Referral or Review?
In most cases, a home inspection company is selected because of the recommendation from a Realtor. There are two basic types of inspections,
A “Pre-Listing” evaluation for a home seller: a lot of items that might show up on a report later can often be remedied with little or no money. This can often save the Seller from having to make possible price reductions from defects that need to be fixed.
Most common is a Buyer’s home inspection where the Seller has accepted an offer and there is a contingency for inspection within the sales agreement. Most of the time the period to complete and respond is around 7-14 days.
“I visited their web site and then called and left a message. They got back to me in about an hour and were able to confirm the price over the phone. Our situation was where we were under contract with a Builder, but near the end of the project when we were supposed to close, the house was still a mess and there were some issues with functional stuff like cabinets not closing and sloppy paint.
Overall we were very happy with the report because we got a list with pictures of all the problems and blemishes that we could give to the Builder before we signed off.”
- Michelle B. Brighton, CO
Thanks for the review, Michelle. It’s not uncommon for Couples to engage a Builder for a custom or “build-to-order” home without having any representation such as a qualified Realtor to guide and stand-up for them through the process. What often happens is the General Contractor will at some point pressure the Buyer to agree on a finished condition right before closing. The Buyer’s rights are literally signed away in this situation because all of the residual problems have to resolved as part of a home warranty claim after closing and after the Builder has his money. In many cases, it is a nightmare to chase the Builder down and have them come back to fix the defective items when you should be enjoying your new home.
In a straightforward transaction to buy an existing home, the evaluation process is a little different than new construction because the focus is on functional versus aesthetic defects. It is important to remember that a Home Inspector will always confirm the functionality of appliances like the furnace, hot water heater and dishwasher, but there is no crystal-ball to predict how long the appliance will continue to function without requiring repair or replacement.
“We moved in from out of state and my husband was away during the buying process, but it worked out well and we are very happy. In the report we received, the water heater was the original unit. Since the home is 12 years old, we knew that the water heater could be on its last legs and go out at any time. We had our Realtor negotiate about that and a couple of other items, and we got them to reduce the purchase price by $2000. Our home inspection included a required radon test, but luckily it came back ok. We did not have radon where we are from, but the danger is minimal if you read the handout.”
“Fast and professional. I called at about 9AM, they came out at 1PM, and we were emailed the PDF report at 6PM. I was buying a home and needed to get an inspection as part of the terms of my offer to buy. They are fully certified and did the radon measurement as well, spending about three hours from the roof to the basement. My radon number was right on the edge of acceptable, so I will be doing another longer test to be sure. I paid $250 for the inspection and radon with a coupon special from my Real Estate Agent.”
How To Write a Home Inspection Review
Most people agree that when buying or selling real estate, it is wise for both the Buyer and Seller to obtain the services of a certified Inspector. When Customers call or write, they often ask what they should look for when deciding on a property evaluation:
Is the Company Local?
This is important on many levels, but the reason most people choose a local company is to insure that the report generated includes scrutiny of common issues found here in the Fort Collins - Loveland area. (Some ads on Google are links to referral companies from a distant call center.) Front Range local Folks will tell you that there can be some incredibly powerful thunderstorms in the Summer “monsoon” season. What often occurs is that moisture laden air from the Gulf of California streams up North and collides with cooler air from the Northwest. If this occurs over Colorado, enormous amounts of rain and energy can be released from severe thunderstorms. These weather cells are capable of producing not only damaging winds, but also hail that can be anywhere from pea-size, all the way to golfball size. The larger forms can easily damage a roof and will create pock-marks where the shingles are weakened and can ultimately fail. Fortunately, most homes in the Front Range are covered by insurance, and it is not unusual for a whole neighborhood to get new roofs after a storm.
What about pricing?
Henry Royce famously said “The quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.” This holds true today, but it IS possible to have the best quality and the lowest price for many services, including the real estate industry. As with most segments of business, modern portable software running on phones and tablets has enabled the inspector in the field to review and record details not available with earlier technologies. This increased efficiency has reduced the labor hours to produce the final report, and therefore some of this efficiency gains can be passed on to the Customer. We have become experts at providing the highest level of expertise with outstanding reporting detail, but at a flat-rate, no upsell price structure.
Is Certification Important?
Of Course! As in all professions, standards and ethics are key. In some states, including Colorado, the home inspection industry is not directly licensed or certified by the state government. Instead, in order to meet the demand for highly trained professionals, The International Association of Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) has established rigorous standards and a code of ethics to which all of it’s certified Professionals must adhere to. InterNACHI is based in Boulder, so they are the certification body of choice and the advanced training reflects that. Here is an excerpt from a recent review:
“After many years working in Technology, I returned to my career roots in the real estate sector. I had worked my way through the ranks having started as a carpenter and tradesman, then moving on to directly selling real estate as a Realtor and finally becoming a branch manager at a mortgage origination firm. When I came back to the housing industry, it made sense for me to become a certified InterNACHI inspector to leverage my direct experience and perspective. The affordability and ongoing excellence in training make InterNACHI my certification of choice.”
What if the Inspector misses something important?
With proper training, certification and software, the likelihood that anything will be missed is tiny. InterNACHI Inspection Pros are covered should this occur. The Buyer’s guarantee is simple and direct: “If the Inspector misses anything, InterNACHI will buy the home at the full sales price.” Complete details can be found at InterNACHI Buyback Guarantee.
Does the customer have to fill out any forms or create an account?
Most of the software application that are used for the report generation also include a system where the report text, images and video can all be uploaded to “the cloud” so that the inspection report can be viewed and shared electronically. Unfortunately, this requires a new online account be established for the customer… and who wants to create yet another online account?! The online retrieval system is great, but during the very busy time of buying or selling a house a lot of Folks just want to have the inspection report show up in their email account without any hassles.
Can the Customer attend the inspection review in person?
Sellers and Buyers will often want to be present at the time of inspection. This should be encouraged by the service provider, because it can often be a valuable education for a homeowner to review important details during the inspection including water and gas shut off, circuit breaker locations, smoke and carbon monoxide. detection.
How soon for an Appointment?
In today’s “Seller’s Market”, there is often very little time from offer acceptance to closing. In some cases, the Buyer needs to make an appointment for inspection the very same day. Accommodating firms that are keen to earn your business will understand this urgency and will accommodate evening and weekend appointments.