Homeowner Tips

Key Characteristics of a Great Inspector

64-1First, an inspector does not become great until they have experience. Experience comes from ‘hands on’ inspections. Classroom training is important, but until you have inspected at least 250 homes you would not have the judgement to distinguish a big problem from a small problem.

Second, successful home inspectors are professional. Your first contact with an inspector will come from either a website or a phone conversation. A quality home inspector will have both a professional, easy to navigate interactive website and an experienced personable support person able to answer your questions. Professional inspectors use the same consistent care from start to finish; they understand that at every touch point the customer will judge the quality of their service.

Third, the best inspectors have communication skills. A home inspection is an experience and making it pleasant is the key to a great inspection. Home buyers and sellers are anxious and excited; a cool, calm, matter of fact inspector is best suited to be fair and balanced with any problems that are discovered.

Don’t settle for anything less than the best.

Doug Hastings
MN Home Inspector, Minneapolis & St. Paul
ASHI Certified Inspector, ACI
Kaplan University, Home Inspection Lead Instructor

Our dreams are our dreams. Countless times I’ve seen family and friends looking for a better place to live. Whether it be a different house or a different location, the grass always seems to be greener somewhere else. As a home inspector too often I see aging parents being moved out by their kids because of the costs and difficulties Read More

Most people assume a smoke detector is a smoke detector…this is not true. In the mid 1970’s less than 10% of homes had a smoke detector; now over 90% do. Nevertheless, this dramatic increase in smoke detectors has had little impact on the risk of death by fire. Why? Some studies have indicated that many smoke detectors are either inoperable Read More

In a fire, the issue is time. Minutes and many times seconds will make the difference between life and death. The combustible materials in our homes are different from the past and the technologies of smoke detectors have also changed. There are two types of smoke alarms, ionization and photoelectric. 90% of homes have ionization smoke detectors installed; about 5% Read More

It’s time to start getting your home ready for spring. Part 2:  Leaking roofs are the second biggest problem.  Most roof leaks are caused by roof slope or metal flashing.  As a MN home inspector for the past 27 years, I have found these conditions are seldom addressed until becoming a problem.  What I mean is until a homeowner sees Read More

It’s time to start getting your home ready for spring. Part 1:  Wet basements are the biggest problem.  Most basement water problems are caused by exterior landscaping and hardscaping.  As a MN home inspector for the past 27 years, I have found this condition is seldom repaired until it becomes a problem.  What I mean is until a homeowner sees Read More

What Makes My Window Panes Wet? Problem:  The window is wet on the room side of the glass for a few weeks in fall. Solution:   Moisture has accumulated, over summer, in the structure of the house from cooking, showering, and even the family breathing. This can be overcome by having fans exhausting to the outside in the kitchen, bathrooms Read More

Mice are colonizers…so it is very unlikely that you have only one mouse! If you give a lonely mouse the opportunity, through breeding, you will very soon have 100 mice. Controlling this problem begins with recognizing how you discovered this furry creature. Did you see it?  Then place a peanut butter baited trap alongside the wall where you saw the Read More

Incorrect terminology puts a real estate agent or homeowner at high risk. When putting a home up for sale there are many details that are disclosed, sometimes, in a mandated seller disclosure report and other times for marketing promotions. If these features are overstated or not described correctly, liability and lawsuit risks will rise. There is no greater concern in Read More

There are just two basic reasons for decks failing. The first is overloading and the second is improper construction. Overloading: deck failure usually happens unexpectedly. We have been using the deck for several years, even barbecuing for the family without a problem. But today we are having a graduation party. Fifty teenagers’ crowd the deck which has never carried more Read More

What happened to pressure treated deck lumber? Pressure treatment is a process that forces chemical preservatives into the wood. The wood is placed in a closed cylinder and pressure is applied to force the preservative into the wood. Preservatives protect wood from decay and insect damage. There are 3 classes of wood preservatives; the waterborne method is typically used in Read More

Deck failures are becoming more common. Why do decks fail? The most common reasons are: Old age Poor design Improper materials Overloading Decks should be inspected annually. All lumber should be inspected for rotting, particularly where posts meet the ground, at joist unions, and the ledger board connection to the house. Most of this rotting is caused by old age, Read More

Look for Experience American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is the oldest national home inspection association. It has a stringent Standard of Practice which all members must adhere to. These comprehensive standards have been closely copied by all competitive organizations and state licensing laws. To become a full ASHI member you must have completed 250 paid home inspections and have each one reviewed Read More

Icicles indicate the formation of ice dams. What do ice dams indicate? Icicles form where water is dripping from the roof when snow is melting and the air temperature is less than freezing. Older houses are most prone to ice damming and large icicle formation. Recent building and energy codes addressed this problem and provided solutions. Assuming homes built in Read More

Can my roof collapse from too much snow load? It’s possible, but highly unlikely. Since about 1950, cold climate states must adhere to engineering principles that configure the structure of the roof. They are based upon the highest potential roof snow load in your area. The building code will then require the roof be designed and sized to safely meet Read More