ST. JOHN'S NL A1A 3R1, CANADA
How to Choose a Home Inspection Company
Hi! This is Ken Peckham, owner of Republic Inspections. I’m grateful for the opportunity to provide you with information about home inspections and help you choose a home inspection company.
I am a member of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors – the world largest inspection association. As a member we are required to complete 25 hours of continuing education – provided by InterNACHI – www.interNACHI.org as part of our membership. I’ve been in the home inspection business for over 5 years. And in that time, I’ve learned that home inspections are the subject of much confusion. In fact, people have so many misconceptions about home inspections that I decided to offer this consumer education message so when you select a home inspection company, you can make an informed intelligent decision.
I’ll share with you six costly misconceptions about home inspections. Plus I’ll offer four recommendations. And I’ll give you six questions you should ask a home inspection company before you let them inspect one of the largest investments you will ever make.
Misconception #1: You should wait as long as possible before getting your home inspection.
No. Waiting until the last minute to get your home inspection leaves you in a position of not having the information that you need to make an informed decision. Also your contract will likely have specific dates to have the home inspection completed. If you don’t respond in a timely manner then you may lose the opportunity to have the home inspection completed.
One of the concerns is that if the home inspection turns up something significant then a specialist is generally required to help you understand the depth of the problem.
You need to schedule the inspection as quickly as possible and have it done as soon as possible. There are a couple of other things that will help with this that I will mention in a later section.
Misconception #2: You don’t need a home inspection if you are purchasing a new construction home because it comes with a home warranty.
No. As you probably know, there are very few perfect homes. A home inspector is going to inspect for any major concerns that you need to be aware of concerning the structure of the home and the mechanical aspects of the home.
Home inspections may turn up items that are expensive to fix and may not be fixable. If you move in and are relying on the home warranty you may end up with items that the home warranty doesn’t even begin to cover.
In addition, as you may know, if someone tells you not to worry - that the home warranty will take care of any problems with the home this should be a red flag. Home warranties are not designed and will not cover pre-existing conditions, basically any items you discover and are not addressed prior to closing. So if the contractor doesn’t return to fix these items, the home warranty will not address them either. One of the best reasons to have an inspection is to help prove that a problem that shows up later is not pre-existing.
Misconception #3: One inspection company is as good as another inspection company.
No. You will want to make sure the inspector or Inspection Company has the experience to take care of you. We have over 15 years’ experience in the home construction trades. Many people think of home inspection companies as a commodity. This can be a major mistake and leave you holding the bag or in this case a house with problems that are expensive to fix or unable to be repaired.
The good news is Republic Inspections has our exclusive “We’ll Buy Your Home Back Guarantee”. The bad news is that other home inspection companies don’t offer this.
One thing that can help you here also is if the company has a continuation education program to keep the inspector up to date on current issues and problems. The continuation education program is designed to constantly test even the veteran inspector to help keep him from falling into complacency, which I have seen many inspection companies deal with over the years. Many inspection veterans simply believe they have so much expertise that they stop looking as close as they really know they should.
The best direction to go is with a company that has continuation education been around for years that continually trains its inspectors. Republic Inspections is a member of The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors and is required to complete yearly continuation education.
Misconception #4: If you are buying a brand new home you don’t need an inspection.
Simply not true. Many people believe that if they are buying a new home that everything is new and going to work perfectly.
Nothing could be further from the truth. While buying a new house is great because no one has lived in it and everything is brand new, from the hardwood to the roof, this does not mean everything was put together right. In fact over my many years of experience I have found that we find some of the strangest problems and situations in brand new homes.
In one case we discovered that the main sewer drain line from the house had been collapsed under the weight of the tractor that was used to grade the front yard. The house partially flooded during the inspection. Another time the builder somehow forgot to have any insulation put in the attic. That would have been a costly electric bill in the middle of the winter.
And just one last example, was the home that both of the standing showers had been installed with no shower pans. Water literally ran down the exterior walls when the showers were tested. Since this was on the outside of the home, it may have been months or years before it was discovered.
Of course the builder in each case went back in and fixed these items, but don’t risk finding these issues after you move in. My recommendation is that you don’t put yourself or your family through having to chase the builder down that may or may not really care and fix the problem in a timely manner while your family has to work around the problem. We also offer our exclusive 90 day warranty in case the builder doesn't come back to address any issues you have.
Misconception #5: The appraisal will cover me.
Absolutely not. On top of that these inspections are only about 30 minutes to an hour long at best and usually 30 minutes is pushing it. A real inspection that has your best interest at heart is going to take significantly longer. It is unusual for an inspection to take less than 2 hours on smaller homes and many inspections have been known to take longer depending on the size of the home.
The thought of the appraisal taking the place of the inspection scares the appraiser as much as it should scare you. The appraisal is designed to determine the value of the home for the mortgage company. The mortgage company simply wants to know if what they are loaning on the house is reasonable. It is not designed at all to pick up the condition of the house, even though sometimes if there is a major concern the appraiser will bring it to everyone’s attention. However this is hardly an inspection and every appraiser will be glad to tell you so. Unfortunately you rarely see the appraiser and you are lucky if you receive his report.
Misconception #6: Every home inspection company will help if you have a problem or they missed an item.
No. If you ask just about any inspection company they will tell you that their home inspection is only good for the day and time of the inspection. That anything can and something usually will likely break at some point after the inspection.
Unfortunately, most inspectors use this like a crutch and use it to cover their mistakes. In my company’s case we have our exclusive “We’ll Buy Your Home Back Guarantee” for extra peace of mind and we investigate all concerns. As far as we are concerned it is in our best interest and yours to resolve any issues as quickly and fairly as possible.
When deciding on the home inspection company to inspect your new home, I offer these four recommendations.
Recommendation #1: Make a commitment to yourself to hire a company that has your best interest at heart. Choose a company that will be honest and straight forward with you and not use any technical jargon. Will give you a computerized report with color digital photos and a summary page that gives you a complete list of concerns broken down by systems in the house. Many people will claim that they give you a summary, however it is just a rehash of what they listed in the report and you still have to work your way through it to see what a plumber, electrician, or other specialist will have to look at for final recommendations.
Recommendation #2: Hire a company that has contracting experience. Mike Holmes states that every great home inspector should have a contracting background. Hire a company that if something goes wrong has the knowledge to objectively look at the situation and make sure your best interest is taken care of, because it is in their best interest as well to protect their reputation.
Recommendation #3: Ask questions. The way you learn about a company is to ask specific questions and listen carefully to the answers. Here are some of the questions I suggest you ask:
1. How long has your company been in business? Anything less than 4 years is a point against the company.
2. Do you offer computerized report with color digital photos, with a summary page with the items in need of repair broken down by systems such as electrical, plumbing, roof, etc.?
3. Do you carry E&O insurance? Anything but a yes is the wrong answer, move on to the next company and always ask how much coverage they have.
4. Do you have a program to help me resolve a problem if I feel the inspector has made a mistake? Again, anything but a yes is the wrong answer, move on to the next company.
5. Will you be able to perform all the inspections that I need? Are you a certified indoor air consultant to know how to properly address any mold concerns? Hopefully the answer is yes.
6. Does your company have a continuing education training program? If they seem baffled by this question you have your answer. We continue to complete education yearly.
Recommendation #4: Once you’re satisfied that you’re working with an honest, competent professional company, invite them to help you make one of the largest financial decisions that you will ever make and be comfortable with the fact that they have your best interest at heart.
By following these four recommendations, you’ll gain all the information you need to make an informed, intelligent decision. If you want a quick, cheap home inspection, many companies in the phone book can help you. Or you can have a friend or relative come with you or you can even do the home inspection yourself. But if you want your home inspection to be complete and through – removing doubt and giving you peace of mind – then I invite you to call Republic Inspections.
We have professionals answering the phones to answer your questions and to be able to give you an exact quote right over the phone. They also work earlier and later than most to make sure we are there for you. They are available from 8 am to 10 pm Monday through Saturday.
Here’s one last point: I know that many consumers are skeptical about home inspections companies. Before I got into the business, I was skeptical too. I actually purchased a home and found many problems with the home after moving in. I vowed to help prevent any other homebuyers from ever having to go through what my family went through.
So in addition to dedicating my business to consumer education, I do one more thing as well.
I guarantee our work. That’s right. I fully guarantee every home inspection that we do. If you aren’t happy with our work, we’ll send a second inspector of your choice to give you a second opinion. And if you still aren’t pleased, you pay nothing. Not one cent. On top of that if you want I will even pay another inspection company to come in and inspect the home up to the price that you would have paid us. That is our 200% guarantee.
As a matter fact, add this question to the list. Question #6 is “Do you guarantee your work?” Not all companies do and I know that they don't offer a 200% guarantee and the "WE'll BUY YOUR HOME BACK GUARANTEE" and it’s important that you have this information before you make your decision.
On top of that you may wish to ask, “Do you have a buy your home back program?” A concept that again is foreign to many inspection companies. We include it free – we also include at no charge:
• We’ll Buy Your Home Back Guarantee
• Appliance safety recall check – we check for dangerous safety defects in home appliances
• Mold Safe program for free remediation if you purchase the property and find mold when you move in
• SewerGard – this help protect your sewer and water lines that are buried under your property for leaks
• 5 year Platinum Roof Protection plan – to repair any unexpected roof leaks
• Free Concierge set-up service to – one number to get all your utilities set-up
• 90 Day Warranty – covers structural and mechanical components in your home
• Electronic inspection report – includes easy to read report with color photos and recommendation and solutions to concerns found on the property. We’ll even show you how to fix / repair and maintain the most common items we find on our inspections.
• 200% satisfaction guarantee – if not happy at the end of the onsite inspection – pay nothing and we’ll pay for anther Inspection Company to complete your inspection.
• Free 1 year membership to our Home Owners App – ask questions about your home 24/7
• Republic Inspections is 100% local Newfoundland Company – help keep your money in Newfoundland!
No one else that I know of goes to the point of standing behind their home inspections to this extent, especially having their own in-house techs to take care of you. What could be more fair and professional?
Thanks very much for reading. I hope you found this consumer information helpful. If you have questions or comments – or if you’d like to schedule us for your home inspection, please call us at 709-764-HOME (4663). On behalf of Republic Inspections – I thank you for your kind attention. Ken Peckham, Owner – Republic Inspections.
REPUBLIC INSPECTIONS copyright. All rights reserved.
38 Pearson Street, Suite 222
St. John's, Newfoundland, A1A 3R1, Canada