate Pro in Carmichael, CA
A structural engineer inspection, as requested by your second appraiser is for one specific item, I'm sure. What was the area that they are asking the structural engineer report on? A structural engineer is not anything like a home inspector, by the way. I think that the FHA appraiser is trying to protect you, not negate the deal. If something is called out, it may require the seller to correct prior to you purchasing the home.
Web Reference: http://www.suearcher.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 18, 2008
I was told it is wiser to have a structual engineer do the inspection on the home, here on the east coast its between $400-800, i did do some reading and anyone can become an inspector of houses,I would definetly go for the engineer, it would be worth it!!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 18, 2008
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