what are some important questions to as a professional structural engineer?

Asked by Kela, Elmont, NY Tue Sep 7, 2010

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Anna M Brocco’s answer
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Wed Sep 8, 2010
Much will depend on exactly what the problem is--is the foundation's integrity a concern,are there cracks in different locations, is water causing a problem, etc., stroll through the property with your engineer and ask any questions you would like as you go along.
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Trevor Curran, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Great Neck, NY
Tue Apr 16, 2013
Typically your Home Inspection will alert you to problems in five key areas, and these key areas directly relate to the contract of sale:

1. Foundation: sound and solid
2. Roof free of leaks
3. Plumbing working and leak-free
4. Heating system sufficient and operating
5. Electrical system sufficient and up to code

If there is a serious problem with any of these five items, typically the Seller has a responsibility under the terms of the contract of sale to repair the problem at their expense, not the Purchaser's expense. Sometimes a Purchaser will receive a credit at closing to repair one of these items (assuming the home and the defective issue has not compromised the Lender's appraisal). When the Purchaser receives a credit at closing, the amount of the credit is based upon legitimate estimates for repair and negotiations between the Attorneys representing each party.

Other items you discover are in need of repair/upgrade (i.e. diswasher not operating properly; air conditioner on second floor inoperable, etc.) can be negotiated for a repair credit or replacement at the Seller's expense. Again, these negotiations are handled by the Attorneys.

It is extremely RARE that a purchase price is reduced due to repairs from a Home Inspection. Best to consult with your Attorney for more detailed information in this area.

If you don't already have a good real estate Attorney and you're shopping for homes, you need to reverse your process. First, get properly prequalified for mortgage financing by a Local Mortgage Banker. Second, line up your Attorney. Third, line up your Home Inspector. Fourth, line up a great local Realtor with personal experience in the area in which you'd like to buy.

Trevor Curran
NMLS #40140
Mobile: 516-582-9181
Office: 516-829-2900
Fax: 516-829-2944
PowerHouse Solutions, Inc.
185 Great Neck Rd, Suite 240
Great Neck NY 11021
Licensed Mortgage Banker – NYS Dept. of Financial Services

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0 votes
Jeanne Feeni…, Agent, Basking Ridge, NJ
Wed Sep 8, 2010
If structural concerns have been identified by your inspector, then a structural engineer is your next step. Have the report at the ready, share the details of it with the structural engineer and he/she will then take the inspecton of the areas of concern to the next level, offer a recommended solution with a detailed plan (and most everything has one) and probably be able to provide an estimate to get it done. As with any resource, do your research - in all fields there are no so good, good, better, and best. You owe it to yourself to line up the best resources you can across the board.

Good luck,
Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference:  http://www.feenick.com
0 votes
Joe Matthews,…, Agent, Cary, NC
Wed Sep 8, 2010
Hi Kela, Gary is absolutely right. A structural engineer is a 'specialist' /expert vs a home inspector who is a 'generalist'. If you are building a home, you may use a structural engineer at pre-drywall stage to check the integrity of the structure itself. The foundation, flooring, wall system, trusses, roof system etc. He/she checks if all the necessary building codes are followed, elements like 'hurricane clips' (for example) are used where necessary , if trusses are broken in transit or while putting together on the top of the home etc. Of course, if it is a re-sale home, then any foundation, flooring, wall or roof issues will prompt a structural engineer to look into it. Of course, your questions to the engineer will be related to these elemenst of the home.
Web Reference:  http://www.RealTriangle.com
0 votes
Gary Carr, Agent, Crofton, MD
Wed Sep 8, 2010
Often times a general home inspector will indicate areas of concern in the foundation walls or concrete slab if it is visible (like in an unfinished basement). Structural engineers are typically called in after the home inspection has indicated potential problems. These would likely included cracks in the brick or block walls, cracks in slab foundations, evidence of damage to other walls, floor joists, or the roof. A good inspector will point out these problems areas through visual evidence, including signs of previous damage. Some of the signs may be water related because of a leak in the home that has weakend part of the subfloor or a floor joist. Likewise, poor water drainage outside the home which can often lead to settlement cracks in the foundation walls.
Talk with your home inspector about any concerns that you have and whether a structural engineering consultation is necessary.
0 votes
Ralph Windsc…, Agent, Hauppauge, NY
Wed Sep 8, 2010
Most home inspectors have computer programs that have form reports that include all the major areas of concern to home buyers. Many buyers are a bit overwhelmed by the size of the reports - sometimes can be up to 75 pages. Your main concerns should be the structural integrity of the home, age of the appliances, do the systems in the house work - electrical, plumbing, sewage, heating and air conditioning and whether there are any anticipated costs that will be incurred short and long term when you buy the house. Good luck!

Ralph Windschuh
Certified Buyer Representative
Senior Real Estate Specialist
Associate Broker
Century 21 Princeton Properties
In The Top 2% of Century 21 Agents Nationwide!
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