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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Reduce Foreclosure Risk ? Hire a Structural Engineer

By Mary Smith

Structural engineers can be an invaluable asset to buyers wishing to purchase foreclosed property. Years of neglect may have allowed small maintenance and repair problems to escalate. In some cases these problems may even threaten the entire structure. Buyers need to be fully aware of all the problems a foreclosed property may contain.

Sellers in Florida are required to disclosure any problems not obvious to the buyer, if those problems affect the value of the property. Unfortunately banks don?t live in the property and rarely if ever even visit. So disclosure statement may not be very useful. Because it is important to understand the true condition of the home, many buyers ask for the services of home inspectors and structural engineers.

Structural engineers are experts in understanding the structure of buildings. They understand how the foundation, walls, beams and other structural members work together to form a strong structure. During a structural inspection they will examine each of these members to look for deterioration, or deformation or structural weakness that could affect the building.

What?s the difference between a structural engineer and a professional home inspector? A home inspector is qualified to carefully examine a home and the systems it contains, such as electrical, plumbing, etc. Their job is to describe what is visible. Only a structural engineer is qualified to diagnose a structural problem, and recommend solutions.

A home inspection is recommended for all foreclosure purchases. Most smart home buyers will hire a home inspector before they purchase any home. A professional inspector can uncover issues that could turn into expensive problems over time. Forewarned is forearmed as the saying goes. In this case a professional inspection and a little negotiation will usually solve the problems.

Always inspect any potential purchase carefully. Inspect both the property and structure. Look for defects such as walls that lean, floors that slope, doors and windows that bind, cracks in the foundation or walls or a porch that slopes toward the house. These may be symptoms of deeper problems. You will need the opinion of a structural engineer to understand the scope and severity involved.

The purchase of a foreclosed home should not be a high risk venture. Many of the risks involved can be understood and averted with the help of a professional home inspector and a structural engineer. These experts are highly trained and independent and can offer you the peace of mind you need to purchase a home or to make a safe investment, - 23212

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