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Real Estate Terms

New Roof

The term “roof” is misleading in that it implies the roof covering plus the roof sheathing, rafters or trusses. The word “new” is rather nebulous as well. “Shingles replaced in 2015” is a more accurate description.

Updated Wiring

Does updated wiring mean the size of the service has been increased or additional circuits have been added? Does it mean that the older knob tube wiring has been torn out (which is not a requirement of the Electrical Safety Code, however most often an insurance issue)? Sometimes it means that the old outlets have been replaced with modern-looking ones, however the wiring has not been changed at all.

A better approach may be to comment on the adequacy of the incoming service and more importantly the adequacy of the distribution network. Both of these however, are very difficult to assess without a solid understanding of electricity. We all know that you cannot determine the size of an electrical service by reading the sticker on the main box in the basement. It may be best to leave this one alone.

Thermal Windows

There is really no such thing. The R value (resistance to heat transfer) of a typical wall in a modern house is approximately R12 to R20. The R value of a single glazed window is R1. What about a double glazed window? R2! Maybe R3. The window manufacturers call this a 100% improvement! The real benefit of double glazing is that it increases the surface temperature of the inside pane of glass so that condensation does not form on the windows in the winter time. “ThermoPane” was a merely a brand name.

If the second pane of glass is a separate storm window, there will be a separate frame for the storm. This creates a second barrier to air infiltration and in some cases, it is a better arrangement than a double glazed window in a single frame.

Upgraded Plumbing

Are we talking about new bathroom fixtures or new copper pipes? If we are talking about new pipes, are we talking about all new pipes within the house or just the accessible ones in the unfinished portion of the basement? When we say “all copper plumbing” do we mean the waste piping as well? From the mid 1950’s to the late 1960’s, waste plumbing was also copper.