I agree wholeheartedly with Darin's advice on REI clubs and forums. I also have learned A LOT from them. Two other things that have helped me a lot are: 1) working with a mentor who specializes in the kind(s) of transactions that most interest you, and 2) continuing education. Believe it or not, I have roughly 10 mentors. Some specialize in foreclosures, others specialize in transaction engineering, others specialize in doing extremely creative commercial deals, etc. The point that Darin and I--who are both investors--are making is that investing is an activity that you shouldn't do in isolation.
Get out there and start networking with some other investors, and don't be afraid to ask questions. Also, for the sake of disclosure, I'll share that I used to be one of the most introverted persons I knew. I used to HATE talking to anyone, and I'm still not terribly excited about talking about anything outside of my comfort zone (ie the stuff that I KNOW that I know). So, you have no excuses. If an introvert like I am could learn to network, then so can you.... more
You could get lucky at the town hall, they may have a copy on file. For example Lynbrook has a copy of the survey of almost every home, along with permits both open and closed. I have come accross a few homes that the owner opened up a permit for a garage, built the garage but never closed the permit (never had the work inspected). That was a problem that needed to be adjusted before the property closed. (Just as an example).
Nassau Property would be ok, but I wouldn't trust it. If the "home layout" (which is "view property sketch") Just keep in mind if the shape on the sketch doesn't match your home you have a problem.
If you cannot find your survey in an old file at home you may have to hire a company and re do the survey. (sorry) If you are thinking of puttig up a fence, make sure the surveyer places stakes. You will have to ask for the stakes, otherwise they wont do it.
The cost issue is a matter of roof design and the square footage of the roof. A simple L shaped 1-story, low-pitch roof (typical rancher) is going to cost about $2.75 to $3.25 per square foot to replace (pull up all shingles, felt paper, replace all flashing, drip edge, roof caps, vent boots, install new felt paper, new shingles, etc.).
If it's not leaking now, and you can get by until you raise the roof, then do so.