Defects

Firstly, check my Qualifications page to satisfy yourself that I am more than qualified to discuss these issues. Secondly, I do not offer home inspections for any of my real estate clients as this is a conflict of interest and contravenes real estate law.

As a California Realtor I am required to carry out an Agents Visual Inspection Disclosure “AVID”. This is where the agent will walk the property and notate any obvious defects to a realtors eye to be included within the contract documents. Any buyer that I am working with will have the added benefit of all my experience and qualifications relying on my recommendations to have any area of the property further evaluated by an independent home inspector to clarify prior to entering a contract.

 

The New Construction Home Building Process

       

New concrete slab formation

 

Home Inspectors & Inspections

The state of California has no minimum qualifications or training requirements for anyone carrying out home inspections. Many realtors advice clients to carry out their own due diligence before choosing one. This can be done by viewing any published qualifications and checking them against any associated governing bodies to the inspector and also asking for references from previous inspection clients.

1: Cost: Cheap doesn’t mean best

I get many phone calls from potential clients who are searching all the inspectors in town on price and the first question they ask is “how much does it cost?” While we all know sometimes budgets can be tight so people may decide to go with the cheaper option. Costs are generally based on the level of experiences the inspector determines for the size of the property and are generally based on the property size in square feet measurement. Additional cost would be for additional services such as Termite, Mold, Asbestos, Lead Paint inspections etc. Costs should always be transparent and published in the company brochures, web site or flyers. When searching for the best cost for a home inspection make sure you take everything into account when making your decision as the $25 cheaper home inspection can cost you in the future

2: Inspector Qualifications: Are they adequate?

The state of California has no minimum qualifications or training requirements for anyone carrying out home inspections.

3: Timing: You have deadlines

When you enter into real estate contract timing is of the essence. Within that contract that you will have a stated time period allocated for you to have the property fully inspected for defects, Inspection periods are negotiable but before signing check with your realtor as the inspection period may default to a set time period if not entered into the relevant space on the contract.

4: Sight Unseen: Inspect through professional eyes

Buying a property is so easy now with the internet and virtual tours and it is becoming very popular with investors to buy “sight unseen” Some also do not have a home inspection as they feel that the return on their investment is a big enough financial advantage. Buyers should not rely on the Realtor to identify defects that are outside the requirements of the “AVID” stated requirements.

 

          

New pool construction

5: The contract

Read the contract, not all real estate contracts are the same.

What is covered in a home inspection?

As home inspection and home inspectors are not licensed and regulated in California buyers are advised to review prior the conditions of the home inspection agreement together with any association they may to have to professional bodies detailing minimum inspection requirements standard practices & regulations.

 

Settlement Cracking

Throughout the USA many property owners experience cracking to their block construction properties at some stage of ownership. The time, location and severity of the cracks can help determine the true causes.

With careful understanding as to how the Settlement cracks appear the correct building practices can be put in place to prevent them. My qualifications and experience within the industry provide me with a unique competitive advantage to advise, help and assist on all matters relating to the construction and building industry. I always recommend with any real estate contract that the buyer uses an independent licensed professional to determine defects, causes and remedies.

Settlement happens when parts of a building drop below the elevation or height where it was originally placed during the original construction and there are numerous reasons why this may happen. There are several factors that need to be taken into consideration when making an evaluation and several main causes for ground settlement. Basically all properties that have settlement issues have to be evaluated individually taking into account all the circumstance and site conditions. I have listed the most common causes of settlement when dealing with new construction:

  • Poor workmanship
  • Poor supervision
  • Low quality materials
  • Lack of ground compaction
  • Poor soil condition
  • Bio degradable materials left under the construction site (dead wood, trees etc)
  • Underground streams
  • Sink holes
  • Earthquake & ground movement

Concrete Floor Cracking

Most properties are now built upon a solid concrete slab and foundation called a Monolithic slab and the speed and drying process is unfortunately not the most important consideration to many builders. Many people are actually unaware that the floor beneath them has cracks inviting a selection of problems over a period of time. If you have flexible floor coverings such as carpet, wood or vinyl you probably will never know until you get a structural defect, moisture or insect problems. If you have a non flexible floor covering such as tile and you have concrete cracking you will know very soon after the tile has been installed. The crack starts as a hair line on the tile surface and then over a period of time becomes deeper and wider.

The concrete slab and foundation of the property is the most important part of the structure and it is essential that the construction management process is carefully monitored to ensure defects are not built into the design. Generally a monolithic slab is used which is a solid mass of concrete composing of the supporting foundation and ground floor. The exterior perimeter of the slab will form the foundation and will be thicker in order to support the weight of the exterior load bearing wall. The foundation or commonly known as “the footer” will have additional steel reinforcement bars placed within the concrete. 

Concrete is a carefully measured quantity of cement, sand, rock aggregate and water. The strength of concrete is determined by the mixture ratio and is often based on the primary requirement for the structure and the load bearing requirements.

As concrete sets, the water in the mixture forms a chemical reaction with the cement; although the concrete appears dry the water is still there and is a very important element of the structure. The drying or setting of concrete is normally known as the Curing. In fact it is more important to keep the concrete wet during the early stages of curing. This is because of  the chemical reaction produced called Hydration which is the generation of heat produced in the curing process, while bonding the raw materials of the concrete together. The heat that is self generated by this process together with the ambient temperature and direct exposure to the sun can cause the concrete to have what is known as accelerated drying causing expansion cracks to appear on the surface and often run deeper into the concrete slab.

Common damage caused by concrete floor cracking

  • Poor structural integrity of the structure
  • Increased moisture & Mold
  • Termites & other insects
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Floor tiles cracking
  • Uneven wear on carpets & vinyl

 

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