"Relax, trust in quality and experience for your home inspection."
Calvin has decided to "retire from the rat race" of doing JUST the BUYER TYPE whole house inspections. He still does everything else listed, except for radon and lead paint. The following paragraphs are to help you in your decision making and are written primarily for Buyers, but it does also apply to Sellers and Existing Homeowners whom I do still serve.
Is This a Joke?
Unfortunately, this is what I hear way too much. That statement is what one past remodeling client said to me after I had switched careers and was then doing home and environmental inspections. The frustration was still in their voice even 2 years later, when describing how much the inspector had missed, how he was there only 2 or 3 hours, and the realtor was standing there hiding a major $600.00 flaw from both the buyer and the inspector.
This is just one of many dozens and dozens of comments I hear people tell me about their home inspection “ordeal”. The one that I have heard the most is, “I’ll never hire him again; he missed so much”. Or, “He was there only 1 or 2 or 3 hours, etc.” This is true wherever I go in Indiana. Occasionally I do hear people say they were happy with their home inspector, and that’s the way it should be.
My goal is to never have a client say they would never hire me again, but my goal is also to have each client recommend me to one of their friends, family, co-workers, or acquaintances. 95% of my business comes from referrals and 5% comes from realtors. When it comes to buying or selling, find a reputable realtor, and there are many conscientious ones out there, and then do your own research when it comes to hiring your own home inspector. All licensed home inspectors do not inspect equally. Education, ethics, integrity, and honesty are keys you look for in an inspector. However, no degree, certification, license or other credential will guarantee someone's performance, credibility, or integrity. It is always up to the consumer to qualify one's true abilities and performance. Do you want to hire a doctor who just got through medical school with the minimum, or the one who excelled and had a passion for being the best? After all, you are making a huge investment in purchasing a home-YOUR home-are you going to purchase a home inspector for the minimum standards and cheapest price? Based on my experience of 45 years of remodeling and inspecting these jobs, I can spot areas that are a failure in progress and show you maintenance tips where, for example, $2.00 of caulking can save you thousands of dollars a few years down the road. Most all problems in a home start out small and insignificant and then manifest themselves. This is one reason why my inspections take longer.
When I had to “retire” after 27 years of remodeling with my brother, (due to 3 back surgeries), I remained unemployed for 5 months straight, while I spent 70 hours each of those weeks doing further study, training, testing, and licensing, all over Indiana and even Illinois, before I hung out my shingle and earned my first dollar as a full time professional inspector, (even though I had inspected homes daily in the troubleshooting, repairing and remodeling business). ASHI requires 20 hours of continuing education each year as a minimum. In 2005 I turned in 45 hours, in 2006 I turned in 43 hours, in 2007 I turned in 50 hours, in 2008 I turned in 66 hours, in 2009 I turned in 28.5 hours, in 2010 I turned in 48 hours, in 2011 I turned in 28 hours, in 2012 I turned in 154 hours, in 2013 I turned in 26 hours, in 2014 I turned in 26 hours, in 2015 I turned in 28 hours, in 2016 I turned in 22 hours, in 2017 I turned in 21 hours, in 2018 I turned in 24 hours and in 2019 I turned in 22 1/4 hours.
Buyers are pleasantly surprised when I tell them I spend about 6.5 hours on just the whole house inspection itself. My shortest inspection ever was 4.5 hours on a 900 square foot home that was exceptionally cared for and things were done by a professional who also knew what he was doing. My longest one was, well, a few were in the 12-14 hour range. THEN I still have the report to do. Some inspections sneak in under 6.5 hours but most go over. It depends on the size and age of the home. But the biggest factor is how well the home has been maintained and repaired. This is the part that I have no clue about until I get into the inspection for 2 or 3 hours. If maintenance isn’t done then it turns into repairs. If repairs aren’t done then it turns into replacements. I sometimes get criticized by sellers and realtors for taking 6.5 hours or more, but I have not had a buyer say: “Why is it taking so long”? or, “When are you going to be finished”? The house is what it is, and I report what it is. I’m just a fact finding messenger. The ironic part is some of those sellers and realtors have later called me for their inspection when they are on the buying end! Is that cool or what!! Home inspections are hard work. When I finish with one I am physically tired and mentally exhausted.
There is an added advantage and convenience that sellers often overlook. Most of my clients have me do all of the environmental inspections too, while I’m there doing the home inspection. (By the way, none of the environmental inspections are part of an ASHI or State Licensed Home Inspection). By having me do the septic, well/pump, pests, radon, mold, and drinking water, I can get it all done in one huge day of 10-12 hours or sometimes 13 or 14 depending on circumstances. This saves the seller from trying to manage 5 different people coming in on 2 or 3 different days. Buying and selling a home and having the inspections done can be stressful, but when it can be done all in one day it makes life easier for all.