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  • 16 Jan 2020 12:32 PM | Anonymous

    There’s nothing better than a home with a beautiful deck filled with rocking chairs and flowerpots. There is also nothing worse than a deck that could cave in at any moment. Whether it is due to age or poor construction, many decks are at risk making it increasingly important to know what to look for when performing your home inspection.

    This issue is something that is often overlooked by both homeowners and inspectors. One of the limited studies done on deck collapses concluded that “224,000 people were injured nationally due to a deck or porch between 2003 and 2007. Of those injuries, 33,000 were a result of a structural failure or collapse”, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    If these facts are concerning to you, here’s what to keep an eye out for when it comes to your deck!

    1. Unstable Railings. If the rails on your porch tend to move around, red flags should be raised. The railing should not be able to move more than half an inch. This can be a scary problem for homeowners because people often tend to put a lot of trust in the railings of the porch, often leaning against them no matter the height of the deck.
    1. Worn or Missing Metal Connectors. Residential code requires decks to have metal connectors to ensure a stable surface. Make sure these metal connectors are in place and are free of corrosion.
    1. Heaved or Dropped Footings. Keep a close eye on heaving or dropped footings. Dropping is typically caused by footings being poured on disturbed soil while heaving is usually a result of freezing conditions. If either of these appear to be present, the deck should most likely be replaced.
    1. Lack of Flashing. Flashing is used to prevent a buildup of moisture and debris. If this crucial piece is missing, the deck is at risk. This is something homeowners should be aware of before purchasing.

    Make homeowners’ decks somewhere they can spend happy hours, barbeques, and family time without the fear of an accident.


  • 10 Jan 2020 11:27 AM | Anonymous

    When doing a home inspection, the word “mold” can turn both the buyer and real-estate agent’s faces ghost white. It is the dreaded part of the buying process because it can take what a buyer saw as a dream home to nothing and an agent’s sell into a loss. The reactions, however, do not mean that mold testing should not be done.

    Mold can seriously impact the home owner’s health. Some people can experience nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing, wheezing, or more serious side effects like chronic lung illness or infections. As a home inspector, your job is to ensure the safety of those who are moving into the house. Without this inspection you are risking the health of others.

    With that being said, there are variations of how serious mold can be. Rather than just stating a black or white statement of yes, the house has mold or no, it does not, indicate the level of seriousness. This is something that can heavily weigh into a home owner’s decision and can make the conversation easier to have. “More than 80% of the mold-related lawsuits occur as a direct result of the inspector not offering mold testing to their client and failing to mention red-flags for mold that were apparent during the inspection" (Sherwood).

    Even if a mold inspection is not something that is part of your regular routine, it is worth offering and can save you a lot of trouble in the long run!

  • 03 Jan 2020 6:01 PM | Anonymous

    As home inspectors, if there is one thing we know for sure, it’s that no two home inspections are alike. This is especially true when it comes to performing a home inspection during inclement weather. While there will always be hazards and safety concerns to consider when performing a home inspection, the presence of snow and ice tend to make things slightly more difficult (if not downright impossible). Luckily, according to Chicago Building Inspections, there are several things one can do before (and during) an inspection that will help alleviate some of the dangers caused by snow and ice. 

    1. Embrace It. 

    Attitude is everything, and that doesn’t change just because it’s below freezing or there is snow on the ground. Instead of getting hung up on the negatives, remind yourself that performing a winter home inspection can actually be beneficial for you and your clients! Not only will you get to assess the HVAC system under pressure, it’s also easier to detect drafts, insulation issues, and even the integrity of the home’s foundation itself during extreme weather conditions. 

    2. Prepare Yourself.

    As the old adage goes – you have to dress for success. And according to REI, the best way to prepare for outdoor winter activities is to layer. REI suggests that the optimal number of layers is three, consisting of a base, middle and outer layer. With the base layer you want to think moisture-wicking in order to keep your body as dry as possible. The middle layer is your insulation, this is where the heat gets held in, keeping you warmer longer. And the outer layer needs to protect you from the elements, which means not only should it be waterproof, but it should come with a windchill rating as well. Being warm and comfortable will help you to efficiently get the job done. 

    3. Prepare Your Clients. 

    Not only should you schedule daytime inspections to ensure proper lighting during winter months, but you should also call the homeowner (or real estate agent) and make sure they have the house ready for you. This includes ensuring that ice and snow have been cleared so you have access to the home’s exterior as well as the roof. While certain homeowners may push back regarding snow and ice removal, without a thorough inspection, the sale could fall through, so just remember that it truly is in everyone’s best interest to cooperate. 

    4. Protect Yourself (and your clients).

    Sometimes, no matter how hard everyone tries, Old Man Winter is simply going to win. In situations where it is not safe to perform a full inspection or where a reliable and thorough inspection cannot be completed, you still have options. Some inspectors provide an inclement weather policy, which usually includes an automatic follow-up. This is not necessarily provided free of cost, but most inspectors will work in a second trip if weather prohibits a safe and reliable inspection on the first try. Some inspectors will recommend a specialist for a follow-up, and when all else fails, reschedule. Do not put your life at risk in order to maintain a timeline. 

    Most home inspectors have an inclement weather plan in place, so if you find yourself lacking in this regard, now is the perfect time to get prepared!

  • 23 Dec 2019 5:54 PM | 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 performs 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. 

  • 16 Dec 2019 5:49 PM | Anonymous

    Ever since Chip and Joanna Gaines stepped onto the scene, homeowners love finding a home to flip! There is something about turning a rundown shack into a cozy chic home that people cannot get enough of. As a home inspector, it might be smart to warn home buyers of these common mistakes associated with flipping houses.

    1. Budget, budget, budget. After homeowners find the perfect little neglected house to work their magic on, it is important that they take the time to budget for their renovations before buying. Look at your budget in four parts: house purchase, upgrades and carrying costs, selling costs and cushion. The key here is to clearly identify how much the total repair will cost and estimate how much they should be able to sell it for after the revisions.

    2. Stress the importance of the home inspection before purchase. When looking at a house that is obviously not ready for move in, it may seem obvious to home buyer as to what needs to be fixed. This, however, is often a mistake that flippers make. Something could easily be hiding under the surface such as mold or a poor foundation. A home inspection is an inexpensive way to avoid making a costly mistake.

    3. DIY gone wrong. If the house flippers are not professionals, they may run up their costs higher than expected. The home inspection process will need to be done again after the renovation, which may reveal that some issues were not resolved, or new issues were created.

  • 02 Dec 2019 5:46 PM | Anonymous

    When tackling the enormous project of building a new home, it is gravely important that you take care to ensure everything is done properly and it is safe for move in day. This is when new home inspection comes in to play. There are three types of inspections that are commonly brought up when discussing a new home.

    Pre-Drywall. This inspection is not as common but can be done. It is an inspection that takes place after the foundation is established, structural components are in place, plumbing and electric are installed, and windows and doors are in. This inspection’s goal is to ensure that the foundation of the house is stable and safe. Whether you choose to do it as a home inspector or not, is up to you! The inspection takes around an hour to an hour and a half and might be something that a homeowner is looking for. If many inspectors do not offer this in your area, it could be something that can set you apart from others.

    Final Inspection. After the home is completely built, the final inspection should take place. This inspection is the most crucial to the safety of the homeowner. There are many things that could be missed if the only inspection done is the pre-drywall option. This is a standard home inspection and is what most home inspectors are already trained for. It is important to hold off on the inspection, however, until every single aspect of the house is complete. If you inspect to early, you could be missing something vital!

    One-year Warranty Inspection. This inspection, contrary to its name, should be completed at the 11-month mark of the house’s completion. Many homeowners are offered a one-year warranty on the home to account for any possible defects or faulty work. Therefore, the inspection should be completed before this warranty is up. This inspection, again, is a basic home inspection. This is something that you might need to educate homeowners on. They might not be aware of the warranty or the timeline of when the inspection needs to be completed. One way to encourage them to use you again, would be to keep a calendar of when the homes you inspected for the final inspection will be coming up on that 11th month. Reach out to them at this point for a check in and emphasis the importance of the inspection.

    Each inspection has its own purpose and importance. The thing to keep in mind as a home inspector is that the homeowner might not know all their options. It is helpful to keep the buyers educated on the process and retain customers between different types of inspections.


  • 18 Nov 2019 5:44 PM | Anonymous

    Building credibility as a home inspector comes with high quality work. There are several areas that inexperienced or less professional home inspectors don’t spend enough time on that can quickly ruin a reputation. Avoid the mistakes of others and make sure to keep a close eye on the following areas during a home inspection.

    Plumbing. Due to its tricky location, plumbing can be a pain to inspect and ensure everything is up to code. Anyone who has had issues with plumbing before, however, knows that even the smallest mistake can lead to a whole lot of damage resulting in a whole lot of money lost for the homeowner. Make sure to spend a good amount of time during your inspection on plumbing and notice the details. Your homeowners will thank you for the extra effort.

    Roofing. Another big cost for homeowners is the roof. Make sure the potential owner knows of any rotting, cracking, curling, cupping, or missing pieces. These issues could result in even bigger and more costly issues in the future of the home. It is best that they know about them in advance and are prepared for anything that could come of it.

    Wiring. During your home inspection, do more than just a quick glance behind the walls at the electrical wiring. A longer look back there, can help you to see defective wiring or exposed wires that could lead to fire. This is one of the most important places to inspect because it not only prevents a financial burden on the owner but the risk of injury or death.

    The gist of the story is, take your time! Do not rush through an inspection to get to lunch or off the clock faster. These inspections are important, and homeowners are putting their trust in you. If you do not follow your procedures and pay attention to detail, the homeowner could lose a significant amount of money or worse. 

  • 04 Nov 2019 5:40 PM | Anonymous

    The process of buying a house can be scary. It is a huge decision to make that can cost the buyer a pretty penny. Because of this stress, home owners depend on home inspections to make or break their deal. The results of home inspections have led to almost one third of all ended real estate contracts.  This puts a heavy weight on your job as an inspector.

    Buyers are depending on their home inspector to catch deal breaker defects that would otherwise go unnoticed. With that weight on the inspector’s shoulders, it is important that the job is done correctly. You don’t want potential homeowners to lose out on their dream home or sellers to miss out on a sale because of a mistake you made.

    When inspecting, it is important to stay within the guidelines of the inspection. For example, you should not be evaluating the life expectancy of the property or components, the market value, or aesthetic issues. You are an unbiased inspector that is there to ensure health and safety. 

  • 21 Oct 2019 5:36 PM | Anonymous

    Getting trained and certified is important, however, getting your business off the ground might be the more challenging part. Once you are established, it should be your mission to get your name out there and network, develop a social media page, and make connections. Once you have a great resource of connections, it is important to maintain them throughout the span of your career. Make your customers loyal to you when it comes to their home inspection needs. Here are a few tips on doing just that!

    1. Earn the trust of your customers. Make sure to offer customers fair pricing and your honest opinion during the inspection. This will develop a sense of trust between you and the homeowner. When your job is to ensure the safety of a home, trust is your biggest selling point.

    2. Utilize your current customers to gain more. Because you have already developed the trust with your existing customers, why not have them do some of the selling for you? Offer them a reward for referrals to encourage them to spread the word about your business.

    3. Set up an automatic check in. If you are doing the initial home inspection, go ahead and ask the customer if they would like you to check back in at 11-months before their warranty ends. Getting this on the calendar on the first inspection, will ensure that you are the go – to person for future home inspections. 

    These few pointers should help you to ensure some repeat customers. It is important to keep in mind that your relationship with your customer should be just that, a relationship. These relationships need watering and attention in order to grow and bloom into a successful company.

  • 07 Oct 2019 5:29 PM | Anonymous

    Being new to any industry can be a challenge! As a new home inspector, it is important to set a marketing plan in place so that your name comes to mind when people are looking for a home inspector. Following these some basic steps right away will create a foundation and help your business grow exponentially.

    Build a website

    Having a website allows you to appear as an established business in the minds of customers. This is somewhere they can learn about you and contact you. It also allows you to pop up in Google searches when someone who doesn’t know where to start goes looking for a home inspector.

    Network and make connections

    Starting a new business is a lot like the first day of high school in some regard. If you don’t make friends, it will be a bumpy ride. Make the right friends and connections and things get much easier. Business networking is not much different. It can help you reach more clients and eventually the business growth and community of referrals you need to reach success. Networking plays a vital role in business growth today. It provides an environment where people can share their success and mistakes with each other. Ultimately giving you an answer key before the test!

    Bonus question answer: Realtors can be your best friend in this industry. Building a strong network of realtors can lead to a long list of referrals.

    Marketing materials

    Have something to hand homeowners besides a contract. Create business cards and potentially flyers that explain your service and quality. This will help you to stand out amongst other home inspectors they might meet with.

     Join an association

    Being a member of a home inspector association allows you to share tips, learn about new tools and opportunities, as well as ask questions.  Associations give you an environment of support, growth and opportunity you don’t get standing on your own.  They are amazing resources for continuing education, information, and connections. Do not underestimate the value these add to you as a professional and your company.

    Don’t stop learning

    Training to become a home inspector is essential, but it is just important to grow your business after you are established. 

    If you are a home inspector who is required to be licensed by your state, it may be necessary to acquire continuing education credits to keep your license active. Not all states have these requirements though, and this could lead to a decline in the quality of work within the industry. Continuing education is essential to staying on top of current regulations, client’s needs, and what’s going on in the industry.

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