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Structural Inspection Defined

Real Estate

A structural inspection is a special type of home inspection that is specifically designed to ensure the house is on firm footing. A home is comprised of many different parts. The foundation provides the basic support for the house, while beams exterior walls, interior walls, and a roof system make up the essence of the house itself. These are the things most buyers should be primarily concerned with when buying a house. Minor cosmetic fixes, such as peeling paint or dirty carpet, may cost a few hundred dollars to fix, or at the most a few thousand. A home with a bad foundation, on the other hand, can cost upwards of $10,000 to fix, if it can be fixed at all.

What is a Structural Inspection?

A structural inspection is an inspection by a professional who can help determine the condition of a home's structure. Generally, he will look at the foundation first to determine what type of foundation it is. It may be a concrete foundation, a brick foundation, a masonry block foundation, or one of several other types of foundation. The inspector can verify both what type of foundation you are working with and what condition it is in.

The inspector will continue the structural inspection by looking at the support beams located throughout the house. He will look for signs of cracks, beams giving weigh, or other indications that the home may not be soundly built and sturdy. This is especially important in certain cities where homes must be built to withstand Earthquakes, but is important in any house. After all, no home owner wants his walls caving in.

In addition to inspecting the foundation and wall structure, a structural inspection involves looking at the roof to make sure it is in good condition. The inspector will usually also look for signs of water damage both in the attic and throughout the house. Water damage can indicate foundational or structural problems, since the water is leaking in somewhere, and can also lead to other issues such as mold.

How A Structural Inspection Can Help

When a structural inspection is performed before you buy a home, you'll get more information about the house. You'll learn whether there is anything that could go horribly wrong once you become the owner. If problems are identified, you may be able to get the seller to reduce his asking price or you may decide to walk away from the deal and buy a house that is less of a headache. Since many problems can't be revealed without a structural inspection, it is almost always worth it to have such an inspection before buying a home. In fact, if the bank is lending you money, the bank will likely require a structural inspection before approving your mortgage.

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