Old-fashioned attention to detail and leading-edge technologies are combined to bring you inspection and testing services unsurpassed in quality and value!
Frequently Asked Questions
Energy and Realty Inspections take about two and a half hours for a modern, average-sized home. Older homes and large homes take longer. With Realty Inspections, I like to budget a little extra time for first-time buyers to explain the different systems of the home, what needs annual maintenance, where the filters are, etc.
We'll discuss the findings onsite. I'll then send you a full-color written report as a PDF file (Acrobat Reader file) via e-mail, typically within 24 hours (and often by end-of-day). This allows me time to give you a professional write-up. A printed copy will follow in the mail. Results for any laboratory testing are sent to you as they become available. Radon results are typically available in about 3 days; bacteria-in-water results in 2 days.
I have built my reputation upon being accurate, thorough and detailed. I don't believe in dashing off a hurried report full of fluff and disclaimers onsite just so that you can walk away with some paper in hand. I call those 'cotton candy' reports -- they look fluffed-up and pretty, but they have no real substance.
A home inspection is like having a medical examination; would you feel comfortable selecting a doctor for yourself or your children based on his or her promise to have a rushed written diagnosis by the time you leave the office? I wouldn't. With an investment like buying a home, I'll take thoroughness and accuracy over haste any time...and so should you.
Well, if it's me, of course! Seriously, your realtor will probably give you three inspector's names and they may indicate that they lean towards using one or another in particular. If you trust your realtor, then you'll trust their recommendations. Hopefully, their recommendation will be American Home Inspections.
It's worth noting that the relationship between realtors and inspectors has always been a little awkward. All realtors want their sales to go through -- that means they like a good inspection report. But, realtors don't want to have unforeseen problems surface with a home later on, after the closing, involving them in a lawsuit. The home inspection industry was put in place to provide unbiased, independent assessment on behalf of the buyer. It lets the realtor do their job of marketing the home and shifts the responsibility of disclosing quality concerns to the inspector.
It is certainly true that there have been, and still are, some realtors who recommend certain inspectors simply because they never find anything wrong in the home -- and there are certainly inspectors who are willing to cater to those realtors. That's an unscrupulous and dangerous practice where no one benefits. Those realtors and those inspectors end up with reputations that, hopefully, force them from the business. A good realtor recommends a thorough, honest inspector.
My most basic tools are my eyes and my brain. But rest assured, I also believe in making a strong investment in the testing equipment I use for my business. This is why I have invested in equipment like an infrared camera, high-end slate PC computer, advanced reporting software, ultrasonic moisture meter and ultrasonic diagnostic trap equipment, etc. Listing all the equipment I have to do the best testing for you would take a couple of pages.
It isn't required, but it is certainly advised. While the thoroughness and depth of reporting I provide has helped many clients who couldn't be present for my inspection, you'll get the most benefit by being right there with me. You may not want to climb up on the roof or get loaded up with spider webs under the crawlspace with me but, I would encourage you to accompany me as much as possible. Feel free to ask as many questions as you like. My goal is to have you feel better educated, more connected with the home, and comfortable with your purchase decision, whatever it may be.
That depends on the type of inspection being done and the size and age of the home. The average raised ranch with a structural evaluation, termite inspection, septic dye test, bacteria-in-water test, and radon test will be around $600. This cost is negligible compared to the value the inspection provides when purchasing a home worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Few things can get more expensive than a cheap home inspection.
You can find inspectors who charge more and inspectors who charge less. In some ways, selecting an inspector is a lot like selecting a wine: if you just want to impress your friends, get the most expensive. If all you want is a headache, get the cheapest.
The short answer is 'yes', but we need to explore this a little more. New construction will have been inspected in order to have a 'CO' (Certificate of Occupancy) before it can be sold. But let's back up and discuss the differences between municipal building inspections required fore a CO and a home inspection.
As a former deputy building inspector, I'll assure you that the local building department is engaged as various phases of construction of a new home. They will check to see that footings are dug deep enough, framing is completed, insulation installed, plumbing holds air pressure, etc. An electrical inspector will check the wiring and breaker panel. These inspections required to get the CO are a part of residential code enforcement. The only thing you'll be able to be sure of is that the inspected items met state and local minimum requirements. No fit and finish will be checked, appliances won't be run, no one will be checking whether windows and doors open and close properly, faucets operate, bathroom fans have been properly vented, etc. I have home-inspected more than one 'ready-to-go' home that never even had its plumbing vent stack unsealed and extended through the roof by the builder after the municipal plumbing inspection had been completed. That is why you need a home inspection, even for new construction.
No. And beware of any inspector that does offer a 'discount coupon'. The coupon ploy is really a method of getting away with over-charging for services. Here's how it works: An inspector offering a discount coupon worth, oh let's say $50 off, is going to automatically quote you an inflated price $50 higher than what he or she really expects to make when you call for pricing. If you tell them that you have their coupon, the price will get reduced to what they expected to make in the first place. If you don't ask about the coupon and you start suggesting that the cost seems high, they will let on that there is a coupon, and even if you don't have it, they can apply it 'just this once' to save their sale to you. If you don't know and don't ask about a 'discount' and go with their services as originally quoted at the inflated price, the inspector has just made an extra $50 from you and you're none the wiser. And since this industry is largely about inspectors only seeing their customers once, they won't care if you catch on later that there was a 'discount' available that you didn't get.
I quote a finished price to you. There are no bogus coupons, hidden fees, or add-on costs. I care a great deal about what my clients think after the work is complete and that is why I always strive to give the best value at the lowest cost that I can. This is important to me because I'm not just about realty inspections. I offer follow-on services like energy audits, environmental testing, fire, child and elder-care inspections, and so on, that I hope you, my customer, will avail yourself to with me in future should you need them.
Payment is typically due at the conclusion of the onsite inspection. Cash, check, Visa, MasterCard and Discover are welcome.
Invoicing is also an option for commercial clients and some environmental testing. Your prompt payment allows me to keep my prices low.
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Last modified: May 30, 2013