You Can't Ignore The Basic Infrustructure of a House

By
Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Residential

Going in and out of houses all the time, I frequently see situations where owners and rehabers have ignored the basic infrastructure of the house in favor of glitzy finish-out.  I see old, multi-layer roofs on houses with recent granite counters and new wood-veneer floors.  It makes me nutz.  pretty pig

Do you know the expression "lipstick on a pig"?  All the hairbows and makeup in the world won't change the fact that they are being worn by a pig.  Where it may make the pig a better party guest, it doesn't change the taste of the bacon at all.

I have been watching a bit of Canadian TV currently showing on HGTV, "Leave It To Bryan".  The premise of the show is that people frequently don't see the very real structural problems present in their homes.  They just focus on wanting some superficial change in the finishes.  The "star" of the show,  Bryan Baeumler, believes that our urban housing inventory is a ticking timebomb.  On his show, homeowners are convinced that the key to happiness is some fairly superficial change such as converting a closet to a bathroom.  Then they are shocked when Brian  detects and decides to fix a really major structural problem such as water-logged basement walls.  It really is a great show.

There are five basic structural systems for a house: foundation, roof, heating/cooling, electrical and plumbing.  Usually if there are problems, those problems are obvious.  And, even if those problems aren't immediately obvious to the average home owner or home buyer, they are obvious to anyone such as a home inspector or general contractor.  As a home owner, if you don't have confidence in your ability to spot those problems, develop a relationship with a reliable handi-person or contractor.  Have them come over periodically and look around for you.  Ask them to see if there is anything they think should be investigated or fixed.  Even if they don't find anything, pay them for their time.  You are getting the benefit of their years of experience and insight.  If they refuse to let you press folding green money into their hand as they are walking out the door, mail them a nice gift card to a local steak house.  You want them to be motivated to come look at your house again in a year or two!  The fact that they didn't find anything to fix tells you things about them as well as the house.  You want to hang onto their business card.

Even if you are good at spotting things, you won't catch them all.  Last weekend, we tore out some sheetrock in my condo.  We discovered a small leak inside the walls.  There was no way to have spotted that problem until it became a much bigger problem.  That won't happen now because it has been fixed.  The point I am trying to make is that even people with lots and lots of experience will periodically miss things.  That is why home buyers really need to have a licensed home inspector come and check out the home they are buying.  It is their job to spot situations that need to be investigated.

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Topic:
Home Improvement
Groups:
What's Got Your Goat?
Advice for Buyers
Advice for Sellers
Bartender, Make it a Double
Adventures in Home Inspecting
Tags:
home improvments
home inspectors
home maintenance

Comments 22 New Comment

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Rainmaker
1,294,576
Andrew Mooers
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker
MOOERS REALTY

Great show and very helpful!

September 09, 2012 12:42 PM
Rainmaker
223,699
Bruce Kunz
Realtor, Howell NJ Homes for Sale
Bruce Kunz @ Veltri & Associates, 866-483-5874 x464

Hi Judith. I've not yet seen this show with Brian, but I have seen him on others and he seems like a thorough person. Not only do buyers need to have a licensed inspector review their home, I recommend sellers have an inspection when the home is listed to eliminate surprises later.
Excellent post!
Bruce

 

September 09, 2012 07:47 PM
Rainmaker
183,462
Judith Abbott
Coldwell Banker Residential

Bruce, I had to Google Bryan to find out that he had other shows.  I knew there had to be others because I just couldn't imagine people blindly turning over their home improvement budget to a totally unknown TV personality. 

The thing I like about Bryan is that he doesn't play the shame/blame game the way that another TV-personality home inspector does.  When Bryan finds something wrong, he just wants to get it fixed.  About the worst thing Bryan does is make funny faces when the home owners bungle trying to DIY something with his supervision. The point he makes is that most Home Improvement jobs requires skilled labor...kindda sortta like buying or selling a house...and DIY usually isn't all that good an idea.

That other TV home inspector makes it sound as if everyone in the business is an incompetent crook.  That shame/blame finger pointing doesn't get things fixed.  It just irritates me.

September 10, 2012 08:12 AM
Rainer
276,566
Steven Cook
- Pierce, King, Kitsap, Thurston, Mason Counties

Judith-- thank you for bringing up this concept of the infrastructure of the home.  We once ran into situation where there was leak in a pipe in wall, because someone tried to nail something to the wall, and missed the stud, hitting the pipe instead.

September 10, 2012 11:58 AM
Rainmaker
183,462
Judith Abbott
Coldwell Banker Residential

Oh man, Steven, it happens.  Yes it does!

September 10, 2012 12:16 PM
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Rainmaker
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Judith Abbott

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