Why is Home Inspection Important?
14 Tag Results for "Pest Inspection"
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November 30, 2012 | Comments: 0
My home inspector practice has yet to turn up a dangerously unsafe deck, but I personally know other inspectors who have found such, and there are lots of well-documented examples of deck failures in the broader trade literature. The importance a home inspector places on the careful inspection of decks is thus a good indicator of the quality of his overall work. This blog will illustrate how I approach the determination of deck safety.
The home inspector has to take deck safety very seriously for a few reasons. One, safety (in general) is a primary concern. Two, inadvertent omission of a structural problem can result in avoidable damage to person and property (as well as to inspector reputation). Third, decks are sometimes add-on projects of homeowners and are not always built to code or through the permitting process. Fourth, decks are exposed to the elements and thus can degrade more rapidly than the house.
Home Inspection on "Home Inspector Deck Safety Practices"
June 30, 2012 | Comments: 0
Mold removal is a scary thing to contemplate for many people, and often its success or failure determines the outcome of a real estate transaction. Some fear that mold removal is not possible in an absolute or permanent sense and that once established it will always come back like a monstrous Hydra no matter what one does. In actuality, there are professional services that eliminate mold and the conditions that cause it to grow, and they usually provide some level of guarantee. However, such an undertaking is not that difficult for the average homeowner to take on either.
Successful removal of mold depends on two key factors: (a) finding all of it and (b) first correcting the problems that led to microbial development. If these two steps aren't thoroughly and diligently completed, then indeed it is likely that the mold will come back. Here, professional help in the form of a pest inspection can boost one's confidence; see www.HomeInspectionWA.net for more information.
Home Inspection on "Proven Steps to Mold Removal"
April 30, 2012 | Comments: 0
Toxic mold seems to be more pronounced in the collective consciousness these days. Customers inquire about toxic mold more often than they used to, and it isn't that surprising. The Pacific Northwest is already awash with moisture, a key factor in mold growth, and modern houses built to leak little or no energy tend to lack adequate ventilation, which provides another factor. The only other thing needed is cellulose or some kind of food, and mold will thrive. Thus, I believe conditions today are more conducive for mold (and wood-destroying organisms in general), undoubtedly raising people's level of awareness and worry.
Not all mold is toxic, though many assume that it is, sometimes elevating their concern unnecessarily. In fact, in some cases what appears to be mold is actually a different organism altogether. Unless they have been specially trained in this area, home inspectors shy away from identifying their findings specifically as mold or mildew, preferring instead to use the term microbial growth. So it might prove useful to look at how to distinguish between different kinds of mold, how to recognize some of the associated health symptoms, and how to get rid of the stuff once it has been detected.
Home Inspection on "Do You Have Toxic Mold In Your House?"
January 31, 2012 | Comments: 0
The home inspection service industry is certainly not immune to the devastations imposed by today's economy. Home inspection as a service seems to be almost on the brink of going the way of gas stations, once called service stations. Indeed, the whole notion of serving our fellow man while making a living has been getting quainter for a couple decades now. But I will ever be a holdout for the position that bettering others is the only true measure of success, whether in life or in my chosen profession of inspecting houses. Otherwise, what's the point, or, more generically, what has society become?
Service in the home inspection business will never really go defunct because fulfilling even the most basic functions is a service. But I sense an attitude shift in collective consciousness away from appreciation for a benefit received towards assumption that everyone does the minimum he can get away with. Whether this is a short-term glumness stemming from economic necessity or a long-term cultural change is harder for me to detect. Will the halving of the number of real estate agents be a blip or permanent? Will helping people to buy and sell houses survive as a service? Probably in some form, but using a different business model. Will we get to the point where the vast majority sacrifice advocacy and expertise for the sake of lower cost (including home inspection cost), perhaps justified by the self-delusion that they are still safe, that nothing will go wrong?
Home Inspection on "Is Home Inspection Service Defunct?"
January 16, 2012 | Comments: 0
The pest inspection service is sort of a strange beast in that members of rather different trades provide it depending on circumstances. A pest inspection may be part of a home inspection, in which case the person is a home inspector also acting as a structural pest inspector (SPI), or it may be a prelude to pest extermination, in which case the person is a pest control operator (PCO). Some thirty years ago, the quality of pest inspections, conducted almost entirely by PCOs, was also a mixed bag, and legislation passed in 1991 shored it up. Once home inspectors, assisting real estate transactions, became more prevalent, they incorporated pest inspections into their work. This introduced a different set of problems, and more recent legislation addressed them.
Now, structural pest inspection and home inspection are considered separate trades, at least in Washington State, and they are regulated by separate agencies. Each trade requires a license with its own set of requirements and fees. In the rest of this blog I want to look at how this dual licensing structure has played out in terms of the rigor involved in obtaining a license to inspect for specific pests and the consequent underutilization of the learned skills.
Home Inspection on "Observations on Pest Inspection Licensing"
December 30, 2011 | Comments: 0
A home inspection report is the key product or deliverable that clients pay for when they hire an inspector. But reading the inspection report with care has in general not been a high priority. I'm used to customers glancing through the summary and ignoring the body of the report altogether, probably intending to come back to it later. Obviously buyers feel pressure from within and without to make a decision about the inspection contingency. They don't want the house to go away, the agent wants a closing, and moving day may be fast approaching. These are all strong motivators for quick decisions.
Lately, however, the inspection report seems to be gaining in importance. Buyers still have to act relatively quickly after they receive it, but in today's market the pressure is gone. Competition is scarce and there is a much higher perceived risk. Now I get the sense that clients scour my report almost looking for an excuse not to buy. They are much pickier and more willing to walk away. Is this a trend or blip? My belief is that homebuyers are going to be much more careful hereon out. My report is still the same, but their attitude toward it is changing, and that means its quality is becoming more significant.
Home Inspection on "Will the Home Inspection Report Become More Important?"
December 17, 2011 | Comments: 0
Historically, the inspection services trade has gotten a poor reputation. People often denigrate inspection services because of bad past experiences. My sense is that this perception is not confined to Washington State but widespread.
What did inspection services do to cause such sour dispositions or even, in too many cases, litigation? The comments I have heard tend to cite inspectors that were just not that conscientious. The inspector seemed to be more interested in pleasing the agent than the customer, and consequently was too quick, overlooked issues, and produced shoddy reports.
Home Inspection on "My Take on Inspection Services Today"
November 30, 2011 | Comments: 0
The warranty home inspection is a rare bird to begin with, but I am wondering if it has become extinct. Inspection and a home warranty policy appear to be almost mutually exclusive, the buyer choosing one or the other but not both. It used to be that a home warranty policy was automatically offered upon opening escrow, and the buyer sometimes proposed to split the cost with the seller. My sense now is that the inspection is far preferable.
But a home inspection and warranty policy are not necessarily orthogonal. In fact, for new construction, one expects the general contractor to address, free of charge and for up to a year after closing, obvious mistakes and annoyances. The warranty home inspection is designed to generate a punch list for the new owner that is as complete as possible. For older houses, a home warranty policy to me still makes sense, whether or not it was inspected, if only to provide insurance against a spate of sudden expenses. And the inspector can help the buyer determine if any claims should be made before the warranty expires.
Home Inspection on "Is the Warranty Home Inspection Obsolete?"
November 18, 2011 | Comments: 0
Usually a home inspection is part of a real estate transaction and takes one of three forms. The pre-purchase home inspection helps the home buyer determine whether his dream house might be a money pit and/or whether to renegotiate the contract to include specified repairs. The pre-listing inspection helps the home seller to discover and correct any problems in his house before placing it on the market. The third form is simply a home re-inspection, which is basically a follow-up to the first form after repairs are completed. All three forms can be extended (or limited) to include specialized evaluations, such as for the presence of radon, asbestos, and other hazardous materials or for poor air quality, although in most cases a pest inspection is automatically included. However, in this article we will focus on inspection types that are not associated with a real estate transaction.
These types of home inspection are at the owner's request, whose intent is to remain in the house. The first type consists of a reassessment of the house condition relatively soon after moving in. The second type is what is known as a warranty inspection. The third type is what I refer to as a home maintenance inspection. Let's look at these three types in a bit more detail.
Home Inspection on "How A Home Inspection Helps the Home Owner"
September 18, 2011 | Comments: 0
The home inspection trade sees many different kinds of clients, but the overwhelmingly predominant type is the homebuyer. The successful home inspection business is good at identifying its target audience and at marketing to it. Historically, the marketing target was almost exclusively the real estate agent, as his or her referrals were the only source of clients. This meant that the needs of the client were subordinate to the desires, whims, and dictates of the agent. Modern technology enables the home inspection firm to gear its marketing directly to the public, thereby gaining some independence from agents and allowing the home inspector to focus on serving the client primarily, who is, after all, paying him.
Most home inspection clients are motivated, if not by caution, by prudence. They want to avoid getting stuck with a money pit. But a home inspection typically helps the buyer in ways other than simply allaying fear. With his training, proper licensing, and insurance, the home inspector gives the client an idea of what to expect down the road, explains how to maintain and service the appliances and systems in his new home, and in general brings the homebuyer an assurance, a satisfaction, a peace of mind. Let's examine certain aspects of the business to see how this is accomplished specifically.
Home Inspection on "How a Home Inspection Helps the Home Buyer"
September 01, 2011 | Comments: 0
As a home inspector who wants to stay in business, I have a plan that covers important aspects such as marketing, advertising, and target audience, and I track performance to that plan. As a home inspector who cares about ethics and reputation, I diligently try to avoid compromising situations that could tarnish my name and/or result in a disservice for my clients. Unfortunately, these two goals or missions sometimes seem to be at odds. What keeps me going is the sincere desire to be not just a good home inspector but one the client trusts and who is recognized as an expert, an authority.
Traditionally, the home inspector relied exclusively on referrals from real estate agents. To keep the referrals coming, pleasing the agent was primary and meeting the needs of the client, secondary. Thoroughness took a back seat to precautionary measures not to "kill the deal." In a way, the agent really worked for the seller (whence his commission) and the home inspector really worked for the agent; neither put the client at the top of their lists. In my book, such did not deserve the label, "good." Fortunately, today's laws are stronger and opportunities exist to break the traditional mold. Let's examine some of the ways a home inspector can distinguish himself and earn that "good" label.
Home Inspection on "What Makes a Home Inspector Good?"
June 17, 2011 | Comments: 0
Should a home inspection checklist, physical and in the inspector's hand, be a state-mandated requirement? Does a home inspection checklist guarantee thoroughness and accuracy? Is the degree of its use a valid criterion for choosing one inspector over another? These are reasonable questions, but they focus on the letter of the law or professional-client relationship, and it is much more important to concentrate on the spirit.
Home inspection checklist use is a built-in aspect of the job. I know of no inspector who doesn't use checklists, though the forms may be paper, electronic, or in the head. What's critical is that each home inspection conforms to certain content standards, both in terms of what is included and what is excluded, and to certain ethical standards designed to assure fairness and integrity.
Home Inspection on "Is a Home Inspection Checklist Necessary?"
February 23, 2011 | Comments: 0
Carpenter ants and Pacific dampwood termites are two of Washington State's most important infesting insect pests. Both carpenter ants and dampwood termites send out reproductive members to spawn new colonies when existing colonies become large and mature. Today we'll draw on pest inspection training to compare and contrast these two pests and to discuss when and how to be alert to potential infestations.
Most species of carpenter ants establish nests in decayed wood outdoors. They will usually not infest a structure with a satellite colony unless (a) the parent colony is within three hundred feet and (b) there is decayed wood present. However, once established indoors carpenter ants will expand their tunneling into sound wood.
Home Inspection on "Carpenter Ants and Dampwood Termites"
December 27, 2010 | Comments: 0
Minimizing home inspection costs in these tough times is an important necessity for most homebuyers. Some home inspection costs are set unusually low because home inspectors feel they must slash prices just to get any business at all. Negotiating discounts is commonplace today. But be careful not to base your decision on price alone. If you cut corners too much, you may risk having something significant overlooked.
This blog on home inspection cost discusses some things to look for in a home inspection besides price. Not all home inspections are alike, and there are several factors that come into play in determining inspection cost. It pays to take all of these factors into consideration to protect your most valuable investment.
Home Inspection on "Home Inspection Cost Concerns"