If you have not heard about the giant mess that is Stucco Problems
you’re not alone. Unfortunately, you will encounter this problem sooner or later, and it can be a real deal killer. So here is some advice from a certified stucco inspector, and the President of Stucco Safe that you can use to navigate this problem.1. If you are taking a listing from a client with a stucco home, encourage them to get their own stucco test first. This is more than just a common visual inspection, but what they need is what is often referred to as a “level 2” inspection. This is where the stucco is actually drilled in a few dozen locations. Into these holes, a probe is pushed, which reads the moisture content of the substrate (the wood behind the stucco). In addition, the tester can feel if the substrate is soft, or completely rotted out. Stucco Safe provides an enhanced process which ensures accuracy and eliminates many false positives.
2. When guiding your client on choosing a testing firm, they should look for several things. First, the EDI certification, which is the standard in the industry. Second, a company that has additional training such asa BESI certification allows for accurate scope of work to be provided. Experience is also key, many home inspection firms add this service on to their menu of offerings, but are not experts at stucco inspections, demand a firm that specializes in stucco inspections.
3. What if a problem is discovered? At that point, you will find that the industry of stucco repairmen is one that is highly fragmented and unregulated. Many of these repair companies are highly skilled, some are very well-intentioned, and some are neither. My best advice on choosing a contractor to repair the stucco on a home that is for sale, is to get multiple estimates – and look at what is guaranteed and for how long. There is a very high re-failure rate for improper
4. What if the seller decides to provide the buyer with the estimates and let them deal with the problem? Unfortunately, it’s not hard to find contractors who will make bids that can be 2 or 3 times the cost of other reputable contractors bidding the same scope of work. I have seen this cause transactions to fall apart, then the seller is left to fix the problem anyway after having wasted months and a good buyer.
5. The best way to eliminate the stucco issue from a transaction is to fix the problem correctly, but not overspend on the repair. Use an EDI certified tester to document the remediation process (this is often called third party oversight). Then, the seller can offer the documentation that the property had a problem (the original test report) and it was repaired to a standard they can rely on (oversight report). This should button up any stucco issues and allow the house to sell at its best price.
Gabe Kesslick is the President of Stucco Safe, a company which provides testing services as well as third party remediation oversight for stucco homes and structures. Gabe provides certified testing services, stucco awareness seminars, and expert testimony in stucco litigation.
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