Questions to Consider as you Select Your Northern California Home Inspection Company
Are they a member of a professional inspection organization?
Currently in California, there are no regulations requiring Home Inspectors to be licensed, so anyone can print up some business cards and claim to be a home inspector regardless of experience or training. The best way to ensure that an inspector you hire is competent is to look for someone who is ASHI or CREIA certified. These are the oldest and most respected organizations in the field that provide certifications for home inspectors. There are other organizations out there but you should be aware that they are not all equal. Some of these can even be joined by taking a 20 question test online and paying a small fee. On the other hand, ASHI requires an inspector to perform 250 fee-paid inspections and pass the National Home Inspectors Exam before being eligible to become a certified inspector. At HomeGuard we require that all of our inspectors become ASHI Certified to ensure you that you are getting a competent inspector to look at your most important purchase.
What kind of background do they have?
Most of us would be unaware that just because someone is a contractor does not necessarily mean they would make a great Home Inspector. In fact, a General Contractor is only permitted to perform 3 aspects of home building. The other portions of building a home must be performed by other contractors. A contractor may be really good at framing, foundations, or plumbing because that is where their expertise lies. However, it is unlikely that they also know about the HVAC system, roofing, or any of the other 200 plus items that get inspected in a home. It is true that contractors have great potential to become good inspectors through training in the various areas of home inspection. As a matter of fact, many inspectors at HomeGuard were previously plumbers, electricians or concrete contractors before going through our home inspection training.
How much experience do they have?
HomeGuard inspectors are full time employees and do inspections every day. This is not a part time job or something they do on weekends, this is a career for them. All of our inspectors go through an intensive training program. This starts with classroom training followed by months of training in the field with our seasoned inspectors before going out on their own. The training does not stop there, during the slow season rather than lay off our newer inspectors, HomeGuard will typically send them back out with a senior inspector and continue their training to increase their knowledge base and competence in the field.
What does their inspection include?
We will be looking at your home from the roof to the crawlspace and everything in between. A home inspection includes all aspects of the home including plumbing, electrical, structural and mechanical systems. We test the furnace, air conditioning (if equipped), and all installed appliances. We check the plumbing system for leaks and non-conforming repairs; we also open the electrical panels and test outlets for proper polarity and grounding. We look for various safety concerns, such as improper steps or railings that are not up to today’s standards, and if the home has enough functional smoke detectors or is equipped with carbon monoxide detectors.
Can I be at the inspection?
In one word, YES! At HomeGuard we encourage you to be at the inspection; this is your opportunity to ask questions and learn about your new home. You can see for yourself where potential repairs may be necessary as well as seeing all of the good points. We will also point out where your main shut off valves and electrical panels are. This can be very important information to have and you don’t want to be left guessing in an emergency.
Do they take pictures?
At HomeGuard we take pictures of important action items discovered during the inspection. These are items which may need immediate attention or repair. This can be very useful to all parties concerned, especially during the negotiation process, as the pictures make the issues within the report clear. Pictures also allow you to see items in places you would not feel safe exploring on your own. This could include areas such as the crawl space, in the attic, or up on the roof. HomeGuard was proudly the first company in the home inspection industry to equip all of our inspectors with iPads so we can show you everything we discovered during our initial visit. Additionally, you won’t have to wait forever to get your reports! Most reports will go out within 24 to 48 hours and if you choose our 8:30 timeslot you will have your report by the end of day. This is true even on Saturdays!
What type of report is generated?
We have developed our own proprietary software that’s installed on our iPads and is customizable to fit every situation we encounter. This allows us to generate an easy to read, narrative, report complete with all the pictures you saw during the wrap up of your home inspection. This also streamlines the inspection process as we are not typing up your entire inspection while we make you wait. No confusing, restrictive checklist forms in triplicate here! Our reports have all of the important items we discuss, during our visit, summarized at the beginning of the report and make it a snap to see the functionality and safety issues that affect your prospective home purchase. We get very positive responses from Realtors and homebuyers alike about how easy our reports are to read and understand.
How Do I Order a Home Inspection?
You can call 855-331-1900 and speak to one our friendly, knowledgeable customer service technicians or go to our website at www.HomeGuard.com. We have also added live online chat to assist you while on our website.