Q. Who needs a home inspection?
A. Buyers, sellers, present property owners. If you’re buying a home, pre-owned or new, an inspection tells you the condition of the property. That way, there are no surprises after you already own the home. Additionally, there is no such thing as the perfect home. There are always problems that you may not be aware of, and an experts “eye” is needed to find the defects. As a home buyer, this allows you to re-negotiate with the seller to repair items or make allowances in the purchase price. Inspection fees are paid for many times over and may result in saving you thousands of dollars. Sellers benefit by knowing the condition of their home before they place it on the market. Then, any needed repairs can be made prior to listing. A sellers inspection can also be used as a comparison to what the buyer’s inspector finds. If you purchased a new home and it still has a warranty from the builder, it’s a good idea to have a home inspection before it expires. It’s a rare case that even a new home doesn’t have some problems that were overlooked by the builder. Those repairs or corrections easily exceed the cost of an inspection. If you catch them prior to warranty expiration, your warranty should cover them. Present property owners may want an inspection to be sure their home or investment property is in top condition and without any safety concerns that may not be readily apparent.
Q. Why can’t I do the Inspection myself?
A. Chances are that even if you are very familiar with home construction, you still don’t have the knowledge, training and experience of a professional Home Inspector. I’m not only familiar with all the systems of a home, and how they work and need to be maintained, but I also know what to look for to determine if they’re about ready to fail. But beyond the repairs and expenses, no house is going to be perfect. It is up to you to decide how any problems the inspection uncovers might affect your decision to purchase. If major problems are discovered, you may want to try negotiating with the seller to have them repaired before closing on the property. Or perhaps the seller will lower the price, or offer more favorable contract terms. In the end, the decision rests with you, but knowing about potential problems, before you buy, gives you the power to negotiate and make the best decisions.
Q. How much does an inspection cost?
A. Inspection fees vary according to the type of report and the qualifications of the inspector you choose. If you want a cheap inspection, just give me a call and I’ll give you a list of cheap inspectors. If you want a quality, in-depth report from a trained professional, then you’ve come to the right place. My fees are higher than most because I don’t cut corners. You are paying thousands and thousands of dollars for property….do you really want to take a chance on skimping for an inspection? You’ll get what you pay for, so beware. Just check out my sample report to get an idea of what you’ll receive from me. (Don’t forget to click on the hyperlinks for additional information)
Q. I heard ASHI inspectors are the best?
A. There are several professional organizations, the largest being InterNACHI, the InterNational Association of Certified Home Inspectors. ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors is second, and NAHI, the National Association of Home Inspectors is third. These are the top three. Each has different requirements for joining, but all have very similar inspection protocols. ASHI is very big on advertising, and like all ads, they always say they are the best. If we believed all the ads we see, EVERYONE would be the best! The type of inspection you receive has little to do with which organization an inspector belongs to. It merely shows the inspector is serious about the work performed. In the end, the type of inspection you will receive depends on many factors. Professionalism, experience, specific training, types of tools used, attitude, guarantees, affiliations, type of report, etc. Don’t be misled by advertising.
Q. How long does an inspection take?
A. Anywhere from 3-1/2 to 4 hours or more depending on the condition of the property, the number of services you’ve requested and the size of the home.
Q. What type of report do I receive?
A. You’ll receive your report online as well as on CD (compact disk). The reports are backed up, and available on the server for up to six months. You can also save a copy to your computer to print out or refer to at any time. If you would like a written copy, there is a small charge to cover printing and postage. My reports are extensive and contain every item I inspect, including detailed pictures. They also contain many hyperlinks that provide lots of useful information. The format is very user friendly and written in simple layman’s terms. In addition, your report will usually be available online within 48 hours. On site reports are not provided. These are generally hasty reports that do not allow the time necessary for proper research and detail.
Q. Should my Realtor get a copy of your report?
A. That is entirely up to you. You purchased the report, and I do not provide a copy of the report without your permission. You own the report. However, if any items warrant re-negotiation with the seller, you may wish to discuss them with your Realtor. Having your realtor review the report also insures that you both are “on the same page” at the closing.
Q. Should I be present for the home inspection?
A. Yes, I encourage you to plan to attend the entire inspection. There are always items in the inspection that can best be explained on-site. I will include them in the report of course, but your presence at the property always makes it easier for you to understand important information about the property.It also gives you 3-1/2 to 4 hours in the home. This allows you the opportunity to feel comfortable about your choice and refresh your memory after a busy “home hunting” schedule. You will have a chance to see first hand the maintenance requirements and discuss any areas of concern before you buy. Attendance at your home inspection is strongly recommended. There is no perfect home and you will learn first hand how to look after your investment.
Q. Are you available to answer questions about the property or report after I close and move into the home?
A. Yes, I will be happy to assist you any way I can in clarifying the information I present in the report. Even after you’ve moved in and settled down to enjoy your new home. I’m always available to you, for as long as you own the home, to offer unbiased advice and recommendations.
Q. Does a newly constructed home need an Inspection?
A. Absolutely. A professional inspection of a new home is important. I can spot potential problems early, while they are still easy to correct. It’s especially valuable to arrange an inspection before the interior walls are finished. I may find problem areas where the builder has taken shortcuts or not done good work.
Q. Will you fix the problems you find during the Inspection?
A. No. The code of ethics of The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) prohibits its members from soliciting repair work on properties they inspect. This assures that there will never be any conflict of interest by the inspector. My purpose is to provide an unbiased, objective third party report on the condition of the home by way of the technical expertise and experience that a professional inspector brings. It is important to remember that the inspector remains an impartial third party. If you are involved in buying or selling a house, it’s impossible for you to remain completely unemotional about the house, and this may cloud your judgment. The professional inspector will provide an objective outside reporting of the facts.
Q. Should I hire an inspector my real estate agent recommends?
A. That depends. There is an inherent conflict of interest when someone who has a stake in the inspection outcome, recommends a specific inspector. Just because you are given two or three names does not mean they are the best or even properly qualified. Maine does not have any laws in effect governing home inspectors, and anyone can call themselves one. Almost all inspectors solicit business from Realtors and their livelihood depends upon real estate agent referrals. Many times, if an agent views an inspector as being too “nit picky” or a “deal killer”, that inspector soon finds he does not get future referrals. As a result, inspectors many times cater to real estate agents rather than their client by giving a “soft” inspection. This is especially true during a soft market, when real estate is not moving. Remember, agents work on commission! No sale… no money. They want a deal to go through and will do all they can to make sure it happens. Some even resort to recommending “easy” inspectors. Don’t fall victim to this. Choose your own inspector, not one who may be biased just to receive more business from a Realtor. In addition, Realtors are taking a high liability risk by referring specific inspectors, unless they represent the buyer. To defer this liability, your Realtor should always recommend a true, independent inspector. If the inspector does not belong to the Independent Home Inspectors of North America, they are not independent. You are the one paying for the inspection and its your right to choose who you want. Don’t be pressured by anyone trying to point you in another direction. You are making a large investment and deserve an unbiased professional inspection from a true Independent Inspector.
Q. My real estate agent booked an inspection without my knowledge. What should I do?
A. This should immediately raise a red flag!! An inspection is designed to protect you, the buyer, and you alone should make the decision on a home inspector. Instruct your real estate agent to cancel the appointment immediately and select your own inspector. Do not let anyone coerce you into making a decision about something you are paying for. Would you let someone else select your doctor, dentist or auto mechanic without your knowledge?
Q. Will you be going over code violations during your inspection?
A. Absolutely not. A home inspection is NOT a code inspection. Every town and every state has different requirements when it comes to building codes. There are some general building codes used nationwide however. Due to the complexity and constantly changing codes, it is impossible to keep up with all the changes unless you are a full time code enforcement officer for your town or state. Although most good inspectors know something about “code”, it is not their job to look for specific violations and doing so is listed as a specific exclusion in most Standards of Practice, including the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors SOP. Be suspicious of anyone telling you they will do a “code inspection”.
Q. Aren't all home inspectors the same?
A. Not by a long shot. Being a home inspector is a highly specialized and demanding profession. It requires proper training, education, experience and dedication. It also requires the most up to date tools. Maine does not require any of these things to become a home inspector. You’re a smart consumer, thats why you are searching the internet. Don’t take a chance hiring a home inspector that may not be qualified. Check certifications and credentials. Guarantees and customer service. Look at a sample report and turnaround times. I have over 15 years of experience in the real estate and home inspection profession. I know the ins and outs. In addition, as an independent home inspector, you will get the true picture of the property you are considering because I work only for you and no one else. You can be confident of your choice when you choose me as your home inspector.
Q. Should I hire an engineer?
A. Engineering is an entirely different profession than home inspection. There are many, many types of engineers and being an engineer does not qualify a person to be a home inspector. Engineering is based on scientific measurements and calculations and to have a complete engineering study done on a home would be very expensive. No, you do not need an engineer. If there are structural problems found, then it may be recommended that you consult with a structural engineer.
Q. Is there more than one Sherlock Homes in Maine?
A. Unfortunately the answer is YES. However, my business name is Sherlock Homes Certified Home Inspections and I am a sole proprietor and perform all inspections personally. I am NOT affiliated with any other business entity of similar name. Do not be confused! When you hire me, you are hiring the best!