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Apply Scientific and Engineering
Principles and Common Sense
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Pre-Purchase Home Inspections
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Bronx, Staten Island, Nassau, Suffolk,
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Insight and common sense only an Engineer offers.
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Information from Professional Engineer Home Inspectors on pre-purchase home inspections. If the real estate you are buying is a building, condo, or co-op, click on one of the buttons below.
Why Our Clients Chose
- Professional Engineers apply Scientific and Engineering Principles and Common Sense to Home and Building Inspections
- Heimer Engineering℠ uses only Professional Engineers and performs home and building inspections at competitive fees.
- An on-site and computer-indexed emailed report are always included.
- Heimer Engineering℠ includes cost factors. If the real estate has unexpected defects, cost factors can help you negotiate the purchase price.
- Most of our home inspection clients are referred by past clients, real estate professionals, and attorneys.
What Should a
Home Buyer Expect?
What are the most expensive situations a home buyer faces?
- The handyman’s special: Many home buyers have no idea how costly it is to renovate a house. This is a significant issue for home buyers who can only afford a handyman's special.
- Fixing a defect that has plagued a house for years: Take a 60-year-old house that has evidence of chronic basement water. There is a reason the water in the basement has not been corrected for so many years.
- Renovating pre-World War II and landmark homes: The costs of performing repairs and renovations is often much higher than expected.
What are unexpected situations a home buyer finds?
- Unintentional misinformation about the house: Say someone buys a house and is told the roof is "a few years old". The owner sells the house four years later and describe the roof as being six years old. The Engineer tells the buyer the roof is over 20 years old. Besides the issue of the roof age, a trust issue is raised. Unintentional misinformation has killed many home deals.
- The expectation that the seller will repair everything the Engineer finds: The purpose of a pre-purchase inspection is to advise a purchaser of the condition of the house. The purpose is not to create a list of what the seller is going to correct.
- The expectation the Engineer is going to give a buyer a Yes or No answer on purchasing the house: It is rarely that clear cut when purchasing a home. A pre-purchase inspection makes a buyer better informed about the house. It is up to a buyer to choose whether to purchase the house.
- The extensive amount of Information in the inspection report: An inspection report is like a shopping mall. You do not buy something in every store in the mall. The Engineer puts as much information as is reasonable into the report. The buyer decides what is important. For example, an electrician purchasing a home may have little interest in electrical defects.
- What is referred to by many as disclaimers: These are disclosures of what cannot be checked. Common disclosures include seeing inside walls and not entering a locked garage. An informed purchaser should know what cannot be checked.
- A buyer cannot legalize an apartment, bedroom, or addition for which no certificate of occupancy was obtained: Codes and zoning regulations are not simple. Most buyers do not understand of the obstacles to legalizing a space. For example, City of New York zoning requirements may prevent legalization of what looks like a harmless change such as a second bathroom in an apartment.
When to Schedule an Inspection
Your Attorney and/or Real Estate Broker will tell you how quickly you need to perform the inspection. A few considerations:
- If you delay the inspection, someone else may make an offer on the home or building. This may cause you to lose the real estate you wanted to purchase.
- There is no such thing as an ideal day to perform a pre-purchase inspection. Rain, snow, heat, cold, fog, and wind are part of the local climate. Inspections need to be performed based on when you can access the site, not based on the weather forecast.
- If the seller needs to get something done like turning on the water or gas, fixing a leak, etc. make sure the seller completes the task before the inspection. Having the gas turned on between 12:00 and 4:00 for a 1:00 inspection doesn't usually work out.
One of the biggest concerns of home buyers is the structure. Fortunately, structural defects are less common in the Metro New York area than in some other parts of the country. Building codes help limit the number of structural defects.
Some home buyers believe structural defects are only a concern in older houses. Other home purchasers feel they can find structural defects by "looking carefully". Other home buyers feel that an old house that is standing must have no structural defects.
There are non-Engineer Home Inspectors who advocate the "bounce test." They jump on the floor and if they do not feel the floor bounce, the house is declared structurally sound. In the State of New York, only a Professional Engineer can render an opinion as to whether a home is structurally sound. Do not be fooled by someone offering the "bounce test". Heimer Engineering℠ advises you as to whether the home is structurally sound.
Water in the Basement
Many home purchasers are concerned that basement water indicates a structural problem. Virtually all foundation walls have cracks, so basement water does not necessarily indicate a structural defects. The Professional Engineer Home Inspectors advise you as to whether cracks in the foundation walls are structurally significant.
Most houses do not regularly have water in the basement, but are damp during some months of the year. If the basement is damp, it may affect your ability to store personal belongings in the basement. Dampness in the basement is also a concern to people with medical conditions because dampness can increase the risk of mold.
Most houses are not inspected during a heavy rain. When inspecting a house on a dry day, our Engineer looks for basement water evidence to determine what you can expect during a heavy rain or with melting snow.
Houses in the Metro New York area have a heating system. The heating system keeps the home comfortably warm during the winter months. In many newer homes, the heating system and air conditioning system are combined.
The most common types of heating systems found in homes are forced hot air, hot water (or hydronic), steam, and heat pumps. The source of fuel for the heating system can be oil, gas, or electricity.
You need to know whether the heating system will adequately heat the home on cold days. Our Professional Engineer Home Inspectors assess the sufficiency of the heating system. Our Professional Engineer Home Inspectors also assess the age of the heating system, whether there are hazardous conditions, if the heating system is outdated, etc.
Hot Water System
Most homes have a tankless hot water heater, a hot water heater with a storage tank, a hot water booster tank, or an indirect-fired hot water heater. It would be frustrating to move into your new home and find that you do not have enough hot water the first time you shower.
Heimer Engineering's℠ Professional Engineer Home Inspectors evaluate the hot water system and advise you if it is sufficient. You are also advised of the need to budget for replacement of the hot water system.
Plumbing can mean fixtures such as a sink or tub, the pipes that bring water to the fixtures, the pipes that drain the sewage, the gas supply lines, underground sprinkler systems, and heating pipes. Heimer Engineering's℠ Professional Engineer Home Inspectors check the plumbing for function, leaks, sufficiency of water supply, etc.
Many home purchasers are concerned about plumbing leakage. Water dripping from a pipe is an obvious leak. Other types of leakage can be difficult to detect, since all that is visible is a stain on a ceiling or duct tape wrapped around a drain line. Our Professional Engineer Home Inspectors inspects for both obvious leaks and difficult to detect leaks.
The roof keeps rain and other weather elements out of the house. We evaluate the condition of the roof and estimates the remaining life of the roof. Evidence of past or present roof leakage is also assessed.
Most roofs are made of asphalt, slate, or clay tile. If the Professional Engineer finds that a roof leaks, needs repairs, or will soon need replacement, an expense analysis of the needed repairs and replacement is provided.
If the house has an accessible attic, We examine for evidence of roof leakage and sheathing damage. The Professional Engineer Home Inspectors also checks for problems in the attic such as insufficient attic insulation and ventilation.
Some Home Inspectors advocate walking on pitched asphalt, slate, and terracotta tile roofs. There are Home Inspectors who lift asphalt roof shingles to determine how they were installed. This damages the roof. The slates, cedar shingles, or terracotta tiles suffer damage that can causes leakage.
Asphalt roof shingles are self-sealing. Lifting an asphalt roof shingle damages the seal. Roofing manufacturers will void a roof warranty if they determine damage was caused by an inspector on the roof.
Our Professional Engineers determine the condition of the roof by visual examination. If an Home Inspector needs to walk on the roof or lift the shingles, you should ask; Why can't this Home Inspector determine the condition of the roof visually? Can't this Home Inspector see that the roof shingles are old?
In some cases, it is not possible to safely observe the roof. If the roof is not visible, we us available satellite images of the roof to assess the roof. This includes historical satellite images, which can allow the roof history to be determined.
The myth of needing to climb on a roof or use a ladder to view the roof came from roofers who went into the home inspection business part-time. Today, very few Home Inspectors climb on the roof or use a ladder to check the roof.
A modern house requires electricity to run systems such as lighting, heating, hot water, appliances, the air-conditioning, etc. Because many appliances require electric power, some existing homes do not have enough circuits to support modern electrical demands.
Homes with insufficient electric service may not be old. Even a house constructed 25 years ago may not have the electric wiring to support the today's needs.
Electric service insufficiency is often aggravated by owners who add appliances without upgrading the wiring. If a homeowner adds appliances without upgrading the electric service, a hazardous condition may be created.
Only a Licensed Electrician should open a circuit breaker panel. A Licensed Electrician can correct hazards created by opening electrical panels. A responsible Home Inspector will not open electrical panels.
Communities require electricians to be licensed, and prohibit anyone other than a Licensed Electrician from performing electrical work. (Exceptions are made for homeowners wiring their own home.)
Our Professional Engineers determine the condition of the wiring by visual examination. The question is why do some Home Inspectors insist on opening the circuit breaker panel when it creates a hazard.
Years ago, it was considered sufficient to have only a termite inspection performed before purchasing a home. If there was no evidence of an active termite infestation, it was incorrectly assumed that the house had no structural damage.
A termite control specialist can look for evidence of termite activity, but cannot assess the structural impact of termite damage. You need an Engineer to assess the structural impact of termite damage.
Termite control specialists and Professional Engineer Home Inspectors look differently at termite evidence. Professional Engineer Home Inspectors look for the impact of the termites and termite damage, particularly if the damage is structural. A termite control specialist is looking at the need for termite treatment. You have the house checked for termites by both a Professional Engineer Home Inspectors and a termite control specialist. This maximizes your chances of finding termite activity and structural damage. You should also obtain a warranty against future termite activity from the termite control specialist.
Who Can Inspect
You will see statements such as New York licensed termite inspection, New York approved termite inspector, New York certified termite inspector, etc. The State of New York neither trains nor licenses termite inspectors. The State of New York licenses pesticide applicators and technicians, not termite inspectors.
We inspect for evidence of termite activity as part of the pre-purchase inspection. The Professional Engineer Home Inspector knows about termite evidence, what conditions invite termite activity, where termites are likely to be found, etc. In addition, our Professional Engineer Home Inspectors check for structural damage caused by termites.
Reviews and Emails
The following are excerpts of client emails sent to Heimer Engineering℠ regarding our Professional Engineer Home Inspectors. The comments have been edited to remove identifying information, and correct spelling errors.
★★★★★ "… was amazing. We had several homes inspected by another company and liked the inspector. He wasn't available for this house. Our lawyer recommended Heimer. Your engineer spent time looking at important things. The other inspector who we thought was good was more concerned with a ceiling crack than the broken air conditioning in the last house we looked at. But it was your report that was truly amazing. Wow! The other inspector's report had pictures. Every picture was in the report at least twice and everything wrong was listed two or three times in the other inspector's report. I couldn't figure out what was going on. And the pictures in the other inspector's report were colorful, but who needs a picture of a wall crack or the statues in front of the house? I took my own pictures. Your report told us what was wrong, when it was going to need repair, and who should fix it. And there were dangerous things in the house that your report highlighted in red. We're buying the house, and we got the seller to lower the price because of the wonderful inspection report. I know who I'm recommending that my friends use for their next inspection. Thank you so so much. :-)"
L…, Queens, New York
★★★★★ "Thank you for sending … He explained everything and was very patient with us."
J…, Suffolk County
★★★★★ "I was a little annoyed that … didn't talk much during the inspection. After the inspection, … went over everything. It was obvious that … was concentrating on the house."
★★★★★ "My first deal didn't go through because the sellers backed out. I need another inspection. We loved … Please send … again."
O…, Westchester County
★★★★★ "Thank you for sending…. Not only did he do a great job, but he called me back on a Friday evening because I needed an answer right away."
★★★★★ "Our first inspector, …, said he was an Engineer. Turns out he only used a computer program written by an Engineer. Now the sellers won't accept anything the guy said. So I need to pay for an inspection by a real Engineer. Thank you Heimer for sending … on short notice to save our first home purchase."
★★★★★ "We hired a Home Inspector. We've lived in apartments since we were married and didn't know better. The inspector said there was a crack in the foundation. The inspector said an Engineer needed to tell me if it was a problem. My broker said to call Heimer Engineering. Heimer sent an Engineer who said it was not structural. Heimer's Engineer also told me that the electrical service was good (the inspector told me to replace it) and that the chimney only needed pointing (the inspector told me to put new bricks on the chimney). And the Engineer cost less, because he didn't test for radon and didn't charge extra for termites. Next time, I'll get an Engineer the first time. Thank you Heimer Inspections."
S…, Nassau County
★★★★★ "The old house needed work, but it was big and cost less than other houses. The floor was sagging, so I had an inspector come who said he could tell me about the floor sagging. He didn't say a word about the sagging, so I asked him. The inspector told me to get an Engineer to check the floor sag. So I paid an Engineer from Heimer after I paid the inspector. Good thing, because Heimer Engineering showed me there were serious problems because of the way this 100-year-old house was built. I got an estimate from a contractor for $90 thousand to rebuild the porch and the second floor. No thank you, deal's off. The broker said I was smart to get an Engineer. I'll use Heimer Engineering for the next inspection!"
B…, Westchester County
Client's images in the above excerpts have been replaced with stock images to protect our client's privacy.
What Does an
The Professional Engineer Home Inspector's fees from Heimer Engineering℠ depend on the size and type of the house, building, condo, or co-op being inspected. The fees range from about $600 to $1,600. Smaller to medium size homes generally cost between slightly under $600 and $750.
There is a website that states that the 2018 average home inspection cost is $315, with a range of $200 to $400. The website is a referral website that refers you to inspectors who may pay to be listed on the site. The fees quoted on the site are not based on Metro New York area real estate inspections. Some Home Inspection companies raise the cost at the inspection site for termite certifications, swimming pools, garages, etc. Heimer Engineering℠ does not change the inspection fees when we arrive at the site.
There are no do-overs if the Home Inspector does not perform the inspection to your satisfaction. It is important to chose the Home Inspector wisely. You need to know not only what the inspection costs, but what the inspection includes. Choosing the wrong Home Inspector may save money now, but the real expense is in the future. The wrong Home Inspector could cause you to buy the proverbial money pit.
Leaks and Thermal Imaging
Some Home Inspectors claim thermal imaging provides better information than traditional home inspection methods. Claims of an ability to detect leaks and hidden structural defects have been used in home inspection advertising.
Contrary to what some Home Inspectors claim, thermal imaging cannot detect invisible leaks, concealed overheated wiring, structural defects, termite damage, old pipes, asbestos, or mold. Thermal imaging is looking at the infrared emissions (essentially, the temperature) of an object. Thermal imaging provides no special ability to detect latent defects.
Applying Scientific and
to Home and
The On-Site Verbal Inspection Report provides instant information and the opportunity to ask the Professional Engineer Home Inspector questions.
The On-Site Written Inspection Report is a short-form report that highlights Heimer Engineering's℠ findings.
The Emailed Inspection Report includes information relevant to the inspected home or building and to real estate purchases in general in a mobile-friendly form. The Emailed Inspection Report contains a Summary Report that summarizes the Professional Engineer Home Inspector's finding and guides you to sections of the report specific to the real estate you are purchasing.
Inspection Photographic Images
Photographic images included in a Home Inspector's report may show a gutter draining near a foundation wall, a crack in a path, or siding shingles close to ground level. You never see photographs showing the insufficient electrical service, an undersized boiler, or that a house is structurally unsound.
If you use images to negotiate with a seller, it is the seller's interpretation of the images that you are negotiating with. Photographs in a report work to the seller's advantage.
Is the Home Inspector a
Many inspection companies send non-Engineer Home Inspectors when the buyer requested a Professional Engineer. When you retain a Professional Engineer to perform a pre-purchase inspection, you expect a Professional Engineer to visit the site. It is unethical to send a non-Engineer Home Inspector when you expect the services of a Professional Engineer. Heimer Engineering℠ uses only Professional Engineer Home Inspectors to perform pre-purchase inspections.
In New York State, a Professional Engineer can obtain a state-issued identification card. When the Inspector arrives on site, ask to see the New York State Professional Engineer photo ID. A non-Engineer cannot lawfully obtain a State of New York Professional Engineer's photo ID.
Some Home Inspection companies imply they provide environmental inspections by pointing out environmental concerns. These Home Inspectors often have limited environmental experience, and may unnecessarily alarm real estate purchasers.
Our Professional Engineer Home Inspectors point out environmental concerns like other Inspectors. We do not deceive you by claiming the pre-purchase inspection is an environmental inspection.
Code of Ethics
Standards of Practice
The Professional Engineers of Heimer Engineering℠ substantially adhere to the InterNACHI® Code of Ethics, to Subpart 197-4 of the State of New York Code of Ethics and Regulations for Home Inspectors, the ASHI® Standards of Practice, and the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE®) Code of Ethics. In the event of a conflict, the Professional Engineer uses Engineering judgment to decide what standard or Engineering principle takes precedence. All State of New York Professional Engineers are bound by New York State Education Law Article 145.
We only share inspection findings with you and your Attorney. If someone other than you or your Attorney asks for information, we require your written authorization before we speak with them.
A pre-closing inspection helps you find out what changed after the inspection:
- Furniture and stored material should have been removed, providing access to more areas;
- Leaks may develop after the original inspection;
- A system or appliances that were functioning during the original inspection may break;
- A strong storm, neighborhood construction, very hot, or very cold weather may damage the building;
- And many more changes can occur.
The best way to protect yourself is a pre-closing inspection. A pre-closing inspection gives you the opportunity to have adjustments made at closing.
System Hot Water
System Leaders &
Applying Scientific and
and Common Sense
Home Inspection and
Contact Heimer Engineering℠
Heimer Engineering℠ is happy to help you. Senior Staff members are available Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM. After 5 PM, please leave a message. Messages are checked during the day on Sunday, and Sunday evening through Thursday evening. Inspections are performed seven days a week.
Heimer Engineering's℠ inspection fees are competitive with non-Engineer Home Inspector's fees, especially when you consider that many non-Engineers charge extra for termite inspections, swimming pools, etc.
Inspection orders are taken by senior staff members. A real estate purchase is complex and you should be able to speak with someone who can answer your inspection questions.
To set up an appointment for a pre-purchase inspection or to find out about Engineering services or expert court testimony 📭 email PE@heimer.com, 📲 text 888.769.6910, or 📞 call 718.544.3000. If no staff member is in the office, leave a message.
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Heimer Engineering℠ serve the Greater New York area, including New York City (Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island), Long Island (Nassau County, Suffolk County, and Upstate New York (Rockland County, Putnam County, and Westchester County).
🚑 🚒 🚓 In the event of a life-threatening emergency call 911. Emergency situations need to be handled by first-responders who can evacuate buildings, shut utilities off, and take other steps necessary to preserve life.
Standards of Practice
and Code of Ethics
Heimer Engineering's℠ Professional Engineer Home Inspectors substantially adhere to the InterNACHI® Code of Ethics, to Subpart 197-4 of the State of New York Code of Ethics and Regulations for Home Inspectors, the ASHI® Standards of Practice, and the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE®) Code of Ethics. In the event of a conflict, the Professional Engineer Home Inspectors use Engineering judgment to decide what standard or Engineering principle takes precedence. All State of New York Licensed Professional Engineers are bound by New York State Education Law Article 145.
💲 Ask about a web discount. Discounts are also available for referrals (attorney, real estate broker, mortgage broker, co-worker, friend) first time buyers, senior citizens, military (army, navy, air force, marines, coast guard), first responders (police, ambulance, fire), municipal employees, security personnel, and union members.
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Heimer Engineering PC℠ performs home inspections, building inspections, condo inspections, and co-op inspections in the State of New York. Expert witness services are provided regarding playground injuries, parking lot, walkway, and stairway slip, trip, and fall.
The Heimer Engineering PC℠ website was designed and is maintained by Harold Krongelb PE. The contents of this website were written by Harold Krongelb PE. This website is not intended to offer Engineering opinions or advice. Sitemaps and indexing information can be found at Page Sitemap, Image Sitemap, Mobile Sitemap, and Video Sitemap.
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