Home Inspection FAQ of a Profesional Home Inspector

 

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The inspector answers - FAQ - 

Scroll down - Your Questions Answered 

 or call Jerry at 248.224.0258

Question and answers - starting with letter - A

A better inspector - how to find a better inspector (Click this link to go to: things to know in finding a qualified inspector)

A thorough inspection vs. the typical inspection: all inspectors look at mostly the same building systems and components, yet their reports will differ in important ways.  What is reported depends on the individual inspector's scope, ethics and expertise, and these vary significantly.  You want an expert honest opinion regarding the physical condition of your property. You don't want lip service to assure the agent's sale.  Always go for the better inspector.  See above "a better inspector...". (Click this link: for some of the differences)

About us: AwfullyPicky.com home and building Inspections (we have been in the profession since 1994.  The formal corporate name is J.A.L. & Associates, Inc. located at 287 E. Square Lake Rd., Troy, MI 48085-3166.  With the advent of the Internet and the ability to provide our clients and the public with much more information, we have been doing business as AAwfulPicky.com.  The internet allows us to provide extensive information and better content to meet most everyone's needs. Give us a call if you cannot find the information you want.  Jerry Lootens, Master Inspector and corporate president, will be your inspector and consultant. He is an experienced life long builder and home remodeler with over 20 exclusive years in professional home inspection and many more years in the construction industry. Ask him all the questions you want.  See "qualifications" below for further information)

About your inspector (Jerry Lootens, Master Inspector will be your inspector and consultant. He is an experienced builder with over 20 exclusive years in professional home inspection and and another two decades of diversified experience in the construction industry.  Ask him all the questions you want.  see "qualifications" below.  Join him on your inspection to learn more and always feel free to call after the inspection with questions.)

Air admittance valves and plumbing vent pipes (we inspect for proper installation of these important health and safety components at each inspection)

Air leakage (we will gladly discuss the issue of air leak in the home you are purchasing. This is a free service with each of our inspections. We are GREEN MINDED.  Go Earth!)

All weather wood foundations (we inspect many of these in SE Michigan, a.k.a. permanent wood foundations, pressure treated wood foundations, "wood basements!", we know their benefits and limitations)

American Society of Home Inspector (see "ASHI" below)

Ants, carpenter bees, termites, and other wood destroying organisms (We are certified by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and have been performing these inspections since 1995. As a professional courtesy we will tell you if we observe any evidence of current or past activity and what we see.  If possible we will also photograph it for you. 

Appliances  (We visually inspect and photo document any appliance included in the purchase as well as the surrounding area including the kitchen, laundry, utility room etc.  We test operate the major function of each appliance that is connected and operational.  Call Jerry at 248.224.0258 between 8 Am and 10 PM. Call right away. Scheduling is done on a first come, first served basis. 

Appointments  (Call Jerry at 248.224.0258 between 8 Am and 10 PM. Call right away. Scheduling is done on a first come, first served basis. As you can imagine, weekend, and early mornings and late afternoon appointments fill quickly. Click this link to go to:  Scheduling

Are all inspections and inspectors the same? (Unfortunately no.  It will take you time to determine who is the right inspector for you. Click this link to go to: Things to know in selecting a qualified inspector.  

ASHI (since 1995 we have followed the ASHI standards of practice and have been certified members since 1998.  We fully ascribe to  the American Society of Home Inspectors' requirements to report major safety concerns as well as any major system or components that are near the end of their useful operating life.  You also need to be safe in and around your home, and need to know about major safety hazards.  You further need to know about likely and expected up coming failures of the major equipment and components in the building. To further protect you, we make five year projections on useful life; Fully 3 years more than our nearest ASHI competitor.  (www.ashi.org)

At awfulpicky.com, we believe you need to be aware to save and plan for the anticipated demise in the next 5 years of any major equipment or components.   Many inspectors do not inform you about old equipment, or if they do, they only project out 90 days to one year for key components such as roof shingle life, etc..  In hard economic times, this short sightedness and short time period may lead to economic hardship and possibly unnecessary foreclosure.

Asphalt and concrete drives, structures and other surfaces (We always inspect the condition and workmanship of these potentially costly and high maintenance components.)

Attics and attic access (We do not advise you to join us in the attic.  We do know when it is unsafe, damaging or not necessary to climb or walk through the attic to achieve a thorough inspection. We document conditions through photography and you will receive all these photographs immediately at the end of the inspection.  You see it all.)

Attic fans, vents and ventilation (as roofing and building contractors, we know the importance of moisture management throughout the home. We inspect and report any poor and unsafe conditions. Moisture and mold development can be a significant problem.)

Question and answers - starting with - B   or call Jerry 248.224.0258

Backdrafting (the major cause of the hidden killer - carbon monoxide. We check for the many signs of back drafting at your inspection.  Know that a carbon monoxide test is worthless without the knowledge and experience required of a building scientist, like your inspector)

Basements and foundations (We have a significant background and knowledge regarding all 40 common and not so common basement and foundation systems from historic hand dug Michigan basements, to stone, tile, block and poured basements and foundations, as well as the several new and modern engineered systems. Also see Michigan basements and permanent wood foundations) 

Basement Leaks (We know the problems, the signs, and the remedies.) 

Bats (we tell you if we see infiltration or other evidence.  Bats carry mites and possibly diseases )

Bees, carpenter ants, termites, and other wood destroying organisms (We are certified by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and have been performing these inspections since 1995.  Even if we are not contracted for such inspections we will tell you if we see evidence of these.  "We work for you")

Better inspectors (Click this link to go to: tips below)

Bidets (Nice to have in the bathroom. We inspect them at your inspection) 

Birds (we tell you if we see infiltration and other evidence.  Birds carry mites and possibly diseases )

Black mold (see "mold")

Black rot (see "mold")

Black roof streaks (These are typically algae or lichen stains. Most shingle manufacturer's believe algae will not harm or affect the life of their roof shingles.  The stains however are unattractive.  The shingle manufacturing are beginning to incorporate copper granules in their new shingle surface coatings to fight and prevent algae.)

Blackened attic surfaces (if not wood oxidation or dirt from air movement, these may be molds and rots.  Talk to your inspector regarding these and the possibility of the more dangerous lightly colored toxic molds)

Black top drives and surfaces (We inspect all these potentially costly components for condition and safety.  Such drives and walkways are typically rated for only a 15 year life but are there for a quarter century.  They are especially a big cost in condominium developments and builders cheat many associations out of their top finish coat.)

Blower door tests (Use of a blower door is smart, but not wise. We can gladly connect you with a blow service, but our energy audits catch the leaks you can economically repair at a much lower cost. See Energy audits below to save time and money, or our discussion of Energy Audits in our home page.)

Boiler and boiler systems (we have extensive experience with these systems for both space and water heating)

Bonded (as licensed Michigan builders, we are bonded.)

Breaker box (see "electrical load center")

Breaker panel (see "electrical load center")

Brick and brickwork (we have seen it all.  Let us look for you with our experienced eyes. Most of our clients will miss the costly problems we see in their brickwork. Also see exterior)

Brown mold (see "mold")

Brown rot (see "mold")

Building codes - as licensed builders, we know many of the code requirements as well as the code limitations.  As a courtesy, we will inform you of any unnecessary risks we see you may be buying into. Codes change mostly for the better and older homes do not meet current code and unsafe conditions do develop.  For further information, see "codes" 

Building inspection (see city building inspection)

 

Question and answers - C's   or call Jerry 248.224.0258

C of O (see certificate of occupancy) 

Can I climb onto the roof with the inspector? (most inspectors will not let anyone climb their equipment because of insurance liability which costs more.   At aawfulpicky.com we will hold the ladder for you if you are skilled and feel safe and qualified, and you have safe looking shoes on.) 

Can I crawl into the crawlspace with the inspector? (most inspectors will not let anyone join them in the crawlspace because of danger and insurance liability which costs more.  At aawfulpicky.com we will set down a carpet so you can look into and and also smell the crawlspace from the access port. If you bring your own crawling clothes, we won't stop you unless we feel it is too dangerous.) 

Carbon Monoxide (we utilize the industries most accurate equipment and know how to effectively test for it.). Though not required by building code, we recommend at least two CO detectors with a minimum of one on each story/floor

Carpenter ants and carpenter bees - We are certified by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and have been performing pest inspections since 1995.  Though pest activity is outside the scope of the inspection, as a professional courtesy we will tell you if we see any evidence of current or past activity or damage.

Certificate of insurance ( link to Insurance Certificate Information )

Certificate  of Occupancy all newly built homes and additions require a certificate of occupancy issued by the city before anyone can move into the building.  Additionally, several cities in Southeast Michigan also require home sellers and sometimes buyers to obtain a new C of O when selling their home in that city.  Most of these cities are: Detroit, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Inkster, Westland, Melvindale, Centerline, Taylor, Wyandotte, (I'm sure I have forgotten a few.  Ask your agent or call the city).

Typically the home seller must obtain and pay for this special city inspection before the home sells.  However, if the seller or a bank selling a foreclosed house, can get the buyer to accept the responsibility to pay the several hundred dollar city cert. inspection and then repair the house to comply with the certification inspection report requirements, then the sale can go through.  The buyer must assure the city that within a short time period the buyer will make the necessary repairs and improvements. This is usually within the first 6 months of occupancy.

Certified Home inspector ( we are certified by the American Society of Home Inspectors, ASHI - 1997.  /at this printing the other inspection organizations do not have independent certification.)

Certified Quality Auditor  (we earned certification by the American Association of Quality Control in 1990 which benefits you with a better quality inspection process. This is why we say, "Experience the AawfulPicky.com Difference".  When it is your house and family, Why go anywhere else. Call Jerry at 248.224.0258

Certified internal auditor (we earned certification by the Institute of Internal auditors in 1982)

Chimney Leaks and age related problems (We know the major safety and use problems, the signs, and the remedies.)  

Chimney damper (We test  for existence and operation.  Is the configuration safe? Functional for gas, wood, etc.? We visually inspect the hearth, mantel, fire box, smoke shelf and chimney flue and cap also.) 

City building inspection (i.e. building code inspections)  By law, only the city, county and state building code officials can perform building code inspections.  Licensed builders and home inspectors are not allowed to perform the function.  Additionally, building code is subject to many interpretations and typically only the governmental official has jurisdiction.  But having said this, we are licensed builders and as a professional courtesy we will inform you when we see something we think is unreasonably unsafe. 

Codes, building, electrical, mechanical, etc (as licensed builders, we know many of the code requirements as well as the code's limitations. As a courtesy, we will inform you of any significant unnecessary risk we see you may be buying into. Always feel free to pick our brain on this topic. Remember, Safety First, Safety Always)

Concrete drives, structures and surfaces (We inspect all these potentially costly components for condition, life expectancy, and safety.  Concrete drives and walkways are typically rated for only a 15 year life but are there for a century.  They are especially a big cost in condominium developments as the roads are owned and paid for by the association, which is you, the new member.)

Contact us (Telephone Jerry at: 248.224.0258 between 8 Am and 10 PM or email at: aawfulpicky.com@comcast.net)

Contractors and remodeling sales people at the inspection (We only ask that you have them arrive a half hour after the start of the inspection so they do not disturb your one on one discussions with your inspector.)

Cracked, spalling, leaking and failed brick work (We know the problems, the signs, and the remedies, be it chimney, walls or foundation.  None of our clients or their agents ever see the extreme brick failure on the building they are purchasing. People just don't notice, but we do. ) 

Crawlspaces and crawlspace access (we provide a free structural evaluation with every home or building inspection.  Our extensive knowledge and experience with the 14 major crawlspace foundation systems used throughout Michigan will serve you well.  As licensed contractors since 1983, as well as deck builders, (1985-1986), and our 2004 expert witness service regarding mold, water penetration and foundations assures you a better inspection. You do not have to join us in the crawlspace, but you can.  We know when it is unsafe, damaging or unnecessary to climb through the crawlspace to achieve a thorough and top quality inspection. We also document and possibly photograph the conditions for you so you do not have to crawl with us. You conveniently receive a copy of all the inspection photographs immediately at the end  with your custom reports.

 

Question and answers - D's   or call Jerry 248.224.0258

Decks and patios (Always an important part of a thorough inspection. Unlike most inspectors, we have personally built many decks and know the many problems and safety concerns caused by poor construction and building techniques.  We know well the weaknesses and short comings in the current and past building codes. Many good looking decks are unsafe and dangerous.  Deck technology and the mixing of building materials have made decks even more dangerous since 2002.  Many other problems are caused by improper design and construction, and wear and tear)

Do you accept VISA, Master Charge or American express?  (To keep inspection costs low, we do not currently accept these payment methods, but we do accept personal checks, and yes - they sometimes can be post dated.)

Do you accept personal checks  (Local checks preferred. Post dating can be pre-arranged)

Do you climb, crawl into, walk, enter or go through... ? (see topic, such as do you climb roofs, go into attics, crawl the crawlspace, etc)

Do you climb into the attic? (as a roofer and remodeler we climb into the attic when safe and necessary.  The attic many times exposes the problems with roof material and installation not visible on the roof)

Do you climb onto the roof ? (as a roofer, we climb the roof when safe and necessary.  Looking at the roof can determine the quality and workmanship of the installer, and highlight potential and current problems)

Do you crawl the crawlspace ? (as a remodeler we strive to observe the conditions in the crawlspace.  We do whatever it takes short of damaging the home to find out the conditions in the crawlspace.  One third of crawlspaces are costly disasters and health and safety hazards.)

Do you give discounts to clients, landlords, property investors, and repeat customers?  (Absolutely. We offer savings for many early weekday morning inspections. Also, once you have had an AwfulPicky.com inspection you receive future inspection discounts since you are keenly aware of, and can assist on your next, top quality, inspection.)

Do you give discounts to seniors, (over age 62) and active military personnel's family?  (Absolutely. We offer a 10% savings. Also, once you have had an AwfulPicky.com inspection you receive future inspection discounts since you are keenly aware of the thorough process of your next, top quality, inspection.)

Do you inspect homes throughout Southeast Michigan...  (We inspect homes and businesses throughout seven Southeast Michigan counties. Call and tell us the town or city and we can tell you right away if we can assist you.  If not, we can refer you to a qualified inspector who is closer to your property.)

Do you provide re-inspections?  (We can discuss this option. Many times the repairs are made and hidden by the seller. This may impact our ability to witness proper repairs and therefore may limit your peace of mind.  Sometimes we must charge for these visits, other times it may be a free service)

Doors and windows (Always an important part of a thorough inspection. Unlike most inspectors, if possible, we test operate each and every door and window.  Most inspection standards require only a representative number be tested.  We find many costly and/or unsafe problems with our more thorough procedure.) 

Doors - garage doors (see garage doors) 

Driveways, walkways and patios (We inspect all these potentially costly components for condition, life expectancy, and safety.  Concrete drives and walkways are typically rated for only a 15 year life but are there for a century.  They are especially a big cost in condominium developments as the roads and walkways are typically owned by the association and many inspectors exclude them from their inspection as well as exclude the building exterior.  These inspectors and the agents feel these are the Association duties and therefore out side the scope of the inspection.  We believe you need to know if major problems exist as You will be paying for it in the monthly fees.)

 

Question and answers - E's   or call Jerry 248.224.0258

Education (Jerry Lootens, your master inspector: Great Lakes Maritime Academy - 1971-1972, Wayne State University, geology, criminal justice, business - 1973- 1978, and 25 years of diversified construction trades and management, inspection and design experience in the construction and remodeling industries, universal building consultant, building scientist)

EFIS - exterior finish insulation systems (Clients are surprised by the problems we find. This siding is a common exterior cladding on expensive homes and buildings in Southeast Michigan. Though it is a great product when installed properly, it has many potential problems. We will also refer you to the industry specialists if we see your property has a significant problem that needs further evaluation, repair or replacement.  See "exterior")

Electrical (we thoroughly inspect this critical system. We have been in continual training regarding residential wiring since our Detroit Edison residential wiring training in 1983.)  Non-professional wiring is a major cause of house fires and electrocution.

Electrical codes (as licensed builders and home remodelers, we know the requirements of residential codes as well as many of their limitations. We will inform you of any significant unnecessary risks we see you are buying into. See "codes")

Electrical load center, aka: circuit breaker box, fuse box, electrical panel, main and sub panels (we open and thoroughly inspect this critical component for overloading, fire hazards, grounding and other significant defects. We have been in continual training regarding residential wiring since Detroit Edison training in 1983)

Electrical service and grounding system (we thoroughly inspect these critical systems. We have been in continual training regarding residential wiring since our Detroit Edison residential wiring training in 1983)  Non-professional wiring is a major cause of house fires and electrocution.

Electrical service panel (see "electrical load center")

Energy audits (We can do the audit for you, but here are the findings for your home, Free of charge, but we would appreciate a $20 donation to aid our research.   The vast majority of homes are not currently energy efficient.  To make them highly energy efficient is difficult, but most can be made better, and more comfortable.  

First, air tighten the building's exterior, (envelope), especially at the top, such as the second floor walls and definitely at the attic floor.  Caulk and seal all wall bottom edges along the floors for both exterior and interior walls on all floors.  Caulk and seal all the wall tops under the insulation in the attic as well as all the penetrations such as for plumbing, chimneys, heating and cooling, etc.  Follow code to prevent creating a fire hazard.  Use fire rated non-combustible sealants where required, though they are more expensive.  

Insulate the exterior walls and attic floor to the maximum that makes financial sense.  

Seal all leaks, such as those at pipe and electrical penetrations and leaks in any ductwork.

Install a 90%+ efficient furnace and water heater.  Do not over size the furnace as it provides no benefit but will fail prematurely.  The new furnace and water heater should use outside air for combustion to avoid using inside air and cause negative pressures that increase leakage problems.  

Windows are expensive and generally do not provide much economic payback, (but they look good and improve the salability of the home). Seal noticeable air leaks around windows, but keep the bedroom windows fully operational as they serve as your fire egress when other exits are obstructed by fire.   

Remember that when you double the total insulation value of the home, you cut in half the size of the furnace BTUs required since you loose only half the heat.

Note of caution, the house exterior walls and attic must be able to dry any water vapor migrating in or through them.  So, do not have vapor retarder/barrier materials directly behind both the exterior siding and interior drywall or plaster walls.  Dual vapor barriers lock in moisture that cause damaging molds affecting both health and structural integrity.  In the Northern US the vapor retarder/barrier material is directly against the back side of the exterior wall drywall or plaster.  Down South, it is directly behind the exterior sheathing.  Keep the relative humidity of the house interior between 30% and 50%.  60% relative humidity grows mites. 70% to 80% relative humidity grows mold. Do not allow moist air to reach the dew point where it condenses.  Too low of humidity, below 30% causes static shock, respiratory problems and will crack wood furniture and flooring.)

Errors and Omission Insurance, aka: Professional Liability Insurance, Malpractice Insurance  (We carry it to protect you. Most other inspectors deny you the ability to collect from their E & O insurance for their major errors, see insurance)

Ethics  (We follow the code of ethics promulgated by the American Society of Home Inspectors, see www.ASHI.org)

Experience (15 plus years in professional home inspection, roof and painting contractor 1973-1978, remodeler and builder  - throughout 1980s, professional building inspector since 1994, home inspection instructor at School Craft College and the Michigan Institute of Real Estate 2004 to present) 

Experts and expertise (We may not be the experts in all the systems, but we will send you to them if you need one. We know many and know when you need one.) 

Exterior (Fully inspected. Many clients are surprised by the many poor conditions we find and report on. We are past painting and remodeling contractors, and we now first hand of the many billion dollar lawsuits and premature failures of manufactured siding products.  Your inspection includes trim, siding, brickwork, porches, decks, gutters, etc. be they made of stucco, cement board, EFIS, vinyl, wood, man-made products, etc.  We are knowledgeable regarding Weyerhouser and Louisiana Pacific siding failures as well as EFIS and HardyBoard.  All exterior siding has a finite life and many failures occur.)

Exterior finish insulation systems - EFIS -  (see EFIS above)

 

Question and answers - F's    or call Jerry 248.224.0258                   

Face brick (see "brick and brickwork")

Finding a better inspector (Click this link to go to: tips)

Floors (we look at the floor structural conditions at every inspection)

Foliage, trees and shrubs (we inspect for their impact on the building and foundations.

Foreclosed homes and buildings (Ideally, the utilities should be on and fully functioning for a complete inspection.  There are many times though that the utilities cannot be made operational for the inspection.  Unfortunately, follow-up visit charges will be assessed if the building owner cannot give you the needed peace of mind. Or link to: Foreclosed Building Issues

Foundations (we provide a free structural evaluation with every home or building inspection.  Our extensive knowledge and experience with the 16 major foundation systems used throughout Michigan will serve you well. As licensed contractors since 1983, as well as deck builders, (1985-1986), and our 2004 expert witness service regarding mold, water penetration and foundations assures you a better inspection.  We will tell you our opinion of the meaning and cause of any cracks and other foundation blemishes observed.

Friends and family (bring them along on the inspection.  The more eyes the merrier.  However, others may slow you down or interrupt your consultation with your inspector.  You decide.  We enjoy meeting everyone.) 

Furnace (we inspect all heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems for function and decreased life expectancy. We have available some of the best carbon monoxide and other equipment and/or inspection techniques to further protect you so you know the condition of the system. Unlike most inspection standards, we determine if the supply ductwork is connected, especially in new homes as this can be a costly construction error.) 

Fuse box (see "electrical load center")

 

Question and answers - G's     or call Jerry 248.224.0258

Garage doors (these must be safe and therefore we inspect and test operate them closely at each and every inspection) 

General Liability Insurance (see "insurance")

Guarantee (Not only are we fully insured to protect you, we provide you the highest quality services: if you're not satisfied, you need not pay.)  - Is your inspector an AwfullyPicky.com Inspector? 

Guests on your inspection (see "friends and family")

Gutters and gutter systems (we tell you the problems and potential problems we see with the installed system at your  inspection)

Ground hogs, (wood chucks) (They can destroy your foundation and your home. We tell you if we see any evidence of these and other pests and vermin.)

 

Question and answers - H's    or call Jerry 248.224.0258

Historic Homes (We inspect many 100 year plus old homes. From pre-Civil War Michigan homes to a 400 year old New Mexico adobe.  See "what is inspected". We know how systems and components age , fail and get repaired or replaced.")

How long does an inspection take? (several hours depending if the client is along and is interested in learning, and how willing the inspector is to inform. A thorough inspection may take between 1 and 2 hours on an average house, but will  take an additional hour or more to communicated effectively with the client, such as going over the report and the inspection limitations and contract.)

How long does an inspection take, and do I need to be there? (It is better to be at the inspection so that you can see first hand and discuss any troublesome conditions with your master inspector. Inspections usually take 2 to 2.5 hours for small homes and more time for larger buildings.  Jerry will be able to better estimate the time needed for your inspection when talking with you. give him a call at 248.224.0258

How long has the inspector been in inspection profession? (started prior to 1994)

How long has the inspector been in the construction industry? (started in 1972)

How long has AwfullyPicky.com been in the inspection business (since 1994) Aka. J.A.L. & Associates, Inc. dba. as AawfulPicky.com Home Inspections and Energy Audits founded 1994.  

How much does an inspection cost? (Click this link to go to: pricing)

Hydronic and hydronic baseboard heating (we inspect these deluxe heating systems for both operation and age related problems.)

 

Question and answers - I's  or call Jerry 248.224.0258  

Immediate inspection reports (immediately at the end of your thorough inspection, you receive two different reports. Report #1 lists all the big, costly problems or major health, safety and habitation issues impacting your purchase decision, Report #2 lists the important, though less costly, problems thought not to immediately impact your purchase decision. These reports help you understand their impact on your purchase and scheduling of  repairs or replacement. link to:  Sample report - a sample report and much more.)  

Infra-red thermography  (We carry infra-red equipment at all times. We provide a free phase #1 energy audit with every home inspection. Please discuss your needs with your inspector)

Insects? (We will tell you what we see.)

Inspection agreement, inspection contract, ( We believe we have the fairest agreement for our client.  Link to: inspection agreement and read closely between the lines. We don't trick and trap you by limiting insurance or warranty coverage to the mere inspection fee amount.  Most inspectors will not allow you to see their agreement until the time of the inspection.  watch-out)

Inspection covers what? (see "what is inspected" down below)

Inspection fee or price (for a top quality inspection, Click this link to go to: pricing)

Inspection report (Utilizing our state of the art quality control systems, we provide you two immediate reports at the end of the inspection as well a all the photographs taken to document the conditions. see "immediate inspection reports")

Inspection scope We follow the ASHI Standards (see "what is inspected"  or go to and surf ASHI.org). Additionally, we provide a special scope for home owner's and home sellers so they can maintain or prepare their home for sale. Call Jerry at 248.224.0258

Inspector qualifications (your inspector will have over 10 significant years of inspection experience to assure you a better inspection and inspection experience.)

Inspector who will be your inspector? (To assure inspection quality, Jerry Lootens will be your master inspector. No substitutions will be made.)

Insulation - (we inspect the visible areas for proper and adequate insulation. We also inform you of the areas of weakness in the buildings insulation envelop.  We carry infra-red equipment and/or use other techniques to more fully assess conditions, but rest assured, any house built before 2012 has insulation and air barrier problems that we will discuss with you at your inspection.) 

Insurance (fully insured with Errors and Omission, aka. professional liability insurance, as well as general liability insurance to protect you. We do not use the trick and trap inspection agreement clause many other inspectors use to prevent you from being insured and protected against significant inspector errors.)

Interior (fully inspected. We are past painting and remodeling contractors. Includes walls, floors, ceilings, windows, doors, etc.. Tripping hazards are also reported)

InterNACHI (see Inter-National Association of Home Inspectors, we do not ascribe to their limited standards of practice)

Inter-National  Association of Certified Home Inspectors (one of the two smaller inspector associations. The Inter-NACHI standards are only a sub-set of the ASHI standards and do not require as much from the inspectors.  We do not subscribe to offering less to our clients.

Question and answers - J's   or call Jerry 248.224.0258

JAL & Associates, Inc. (this is the corporate name. The corporation was established in 1994 and is located at 287 E. Square Lake Road, Troy, Michigan, 48085-3166.  You will find several of our "competitors" have addresses at UPS stores or use vacant home addresses.  Protect yourself and vet everyone.)

Join us on the inspection (You will feel you have a better understanding of the conditions observed.  Past clients felt the same, and we find they are better home owners from the experience.)

Question and answers - K's   or call Jerry 248.224.0258

Knob and tube electrical wiring (we see and inspect it all the time. This pre 1930 wiring is old and many believe it to be a significant hazard. It is not a grounding type system needed for many new appliances)

 

Question and answers - L's  or call Jerry 248.224.0258    

Lawsuits (Many past building components have been involved in lawsuits. We naturally tell you of these situations if we know of it and see the component at your property.  We always tell you if we think your system or component will not last the next five years. Most inspection firms do not tell you of these or limit reporting to you a shortened 1 to 2 year outlook.  Good inspectors should know better)  

Lead (as an EPA Certified Renovator and a past painting contractor, we will tell you about these poisons. We applied a great deal of lead paint in the 1970s and we know where it typically hides. You need to protect yourself. 

Leaks (We know the problems, the signs, and the remedies.) 

Liability Insurance - general liability (It is included with our professional liability coverage. see "insurance")

Lichens (see roof moss and roof stains).  

License (licensed Michigan Builder since 1995.  To date, Michigan does not license the inspection profession.  As a consumer, you need to be aware that all states with licensing have lowered the standards to levels well below what you and I would required to protect the public. The politicians again have truly hurt the public, but it has drastically lowered the price of inspections, but at a major cost to home buyers.)

Log homes and foundations (we provide a free structural evaluation with every home or building inspection.  Our extensive knowledge and experience with the 16 major foundation systems used under log homes will serve you well. We know first hand about wood shrinkage and movement in log construction. As licensed contractors since 1983, as well as deck builders, (1985-1986), and our 2004 expert witness service regarding mold, water penetration and foundations assures you a better inspection.  )

Load center electrical box (see "electrical load center")

 

Question and answers - M's   or call Jerry 248.224.0258

Master Inspector (your inspector will have over 15 significant years of inspection experience.  we want you to receive a better inspection and inspection experience.)

Mechanical codes (as licensed builders, we know residential codes as well as their limitations. We will inform you of any unnecessary risks you are buying into. further see "codes")

Michigan Basements (We have a significant background and knowledge regarding both the historic Michigan hand dug basements as well as the new ultra modern engineered concrete panelized Michigan basements.)

Mice and other rodents and vermin, (We report everything we see, (and smell). Unfortunately, rodents and other vermin get into many homes, garages and attics.  We tell you if we see evidence and if there is observable damage to the electrical system and potential fire hazards.

Mites, (We report everything we see, (and smell). Mites are allergens to many children. Mites grow in areas of 60% relative humidity especially in carpets and in basements.)

Modular Homes , Mobile Homes, (We are one of the few inspection firms that regularly inspect these structures.  Newer units can be even more deluxe than on-site built homes.  Call us 248.224.0258

Moisture (We have a significant background and knowledge regarding moisture problems throughout the building.  We will tell you if we observe moisture evidence as well as vermin, mold, and humidity issues and discuss your options as well as attempt to photograph to document the condition.

Mold, vermin, and wood destroying organisms, (We report everything we see, (and smell), and we discuss your remediation options for both rot and molds.  We use proprietary photo techniques to better observe the severity of conditions. We are affiliated with trustworthy and EPA certified test laboratories if you need further professional services and evaluations. see www.epa.gov/mold to start your mold education/investigation.  Note that remediation is not only the removal and sanitation of mold conditions, but also the repairs and adjustments needed  to prevent mold returning.  Our inspection report contains information on preventing mold development and growth.

Mold, moisture, sewage and other foul smells, (We report everything we smell, and we discuss your remediation options for both rot and molds.  We use proprietary photo techniques to better observe the severity of conditions. We are affiliated with trustworthy test laboratories if you need further professional services and evaluations. See www.epa.gov/mold. (Note: all houses have mold but you do not want noticeable levels or the smell. Also, all crawlspaces have more mold, more so than basements.) Many to the point that remediation is needed, ie. kill and remove the mold and mold parts, and prevent its return;  Stop all elevated moisture levels. 

Moss, (typically not destructive to your roof shingles unless allowed to grow for years.)

 

Question and answers - N's   or call Jerry 248.224.0258

NACHI (see "Inter-National Association of Home Inspectors")

NAHI (see "National Association of Home Inspectors")

National Association of Home Inspectors (one of the two smaller inspector associations The NAHI standards are only a smaller sub-set of the ASHI standards and do not require as much from the inspectors. We do not subscribe to offering less to our clients.

New homes - Why get a series of home inspection when building a new home? It's already inspected by the city inspector for compliance to code? Building code officials are only human and make mistakes.  Also code does not regulate everything and things are regularly built wrong.  I have inspected many new built homes that have passed "code" that are still in need of many corrections to repair problems, some severe.  As one code inspector stated, "Building code is like passing high school with a "D" average. You pass but...."

Nob and tube wiring (see "knob and tube wiring")

Question and answers - O's   or call Jerry 248.224.0258

Old houses and historic homes (we do many older buildings and know how systems and components age , fail and get repaired or replaced.")

Question and answers - P's    or call Jerry 248.224.0258

Permanent wood foundations (As licensed builders we have installed several of these advanced foundation systems and inspected many others.)

Planned obsolescence (the government is no outlawing the manufacture of replacement parts for many existing Heating/ ventilation/ and air conditioning systems.  We will inform you of this obsolescence as we see the components at your inspection.

Plumbing codes (as licensed builders, we know residential codes, as well as their limitations. We will inform you of any unnecessary risks you are buying into. further see "codes")

Plumbing Leaks - We know the problems, the signs, and the remedies.) 

Plumbing vent pipes and air admittance valves (we inspect for proper installation of these important health and safety components at each inspection)

Pricing - what does an inspection cost (link to pricing)

Professional Liability Insurance (see insurance)

Professionalism (We have been in the business since 1994 leading the profession in inspection scope, quality control, inspection techniques and methods, insurance, reporting, etc.)

 

Question and answers - Q's   or call Jerry 248.224.0258

Qualifications of inspector (Jerry Lootens: 15 plus years experience in professional home inspection, roof and painting contractor 1973-1978, remodeler and builder  - throughout 1980s, professional building inspector since 1994, home inspection instructor at School Craft College and the Michigan Institute of Real Estate 2004 to present.  Education includes Great Lakes Maritime Academy - 1971-1972, Wayne State University, geology, criminal justice, business - 1973- 1978, and 25 years of diversified construction trades and management, inspection and design experience in the construction and remodeling industries, universal building consultant)

Quality (AwfulPicky.com home inspection prides itself on maintaining the professions' highest quality standards and quality control systems to avoid errors and omissions)

Quality control systems (AwfulPicky.com continually strives to maintain the professions' highest quality control systems to protect you from harm)

 

Question and answers - R's   or call Jerry 248.224.0258

Raccoons (they can severely damage a home and like mice, cause fires and carry disease. . We tell you if we see evidence)

Report (see "immediate reports")

Radon (we use the most accurate testing equipment for our 48  hour duration radon level tests.  Approximately 17,000 Americans are thought to die annually from radon caused lung cancer.)

Radon reduction systems (we inspect these systems at your inspection to determine they are in operation and appear in reasonable condition.)

Rodents (we tell you when we see evidence. Rodents must chew to keep their teeth worn and sharp. Otherwise the teeth will curve, grow and kill them. This is why exposed electrical connections in ceilings and attics are such fire hazards. We look and tell you about unsafe conditions.)

Rot (Rot or wood rot is a mold, see "mold")

Roof and roof coverings (inspect every roof and roof plane. We are licensed roofing contractors.  We carry tall OSHA approved ladders for commercial roof inspections. We know what you will need to know about the condition of any of the 30 major roofing systems found throughout Michigan..., organic, slate, shake, tile, shingle, membrane, flat, composite, laminate, asphalt, fiberglass, etc.   You do not have to join us on the roof; We document conditions via photographs you keep for your records.  You receive all the photographs immediately at the end of your inspection.  We know when it is unsafe, damaging or unnecessary to climb or walk the roof to achieve a thorough inspection.  We protect you and your roof with our knowledge.

Roof flashing (these are typically the areas of first leakage and failure in the roofing system. As licensed roofers, we know what to look for.)

Roof streaks and stains (these are typically algae or lichens that most shingle manufacturer's believe will do not harm the life of the roof shingles, but leaves them stained and somewhat unattractive.)

Roof moss (typically moss does not damage roof shingles unless allowed to grow for many years on the shingles.  We make recommendations on remediation and repair )

 

Question and answers - S's   or call Jerry 248.224.0258

Sample report - We provide you two immediate reports at the end of your inspection as well a all the photographs taken to document the conditions. see "immediate inspection reports") Sample report - a sample report and much more.)  

Scope of inspection, i.e. what is looked at and inspected (see "what is inspected" or surf ASHI.org. for the ASHI standards' requirements for inspection)

Scheduling an appointment - Inspections are typically scheduled on weekdays for 8 or 9 AM, 12 or 1PM and 4 or 5PM.  Weekends and holidays are available. Call early. First come, first served. Or link to Scheduling

Septic systems (We perform septic inspection throughout Southeast Michigan. The exception is Macomb and Washtenaw Counties as we cannot pump the system to inspect.  Note that Macomb County recognizes that dormant/unused systems must be reactivated 60 days before inspection to allow for accurate assessment whether the system functions satisfactorily.)

Siding (always an area of significant concern. See "exterior")

Smells: mold, moisture, sewage and other foul smells, (We report everything we smell, and we discuss your remediation options for both rot and molds.  We use proprietary photo techniques to better observe the severity of conditions. We are affiliated with trustworthy test laboratories if you need further professional services and evaluations.)

Snakes (we tell you when we see evidence)

Spiders (we tell you when we see evidence)

Spotted or discolored attic surfaces (these may be mold and rot related. Talk to your inspector regarding these.)

Stains (point them out and we will discuss them in detail.)

Structure (we provide a free structural evaluation with every building inspection.)

Stucco (see "exterior")

 

Question and answers - T's   or call Jerry 248.224.0258

Termites (We are certified by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and have been performing inspections since 1995)

Testimonials (see body of text above. I quote only cute and short favorites)

Training (Midwest Institute of Building Inspection 1994, 20 plus hours annually as required by ASHI since 1995, Licensed Michigan Builder. 120 plus training hours annually, Fine Home Building, Holmes on Homes, Journal of Light Construction and the National Association of Home Builders since 1995, Detroit Edison residential wiring and code compliance training 1983).  We can train you and your employees either at the Michigan Institute of Real Estate or one on one. Call 248.224.0258

Trees, shrubs and other foliage, (we inspect for their impact on the building envelop and foundations.

Tripping Hazards (A bad trip can devastate your family. Insurance is not enough. We point out and many times report and document these conditions as observed.)

Thoroughness (The quality of our inspections are Second to None - we guarantee it)

 

Question and answers - V's   or call Jerry 248.224.0258

Vents and ventilation problems (we inspect ventilation systems for function.  We find many bathrooms and attics under ventilated causing moisture and health problems.) 

Vermin, mold and wood destroying organisms (Even though pests, vermin, and wood destroying organism inspection is outside our inspection scope, we feel obligated to photograph and tell you everything we see and smell. Pull us aside anytime if you want this information to be kept confidential.  We tell you about problems we observe around your property even though it may not be in the normal inspection scope.  You don't need any unwanted surprises though we are obligated to disclaim these as part of the inspection scope.)

 

Question and answers - W's   or call Jerry 248.224.0258

Warranty (Not only are we fully insured to protect you, we provide you the highest quality services: if you're not satisfied, you need not pay.  - Is your inspector an AwfullyPicky.com Inspector?)

Water Leaks (We know the problems, the signs, and the remedies.  Most homes have water problems) 

Well water and water testing  (We can take your sample to the pros for standard testing for portability. Our inspection always include reporting water problems encountered.) 

What is inspected? (All the major components of the home. we follow the Standards of Practice of the American Society of Home Inspectors. their web site also lists these components as well as limitations and other significant information.  See www.homeinspector.org/standards-of-practice

The Standards of Practice lists details regarding:

2. Purpose and Scope

3. Structural Components

4. Exterior

5. Roofing

6. Plumbing

7. Electrical

8. Heating

9. Air conditioning

10. Interiors

11. Insulation and Ventilation

12 Fireplaces and Fuel-Burning Appliances

13. General Limitations and Exclusions.

What makes AawfulPicky.com Home Inspections of Southeast Michigan better? (feel our philosophy in our website and see "about us",  "about your inspector", "education" above... but more importantly our inspections are Done Right For YouTM)

What constitutes a thorough inspection? (a professional inspection Done Right For You.  Where the inspector places your need to know about all the conditions above the real estate agents and seller's desire that you not know. The inspection should report on the conditions that should impact your purchase decision and your ultimate peace of mind.  Be the report be good, bad or inconvenient.  The inspection scope needs to include personal and property safety concerns as well as component known longevity besides simple functionality as only provided by NAHI and InterNACHI standards)

White rot (see "mold")

Who are we (see "about us" and "about your inspector" above) 

Whole house fans (We inspect and test operate these when possible at your inspection. Many are unsafe and have problems) 

Why use us? (We guarantee a better inspection. We look at more... tell you more... and we do it better.  Done Right for You TM.) 

What is inspected? (The scope of the inspection includes all the ASHI.org scope; Inspecting all the major systems that any and all good inspections should include, Heating, Cooling, Electrical, Plumbing, Structure, Foundation, Interior and Exterior systems, Roof, Attic, Porches, Decks, etc. We tell you more about your systems and components so as to prepare your for their care and maintenance. Tell us of your specific needs especially if they fall outside the normal scope. You will be delightfully surprised by our expertise. Call Jerry at 248.224.0258

What are the inspector's qualifications and education? (see "qualifications")

What do I get? (a better inspector, a better inspection and two better separate reports, or go to "immediate reports" or link to benefits for much more.

What does an inspection cost? (go to pricing)

What does the inspection report look like? (see "immediate reports")

Who will be your inspector (Jerry Lootens, Master Inspector will be your inspector and consultant. He is an experienced builder with over 15 exclusive years in professional home inspection. Ask him all the questions you want.  see qualifications for further information). Call Jerry at 248.224.0258

Why get a home inspector when building a new home inspected by the city for compliance to code? Building code officials are only human and make mistakes.  Also code does not regulate everything and things are regularly built wrong.  I have inspected many new built homes that have passed "code" that are still in need of many corrections to repair problems.  As one code inspector stated, "Building code is like passing high school with a "D" average. You pass but...."

Why use AwfullyPicky.com home and building inspector (Jerry Lootens, your Master Inspector meets the most stringent requirements of the profession as well as those of a quality control professional. Call 248.224.0258

Will you go to and inspect homes throughout Southeast Michigan...  (we inspect homes and businesses throughout Southeast Michigan. Call and tell us the town or city and we can tell you right away or refer you to a close by inspector.)

Will you...  (see "do you" above)

Windows and doors (Always an important part of a thorough inspection. Unlike most inspectors, if possible, we test operate each and every one of them.  Most inspection standards require only a representative number be tested.  We find many costly and/or unsafe problems.) 

Wood basements (See "All Weather Wood Foundations" above)

Wood chucks (See "ground hogs" above)

Workers compensation insurance (Seller's, buyers, and home owners beware; any service employee, tradesperson, inspector, real estate agent, who is not a part owner of their company but is an employee needs to be insured and covered for workers compensation by their employer. 

 

Question and answers - Y's   or call Jerry 248.224.0258

Your inspector will be:  (Jerry Lootens, Master Inspector will be your inspector and consultant. He is an experienced builder with over 15 exclusive years in professional home inspection. Ask him all the questions you want.  see qualifications for further information) 

Your inspection report (see "immediate report")

Thank you for visiting, and please promote the inspection profession.  The political powers in real estate and state government want to weaken the professional standards to prevent the in depth inspections the public wants, or conversely want to minimize the number of inspections by making inspectors - insurers of the property - causing inspections to become less affordable to the average home buyer. 

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