The Heart of Philly - the Rowhouse (a FREE homeowner's manual)
Lately, about half of my clients are buying Philadelphia rowhomes. For reasons that only Philly natives can understand, that makes me smile.
I grew up in those rowhomes. The first home I owned was a Philly rowhome. My daughter's first steps were taken in a Port Richmond rowhome. I have renovated them, tearing them right down to the old rough cut studs, itchy rock wool insulation, and knob and tube wiring.
Over the last years, I have inspected hundreds (maybe even thousands) of Philadelphia rowhomes and have intentionally kept my prices low so that first time buyers (like I was) who are living the dream and buying a rowhome can afford the best inspection possible. I cut no corners, do an exhaustive inspection, and even use the thermal imaging camera for take care to explain and answer questions for these first time buyers, just the same way I do for those who are buying houses 7 or 8 times the size and price.
I knew very little about houses when I bought that first one, and my home inspector was awful - but I didn't know that until much later. Fortunately, I was able to use my contracting skills (and all the help that beer and pizza could rope in) to overcome that problem. But most home buyers aren't so lucky.
So I give them the best inspection possible, because it means something more to me.
For that reason, I started writing a simple "how-to" manual for the first time buyer. In the midst of my writing, I found that the City of Philadelphia beat me to the punch (mostly, but more on that in a second).
I love to give credit where it is due, and the Philadelphia Rowhouse Manual is an excellent document full of great information for even veteran rowhome owners. I am including the link on all my rowhome inspection reports, because it is just that good.
So, for all my friends who own (or sell) Philly rowhomes - check it out. And for all those who may be curious about the heart and soul of Philly, this explains a lot about who we are (from a housing perspective.) It's even useful in a general sense to understand more about buildings and houses of the age.
I still hope to write something my own Homeowner's Manual that is more universal and maintenance-focused, but the information here is outstanding. Pass it on!!
PRECISION HOME INSPECTION