Friday, August 3, 2012
"I Wonder What They Did Here?"- Your Building Dept. and Your Soon to be Neighbors May Have the Answers
The other day I inspected a home for a client that was more than doubled in square footage by additions. They went up and out, bathrooms, second floor living rooms and laundry etc. Sometimes this can be done very tastefully with the proper architect.
This particular expansion left me scratching my head, and my only conclusion was that there was no architect or just a bad one. As an example, there were multiple areas where as many as four doors could be opened to collide with each other- just not good practice.
Bottom line is that when you're buying a house and have large scale questions, the city building department can hold many answers. Sometimes they'll remember the project and can give you some names of contractors who were part of the work. Other times they won't know any work at all was done (no permits pulled) which, if it's a large project like the house I was inspecting was, can raise red flags as to the quality of the contractor (or homeowner) who did the work.
Lastly, neighbors can hold a lot of information. I often break the ice with my inspection clients and the neighbors so that they can ask some questions about the history of the house, and also meet their new neighbors! Sometimes the neighbors even come to us, which always endears the neighborhood to the clients.
So, don't hesitate to contact the city or neighbors to ask about a the history of a house you're looking at. Neither costs a thing and you never know what you might find out.