- What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
Yes, the purpose of continuing education is to maintain NY State home inspection license and for the InterNational Association of Certified Home Inspectors it is an integral aspect of certification to help inspectors maintain inspection excellence.. Continuing Education helps ensure that I recognize changes within the home inspection industry. Some recent courses I have taken and received credit for: How to Perform Roofing Inspections Structural Issues for Home Inspectors Residential Plumbing Overview for Inspectors Green Building Inspection How to Perform Mold Inspections How to Perform Energy Audits Radon Measurement Service Provider Wood-Destroying Organism Building Science and Thermal ImagingCode of Ethics Obstacle Course Residential Standards of Practice Quiz Inspecting Water Heater Tanks Home Inspection Fundamentals: The ExteriorInspectionHow to Inspect for Moisture Intrusion Log Home Inspection These are some of the courses I have taken in the last couple of years. The State of New York requires continuing education to maintain the State Home Inspection License also. The above listed IntrNACHI courses were not approved yet by NY State for continuing education, so I have taken several other State approved classes from the American Building Inspection & Training Co. in East Syracuse, NY.
- How did you get started doing this type of work?
Prior to becoming a home inspector, I was a general contractor and receive a call from a single mom who was having some plumbing problems in her home. She explained to me that she had just bought a house after having a home inspection performed. It was an older home and she had a limited budget and wanted to ensure the home was in good shape which no costly repairs needed. At that time (1995) there was only one home inspection company listed in the Syracuse, NY yellow pages, by the way they are no longer in business. She said she was having problems with the drains backing up. I inspected the plumbing drains and vent pipes. As I explained the extent of the plumbing repairs required, she began to cry. I felt bad for her situation. The house needed a lot of major plumbing work, the old galvanized iron pipes were obviously rusted badly and needed to be replaced. There were also blatant plumbing code violations easily seen, consisting of open traps, improper drain pitch, improper traps, etc. Some of the plumbing issues posed safety hazards with methane sewer gas leaking into the home, and now the backed up toilets and sink drains. She told me that she had very little money and the only reason she bought the house was that her home inspector had said the house was in great shape, which including the plumbing system. I asked if I could take a look at her home inspection report. She explained she was surprised at the young age of the inspector, she estimated to be in his early 20's. She was also surprised at how quickly he finished the inspection, in about an hour. For her $350 fee, she got a five page check list with only a few written comments. In the plumbing section of the report there were only check marks indicating satisfactory, no defects were listed or noted whatsoever in the plumbing section. At this point I realized there was a great need for a better home inspection service. I had to agree with that single mom that she had been provided a disservice not a service. It was obvious to the homeowner and myself that the home inspector was not properly qualified or experienced and or he was blatantly derelict in his duty to perform a proper inspection. This example resulted in an inspection report that was not only useless but also placed the buyer in a bad position, unaware of actual unsatisfactory condition of the home and the costs required to bring the home up to a truly satisfactory condition. I knew I could have provided a much better inspection and report than which she had received. In addition to my 15 years of contracting experience at that time, I enrolled into a home inspection school and opened my own home inspection company in 1997, under the name of ACE Home Inspection. At that time I was the 3rd home inspection company listed in the Syracuse phone book. Later I changed the company name to "A Best Home Inspection." Today, for that same $350 she spent in 1995, I provide a very thorough inspection that takes an average of about 4 hours. And my clients get a custom 63 page report in a 3 ring binder. Most homes I inspect well over 500 separate items, sometimes more than 1000 items. I've inspected over 2000 homes, through the eyes of a professional with more than 30 years real experience in residential and commercial contracting.
- What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
How To Hire A Home Inspector When hiring a home inspector you want a professional who takes sufficient time to do a thorough job an average home takes at least 2 to 4 hours for the inspection. A good report requires an additional 2 to 4 hours at the office to write the report. A professional inspector "WILL NOT" write their report while doing the inspection. Do not even consider an inspector who delivers the report at the house after the inspection, they are speed/profit driven, you will not get a good inspection or a detailed report. You want someone who pays attention to details, who will take time to answer your questions. A professional inspector will provide a comprehensive narrative style report, that includes digital photos and a summary of action items, delivered by email within 24 hours of the inspection. Professional inspectors do not use check-list or hand written reports, those are used by cheap inspectors. The report needs to communicate clearly all significant defects in an easy to understand language. Absolutely make sure to compare the home inspectors reports, that is where the rubber meets the road. Any home inspector who does not have sample reports should not be considered. You hire an inspector to look out for your best interest, not one who is more concerned with pleasing the realtor who referred him than you who hired him. Unfortunately some very busy inspectors are highly referred by realtors for that very reason; they are known to gloss over defects so as not to spoil the sale. These are referred to as "patsy" inspections and are a violation of the Inspector's Code of Ethics. Ask what type of related background experience they have and how many homes they have inspected. The State of New York has paid for many hundreds of laid off factory workers to attend a home inspection course and they become home inspectors, many of which have no related experience in the building trades or home construction or inspection fields whatsoever. All inspectors will say they do a "full" and or "thorough" inspection, (by their opinion), but what does that really mean. There is a world of difference between inspections and inspectors. To help determine a good inspector you need to ask a few important questions. Ask about their inspection process. Can you tag along? Can you ask questions? Do they explain things, give recommendations or give cost estimates? What type of report, how many pages? How long does the inspection take? If needed can you do radon, mold, lead, water, well, septic, or other tests, are you certified to do those types of test? Many home inspectors will not answer questions during the inspection and others discourage or limit questions even after the inspection. Many of the home inspectors I know of, do a quick walk through of the home, filling out a short check list a few pages long. I have seen several where they have not even written one full sentence in the report, but consist of checked boxes and a few sentence fragments, pretty lame. Many inspectors hind you a report and are gone in less than an hour, or an hour and a half at most. Believe me this is not enough time to do an inspection let alone a decent report. This is unfortunate because it takes time to do a thorough home inspection. I've inspected over 2000 homes and am very efficient in the inspection process and most homes take at least two and a half hours to inspect if I am by myself. I encourage the home buyer to follow me through the inspection to get the most out of it. When I am with a client, pointing out defects, answering questions, making repair and maintenance recommendations and giving repair cost estimates, most inspections take at least three and half up to five hours to conduct. Don't choose and inspector based on price alone. You will most likely pay about the same price for a one hour quickie inspection vs a full and thorough detailed inspection. You shouldn't choose an inspector by reviews alone either. Most companies have a lot of control over what reviews are made pubic and choose only happy clients to give the reviews. But reviews can be helpful in addition to the other advice given above.