All Home Inspections are Not Created Equal
Are they a member of a professional inspection organization?
Currently in California, there are no regulations requiring Home Inspectors to be licensed so anyone on the street can print up some business cards and claim to be a home inspector. The only 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. 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. There are other organizations out there but beware, they are all not equal. Some may be joined by taking a 20 question test online and paying a small fee. All HomeGuard Home Inspectors are required to 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?
We are going to burst some bubbles here, but just because someone is a contractor does not necessarily mean they would make a great Home Inspector. As a matter of 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. So a contractor may be really good at framing or foundations or plumbing, because that’s what they do all day, but do they also know about the HVAC system or roofing or any of the other over 200 items that get inspected in a home? Don’t get us wrong, we are not saying a contractor cannot become a good inspector, but they are going to need a lot of additional training. As a matter of fact, many inspectors at HomeGuard were previously plumbers, electricians, or concrete contractors before getting trained and becoming Home Inspectors for us.
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 starting with classroom training and then months of training in the field with our most experienced inspectors before going out on their own, but the training does not stop there. During the slow season when most companies lay off their inspectors and hope to rehire them next year, our newer inspectors will typically go back out with a senior inspector and continue their training to increase their knowledge base and become a more competent inspector.
What does their inspection include?
Our inspectors will be looking at your home from top to bottom, 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) all installed appliances, we check the plumbing system for leaks and non-conforming repairs, we open the electrical panels and test outlets for proper polarity and grounding. We look for safety concerns and items such as improper steps or railings that are not up to today’s standards. Other important safety items are checked including if the home has enough functional smoke detectors and whether it is equipped with carbon monoxide detectors as required before funding can occur.
Can I be at the inspection? In one word, YES! In fact, 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 the issues are and how bad they are as well as seeing the good stuff. We will also point out where your main shut offs are like the water and gas valves and electrical panels. This can be very important information to know and you don’t want to be guessing at this especially in an emergency.
Do they take pictures?
At HomeGuard we are on the cutting edge of inspection technology and we take pictures of all important items discovered during the inspection. This is very useful to all parties concerned especially during the negotiation process as the pictures make the issues very clear to everyone. Another great thing about taking pictures is it allows you to see items in places you would not be safe or comfortable in, such as the crawl space, the attic, or up on the roof. We were also the first company in the industry to equip all of our inspectors in the field with iPads so we can show you everything we discovered right there at the inspection. With HomeGuard, you won’t have to wait forever to get your reports; most reports will go out within 24 to 48 hours. In fact, if you choose an 8:30 am inspection, you will have your report by the end of that day, 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 trying to type your entire inspection onsite and make you wait. No confusing, restrictive checklist forms in triplicate here! Our reports have all of the important items we discussed 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 Representatives, visit our website at www.HomeGuard.com, where you can submit an order or use live online chat, or email us at customerservice@HomeGuard.com.