The Inspection

The purchase of a home is usually the largest investment the average family makes. You need to know what to expect in terms of possible repair work and maintenance that may be needed. A fresh coat of paint could be hiding serious neglect. Subtle hard to see stains may indicate a chronic roof leak, a leaky pipe, or just a single incident. My job is to make a complete visual inspection and report on the condition of the structure and systems as observed on the day of the inspection. I work for you, my sole concern is that you know about any visible deficiencies and safety issues related to your new home. While sellers and real estate agents are required by law to disclose all known problems in a home, it is still important to thoroughly assess the condition of the home and it’s related systems within the time frame specified in your purchase offer. Sellers can become so accustom to a problem in their home that they forget it, or regard it as insignificant.

The Inspection:

I will check and evaluate the visual condition and function of all major components and systems of the home per the Standards of Practice set forth by the California Real Estate Inspection Association. Including the attic, attic framing, ductwork, visible structure, roof, foundation, exterior, garage, fire separation, patio, drainage, heating system, air conditioning, plumbing system, water heater, electrical system, walls, insulation, windows, ceilings, floors, doors, kitchen and bath systems.

CREIA Standards:   CREIA Standards pdf

The Report:

 Computer generated, site specific, narrative, with digital photographs embedded in the appropriate sections. Reports are emailed on the same evening as the inspection. You will need Adobe Acrobat to view these files.

Sample Report:    Sample Inspection Report pdf

I am often asked about “ON-SITE” reports. I don’t do them, I have the proper software and equipment, I actually did them for a few months, I also tried the generic checklist report, they simply did not meet the standards I have set for myself or my business. (I go over all my findings and explain the operation of major systems and utility locations while on site)

Here are my major reasons (I have more) for not doing reports on site if you are at all interested in my reasoning.

These are MY opinion’s and MY reason’s, I have no quarrel with others who disagree, but I have to make my own choices. So do you! Don’t let a Realtor force an Inspector on you until you satisfy yourself regarding their qualifications and allegiances.

  1. Most on site reporting is done with a generic checklist type report with no capability of inserting photos, and any added narrative has to be hand written. I can’t read my own dang handwriting, and I would never expect you to read it. Frankly, I see the generic checklist as nothing more that a shortcut for those inspectors who are unwilling or unable to go the extra mile, and expense, to put together a comprehensive site specific document that covers all the systems without leaving three-quarters of the document blank (un-marked) because it does not apply to the property being inspected, and then mail you some photos later or not offer them at all.
  2. The available computer narrative reports take a fair amount of extra time at the inspection site, anywhere from one to two additional hours.  The team approach to the process helps shorten the time somewhat, but it has it’s own drawbacks. As to the team approach, I pay nearly four thousand dollars a year for professional liability insurance. (New Inspectors who can afford the monthly premiums pay considerably more) The Insurance Companies require each person involved in the process to have their own individual insurance. Studies show that less than half of the Inspectors actually carry Errors and Omissions with General Liability Insurance. What do you think the percentage is for most Team Inspectors? Not only that, but I would have to train someone to my standards, get them CREIA Certified, trust them completely, pay their insurance premium, and then convince them to stay with me while all they can think about is how much money they can make on their own without me…
  3. My Dad was an Engineer; I don’t think he ever gave me a direct answer to a technical question his entire life. I might say. “Dad. What is that?” Or, “Dad. How does that work?” His answer was almost invariably. “What do you think it is?” or, “How do you think it works?” My usual answer was. “Huh?” or, “I don’t know.” His answer was always the same. “Think about it and get back to me.” Ok; I learned to think. If I came back without an answer, or the wrong answer, I got to think about it some more. If I was close, he would engage me and help me think. When I look at something unusual in a house or building that tweaks my thought process, I write it down and ponder on it, often-times solutions or causes come to me later, after I have thought about it more. Besides that, I put a lot of time into my written reports. I believe you deserve a report that has been fully thought-out, formatted, and detailed; that takes time and organization that on-site reporting simply does not allow for. My written report is among the very best, and I intend to keep it that way. Please take the time to read over the report attached and I think you will agree.

One more comment about this and I’ll get off my soap box….Really!

I am well aware that many Inspectors offer on-site reports, they are becoming the norm….Why is that? Many Agents like them, and refer clients that direction if they don’t take too much extra time. (which is why many of them like team inspections as well) Now I’m going to ruffle some more feathers here, and I am well aware of it, because it’s something I do on a regular basis, and have pretty much always done. (I’m a middle child and a Home Inspector, so It’s my natural element) Many Agents want the “Request For Repairs on record as soon as possible to help hold things together, if you take too much time to think, you just might think beyond your emotions. Not only that, but if you sit down to lunch after the inspection and put together the Request For Repairs, there is a good chance that you have not studied the report (30 – 40 Pages) and allowed time for things to sink in… You normally have 10 – 17 days for your due diligence; don’t waste a minute of it, but don’t be rushed into anything either… I GUARANTEE, that when you sit down and READ my written report, read and ponder it, it will have a much greater impact on you than anything I might say during or after the inspection. GUARANTEED!!! I know this because of the countless phone calls I get on a regular basis from Clients who say….” I don’t remember you mentioning anything about such and such…” Besides…I need something to do at night to keep me out of trouble…

The Difference:

How am I different? I have over four thousand inspections under my belt, an active General Contractors License, current ICC Certification, and current CREIA “Master” Inspector status; furthermore, I am relatively compact, (5’6″ – 145 lbs) which is a great advantage for an inspector. Sadly, the fact is that the vast majority of inspectors are relatively new to the business, or think they can get by without continual and constant education. Active membership in CREIA, ICC, or ASHI provide for, and mandate, proof of continuing education on a regular basis. Your concern of course is to discover another experienced and well trained inspector before your seventeen days of due diligence is up.

As I said on my home page, I know most of the very best, and experienced inspectors, but I’m certainly not going to tell you their names here. I will, however, give you a few questions to ask and there are links for you to get the answers.                                                  (You may have to copy and paste the links to your browser)

  1. What is the major concern regarding the Rampart General                                   
  2. Can you identify and un-labeled Consolidated/Premier? How? And what is the major concern with this system?
  3. Can you name two of the five defective ABS pipe brands? How about One??             
  4. What is the major concern with Federal Pacific Stab-Loc? Zinsco?                                 
  5. How do you identify Cal-Shake? Cemwood?                                                                        
  6. What is the difference between single strand aluminum wire and tin coated wire?

Quick Story: There is an inspector I know, not well, but he’d been around town over a year at the time of this event. National Franchise Company, marketing type guy, I envy people with that sales personality and marketing flair, often the center of attention at the Realtor meetings and Real Estate office social functions. I know a number of agents who recommend him “exclusively”. Anyway, I saw him at an inspection marketing and fee related seminar one day, the subject of a well known consumer Product Safety Commission recall that was issued years earlier came up by way of a related question. (this recall was not a subject of the session) I honestly couldn’t believe it when he raised his hand asked where he could get more information on this product, as he was not aware of it. The question that begs to be asked is. How many of these potentially dangerous fire hazards, (or other common defects) are missed by un-informed Inspectors? Oh yes, you can try to gig their Insurance Carrier for major mistakes. (If you are still alive, and they have insurance) But is that what you want to do with your spare time after laying down several hundred grand, or more for a house???

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