When hiring a home
inspector (often without talking/meeting the person performing the
inspection), be comfortable in your selection:
Tips to consider:
* The latest trend of home buying.....the short sale/ foreclosure deals: DO NOT accept the "as is" status of any pending sale or listing. I have inspected and then heard from clients that the sellers or their terrifying agents have tried to lay this gauntlet down to scare buyers into accepting the deal as is and no matter what any inspection turns up... it is what it is. And if you don't like the deal we'll take the next in line buyer. I THINK NOT!!! I recently did a job where the cesspool was imploding and the undisclosed improperly abandoned buried oil tank became REAL issues. Fast forward. After a scare tactic by the banks broker, all bets were off. The bank allowed a $6K figure for replacement of the cesspool AND the costs for testing, pumping and properly removing/abating the buried oil tank!!! Luckily the tank did not leak and there was municipal water supply in the deal. Buyers closed the deal!
* New trend by realtor offices to make new found income: only list, keep available or allow "sponsor" home inspector companies who
have ponied up with a fee for advertising in their newsletters, annual awards dinners, preferred vendor lists, web site links and other inhouse advertising venues like t.v.s and those wonderful two pocket home buyers folders. Makes you wonder who has your best interest in mind. There's a reason they're called "preferred" vendors. HMMMM.
* Do not take a prior inspection report OR test results as a replacement of what you need to know! You were not
at that inspection. No two inspectors inspect the same even if they may have used the same report format. You really
owe it to yourself to obtain your own inspector and hire the right inspector for YOUR needs. Remember, any
prior inspection report is only valid for the conditions the day of that inspection and who that report was issued
to! If you rely entirely on the prior report you could be in for a big surprise and will not have any recourse from
that inspector because you were not the client... the prior buyer (or home seller) was! What if the prior inspector tested the radon on the wrong level? What if the prior inspector called out black MOLD without lab confirmation? What if the prior inspector improperly collected the well water and caused it to fail by a stupid oversight?
* Beware of the latest trend in home inspection.... the Pre-certified/Pre-owned home! Many listing agents and FSBO's are being duped into having a skim-coated inspection performed to help sell a home quicker. Remember, it's to THEIR advantage to have this performed. The report you may be shown may have missed important issues the day of the inspection. Worse yet, several weeks/months may have passed since that inspection.... stuff happens! Get your own inspection done. Be sure to do your due diligence. I offer a marketing inspection....for marketing purposes only. It is not meant to replace a full fledged inspection nor does it include any necessary tests. Yes, I conduct marketing inspections.... however, they are for the seller and for marketing purposes. I must say however, they represent the current condition of the home at time of inspection AND may have you thinking of a scaled down version of an inspection plus any necessary tests for your buyers position when your time comes.
* Our inspection report is the best in the industry! Mine is a checklist narrative type that's been in use almost 25 years across the US and updated on a regular basis. Why settle for someones expensive software driven report system (accessible to people other than the customer) written by someone who has never stepped foot in your next home? Read enough? Call 845-518-6494 to book your inspection.
Also, do you really want to hire an inspector who looks and clicks.... next thing you know your wonderful e-based report shows your next home has a hot tub when in fact it only has a simple whirlpool tub! Oh, yes,we do take digital photos when needed to back up or expand on our text (text having a more legal foothold any day... ask any attorney) BUT A1 does not end up taking dozens of shots and making a pictionary/wedding/CYA episode out of the home inspection!
If the inspector cannot explain in detailed text what they are inspecting, than something is seriously wrong.
* Another trend in home selling.... staging. It's a feasible idea, but it really only helps the seller and agent move the merchandise quicker. Several larger brokerages now have one or more certified stagers. Just remember, you'll end up redecorating the home to your tastes after you move in anyway. Keep the proper perspective is all you need to do when previewing your next home.
* Do not hire the first
inspection company that answers the phone live (aka: fog the mirror under
your nose or check for a pulse test). You may not be hiring the
ideal inspector. Interview up to three and then make a
decision. Try to interview up to three inspectors, not the answering receptionist.... he/she will not be doing your inspection. They only sell and take appointments. Competence plus curbside manner counts the most!
Do not have your realtor call around for pricing. You need to do
the "homework" and find out for yourself. However, if all you are
interested in is price, then it sounds like you really just want any
old inspection at the cheapest price. Look for the cheapo yellow
page inspector listing for that matter. Please do not call me. In the long run, an expensive smart inspector will be a whole lot less expensive than a dumb cheap one.
*Some inspection companies do not separate out the inspection from the tests. So people can be misled. I always quote
the inspection, then any pertinent testing. Well, radon, septic
dye tests are tests, not inspections.
same size and age home in the country on well and septic will always
cost more than a similar home on municipal water and sewer.
Some will take your square footage (living space only) and give you a quote... not realizing the basement/crawlspace represents another 1/3 to 1/2 more inspectable square footage if not properly disclosed at the time of interviewing/quoting!!!
* If someone proposes you choose a company with a "team" approach to inspecting, start asking questions.
Who (what one person) can you possibly follow at one time? Yeah, the inspection time may be reduced.
Who does that really benefit? The realtor? You bet. They claim to have 2 to 3 sets of eyes inspecting everything but wha in fact happens is that the inspection time is reduced...the amount of valuable information is not tripled! You NEED all the time YOU NEED to make sure the
job is done well and you are not rushed or underinformed. The team's main goal/selling point is to get the job done ASAP enabling them to move on to the next job that day and get the realtor back on the road. A1 takes the time we need to do a proper job....period. I guarantee at least 200% more valuable information on every inspection vs. any other inspection company in my marketplace.
* Do not seriously consider an inspection company (or two) listed/linked on any realtor website. The
words "preferred" or "affilitate" even with a company disclaimer may have nothing in the plus column for you to select that firm or inspector. The listing could have a paid advertising connection and may not be a good "independent" choice for YOUR needs. I'll admit that my company name is listed on a realtor website or two BUT... it was that company who approached me and there is NO compensation/referral fee involved... guaranteed. Same thought applies to Realtors that produce their own
newspaper/flyers with "preferred" vendor/affiliates (lenders,
inspectors, lawyers etc.). Someone has to pay to produce that flyer. It's the vendor listed ... that's who... or worse....the client by getting a softball pitching inspector, banker, lawyer etc. Now you get the picture!
* It may not be such a bad idea to choose an out of town inspector. For example, if you're buying a home in the active areas of Rockland/Orange counties or the ski slopes of the Catskills, A1 would be happy to inspect your pending purchase.... and I'm not going to be in cahoots with any local realtors. Some realtors do not like to use out of town inspectors because they may not be 'familiar" with the "area" or God forbid, their firm is "on the other side of the river!" (Good grief... my toddler daughter who likes Charlie Brown just exclaimed).
Geography has nothing to do with a home inspector. True story: I recently did an inspection in Westchester county, spent an hour longer than the local inspectors normally would spend, provided a meaningful report on the spot. The buyers agent called the listing agent to inform her that she should add me to the "local" inspector list! Too bad I'm still waiting for the calls to come in.
*FYI... Ironically, I often do not end
up booking inspections because of realtor website listings and/or some realtors
over-reccommed me BECAUSE I DO SUCH an HONEST, THOROUGH JOB!! Can you imagine that?
*If your attorney
suggested someone, it's "probably" a good choice. You should still
interview that inspector to see if it's a good fit. An over
zealous, nit-picky inspector can sometimes become part of your new
payroll before you know it ,and you'll end up not purchasing the house of
your dreams! Then two, three, four inspections later.... you still have no home... Ahah.... BAD INSPECTOR!!!! I 've also heard of some attorneys referring only
the most overzealous, nit-picky inspectors because it makes them look
like your interests (no matter how large or small or how many valid/invalid defects are found) are being considered. It allows for added billable hours and if the deal doesn't close, you'll find another home, have it inspected and you will need the lawyer and inspector again, and again, and again........
*If your realtor
told/pressured you to book an inspection ASAP (you usually have up to
two weeks to complete an inspection) and/or use "their" inspector or the first live inspector who can book you in asap... be
sure to interview that person yourself! Realtors usually give out three
company names & phone numbers. If they still insist you use "their"
inspector and no others, be sure there are no conflicts of interest and
still interview the inspector personally to see if it's a good match
*HOLD YOUR GROUND. IF YOUR REALTOR CANNOT HOLD YOUR POSITION, then how good are they really? Contractually, if you are in first position, and want to hire the inspector YOU WANT, then say so and hold your ground! Keep in mind....the house is not going anywhere. If it's meant to be, it'll all come together. Check your binder.
*Does the inspector offer ALL of the services your situation requires? A-1 is a full-service one-stop shop!
* I have conducted lectures to realtors and at the end they invariably state that they don't know if they should love me or hate me..... because of the business ethics and higher level of service I provide my customers!! Just remember, I am NOT incentivised and will be the ONLY unbiased, independent party in your deal....guaranteed!!!
* I have spoken to realtors who already have their "own" inspectors and the reason they like them is because the inspectors do not "rock the boat!" I don't know about you, but the last thing I knew about inspectors and boats is that they were called surveyors, not home inspectors! Hey, if I end up rocking the boat, I've done my job, saved you a ton of money, and insured you received the best inspection. Period.
* Some realtors hear that I am the inspector on the job and dispatch someone from their listing office just to keep things in perspective... their perspective. I actually had a listing broker tell their seller to shock the well the day before I inspected the house to make sure the well water test would pass!!! I AM NOT MAKING THIS STUFF UP!
* Another true story.... I inspected a house for a buyer and was told in advance that the sellers had a presale
inspection done and no glaring issues were noted. And that the deal on the table was non-negotiable. So
it seemed I was there to just educate my first time home buyer....or so it seemed. After completing the inspection, I had discovered: significant mold in the attic, an active hot water baseboard water leak, an active
tub drain leak, an oil burner boiler with a refractor box that was imploding etc. .... Not one of these issues had
been discovered/noted by the other inspection company! End result, the seller agreed to fix all the significant
issues I found and the deal went to closing. End of Story... True Story. The seller actually wanted to hire me
to repair the issues, but I said no thank you as it would be a conflict of interest.
* Yet another true story.... I recently inspected a home in Putnam County for a repeat customer. Upon
crawling around the attic, I called out significant suspect mold in over 65% of the roof decking. An immediate
tape sample was taken, and later confirmed more than one type of mold in an above average concentration.
The listing agent conveniently forgot to mention that the home had been preinspected just 3 no or was it 6
months prior and there is no way that amount of mold could have been missed. Yeah, right... it just arrived
two weeks ago! Now the parties are debating a remediation cleanup job!
* If your realtor provides a "list" of allied professionals including home inspectors, be wary. It may be old, the inspectors may be "favorites" who give a "basic" inspection and give all homes a passing grade. Keep in mind, once a home inspector "kills" a deal, it usually means they won't be referred again... because the deal did not move forward to the closing/commission table.... generally speaking. I cannot begin to tell you of all the realtors who "tried me", and when the first inspection did not move forward regardless of the
inspection findings.... I might have well fallen off the face of the earth! If an inspection outcome affects their
livelihood (some of them feel they alone are able to make money and no one else) all bets are off. Some offices are required to show/offer more than one company in each allied profession for their clients reference.
A list is just a list.... do some of your own investigational work. It's your deal. Inspection quality can change over time..... just like realtors move their licenses around several brokerages. I sometimes wonder about that.
* There are ethical, caring realtors and allied professionals who give a darn, have developed
a certain following and consistently provide quality service to their client base. Think about it though... does
a "multimillion dollar producer" have time to sit at "quality" home inspections? Probably not. Afterall, it
impinges on their selling time and they do not want the inspector to find any "problems." I cannot tell
you how many times a realtor has tried to "sell" me the home by saying how everything has been updated,
or the builder/remodeler is high end, or how surprised they would be if I found anything wrong with the house!
I've even had home builders at the inspection poo-pooing issues/defects found.....because they think they build the best houses!
*If you are considering
using the same inspection company as before, be sure you are ending up
with the same inspector. Companies expand, take on franchises, add associates, get sold or go out of business etc...
things change...some people don't like their jobs anymore...
*If a friend suggested
using their inspector, you should still interview that person to see if
they are a good fit for YOUR situation. Remember, just like homes,
there are no two inspectors alike! Just because that inspection
company did a decent job for your friend does not automatically mean the same will apply to your deal. That
company may have bought into another report software company with a totally different inspection format.
Also, unless you are blood related twins, you (not to mention your spouse) probably will have different expectations for a home inspection than your friends (i.e. you have allergies/asthma in the family and they did not --- you are buying a house in the country and they bought a house in the village etc. etc.).
*Check out the inspection company website/info/testimonials. If they don't have a website in this day and age-- I would be skeptical. Also, if they heavily tout having been a former/current active builder/remodeler, I would throw caution to the wind.... builders "may" know how to "build", but they may also offer to conveniently fix any defects found from the inspection and/or may just have morphed into the home inspection trade. Can we see a conflict of interest here?
wary of the inspection company limited liability/lack of appropriate
insurance. Many inspectors limit their exposure to just the amount of
the fee the customer pays them... and that's it! Also, the new NY
home inspector licensing law does not require an inspector to
carry errors and omission insurance. (A-1 is FULLY insured and
bonded!). Ask the company what kind of insurance(s) they carry.
* Try to speak
directly to the person who may possibly inspect your home. Interview
them and ask about their credentials and experience.
Listen to their people skills. Are they really interested in YOUR
do you actually get the finished paper report AND how meaningful
is the information in the report? (if the report is done on site/disc
burned/boiler plate and 1/3 is disclaimer, 1/3 is mumbo jumbo, and the
remaining 1/3 is triple spaced general text/photos... What are you
actually paying for?? (the software?) Do you really want to
go home, hope the disc uploads to your computer, print out the report,
and THEN find out it's a disappointing sub-par skimmed overview?
*Oh, and if someone
offers to get you a "discounted copy" of the last inspection of the
property done by another inspector to save you time and money...watch
out! REMEMBER - Price does not always reflect value or business
sense. Some inspectors do not work full time (A-1 does) and
will not do weekend inspections. (A-1 does). The report is only reflecting the conditions the day of inspection AND every inspection inspects and produces a different
report! You can have five different inspectors
and you will get five different reports!
* Membership to any or a
number of inspection related organizations does not necessarily make an
inspector a better/worse inspector. Inspectors are required to obtain
continuing education...usually only available via an organization or approved teaching/testing company and
required by their state licensing board.
* Call A-1 Home Inspection
Services LLC - Your Sherlock of Homes - WHY SETTLE FOR LESS!! 1-866-320-8650 - local 845-889-8849.