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Foundation cracks are common.  Not all foundation cracks are serious, but some are.  You’re looking at pictures of a ranch home in the Rochester area, with a collapsing foundation.  The buyer was excited after putting his offer in, as most people are.  That excitement turned to concern during the Home Inspection when I found two of the foundation walls bowing inward.

Why do foundation cracks happen?

Foundation Cracks in Rochester, New York Home Inspection
There was fresh caulk and paint hiding the crack.

Cracks happen all the time in foundations, and for lots of different reasons.  Some typical cracks are caused simply by concrete curing.  Others are small settlement cracks that are structurally insignificant after years without expansion.  Then there’s this type of crack, from one end of the basement to the other, hidden by a combination of caulk and paint by a homeowner who desperately wants to sell the house rather than pay for the expensive structural repairs.  There are many factors that lead to this type of foundation cracks; missing downspouts and damaged gutters are a prime cause.  Both these conditions cause an excessive amount of roof run off water to be deposited near the foundation.  The resulting hydraulic pressure is more than the foundation can handle and it begins to bow inward.  That’s where the problem starts, and it won’t stop until the conditions causing it are repaired and the foundation is reinforced.

You don’t want to buy this!  At least not without knowing and properly negotiating repairs into the deal.  Trust me, after the ink is signed on the papers, it’s too late to go back.

Doesn’t the seller have to disclose the problem?

New York State requires sellers to complete a full disclosure of the property condition, but gives sellers the option of “don’t know” when asking about the various items on the form.  Conveniently, many sellers seem to check the “don’t know” box when I find repairs like

Foundation Cracks in Rochester, NY Home Inspection
The lower part of the square is flush against the wall.

this.  If the seller isn’t disclosing, there’s only one way to find all the problems and conditions; a complete and thorough Home Inspection.  Based on the fact that the wall was freshly caulked and painted, I’m willing to bet that the seller probably wasn’t being entirely truthful when they checked “don’t know” on that disclosure form.  That’s between them and their conscience.  My concern is finding the problem for you; my client.

For me, the most rewarding part of this job is to have a client look me in the eye and genuinely thank me for finding something that would have cost him thousands of dollars that he didn’t have.  You’re going to spend 30 years paying for the home that you buy.  Let me make sure that you don’t have to deal with a $30,000 repair on day one.

The Pre-Listing Home Inspection is becoming more and more popular among home sellers and real estate agents as a way to quickly facilitate a home sale, eliminate surprises from ruining a deal and accurately pricing the home for a quick, high dollar sale. Sellers generally work hard to get their house ready, cleaning, painting and completing…

Double taps electric breaker

Double taps.  You’ve probably heard of them before, maybe from a Real Estate Agent, an electrician or another Home Inspector.  But do you know what they are?  A good Home Inspector should not only let you know when a condition such as double taps exist, but the Inspector should also tell you why it’s a problem and…

Unsupported deck joist

The deck may just be the most important item that your Home Inspector checks from safety standpoint.  The deck is an important selling feature on many homes in the area.  Decks allow us to enjoy the outdoors during the warmer months and are commonly used for entertaining during parties and outdoor festivities.  A well built deck should provide many years…

Should I attend my Home Inspection?

Should I attend my Home Inspection? That’s a question that I get fairly often, and it’s worth talking about here. I’ve talked in previous articles about the Home Inspection Report, which is the final product of a Home Inspection. There are always a few people who think that the Inspection Report is all that matters, “so…

cracked skylight

You might think that’s a funny question; a Home Inspector is required to go on the roof during the inspection, isn’t he? WRONG!  Home Inspectors are not required to walk on the roof according to New York State Regulations, a Home Inspector is not required to do anything dangerous to their own safety.  Over the years, I’ve…

This yellow tubing is called Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST).  It’s a great product for retrofitting natural gas appliances into homes and should be thoroughly inspected during your Home Inspection.  CSST is a popular product in the Rochester, NY area, since many homes here have natural gas service.  Although more expensive than traditional black iron pipe,…

The doors in this house were all in need of repair…….

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Some things are obvious when you’re buying a home. Other things really need the trained eye of a Home Inspector to spot. But then what?

It’s possible that the most important skill that a Home Inspector can possess is the ability to write an accurate report that can be understood by the average home buyer.

That’s what sets me apart from all the other Home Inspectors. You won’t find check boxes and cryptic comments in my reports; instead you’ll receive a custom written report outlining all of my findings. My reports are written in conversational English that is understandable even to the novice home buyer.

The best piece of advice that I can give you is to ask for a copy of a sample report from any Home Inspector prior to hiring them. See what you’re going to be getting, and if an inspector won’t provide a sample – look for another inspector!

Give me a call at 585-615-8696 or send me an email at  Go ahead and ask for a sample report, I’ll be happy to provide you one before you decide to hire me!