Key Characteristics of a Great Inspector
First, 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.
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
Home inspectors are often asked to render opinions on other professionals work. Many times we are challenged by licensed professionals, such as engineers, architects, and contractors, who feel differently about a problem. Who is right? Remember professional inspectors offer an OPINION of the condition of a building. This should be an informed opinion based upon knowledge and experience; but it Read More
Determining the significance of a problem has always been challenging for home inspectors. For most inspectors, this can even become an insurmountable and unnerving task. The concern is if we misrepresent our findings either our liability will go through the roof or ours clients might not buy a home they really want. Neither of these is good. The quality of Read More
Approximately 90% of all structural building failures are caused by moisture. With the exception of the homeowner, moisture is the #1 enemy of the house. Unfortunately, moisture damage typically occurs in concealed spaces. This makes it difficult for most home inspectors to identify. Good inspectors know there are 3 major elements that impact the risk of moisture intrusion. The more 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
Does your radon tester follow the EPA guidelines? In a real estate transaction most radon tests are performed by the home inspector. There is nothing wrong with that, but there is the assumption that they are doing it ‘right’. This may or may not be true. The proper testing protocol you should expect is the following: Homeowner contacted to discuss Read More
In Existing Homes: After testing for radon and if the level exceeds 4.0 picocuries, the next step is to begin mitigation. You should look for a ‘certified mitigation contractor’. They will have completed the EPA required training and testing. In a nutshell mitigation for an existing home includes the following: Cover all exposed earth with a 6 mil poly and Read More
Radon mitigation is part of the MN State Building Code. What does it mean when the MN State Building Code is modified to include radon mitigation methods as a requirement to build a house? Building codes are ‘minimum’ safety standards for construction. This says a lot about how dangerous radon gas is. It is no longer a scientific theory, it Read More
January is National Radon Awareness Month. Radon gas and real estate don’t mix well. The more energy efficient we make our houses the greater the risk of developing radon induced lung cancer. The radon gas health concern is no longer debatable; it is the #1 cause of lung cancer for non-smokers and the #2 cause for smokers. MN homeowners, real 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