houses-2861100_1920-1024x683

MULTIFAMILY HOME INSPECTION

Multi-family home inspections are typically done for property investors.

Depending on the size of the structure(s), representative sampling plays a big role in determining the degree of detail in terms of items to be inspected. For example, representative sampling of the electrical outlets, windows, doors, and plumbing systems will be inspected.

This type of inspection is typically performed on behalf of the client to get a “big picture” perspective on the investment property. The degree of representative sampling will be discussed and agreed upon between the investor and Safe Harbor Inspections during the scheduling process.

If you are interested, all our previous newsletters are available on our website blog. Click on the following link and it will take you right to it.

https://safeharborinspections.com/blog/

Download PDF

Luxury Home with a gate

LUXURY HOME INSPECTIONS

Luxury home inspections include the systems and components of a typical home inspection plus other items as follows: 

  • swimming pool
  • cabana
  • landscape irrigation
  • Guesthouse
  • Wood destroying insect inspection (termites).
  • indoor air quality, including asbestos, and mold.
  • Because of the size and complexity of luxury homes, we usually assign an inspection team: 2, 3,or 4 inspectors normally make up the team.

 

If you are interested, all our previous newsletters are available on our website blog. Click on the following link and it will take you right to it.

https://safeharborinspections.com/blog/

 

Download PDF

Check-in at Hotel

HOTEL AND MOTEL INSPECTIONS

Hotel and Motel Inspections are done for property investors.

Depending on the size of the structure(s), representative sampling plays a big role in determining the degree of detail in terms of items to be inspected. For example, representative sampling of the electrical outlets, windows, doors, and plumbing systems will be inspected.

This type of inspection is typically performed on behalf of the client to get a “big picture” perspective on the investment property. The degree of representative sampling will be discussed and agreed upon between the investor and Safe Harbor Inspections during the scheduling process.

If you are interested, all our previous newsletters are available on our website blog. Click on the following link and it will take you right to it.

https://safeharborinspections.com/blog/

Download PDF

Apartment Building

CO-OP INSPECTIONS

Co-Op Inspections are more economical and take less time because they typically do not include:

  • Components and systems that are maintained by the Co-Op Association and property management company, such as common area and common area components including central plant heating and cooling, roofing, siding, walkways, driveways, other central amenities.
  • Often central/common area defects are noticed during our inspections, and we will bring these to your attention as a courtesy.

If you are interested, all our previous newsletters are available on our website blog. Click on the following link and it will take you right to it.

https://safeharborinspections.com/blog/

Download PDF

Townhouses

CONDOMINIUM INSPECTIONS

Many people assume that condominium inspections are much easier than single-family home inspections, but this is a misnomer. Condominium inspections are similar to single-family home inspections and include heating and cooling, plumbing, water heaters and electrical, attics and crawl spaces and other components/systems that are included in the normal single-family home inspection. However, condominium inspections do not include common area components. Condominium complexes vary substantially in terms of what is covered by the homeowner versus what Is covered by the Condominium Association.

Roofing, siding, and windows are sometimes the responsibility of the homeowners and sometimes the responsibility of the Condominium Association. We suggest you inquire about these components so that you understand what you are responsible for, versus what the Association is responsible for.

If you are interested, all our previous newsletters are available on our website blog. Click on the following link and it will take you right to it.

https://safeharborinspections.com/blog/

Download PDF

Circuit Breaker Box

What is an AFCI?

AFCI stands for Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter. AFCI’s are designed to shut off an electrical circuit if there is a spark in that circuit.  So, if there is a loose wire causing a spark (arc), anywhere in that circuit, the power gets shut off which may prevent a fire.  Sparks can overheat wires very quickly.  All newly installed electrical systems are required to utilize these devices in main electrical circuit breaker panels or as individual outlets pretty much throughout the entire house.  (GFCI’s were originally required in bedroom circuits only) but the code has been updated.  A licensed electrician can advise you as to exactly where they are required.

AFCI’s are great safety devices and you may want to have them installed even if your home is “grandfathered”.  If you are not updating a circuit or installing new ones, AFCI’s are “grandfathered” and are not required (but they are recommended).

If you are interested, all our previous newsletters are available on our website blog. Click on the following link and it will take you right to it.

https://safeharborinspections.com/blog/

Download PDF

Basement Easemend Windows

What is an Egress Window?

An egress window provides a secondary way to get out of a room in the event of a fire.  (It also enables a fireman to get into the room from the outside in the event of a fire.) These windows are required in basement bedrooms and basement living areas according to building code.

Here is a case in point: imagine you are in the basement in a bedroom or family room and there is only one set of steps to get out of the basement.  A fire breaks out near the stairway on the first floor blocking the ability to get out of the basement.  The secondary means of egress enables you to climb out of a window to safety, or conversely, enables a fireman to enter the space and save your life.

There are many specific requirements in terms of size and height and ease of access, one of which requires the window to be at least 5.7 square feet.  By the way, sometimes we see egress windows enabling somebody to leave the building, however there is a steel grate on top of the window well outside the house, which is too heavy to lift, making it impossible to get out.

If you have finished living areas in your basement, including bedrooms, we recommend that you or a general contractor check your local code to make sure you are in compliance with this safety requirement.

If you are interested, all our previous newsletters are available on our website blog. Click on the following link and it will take you right to it.

https://safeharborinspections.com/blog/

Download PDF

Beams

Knob and Tube Wires

Knob and tube wiring is an outmoded form of electrical distribution in homes.  It was commonly used until about the 1940s. It gets its name from the use of white ceramic tubes used to hold a single strand of wire where it went through wood framing, and the white ceramic knobs used to hold the wiring in place.  The wires were soldered together and wrapped with exposed electrical tape without a junction box and are subject to mechanical damage.

Electricians recommend replacing it with newer conventional type wires.  None of the outlets can be 3-prong and cannot be grounded. The wires can easily be damaged and present a fire hazard.  Sometimes portions of the original knob and tube wiring is still in place and supplemented with newer style wires.  Many insurance companies will not insure a house wired with knob and tube systems.

Fortunately, as time goes on, knob and tube wires are being replaced with newer and safer wires.  As a result, we rarely see knob and tube wires anymore, but on occasion we do.  When we see knob and tube wiring, we recommend replacing it for safety reasons.

If you are interested, all our previous newsletters are available on our website blog. Click on the following link and it will take you right to it.

https://safeharborinspections.com/blog/

Download PDF

Tree ripped out of the ground

Is there a tree threatening your house?

Do you have any trees that are threatening your home?  Based on the last storm, we know how quick the wind can whip up and knock over a bunch of trees.  And just because a tree didn’t fall during the last storm doesn’t mean it won’t fall in the next storm.

There are often no signs of a problem with the tree until it falls and gets cut open.  Often, the interior of the tree is completely rotted making the tree very weak.

Our recommendation is to remove any trees that are threatening the house, period.  It’s not worth taking the chance of having a tree fall on your house and worse yet having the tree hit you or your family members.

So, look at the tree from a distance and see what the worst-case scenario is if the tree falls.  Can it reach your house?

Check out the video link to see a tree that was completely rotted on the inside but looked healthy on the outside. https://youtu.be/AvSaOAIGbf4

For more related information click on this link: https://safeharborinspections.com/

Download PDF

Radon Tesing Sign

Should I be concerned about Radon?

Radon is a colorless, tasteless, and odorless gas produced by decaying uranium in the bedrock that can filter into the soil around the foundation and below the structure. Radon finds its way into basement and houses through cracks and other openings in the foundation.  It can come in from below the foundation whether it sits on a slab or has a basement. It’s radioactive and at elevated levels it can cause lung cancer, especially for a cigarette smoker.  Fortunately, we don’t have a high incidence of radon on Long Island, Brooklyn or Queens.  In fact, according to a map published by the EPA, (click here) EPA Radon Map expected testing results in these areas are below the limits set by the EPA for mitigation.

So, the chances of radon being an issue in these locations is minimal.  That’s why very few radon tests occur along with real estate transactions on Long Island, Brooklyn or Queens.  However, it is important to understand that Long Island is a “Low Incidence” area which means that a very small number of houses have elevated levels of radon.  So assuming that there is no radon is a chance that many people are willing to take.  Unfortunately, there is no guarantee.  So, even though the chances of finding elevated radon in this region is low, that doesn’t mean that radon isn’t there, and at elevated levels it’s dangerous. Testing can’t hurt.

In many parts of the country, testing is standard along with home inspections.  In fact, Connecticut, New Jersey and most of New York State has a much higher incidence of radon so testing is a standard part of real estate transactions.

Here’s how the testing works: at the end of the inspection, the home inspector leaves at least two canisters in the basement or if there is no basement the lowest living level in the house.  The radon test canisters typically stay in place for three days.  The canisters then get closed and sent to a lab where they get tested.  The level of radon is expressed in picocuries per liter.  The EPA recommends mitigation if the lab results produce a reading over 4 picocuries per liter.

So, what happens if the test results are above 4 picocuries per liter?  Typically, a ventilation system is put in place. The systems work because radon is a gas and can be easily controlled with air movement systems.  These systems may incorporate mechanical fans or passive venting.  The average cost for mitigation across the country is about $1,200.  Of course, there are many variables and, in this region, expect to pay more.

So, what is the takeaway?  The vast majority of transactions in our region do not incorporate a radon test.  However, a radon test can’t hurt, and may be considered a prudent thing to do.

For more related information click on this link: https://safeharborinspections.com/

Download PDF