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Get the Combination Building Inspection/Appraisal and Real Property Tax Evaluation  you need to protect yourself now, here’s how!

If you are buying a home, CONGRATULATIONS.  If you’re selling a home, you can benefit from the knowledge necessary to make your property “PURCHASER READY.”  Now, down to business.     

You want peace of mind from a home or building inspection.  You want an expert to point out the potential of costly repairs and hazards , or you wouldn’t be here.  Trained and experienced as a New York City Building Inspector, Construction Inspector for the Veterans Administration, and Compliance Inspector for the Federal Housing Administration, Richard Greco or Richard Greco Appraisals, Inc. can provide you that PEACE OF MIND.  Combine our building inspections  with our appraisal expertise and we provide you with a one stop shop to assist you in making an informed decision of the purchase or sale of your next property. 

Can your choice of a Building Inspector provide you with an all in one service?  Appraisal, Inspectiion and Property Tax Evaluation?  Goes to show you that all inspections are not the same? Really think about this statement for awhile. It should really upset you when your brain kicks into gear and you start wondering how you can decide which is best, and if you don’t , what are the far reaching effects. How much will it cost you.? Think about it a little more and you may recall where family or friends have spent thousands of Dollars on unforeseen problems, over paid or under sold a property and/or may simply be paying more than their fair share of property tax.  Did they purchase a home or investment property or did they inherit a “MONEY PIT.”

I am a former New York City Building Inspector, a Construction Inspector for the Veterans  Administration, and a Compliance Inspector for the Federal Housing Administration.  I can tell you stories that will make your hair stand on end; the basement that was actually sinking, termites so active, you could hear them chewing at night, main joists and beams dangerously sagging because a support post was removed to allow a pool table area, radon gas levels fifty times higher than EPA’s standards and the family living in this home for over ten years.  Lets not forget the roof beam that split because someone decided to hang a 5 ton central air unit from and and forgot to calculate the snow weight. Oooops.

At this point you may be thinking, well those families didn’t have a building inspection, right? Wrong! They did not have a thorough, caring building inspection.

So, what makes that special, fully adequate building inspection? Knowledge and experience of the inspector of course are near the top of the list. But without thoroughness, these two attributes mean nothing. And what allows thoroughness?

Well, ample time, but the biggest secret of all is empathy. Strange to be talking about empathy when we’re discussing inspecting a building? Not really, if an inspector can not put himself in the shoes of the buyer, he is not doing his job.

The inspector should know the concerns of his client. He needs to know what his client understands about buildings and construction. The inspector must relay his findings to his client in such a way, that the buyer, even if he is completely non technical, understand the significance of what is being told to him. No building is perfect, but negative findings must be presented in the proper perspective, not minimized, and not exaggerated. It’s interesting to note here that unseasoned real estate agents often push for minimizing problems found at an inspection, while new inspectors often exaggerate problems, ( probably because they are proud they found something).

The ideal situation, find an inspector with knowledge and experience who will inspect your home as if he were doing the inspection for a family member.

By now, I hope you are convinced that there is no substitute for a thorough competent home evaluation. We service the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Richmond, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Putnam, Orange and Rockland Counties.

Did you say you found a “good” foreclosure?  Really.  Did you check the boiler, electrical, plumbing, windows, drains.  Does the property qualify for Conventional, FHA or VA Financing? Did you know that 4 our of 5 foreclosed properties are vandalized.  You know how?  Cement is poured into the drains and goes undetected if inspected by someone looking to make a fast buck.

When you find that dream property or if you are thinking of selling, call Richard Greco at 718-518-8588 to arrange for a combination appraisal/inspection.  In addition to telling you about the investment you are about to make, we will advise you of the property value and fairness of the property tax.

Call 718-518-8588 to schedule an appointment.

WHAT IS A BUILDING INSPECTION?

The home buying process can be confusing and stressful. Not only do you need to consider things such as price and location, you also have to worry about whether the house itself has any hidden problems that could become costly surprises down the road and if that property qualifies for Conventional, FHA and VA financing.

As professional Appraisers, Building Inspectors and Property Tax Consultants, its our job to look for those hidden problems for you. Our Appraisal, Inspection and Property Tax Consulting Service is an unbiased, professional assessment of the condition of the house, the overall value of the property and an evaluation of your property taxes. It provides you an expert opinion and professional report on the condition of the physical structure and various systems within a house, its Market Value and fairness of the property tax. Giving you peace of mind on what is likely the largest purchase youll ever make.

In order to prepare the report, our professional appraisers/inspectors must conduct a visual inspection of the property. The process typically takes about 1 to 6 hours to complete. This of course may vary, according to the size and condition of the property. We strongly encourage you to accompany the us during the inspection. This will give you a chance to ask questions and become familiar with the issues and systems of the property.

We will inspect all the structural elements and systems of the property. Items that will typically be included in an inspection are:

·  Framing (structure)

·  Roof and attic

·  Foundation

·  Walls

·  Electrical system

·  Plumbing system

·  Heating and air conditioning systems

·  Kitchen

·  Bathrooms

Additional items and systems unique to a particular home can also be inspected.

When the inspection is complete, well tell you of any problems that were discovered and discuss them with you. We will also tell you about any routine maintenance that should be performed, as well as answer any questions you may have. Youll also receive a full written report of the inspection.

Our goal is to discover and inform you of anything we find that might affect your purchase decision. Well tell you about any problems we find, and make repair recommendations. Well also inform you of what maintenance tasks are required to keep the home and its systems in top condition.

ARE YOU SELLING A HOME?

If you are selling a home, youll get the highest price in the shortest time, if your home is in top condition. And you want to find out about any hidden problems before your house goes on the market. Almost all sales contracts include the condition that the contract is contingent upon completion of a satisfactory inspection. This is known as the inspection contingency. Buyers will insist on a professional home inspection performed by an inspector they will hire. If the buyers inspector finds a problem, it can cause the buyer to get cold feet and the deal can often fall through. At best, surprise problems uncovered by the buyers inspector will cause delays in closing, and usually you will have to pay for repairs at the last minute, or take a lower price on your home.

Its better to pay for your own inspection before putting your home on the market. Having a pre-listing inspection done will make the whole sale process easier. Find out about any hidden problems and get them corrected in advance, on your own terms. Or present the items as is and reflected in the purchase price. Otherwise, you can count on the buyers inspector finding them, at the worst possible time, causing delays, and costing you more money.

One of the key benefits of having the inspection done early, is that if there are any problems discovered that need to be repaired, you can have the repairs done on your own terms, on your own schedule. When a problem isnt found until the buyer has an inspection performed, the deal youve worked so hard to get done may fall apart unless you act quickly to get the repairs done. Or you may have to take a lower price, in order to keep the deal moving. In either case, youll almost certainly have more headache, and spend more money, than if youd known about the problem and had it repaired before negotiations began. You could save thousands by simply being able to shop around and get competitive bids from contractors, rather than being forced into paying for a rush job at the last minute. Another area where you can save money is in having flexibility to choose the materials used in repairs. Sales contracts usually specify repairs must be made using materials of comparable quality. By identifying needed repairs early, youll have the option to save money by using less expensive materials for the repairs.

You can also benefit from simply offering certain items as is. Often, you can negotiate with a buyer to accept items in the current condition by stipulating that they are reflected in the purchase price. But that same buyer may walk away from the deal if the conditions come as a surprise, after an offer has already been made. If the home is inspected before the house goes on the market you will be aware of the condition of the house before an offer is made. There wont be any surprises and the deal is far less likely to fall apart. It takes a lot of effort to get a sales agreement signed in the first place. If the inspection turns up problems, the buyer will want to negotiate a new deal and that second sales agreement is usually even harder to get done than the first one.

By having a pre-listing inspection done, you can identify problems early. Then either correct them or present them as is, assuring that the first offer you accept can move quickly and smoothly to closing without delays or costly surprises.

MOST COMMON DEFECTS

No house is perfect. Even the best built and best maintained homes will always have a few items in less than perfect condition. Below are some of the items we most commonly find when inspecting a home:

Roofing Problems with roofing material are the single most common defect we find. Usually it doesnt mean the roof needs replaced, simply that it is in need of maintenance or repair.

Ceiling stains Caused by past or present leaks, ceiling stains are very common. It can be difficult to tell whether the stains are from leaks still present, or were caused by leaks which have since been repaired.

Electrical hazards Most common in older homes, but often found in newer homes as well. Electrical hazards come in many forms, from ungrounded outlets to wiring done incorrectly by the homeowner.

Rotted wood Caused by being wet for extended periods of time, most commonly found around tubs, showers and toilets inside, or roof eaves and trim outside.

Water heater installations Many water heaters are not installed in full compliance with local plumbing code.

Gas furnace Most gas furnaces seem to be in need of routine maintenance such as new filters or gas company certification at the least. Many have other issues such as faulty operation or inadequate fire clearance as well.

Plumbing defects Plumbing issues commonly found include dripping faucets, leaking fixtures, slow drains etc... Even in brand new homes, it is common to identify minor plumbing defects.

Environmental Inspections

It seems that we hear a lot about environmental concerns these days. Much of it is simply the result of a greater awareness than in the past. And even though there isnt anything to be concerned with in most homes, there are still a number of potential home environmental issues that buyers should be aware of.

Water quality is probably the most common concern and the one most often tested for. Typically, a basic water quality test will check pH, water hardness, the presence of fluoride, sodium, iron and manganese, plus bacteria such as E-coli. Additionally, water may be tested for the presence of lead or arsenic.

In homes built before 1978, lead based paint may be present. Generally, if the lead based paint is in good condition, not cracking or peeling, it is not a hazard. If the condition is hazardous, the paint will either need to be removed or sealed in such a manner as to eliminate the hazard.

Another common environmental concern with the home is radon. Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the natural decay of uranium in the soil. Pretty much all homes have some radon present, tests can determine if the level present is higher than what is considered safe. If the level is too high, a radon reduction system will need to be installed.

In older homes built more than 30 years ago, asbestos was used in many types of insulation and other building materials. If the asbestos is releasing fibers into the air, it needs to be removed or repaired by a professional contractor specializing in asbestos cleanup. But, if the asbestos material is in good repair, and not releasing fibers, it poses no hazard and can be left alone.

LEAD IN THE HOUSE:

Warning! This house could be hazardous to your health!

Youd be hard pressed to sell a home with such a label attached to it. And yet, many older homes in the United States might qualify. You see, prior to 1978, paints and other products containing lead were widely used in homes and offices. Chipping and pealing paint can expose occupants to this hazardous material. In addition, many older plumbing systems utilized lead-based solder to join pipes. This lead can leach into the water, especially when running hot water. In certain areas, high concentrations of lead can even be found in the ground soil.

Unknown in years past, it is now clear that lead causes a number of health-related problems. In children this can include growth and learning disabilities, headaches and even brain damage. Adults are not immune either. High levels of lead have been tied to problem pregnancies, high-blood pressure and digestive problems.

Before you buy or sell an older home, you need to know what hazards may exist. If selling, federal law stipulates that you must disclose any lead-based paint in the home. If youre buying, you want to know what hazards may be lurking in the walls, as well as in the pipes, before you put up your earnest money. If you suspect that a house contains high levels of lead, you should contact a qualified professional to do an inspection. These tradesmen use a range of tools from the well-trained eye to complex, specialized equipment to detect lead levels and recommend appropriate solutions. The National Lead Information Center (http://www.epa.gov/lead/nlic.htm) can help you find a resource.

Many solutions exist for cleaning up lead concentrations. Depending upon your situation, you may find one of these an adequate solution. Removing lead-based paint, for example, may be as much trouble as it is worth. First, just the act of stripping the paint from the walls is likely to create dust and debris which is more likely to be ingested. Given these hazards, you should consult a certified contractor to complete this kind of work. Short of removing the paint, you may be able to get by with covering the old, lead-based paint with a coat of sealant specifically designed for this purpose. Once again, a certified contractor will be able to recommend an appropriate solution. Financial assistance is even available in certain circumstances.

So even though a house may not carry a warning label from the EPA, a little common sense and a sharp eye should keep your family safe.

ABOUT RADON GAS:

There are cracks in the foundation. Nothing structural. Nothing thats going to threaten the stability of the home, but theyre there. Nooks, crannies and holes through which seeps an invisible threat. Colorless, odorless and undetectable by your average human, it is none the less the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.

Radon gas - even the name sounds ominous, evoking images of radiation and nuclear devastation is created when uranium in the soil decays. The gas then seeps through any access point into a home. Common entry points are cracks in the foundation, poorly sealed pipes, drainage or any other loose point. Once in the home, the gas can collect in certain areas especially basements and other low-lying, closed areas and build up over time to dangerous levels. The Environmental Protection Agency of the US Government has set a threshold of 4 pico curies per liter as the safe level. As humans are exposed to the gas over a period of years, it can have a significant and detrimental effect.

How widespread is the problem? Radon has been found in homes in all 50 states. Certain areas are more susceptible than others (http://www.epa.gov/radon/zonemap.html), but no location is immune. Concentrations of radon-causing materials in the soil can be either natural or man-made. Homes built near historic mining operations may be at higher risk. The only way to tell for sure is to have a home tested.

Testing for radon comes in two forms: active and passive. Active devises constantly measure the levels of radon in a portion of the home and display those results. Passive devices collect samples over a period of time and then are taken away and analyzed. Either method can help you determine your level of risk. Do-it-yourself kits are available from a number of outlets, normally with passive devices. Over a period of days, the device is left in the lowest level of the home which is normally occupied. This eliminates crawl spaces under the house, but includes finished or unfinished basements. Then the results are analyzed by a professional. The other option is to engage a qualified professional to conduct the tests properly. The EPA web site (http://www.epa.gov/radon/manufact.htm) provides information on finding an appropriate resources and testing devices.

If high concentrations of radon are found in your home, you have several options. Since radon is only a problem when it is concentrated in high volume, improving the ventilation in an area is often sufficient to solve the problem. In other cases, it may be necessary to limit the amount of radon getting into the home by sealing or otherwise obstructing the access points. Once again, a professional should be engaged to ensure that the radon is effectively blocked. Typical radon mitigation systems can cost between $800 and $2500, according to the EPA.

If youre buying or selling a home, radon can be a significant issue. Buyers should be aware of the radon risk in their area and determine whether a radon test is desirable. When in doubt, the EPA always recommends testing. The cost of the test can be built into the house price. If test results already exist, make sure they are recent or that the home has not been significantly renovated since the test was performed. If in doubt, get a new test done. If youre selling a home, having a recent radon test is a great idea. By being proactive, you can assure potential buyers that there is no risk and avoid the issue from the start.

So whether you have an old home or a new one, live in an old mining town or in the middle of the Great Plains, radon is a reality. But it is a reality that we can live with. Proper testing and mitigation, can eliminate radon as a health threat. For more information, visit the EPA web site on radon at http://www.epa.gov/radon.

SEPTIC TANKS

If you are buying a home with a septic tank, you should consider having it inspected by a professional septic contractor. Our standard home inspection does not include this type of specialized, intrusive inspection. To properly inspect the system, the contractor will need to dig holes to access the underground parts of the system. This will include inspecting the tank, as well as the leach field.

It makes good sense to have the tank pumped at the time of this inspection. A professional septic contractor can perform both the inspection and pump the tank, killing two birds with one stone and assuring that you begin with an empty tank and a system that has been inspected. Often, you can negotiate with the seller to have them pay for the pumping.

YOU DON’T WANT TO BE A VICTIM OF “IGNORANCE.”  Some very sad stories:

 

Don’t become the topic of a horror story

 

Imagine buying a home only to find out several months later that there are problems with the electrical wiring or the wood has begun to rot in several places where your pipes are leaking, costing you thousands of dollars to fix. Having a home inspection performed prior to purchasing your home can eliminate costly repairs and even instances of extreme damage to your home like the examples below:

Mold saturated kitchen ceiling;

Hiding under a rug in the middle of the kitchen floor was an extremely damaged area of wood rot. The same damage was found in the laundry room.
They buyer was unaware of the damage until an inspector discoverd it.

Creative but dangerous use of extra copper tubing.

Whether the home sells or not, this is dangerous for anyone.

A recent inspection discovered the main structural
support beam in the basement of a "newer" home resting solidly in the beam pocket of the foundation.

WHEN THE TIME COMES TO UNEARTH THE TRUTH
ABOUT THE VALUE/CONDITION/PROPERTY TAX
OF ANY PROPERTY

CALL:  718-518-8588

RICHARD GRECO APPRAISALS, Inc.
Real Property Appraisers, Building Inspectors
and Property Tax Consultants
2157B Tomlinson Avenuenue
Bronx, New York 10461
718-518-8588 (Office)
877-692-8825 (Fax)
www.richardgrecoappraisals.com
grecoappraisals@aol.com

 

 

 

 

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