Structural concerns based on other poor workmanship

Opinions please: I inspected a house that was renovated by an obvious hack, showing little construction knowledge. There was extensive structural work that must have been performed to remove structural walls and open up the floor plan. In my area, you don’t have to pull permits for renovation unless there is structural changes or electrical equipment changes.

The ceilings look fine, but I’m very concerned the structural changes were not engineered or even completed by a qualified carpenter.

I want to recommend the buyer request information concerning the structural changes but I’m hesitant since there’s no indication of problems.

Got any advice? thanks ahead of time.

Nothing wrong with suggesting that they contact the local building department regarding any permits or inspections on the renovation work prior to closing the transaction.


Thanks. That’s where I’m at.

Could you see the attic? How do you know they were structural walls? If you see ceiling joists that need additional support, call it out.

No, the attic is decked. This is a typical farmhouse type that has a beam running down the center carrying the floor joist. It now has a smooth ceiling and a duct shaft directly in the center.

In the basement, they butchered the beam and joists to send the oversized duct chase to the attic. Repairs are not correct there.

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Sounds like you are fairly confident that there are structural concerns. I would call it out for further evaluation even if there are not indications yet. CYA


Thanks. The other work is so bad I can’t believe the hard work would have been done correctly.

I can relate to this. Often I lose confidence in a home because what I can see is bad therefore I have concerns about what I cannot see. The challenge is how do you communicate this concern when you cannot verify latent problems. So, it comes down to a narrative that justifies further due diligence.

Daniel has it and this is how it goes for me.

The home has had apparent significant alterations, additions or renovations. I observed several structural problems, however much of the work was not visible or covered up. I have concerns additional latent problems may exist. Therefore, recommend further evaluation by a qualified structural engineer and any prescribed repairs to be performed by a qualified contractor.

Additionally, these types of alterations often require work permits issues by the local building department and all work should be performed by qualified licensed contractors. Recommend requesting further documents from the seller such as building permits, scope of work and any applicable warranties. Building permits may also be obtained at the local building department, some of which are available online. Recommend buyer due diligence.

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I thought your original post said there were no visible concers? You need to write what you see and make recommendations based on that. Sounds like further evaluation including permit review to me.

Future insurance claims for damage that is related to “poor workmanship” will not be covered under the owner’s home insurance policy.

Sellers and their agents might gloss over such anomalies for their unique style and “qualities” and very few home buyers will know, if not informed by someone, that future movement of the structure resulting in cracking, bowing, or other issues stemming from the “poor workmanship” will result in expensive out-of-pocket demo and repair.

On behalf of the homeowners whose insurance claims are routinely denied by insurance companies for this reason, my advice is to inform them of this potential result.


Thank you. Insightful.

The area in question (without visible concerns) is the 1st floor ceiling/2nd floor structure where load bearing walls were removed to leave a flush ceiling. The visible structural changes were made in the basement and those changes are cringeworthy.

Thanks, I’ll be recommending the buyer obtain documents and info concerning this work.

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