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The best home inspectors are licensed, educated, and in the know with the latest legislative changes. Our ears are constantly to the ground. We keep you up to date on the latest news & developments in the regulation of the home inspection industry. 

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  • 15 Mar 2021 9:18 AM | Anonymous

    For many of us across the country, winter came early this year, and it appears it’s here to stay for the season.

    So, let’s talk chimneys!

    There are three levels of chimney inspections and most home inspectors typically perform a visual, level one, inspection. While a level one inspection does not include the inside of the flues or chimney itself, a good home inspector will note in their report that the chimney should be cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney professional (and, when buying or selling or a home, a level two inspection is usually required as well).

    So, what are the components of a solid and safe level one inspection, you ask? According to InspectAPedia, the three aspects of a reliable chimney inspection are:

    1. Knowledge of the types and components of chimneys
    2. Knowledge of the different levels of inspections (and what level you are certified to perform)
    3. Creating and following a procedure


    Creating a procedure ensures you do not miss any of the tell-tale signs that a deeper, next-level inspection might need to be performed. Your procedure should include a thorough, top-to-bottom and inside-out approach. Many inspectors will start outside, visually inspecting the chimney from the ground as well as from the roof, paying close attention to the height, exterior, cap, crown, and looking for any signs of movement or leaks. Procedures for the indoor inspection are relatively the same, starting at the lowest point (typically the basement) and working your way to the highest (usually the attic). The key is to ensure you are inspecting the entire route of the chimney, and not simply looking at the visible areas.

    While a procedure is encouraged, InspectAPedia also warns against simply going through the steps. Make sure you are alert, aware and prepared prior to conducting your chimney inspection in order to keep your clients protected from carbon monoxide and fire-related hazards.

  • 24 Feb 2021 8:39 AM | Anonymous

    Termites are the small but mighty pests that can take your home from a perfectly live-able space to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Termites can eat quite a bit of wood in a very short time frame which can ruin the value of your home if not taken seriously. Preventing this issue from ever occurring, however, is the best route to take when it comes to protecting your home.

    Make sure that your homeowner’s keep an eye out for the following in order to avoid the dreaded home eaters.

    • Eliminate moisture. Termites love a moist location and if that happens to be surrounding the homeowner’s home, they will settle in. Make sure that owners keep faucets, water pipes, and air conditioning units in working condition and leak free.
    • Keep mulch to a minimum. Excess mulch and ground cover can be a welcome sign to termites.
    • Block off any entry points. Have owners seal any areas around water and utility pipes that could be used as an entry way for the pest.
    • Find a safe place to store firewood, paper, and lumber. If this is located near the foundation, it might set the termites up to start feeding near the house, eventually working their way to the bigger prize.
    • Encourage inspections. Not only are more inspections good for your business but they also allow the client to know they are in a good place. Decks and wooden fences should be checked on a regular basis in order to check for damage.

    Keeping clients and potential clients up to date on these types of issues and helping them to prevent them before any issues arise, will build the credibility of your company. The more you can be an asset to the client the more likely they are to refer you or use you again for their next inspection.

  • 22 Jan 2021 1:09 PM | Anonymous

  • 08 Jan 2021 1:07 PM | Anonymous

    The perfect home simply doesn't exist. Why? Well, in a brand new home, the contractor often is not aware of shortcuts taken by his subcontractors, and government building and code inspectors do not have the time or the budget to inspect everything in every home, so most government inspectors simply do a spot-check of homes in new subdivisions. A home that has been lived in usually has damage that occurred from simply living in it, or additions or remodeling that weren't permitted. That's why buyers need a professional home inspection.

    The purpose of a home inspection is to document the overall condition of the property at the time of the inspection and to ensure that its major systems and components (water heater, heating and cooling, plumbing, electrical, etc.) are installed properly and working properly. The home inspection is not a warranty since the home inspector is only there for a couple of hours and never saw the home or its systems being built, so he has no idea about any quality control processes. While some items identified during the course of a home inspection might seem like minor items individually, collectively they could add up to major headaches involving both time and money. If sellers know what to look for, they can resolve many minor items before the buyer's home inspection.

    Click here to read the rest of the article:

  • 21 Dec 2020 1:06 PM | Anonymous

    1. Do you perform repairs or just home inspections? Some homebuyers seek the advice of a general contractor rather than a home inspector. Avilla-Kintz, a Real Estate Broker from San Diego says that's a mistake, as they provide expertise from a different point of view. "A home inspector is typically checking the roof or the appliances if they're included in the home," she says. "A general contractor is coming in from a repair standpoint and can quote for whatever repairs need to be done." In fact, providing both services could create a conflict of interest, because buyers can't always distinguish between necessary repairs and optional upgrades.  

    After the home inspection, you may want to hire a specialist or general contractor to find out how much a kitchen renovation or plumbing upgrade might cost. "Get the unbiased opinion first," Avilla-Kintz says. "Then you bring in the contractor to quote for what those repairs are." 

    2. Are you bonded and insured? Stephen Gladstone, a Connecticut home inspector and author of "The Field Guide to Home Inspections," says a surprising number of home inspectors don't have insurance. "Somebody with employees should really have workers’ [compensation], and they should have errors and omissions insurance in case there is something significant that they miss," he says. 

    Say the inspector falls through the attic or slips while inspecting your roof. If the company doesn't have the appropriate insurance, it may sue you or the current homeowners or try to put a lien on the property. So make sure the company is insured before the inspector sets foot on the property. "Whenever one party is sued in the transaction, it tends to pinball all over the place where everybody ends up in the lawsuit," Avilla-Kintz says. "You're avoiding personal liability by making sure that they have their own insurance." 

    3. Can you provide references? It's a good idea to check the inspection company's references, according to Scott Pruitt, vice president of operations for Commercial Building Consultants in Orlando, Florida, which has a home inspection division.

    Pruitt suggests asking previous clients about whether the inspector arrived on time and inspected all aspects of the house, including the roof and attic. "Did they provide a comprehensive report that spelled out all areas of the home and the findings?" he adds. 

    Consider references with a grain of salt, however, because the references given are likely to be the inspector's most enthusiastic supporters, not a complete sampling of customers, as Gladstone points out. 

    4. Can I tag along on the inspection? Some homeowners leave the inspectors alone to examine the home, while others want to be more hands-on and follow along as the inspector works. If you fall into the latter camp, which several experts recommended, make sure your inspector is willing to walk you through the process. Gladstone says it's important to find an inspector who can communicate clearly and takes the time to explain things. "I offer my clients the opportunity to walk around with me and ask questions," he says. "More and more, an awful lot of my customers don't know much about the house. They want to know about the heating system and how to turn off the electric if there's a problem with the electricity."

    5. What does the inspection include? To compare inspectors, you need to know what the inspection includes (or doesn't include). Ideally, the inspection should be as thorough as possible. "We open every window we can open and test every outlet we can test," Gladstone says. "A lot of inspection companies don't test the appliances, but we turn on dishwashers and laundry machines to see if there's damages on the gaskets and stuff." The extent of the inspection may also vary by region. In Florida, for instance, it's common for inspectors to test the irrigation systems. 

    6. Will you send me a sample inspection report? The inspector should send you a detailed report after completing the inspection. Avilla-Kintz suggests asking to see a sample to make sure the information is presented in a clear and thorough format that's easy to understand. She especially appreciates reports that have a lot of color photographs because those images can clearly demonstrate problem areas and help during negotiations with the seller and his or her agent. 

    7. Do you have any special expertise? If you're buying a special type of property, such as a historic home or new construction, make sure the inspector understands the special considerations for those types of properties. Gladstone says older homes may have issues that newer homes don’t have, while recently constructed properties may have new materials and different types of framing that require a more critical eye. Homes with swimming pools also have potential issues. Inspecting a condo tends to be simpler than a free-standing home, Gladstone adds, so it's not necessary to look for someone with specific condo expertise. 

    8. How much do you charge? Notice that price is the last question mentioned. That's because shopping on price alone may lead to cutting corners. "You might be saving a couple of hundred dollars to hire the cheapest inspector," Avilla-Kintz says, "but you could be paying in a big way because the inspector wasn't thorough or the report was hard to understand." 

  • 11 Dec 2020 1:05 PM | Anonymous

    1. Change the locks. You really don’t know who else has keys to your home, so change the locks. That ensures you’re the only person who has access. Install new deadbolts yourself for as little as $10 per lock, or call a locksmith — if you supply the new locks, they typically charge about $20 to $30 per lock for labor.

    2. Check for plumbing leaks. Your home inspector should do this for you before closing, but it never hurts to double-check. I didn’t have any leaks to fix, but when checking my kitchen sink, I did discover the sink sprayer was broken. I replaced it for under $20. Keep an eye out for dripping faucets and running toilets, and check your water heater for signs of a leak. 

    Here’s a neat trick: Check your water meter at the beginning and end of a two-hour window in which no water is being used in your house. If the reading is different, you have a leak.

    3. Steam clean carpets. Do this before you move your furniture in, and your new home life will be off to a fresh start. You can pay a professional carpet cleaning service — you’ll pay about $50 per room; most services require a minimum of about $100 before they’ll come out — or you can rent a steam cleaner for about $30 per day and do the work yourself. I was able to save some money by borrowing a steam cleaner from a friend.  

    4. Wipe out your cabinets. Another no-brainer before you move in your dishes and bathroom supplies. Make sure to wipe inside and out, preferably with a non-toxic cleaner, and replace contact paper if necessary. 

    When I cleaned my kitchen cabinets, I found an unpleasant surprise: Mouse poop. Which leads me to my next tip … 

    Read more: 

  • 23 Nov 2020 1:04 PM | Anonymous

    A home inspection is a vital part of the homebuying process. Some potential buyers tend to view home inspections as something that is not necessary or too expensive. But home inspections can save buyers time and money in the long run.

    Here are some things you should know about home inspections:

    What is a home inspection?

    A home inspection is a visual examination of the physical structure and major interior systems of a home. It’s important to distinguish that a home inspection is not an appraisal, building code inspection or an insurance policy examination.

    It is also important to note that a home inspection is not a guarantee of any kind — it’s simply an assessment of the property’s condition at the time of the inspection.

    When should a home inspection happen?

    Hiring a home inspector is recommended right after the offer-to-purchase contract is signed and prior to executing the final purchase and sales agreement.

    It is important for buyers to make sure that there is an inspection clause in the offer-to-purchase contract before signing it. This clause ensures that the purchase obligation is contingent upon the findings of a professional home inspection.

    Who should perform the inspection?

    The best way to go about hiring a home inspector is by asking a real estate agent, friends and family for personal recommendations.

    What happens during the inspection?

    During the inspection, the inspector will examine the exposed portions of the home, such as the roof, attic, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation, heating/cooling systems, interior plumbing, electrical systems and appliances.

    Inspectors are not there to point out cosmetic issues, but they should detect bigger problems and make recommendations on potential maintenance needs.

    If there is a specific issue of concern, the home inspector should suggest that homebuyers hire a specialist; for instance, a licensed electrician, plumber, etc. They should not recommend anyone personally, as it can be a conflict of interest.

    The fee for a home inspection should include a full written report sent to the buyers within 24-48 hours of the physical inspection.

    Do buyers attend the inspection?

    It’s a good idea for homebuyers to be present at the home inspection. They can then observe the inspector, ask questions and gain a better understanding of the condition of their future home.

    If there are any serious issues discovered, buyers can work with their real estate agent to request more information from the sellers, or they might contact their own specialists for a more detailed evaluation.

    Home inspections are meant to help homebuyers. This process can alleviate unexpected high repair costs and help to plan for the future maintenance of a new home.

  • 10 Nov 2020 1:00 PM | Anonymous

    You’ve passed your test, decided on a business name, got your insurance and figured out your branding, now it’s time to market yourself! If you have yet to figure out your branding, head over to our blog post about that here. (link post)

    As the new owner of your home inspecting business, marketing is going to be a key factor to getting new customers. While friends, family and word of mouth are all great places to start, you will quickly learn that you must start to make new connections outside of your inner circle.

    The first thing that you are going to need (after you have figured out your branding) is your website. The majority of people will find their contractors via Google and their websites. This is often one of the first things that people see. It needs to clearly show the potential customer WHY they should hire you and what you will do for them! Another big thing is making sure that there is a clear and visible way to get in touch if they want to book. One of the quickest ways to loose a customer is if the booking process is too long or too many steps.

    After you have built your website, you are going to want a social media presence. If you are new to social media, I would suggest starting with one or two platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn and then working your way to others. You will want to post things on your pages that are relevant to your customers. Things about you, your services, reviews, home inspection news and tons more are all great post ideas.

    Another crucial step to starting your marketing of your business is building your Google My Business and putting your company on other pages such as Yelp and Angie’s List. The more places that your name and brand are listed, the more chances that someone has to find you.

    Aside from online marketing, always make sure you have business cards handy as you never know who you might run into! You should always be handing out business cards every time you connect with someone new or mention anything about your business.

    There are many other ways to market your business as a home inspector. There is also a ton more about how to utilize Facebook and Google My Business. We understand that marketing and branding is not for everyone. If you are thinking to yourself “how I am even supposed to design a business card?”, let ATI Academy help! We have staff dedicated to helping home inspectors like you with their branding and marketing side of their business!

    Email us today at to find out how we can help you excel at your marketing!

  • 23 Oct 2020 10:31 AM | Anonymous

    Marketing is one of the most often overlooked part of being a home inspector. In order to gain more leads and get more home inspections, you need to be marketing yourself and your services. 

    Here is a quick marketing checklist to get your home inspection business started: 

    Need assistance with your marketing so you can focus on the inspections? Head over to our marketing page to see how ATI Academy can help you! 

  • 09 Oct 2020 1:17 PM | Anonymous

    Congratulations! You’ve decided to sell your home. A home is probably one of the most expensive purchase you’ve ever made and is one of  the most expensive things you will ever sell. When selling your home, you’ll want to be on the lookout for these common mistakes to ensure that you are getting the best deal.

    Additional Costs

    Even though you are the one selling the house, you should expect some costs along the way. The majority of people choose to work with a real estate agent. When you work with an agent, they will make a commission off the sale of your home. Staging costs will vary depending on the size of your home and how much you want to stage. While most home buyers will do a home inspection on the house, it is wise to do one yourself before you list the home to know what will need to be fixed. You can also expect some closing costs which include sales tax, title transfer and attorney fees for making sure everything is buttoned up.

    Selling When Upside-Down with the Mortgage

    Some people will want to sell their home in order to pay off the remaining balance of the loan. However, there are a lot of factors that will affect this such as if your property value went down or if you owe more than it’s worth. You should not sell unless you are trying to avoid bankruptcy or foreclosure. Try to stay in your home and build more equity before you sell.

    Not Hiring an Agent

    Yes, agents will take a commission from your home sale, but is it worth it? YES! You can expect to make about 30% less on your home if you choose to sell it yourself. Most agents will have different commission rates and you can try and negotiate as they are not set in stone.

    Hiding Major Repairs

    This is where getting a home inspection before you put the house on the market is a good idea. The buyer will most likely do their own home inspection but if you know what you need to fix before you put it on the market, you will most likely sell your home faster. If you don’t want to fix the repairs then the home buyer will take that into consideration when it comes to the price. Never be dishonest about repairs in your home.

    Staging and Showing

    While staging is another additional cost, don’t skip it! Most home buyers will want to visualize what the house could look like and them in it. Home’s with staging tend to sell faster and at a higher price. Do not show an empty house to potential buyers. If you have already moved your furniture, find a place to rent some for the showing. When you have a showing, let the agent take the lead. They will be able to answer the difficult questions.



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