Seminar Series - Warren Engineering

It's official... winter is coming! Well, almost....

If you're still resisting the urge to bust out the holiday decorations and play your favorite Christmas tunes, don't worry. You won't have to wait much longer! The winter holidays are right around the corner and the Mark Siwiec Team is beginning to enjoy the brief respite brought on as the real estate market falls into its early winter slumber.


It's during this time that I tell members of the team to take a longer lunch, skip out of the office a little early to finish last-minute holiday shopping, or take some extra time to spend with their family and friends. This year, we've decided to implement a new custom into our winter routine. Every Wednesday for the next several weeks, we've invited various professionals to come in and participate in an educational lecture series. These seminars will feature a wide range of topics from engineer's inspections to mortgages to the attorney approval process. We are always looking for ways to improve our customer service and better serve our clients, and, as is always the case, knowledge is power.


Up first in this weekly series is Doug from Warren Engineering who spent some time answering our many questions about home inspections. This Q&A may help you out when it is that you decide to purchase your next home. Or, it may help you better understand certain mechanics that exist (or don't exist!) in your current home. Either way, we hope that you enjoy this lecture series and ascertain some useful information!


Warren Engineering Q&A

How has the home inspection process changed in recent years?


What is the purpose of an inspection?


What do you think is reasonable to ask of a seller after a home inspection?


Are there issues that buyers and sellers should expect to come up during an inspection?

"I think when you're listing a house, I always tell people- if you haven't had the furnace serviced, have it serviced. If you haven't had the chimney inspected and cleaned, have it done. Because it always comes up!"

What are some nit-picky things that buyers want you to point out during a home inspection?

  • GFI (ground fault interrupters) - these are the electrical outlets that are typically found in moist areas of your home (i.e. bathrooms, kitchens, etc.). Since created several decades ago, these have saved a lot of lives. Any home without them in potentially wet areas are technically not up to code. However, the purpose of a home inspection is NOT to bring your house up to code. Inspectors are not code-compliance officials and attest that most existing homes would never fully meet code.
  • Grounding Electrical Services - look at some of the outlets in your home right now. Are some of them 2-prong? Do they look like this? If so, those are not technically grounded.
  • Hot Water Heater - all gas hot water heaters need to vent to the outside. If your H2O tank is 40,000 BTU or higher, the piping needs to be 4 inches in diameter. Many are 3 inches... Your tank would work just fine, but it is technically not up to code. There is also a pressure relief valve that needs to be 3.25 inches in diameter with piping that comes 3 inches off of the floor. When the measurements aren't "perfect", home inspectors have a duty to point this out. This does not automatically mean they are unsafe.


What are the biggest, most expensive issues that can come up during an inspection?

  • Roof Issues - by far the most expensive and essential aspect of a home. 
  • Foundation Issues - hairline cracks are not usually a big deal. Larger, gaping cracks can indicate an unstable foundation. Vertical cracks are due to downward movement and settlement. Horizontal cracks, on the other hand, are indicative of a problem on the ground (i.e. water).