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Five Easy Steps to finding a better inspector.

The following four dilemmas face everyone seeking a good or better inspector, or to save time, skip down to the Five Easy Steps to quickly identify the better inspectors. 

Dilemma  #1 - Inspections and the inspectors who perform them are not all the same. Not knowing what constitutes a good, bad or great inspection pushes many clients to use a hit or miss method in picking their inspector.  It takes several years for an inspector to adequately know what constitutes acceptable quality and methods in plumbing, electrical, roofing, structure, and the other construction trades and professions.  It takes extensive training and expertise to responsibly report the severity of conditions to you, the client.  As everyone knows, schooling, education and continuing education is only the starting point.  True professionalism, with doctors, lawyers, home inspectors, etc. develops after the first five years in a profession, assuming proper training, skills, learning environment and mentoring.  Many inspectors also closely limit the scope of their inspection and don't fully include health, safety, longevity and habitation issues in their inspection reports.  This is likely the greatest issue with inspections as it is exceedingly difficult for the public to know of these limitations.  Samples include dangerous building code violations, aging and dangerous components such as decks, structure, etc. and unhealthy conditions observed or past infestations.  Buyers need to know about these too.

Dilemma #2 - Avoid inspectors who intentionally fail to advertise the information you need to know. If you have to ask, they are baiting you.  Buyers learn too late that the inspector's advertising was made just to entice the buyer to call the inspection service.  Be aware that many reasonable sounding inspectors do not not take responsibility for their own mistakes.  In Michigan, most inspectors use a trick and trap clause in their inspection agreement requiring you to accept only a refund of your inspection fee as full payment for any and all errors or omissions they caused. They avoid paying you tens of thousands of dollars in damages.  This is perfectly legal in Michigan!!!  The Michigan Supreme Court has so ruled!!!   Major inspection errors and omissions have driven buyers into foreclosure. 

Note:  To make matters worse, many insurance companies require Michigan home inspectors to contractually limit the inspector's liability to the inspection fee or the inspector cannot get insured with them. The "Public Be Damned" Michigan supreme court has upheld these trick and trap inspection agreement clauses, (Good for shady and non-professional inspectors, bad for their victims, and you, the public). You cannot win or break even when you lose to one of these inspectors.

Dilemma #3 - It is difficult to identify the better inspectors. Certification, licensing, education, referrals, etc. are not enough. Performance is what counts.  But most buyers know that they do not know what makes a better inspector, therefore buyers seek referrals and affirmation from friends, relatives, construction buddies, real estate agents, etc.  This approach does not assure getting the best inspection for your money.  You may feel better since a trusted person assessed the inspector's performance.  You only hope the inspector will come through for you too. 

    80% of inspectors are only adequate or worse!  However, they are regularly referred. Real estate agents and their brokers have an obvious conflict of interest in referring inspectors.  Brokers and agents can, and many times do, control who are the inspectors they refer.  They can say to you, "I have been at many  inspections and this inspector is the "best".   Is this the truth or only a self serving statement?    You can ask the agent for the inspectors advertising literature to later determine if the the inspector passes the five minimal selection criteria listed below. 

    As the home buyer, you have no obligation to hire the inspector the agent or broker prefers.  If the agent objects to your independent selection, or attempts to pressure to sway your decision, beware and investigate. 

    Agents often refer a soft inspector, especially one who provides a good sounding inspection warranty or implies thoroughness. Many of these warranties however are weak in coverage and performance.   Be aware.   Agents do not refer their inspectors for free. They demand certain actions from the inspector to maintain the referral relationship. Sometimes these demands can be detrimental to you. 

    Obtain a full copy of any inspection warranty well prior to the inspection for review by your attorney.  Be especially wary of any inspector who claims to provide a warranty but does not make the "warranty" readily available for public scrutiny.  The warranty and its full details should be proudly posted on the internet and in their sales brochure for all the world to see and read.  Most are not, or hidden behind a password, small print  or supplied only at the time of the inspection. Then its too late.  Avoid these inspectors.

Dilemma #4 - Any due diligence or vetting by referral services such as Angie's list, Service Magic, as well as the major inspector associations does not adequately protect you.  All these services and organizations refuse to take financial responsibility for any costly mistakes in referring you to an inadequate or incompetent inspector.  The due diligence and vetting of an inspector's competence is difficult.  These organizations do it so poorly.  Additionally, inspectors with superior skills and competence cannot be identified as the rank and file inspectors of the organization retaliate against being classified or labeled, rightly or wrongly as anything less than top echelon.  You will be shocked how little these organizations investigate inspectors, or the veracity of the inspector's advertising or qualifications.  These organizations will not guarantee the quality of the inspector's performance.  

 

The Five Easy Steps to finding a better inspector.

Each of the following five criteria must be met or avoid the inspector:    

Pre-screen the inspector's advertising, (web site and brochures), for these 5 requirements. Reject all inspectors who fail to advertise all of these.  The internet allows inspector's unlimited ability to provide you this information, so why do so many inspectors hide this information from you?

1.  Does the inspector's advertising fully identify the inspection company and who will be your inspector? You need to know if it is a real business with a good past history, with a real name, a real address, etc. Will your inspector be the new guy, a part timer, a sub contractor, or the best inspector they have? Avoid inspection firms that do not identify themselves fully. 

2.  Is the inspector insured to protect you with an errors and omission, (E&O) / professional liability policy? (Average court settlements against home inspectors nationwide are typically under $25,000, so a $100,000 policy is adequate.  However, a million dollar plus E&O insurance policy may deepen the insurance carrier's resolve to pay you nothing. Avoid inspection firms that do not carry insurance, or limit their protection. See the following item, item #3 for this devious practice. 

3. Does the inspector refuse to use the Trick and Trap practice of limiting any and all inspection liability for their errors to the amount of the inspection fee?   Most Michigan inspectors use this trick and trap contractual clause forcing you to rely solely on their goodwill.  (This is considered unethical by consumer protection groups, especially if the inspector carries insurance that should be protecting you).  You will only get refunded the inspection fee you paid, and nothing more for major health and safety issues or damages costing thousands of dollars you may incur due to the inspector's errors and omissions.  These inspectors also will not and do not discount their inspection service price when bidding against better inspectors who fully insure to protect the client.  Their customers are actually paying the inspector more and get less in return and are taking on the added risk of the cost of any inspection mistake.  These customers may not know it until too late!   Avoid inspection firms that follow this prevalent practice. All "soft/poor inspections" are based on this practice of playing the percentages that you will not have to be refunded your fee for the inevitable errors and omissions to be made by the inspector. 

4.  Is the inspector insured to protect both you and the home seller through a general liability policy? Unavoidably, things get damaged and people get hurt. (Note that general liability insurance is often incorporated in the error and omission insurance policy in item #2 above.) Avoid inspection firms that do not carry insurance to protect both you and the seller.  (Also if the inspector is a sub contractor or a non-owner employee of the inspection firm, the inspection firm needs to carry workers compensation insurance for their employee or subcontractor. This is to protect you and the home owner from a costly workers compensation claim.

5. Is your inspector ethical and competent: 

Inspectors should advertise that they perform thorough inspections that include reporting all major health and safety issues observed, as well as reporting on likely near term expenses for deteriorating and aging components. Anything less borders on being unethical and may be regarded as a "soft inspection" meant to assure the sale of the property by keeping you, the buyer, less informed. The Standards of Practice of several inspection associations do not fully meet these requirements and you will get less of an inspection.

The inspector should report the significant dangers observed, such as asbestos, lead, mold, unsafe construction, poor conditions, etc. that may affect your and your family's safety. The inspector should provide you an understanding of the risks, and possibly the remedy and cost to correct each condition if they are qualified. This allows you to seek further expertise to determine the impact on your purchase offer.  You might have to walk away from buying a money pit.  You will need this cost and risk information to make an informed purchase decision. Avoid inspectors who do not include or  minimize the importance of all  health and safety issues in their scope of work, as well as those inspectors who don't tell you a component or system is likely to fail soon.  Avoid soft/poor inspections and inspectors.

Competence of inspectors with over 10 years experience:  These inspectors are the skilled veterans who have survived and prospered  and probably offer you the best likelihood of a better inspection.  Many inspectors utilize membership in an inspection association requiring continuing education such as ASHI.  Google search the inspector's membership affiliations to verify membership and the continuing education requirements. Determine that the inspector has over 10 years experience by researching their business past with the state's business and licensing websites, etc.

Potential incompetence of  inspectors with less than ten years of inspection experience will need further investigation by you: a combination of education, certification, licensing, and more importantly, significant experience in construction and/or inspection is needed.   Preferably, the inspector should be over qualified with an extensive inspection background and/or training or experience in building science, construction, maintenance, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, plus anything else the inspector believes qualifies him or her to professionally serve you. Remember, the inspector has to know more than the tradespersons and professionals who build and maintain buildings. The inspector also needs to be a good communicator to help you understand the significance of the conditions observed.

You may even do further research of the inspector's advertising, verifying licenses, certificates of insurance, membership numbers, business license and corporate identification numbers, etc.  You can verify these with the State of Michigan, the Better Business Bureau, or other organizations and companies, many times via the internet. 

Only a resounding "Yes" to all five of the above questions should place the inspector on your call and  interview list....  disqualify all others!

    The disqualified inspectors wasted your time and failed to advertise the basic information you needed to vet them.  Their slick ad was made to avoid important issues, but still say enough to entice you to call them.  They have smooth, reasonable sounding sales pitches.  They are expert at countering any and all of your objections while building your confidence in using their service.  Are they con men?  They certainly live and walk on the edge.  They may have done thousands of  "C" grade inspections. Fundamentally, they offer you a flawed service.  They cannot give you an "A" grade inspection for your peace of mind.  They are likely to be one of the many very successful "soft inspectors" who thrive in this market place.

Interview each qualified inspector to determine if they are motivated to help you and your peace of mind.  You want no surprises even long after the inspection.  

Interviewing your prescreened "better" inspectors. 

The purpose of your interview is to determine if the inspector is not only right for you, but is  honest and will provide you a better inspection?

Be respectful of an inspector's time and availability to talk, especially between the hours of 9 AM and 7 PM as the inspector is likely at or going to an inspection. Ask if the inspector has time to talk or if he or she can call you back instead. You might leave a voice mail message requesting a call back at a later time. (Each interview should take no more than two to five minutes. Interview up to three fully pre-screened "better" inspectors. Protect yourself and do not include any disqualified inspectors).

Listen closely to what the inspector says, as well as what is not said. 

What the inspector should say:  

Your first question to the inspector tests their honesty in the advertising you used to select them, "Mr. inspector, (use the inspector's name), I know you are experienced, well respected, and competent, but are you still insured and do you limit your liability to the inspection fee?

The inspector should tell you if they are no longer insured, or if they limit their liability to the inspection fee.  Roughly 10% of inspectors drop their insurance annually to avoid the substantial cost of professional liability and general liability insurance.  Another 80%  will limit their liability to you to the inspection fee to keep their insurance fees lower.  In each case their advertising was misleading and you should immediately end the conversation. Thank them and hang up. Otherwise they will  still try to persuade you even though they lied and wasted your time. Hang up, you owe them nothing. 

Your second question allows the inspector sell you on their services, "Mr. inspector, what makes you so different from the other good inspectors that I should hire you?" Listen and determine if you both are a good match to each other.   

    All inspectors should sell you on their differences with their competition. They should do so in a positive way by not bad mouthing the competition, but highlighting the differences. The inspector will attempt to get you to talk about your concerns and apprehensions so that they can better direct their answers to meet your needs. They will rebuff and attempt to overcome any of objections you pose, but do so in a nice way. They want to close the sale, schedule your inspection, and have you as a new client, all in short order. This is exactly how the smooth Con men do it, but you are now talking with the proven ethical and better inspectors you have vetted thoroughly.

    Many inspectors feel several of the following attributes make them the best or better than their competitors in meeting your needs: The cheapest /most reasonable inspection fee, education, great affiliations, better equipment, the right equipment, experience, the best: inspection, report, value, accuracy, thoroughness, inspection warranty or guarantee, etc. or the best mix of these will be their offering to you. 

The inspector needs to provide you evidence to support each of their attributes.

Price - The better inspectors generally will not offer you the lowest price unless your special circumstances make it possible.  Be aware that any service provider will not feel as happy about serving you for less than than their normal service fee.  You will probably get what you pay for as you force them to walk disgruntled on the ethical line

Education - Your peace of mind is only minimally enhanced by an inspector's "better education" unless your inspection scope includes something outside the usual inspections for which the inspector is uniquely qualified. This is rarely the case with experienced inspectors unless your expanded inspection scope includes inspecting items such as sea walls, septic systems, swimming pools, solar panels, "green" systems, steam rooms, mold analysis, pollution, radon, pest inspection, to name a few.  Many inspectors may not feel qualified to perform inspections of these items. 

Great affiliations- Like education, your peace of mind is only minimally enhanced by an inspector's "great affiliations. Membership in one or more of the major inspector societies or associations is easily accomplished by any inspector with minimum skills.

Better equipment - Likewise, your peace of mind is only minimally enhanced by an inspector's "better equipment" unless your property has something unusual that the inspector equipment gives them a significant diagnostic advantage. Most of the time, better equipment will make no difference between the inspection findings of competent inspectors. However, using the right equipment, (see next item), may result in differences 

The right equipment - The use of some equipment is mandatory for a good inspection.  Whereas other equipment is window dressing to impress clients and the public. A taller ladder at large buildings does provide better roof and attic access. The use of electrical voltage tester can more quickly establish when conditions are unsafe.  Equipment such as carbon monoxide detectors and combustible gas sniffers, however, may be more to impress the buying public than provide inspection findings, (except in unique situations, ask me why). Infrared cameras and thermometers, and moisture meters may be able to identify active moisture problems, but visual evidence by a skilled inspector would likewise identify the same major problems and find other tell tale signs, all without added showmanship or drama.  Many inspectors do not utilize snow shovels or snow roof rakes to observe winter roof conditions hidden under snow. Others inspectors do not utilize OSHA approved methods, or ladders or roof climbing gear to safely climb into attics and onto roofs. The use of auxiliary electrical power generator, gas supplies, or air compressors to test shut down utility services, or cameras for drain plumbing and chimney cleaning are considered outside the scope of normal inspections, however, some inspectors carry and utilize such equipment. You can expect to pay extra for such services..

Experience - Seasoned competent inspectors should have little difference in experience to make much difference in either inspection findings or reporting.  The exceptions would be items outside the normal inspection scope, i.e. septic systems, mold, pest infestation, etc. where the inspector needs further qualifications. If the inspector says their inspection goes beyond the ASHI or NAHI standards of practice ask them for a copy of their expanded standards. Their just saying so is not enough. Another area is health and safety where some inspectors refuse to inspect for these situations, but you have already verified that this inspector includes these in their scope of work for you.

Best inspection - typically means any or all the following, a better value, more thorough, more accurate, more educational, better handouts and literature, and other value added goods and services, guaranteed or warranted, and a more enjoyable inspection experience.  Ask the inspector why their service is better or best.

Best value - a better value is the relationship of the inspection fee compared to the inspection results, then compared to other inspection fees and results. This is hard to prove unless you have had several inspections to compare.  Occasionally, clients have two independent inspections performed on the same property to achieve better peace of mind.  They then can more accurately access which inspection was a better value, especially as time passes and problems and maintenance issues develop.

More thorough -  implies looking at more, i.e. a larger inspection scope of work, or looking more thoroughly at the conditions within the inspection work scope. Could also imply fewer inspection scope limitations than in other inspections, or that multiple inspectors will come on the inspection, each with differing expertise. Additional time spent at the inspection can contribute to a more thorough inspection, but not necessarily. Inspector competence is more important. It might be best to be scheduled as the last inspection of the day so time constraints are then removed provided the inspector does not have to be elsewhere after your inspection.

More accurate - means missing less of the reportable conditions observable at an inspection due to some attribute, such as a quality control systems, redundancy, process controls and methodologies such as multiple inspectors, etc..

Best report - means more useful communication to all readers possibly in a better format with better quality  information, or with better recommendations, explanations, or more useable or detailed information, etc.

Best inspection warranty - A written or verbal warranty that provides the client some level of reimbursement or repair.  The warranty defines the specific problems and conditions which could occur within some specific time period. Many prior conditions at the property may negate many warranties, such as worn roof shingles, equipment beyond its expected useful life, etc.  Verbal warranties are fraught with problems.

Inspection performance or satisfaction guarantee -  is a time limited guarantee, written or verbal, that the inspection will achieve some measurable performance or satisfaction level within some defined period of time.  The client has some defined recourse, such as satisfaction always, means you can obtain satisfaction or possibly a refund or prorated refund if so guaranteed. Verbal guarantees are fraught with problems.

    

Note that a better inspector's advertising should have answered all your questions up front except for maybe price. Inspectors want you to call for a cost quote and you and your agent's availability. 

Are you ready? 

Go for peace of mind.  Now pick your inspector

 

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Be aware:

    Inspectors who limit their liability to their clients may also be insuring the referring real estate agent so that the agent too is protected from any financial responsibility for referring the inspector to you.  The inspector now can perform a soft inspection that does not fully disclose conditions to you. The real estate agent also will not have to worry that an overly thorough inspection will be performed that can "sink" or "kill" the deal. The insurance company will only refund the inspection fee if the inspector makes a big error and fails to report it to you.  Again, your peace of mind is compromised. 

If asked, all inspectors will say they are independent, unbiased, thorough, and work solely for you.  Don't believe it. You will need to determine this by listening to how they sell their service. Most are naturally biased and may be beholding toward those who provide them regular business through referrals such as referring real estate agents.  Be aware that these inspectors may be less than fully forthcoming with the information you would like or need to know.

Do not ask the normal first question of, "what is the cost of your inspection?" If asked the inspector usually goes into their quality is number one, or their low price/better value sales pitch trying to determine if you are cheap or potentially a problem customer. You want to know the price last to compare if they adequately discount for the risks you are taking.

Your best value at any price point.

  As an AwfullyPicky.com inspector, I work solely for you.  I am a licensed Michigan builder with an extensive and diverse construction and quality control management background; a certified member of both: The American Society of Home Inspectors, (over 12 years). and The American Association of Independent Housing Inspectors, (over 13 years), and a founding member of The Michigan Association of Home Inspectors.  As the sole inspection instructor for the Michigan Institute of Real Estate, serving over 20,000 real estate professionals, and also at Schoolcraft College in Livonia my students have the opportunity to develop the best inspection habits and quality controls to assure their future clients a top quality service.  Fully insured and I do not limit my liability to you to the inspection fee.  If you need more information, read further.

Thank you,

Jerry Lootens, Master Inspector. 

 (J.A.L. & Associates: Bldrs. Lic. #2102123368, Jerry Lootens, Master Inspector - ASHI member #107997, AAIHI member #1003, IIA member #59728). 

   Get peace of mind with AwfullyPicky.com Home Inspection.

Call Jerry at 248-224-0258 

Tips for hiring a better inspector

    The disparity and differences between inspectors is glaring.  Hire an inspector who does not censor or minimize inspection findings.  Many inspectors perform "Soft" inspections in an effort to maintain lucrative referral relationships to appease Realtors, attorneys, and mortgage lenders who exclusively refer the inspector, and knowingly are being reckless with their client's well being with a soft inspection.  If the inspector becomes too professional, or too picky, or too thorough, there is always another soft inspector to be found and referred. 

    Many inspectors will tell you they fully report to you all major inspection findings. However, a 2005 channel 4, TV4 expose' found many area inspectors perform a "soft inspection" and exclude reporting significant items, such as major components that are unsafe, or are likely to fail soon because of wear and tear, and/or old age.  These include expensive and potentially dangerous surprises with items such as decks, porches, awnings, furnaces, water heaters, roof shingles, bath tub wall tiles, etc.

    The TV4 expose' further found many inspectors fail to mention the multitude of small maintenance and safety issues typically observable at an inspection.  These items can be a significant cost, and safety issues can result in injuries and or death. You do not want bad surprises. Home warranties typically do not protect the home buyer from these conditions, and there is always a deductable.

    Many "inspectors", and their referring real estate professionals, argue that old components that still operate, yet are no longer considered safe, reliable, and/or are beyond their expected life, are not required to be reported to you.  Nachi and NAHI are two large "professional" inspection associations.  Both NACHI and NAHI standards of practice will not meet your expectations of a thorough and informative inspection. The NACHI standards of practice specifically states that any, "structural element, system or subsystem near, at or beyond the end of the normal useful life of such a structural element, system or subsystem is not by itself a material defect." They appear only to report material defects per their own definition. NAHI inspectors likewise look without regard to life expectancy of components as long as the component performs its intended function.  Safety issues also are not considered a material defect per NAHI since their standards are silent to these "defects" You always want to know if conditions or components are unsafe, or too old to rely on.

   I feel you should be notified about old components  and systems, as well as known or foreseeable safety defects.  My clients consider them to be a potential material defect and a major concern in their purchase decision. I assume that you also have such concerns. You might not want to buy a house with pending costly repairs for unsafe conditions, or old components and equipment that may fail soon. You want peace of mind even with less than move in condition house.  

   Real estate agents and mortgage lenders who refer inspectors who perform "Soft Inspections" are happy that potentially important information is withheld from you when you buy. These agents may benefit by the sale going through quickly, without incidence, or additional work to make things safe and reliable. I know of buyers forced into foreclosure from disasters caused by the failure of old systems and components not mentioned in a "soft inspection".

    Many "soft inspectors" cause buyers further grief.  "Soft inspectors" protect themselves and those who refer them through legal and insurance loopholes devised to shield everyone from damage claims from an injured buyer. The "soft inspector" contractually limits the inspector's liability to you to the inspection fee you paid, ($200 to $400).  The inspector also has an insurance indemnity clause to defend and protect the referrer.  The result is that the buyer gets nothing or very little in the end when a soft inspector makes a major error. Buyers get nothing from either the referring party or the inspector, yet the inspector and the referring party  continue to work their lucrative scam.

   As an AwfullyPicky.com inspector, I work only for you and will fully report the home's conditions to you.  AwfullyPicky.com inspectors are expert in inspecting and communicating the results.  If a real estate professional refers AwfullyPicky.com, you can be assured that they have your best interest at heart.  We do not limit our liability to you. Just follow our insurance company's claim process requirements. We maintain professional liability insurance, (E&O), to protect you, and we do not unfairly limit our liability to you for our mistakes.

    There are many excellent real estate professionals in Southeast Michigan. Many do want you to be fully aware of all conditionsThese are the professionals you want working for you.  Let me know who they are. These are the professionals we want to be affiliated with.  You can see the names of many near the bottom of this web site home page.

   Get peace of mind with AwfullyPicky.com Home Inspection.

Call Jerry at 248-224-0258 

Review your potential inspector's attributes in these areas:

*Professional affiliation with ASHI - NAHI and NACHI membership may indicate a propensity to minimize reporting the true conditions to you.

*A willingness to communicate - answering all your questions should be the norm.  The inspector needs to be professional, enlightening, and educational to assure your satisfaction. Your presence at the inspection helps communication and you can see exactly what conditions are.

*Insurance - many if not most inspectors are not insured for professional liability, i.e. error and omissions.  Many others have inexpensive policies that do not guarantee coverage in the event the inspector made a gross error.  Errors can cost you thousands of dollars.  Many inspection agreements prevent you from seeking damages from insurance carriers. 

*Inspection agreement - most inspectors limit their liability to you for their own errors by having you sign away your rights at the time of the inspection.  Usually they limit the amount they will pay you to the amount you paid for the inspection, i.e. they will refund your $200 to $500 inspection fee.

*Public advertising - is the inspector in the real estate brokers pocket?  Advertising is expensive. Brokers/agents can guarantee an inspector referrals, but at what price?  Inspectors must advertise or live off of real estate referrals that may be ethically compromising.

*Inspectors insisted on by real estate agents - Probably bad news for you, the home buyer.  Who does the inspector really work for?  It should be exclusively for you. Many Real Estate brokers manipulate inspector selection as well as the inspectors for their own profit.  Beware. Brokers will tell you they are only trying to protect you, to assure "quality".  Protect yourself by finding your own professional through personal referrals if agents insist too heavily.

*Size of inspection team - having too many inspectors at your inspection lessens your time to resolve your questions about observed conditions. Home owners also do not like having many strangers running through their home.

*Immediate inspection reports - you deserve an immediate and custom report.  Many inspectors cannot provide one.  Others give you only what they consider to be the big problems and omit the multitude of smaller problems that ultimately cost you in the end.

*Qualified inspectors - your best protection.  Experienced ASHI inspectors backed with insurance is your best safeguard.  Referrals from friends and family helps immensely.

*A complete selection of inspection services - you may need it for your particular home.  Many inspectors cannot provide them, such as radon testing, water sampling, septic and termite inspections.  Other services can be referred out.

*Inspection/home warranties - Nice - if real!!!  Expensive - if real.  Only your attorney will know for sure.  Get the formal and legal policy/agreement and read the small print well before hiring the inspector. Otherwise assume the worst. The cheap and limited Home Warranties offered by the real estate companies usually start at $399 with a $55-$100 deductible. If the inspection fee with a warranty is less, doubt the warranty's usefulness.  An honest and qualified inspector will not work for nothing and take a loss on top of it.  Also be aware that many policies do not cover pre-existing conditions. 

*Quality controls in inspecting - Only a well planned inspection process protects you and assures a high quality and accurate report.  You are paying for the inspector's expertise, impartiality, and inspection process and reporting. Missing quality assurance controls cause you to receive less information than needed. The inspection must minimize the chance for errors or omissions. A professionally performed inspection is the only reason you hire an inspector to help you achieve more peace of mind.

*Appropriately equipped - Though inspections are visual having photographic equipment allows you to view more of the home where you could not personally go such as the attic and crawlspace.  Many other hi tech equipment can help, but the inspector's knowledge is paramount. 

*Appropriately dressed - professional, yet ready and able to enter dirty areas, but without dirtying up your future home.  Additional clothing and supplies help keep everything clean.

*Professional affiliation with ASHI - NAHI and NACHI membership may indicate a propensity to minimize reporting the true conditions to you due to their unacceptable Standards of Practice.

*Willingness to communicate - Your inspector should be willing to tell you everything he/she knows about your new home.  Many inspectors and inspection firms will limit their conversations with you.  At AwfullyPicky.com Home Inspections your master inspector is willing and required to tell you the good, the bad and the ugly about the home. You will receive his/her expertise and be allowed to pick their brain even long after the inspection, at no extra charge.  I want you to be satisfied, have an enjoyable experience, and a thorough inspection that allows you to make a better purchase decision.  

    Get peace of mind with AwfullyPicky.com Home Inspection.

Call Jerry at 248-224-0258 

Insurance
   
Find an inspection firm who allows you to verify their insurance protection, professional liability i.e. errors and omissions, and general liability insurance; workers compensation; (for non-owner employee inspectors), bonding, i.e. employee theft insurance. Be sure that any subcontractor inspectors are also fully insured so you and the homeowner are not at risk. At AwfullyPicky.com Home Inspections we do not sub contract other inspectors. Your inspector will be a partner with ownership in the firm, and have over 10 years of professional inspection experience. We gladly provide insurance information.
 

Inspection agreement
   
Only hire an inspector who is willing to give you an inspection and warranty agreement  before the inspection. Most inspectors attempt to limit their liability to you to the amount of the inspection fee you paid, usually $200 to $300. They want you to sign away your legal right to collect damages above that amount if and when they make errors. You will be surprised by the one sided agreements their lawyers have created. You may feel trapped.  Legal advise is expensive, time consuming and unavailable in the short time period allotted by the purchase agreement.  Your Realtor or real estate professional should have given you adequate time and assistance to help protect you from being rushed.

     Inspections have limitations.  Do not be surprised by the length and detail of inspection agreements and related documents.  Even the agreements that protect you look scary. Remember that home inspections appear easy, but require significant knowledge, skill, and ability, and are difficult to accomplish in the one inspection visit. The consequences of a poor inspection can be costly and long term. Inspection results can be contentious. Many situations make inspections a high risk business, therefore insured inspectors pay a very high insurance premium price to help protect you.  Inspectors cannot and will not see everything, so make sure they are experienced, qualified, fully insured, and have state of the art quality control processes so they are less likely to miss anything. They should be able tell you about each of these details off the top of their head.
 
Get peace of mind with
AwfullyPicky.com Home Inspection.

Call Jerry at 248.224.0258 to schedule a convenient appointment.  

Public advertising (or lack thereof)
   
Inspectors who do not advertise directly to the public typically rely solely on real estate agent referrals for their livelihood.  Will such an inspector have an economic conflict of interest when “serving” you?   Many people believe so.  At AwfullyPicky.com home inspections, we advertise directly to the public.  Our name says it all. I gladly stand by my reputation of performing a thorough, fair and informative inspection. Experience the difference!!!
 

Size of the inspection team
   
A multi-person inspection team can shorten the time needed to inspect your home.  You may feel rushed and unable to ask all pertinent questions. Multi-person inspection teams are mostly aimed to save time for the real estate agents accompanying you at the inspection. You will feel pressured and unsatisfied.  At AwfullyPicky.com home inspections we take more time than many inspection firms to discuss everything with you.  If your real estate agent gave you our name, be assured your agent wants a thorough inspection with ample explanation regarding the conditions of the home.  The agent wants you to be satisfied and informed.

  Get peace of mind with
AwfullyPicky.com Home Inspection.

Call Jerry at 248.224.0258 if you have any questions  

Inspectors insisted on by real estate agents
   
The real estate agent may insist on your hiring their favorite inspector. Carefully review why the agent wants “their” inspector to perform your inspection. There are several inspection firms who appear captive to real estate agents and brokerages. This captivity leads rightly or wrongly that they perform "soft inspections". Several lawsuits have been won against franchise inspection firms for performing different levels of thoroughness of inspections for their home buyer clients verses their sophisticated relocation company clients or their work for their referring agents.   

    By law, you can hire an independent inspection firm and do not have to use the inspector insisted on by your agent.  I recommend you obtain the services of an independent inspector such as ourselves.  AwfullyPicky.com Home Inspections takes pride in steering clear of conflicts of interest and sole referral relationships. Your inspector will immediately inform you if there is any significant relationship with your real estate professional.

Immediate on-site inspection report
   
An inspection report given at the conclusion of the inspection allows you to immediately decide if you want to complete the home purchase or renegotiate or cancel the purchase offer with the home seller. 

    At AwfullyPicky.com Home Inspections we provide you not one, but two immediate and easy to understand reports. One covers the major health, safety, habitation and costly inspection findings thought to impact your purchase decision as well as listing likely major expenses in the coming five years. The other report identifies equally important yet less costly findings that are thought not to impact your purchase decision. These are repairs and problems that need correction as soon as practical, but do not impact your decision unless there are too many of them. The inspector will twice, fully discuss all the findings and review the inspection findings with you.  First, throughout the inspection tour, and second, at the end. You will have a better understanding of the home's conditions and the impact on your purchase decision.
 
Get peace of mind with
AwfullyPicky.com Home Inspection.

Call Jerry at 248.224.0258 to schedule a convenient appointment  

Qualified inspectors
   
Seek a qualified and full time inspector with ownership in their inspection firm. At AwfullyPicky.com Home Inspections you will obtain the services and expertise of an owner, master inspector and licensed builder with many years of diverse construction, inspection and quality control experience.  I will not substitute less qualified inspectors, nor sub contract inspectors or “employees” to serve you. Your inspector will have at a minimum, ten years of expertise along with diverse and extensive experience as a licensed builder and remodeling contractor. His knowledge will be available to you even long after the inspection.  

    Avoid inspectors with less than 10 years experience as the professional knowledge required to provide you a thorough inspection is extensive.  I know because I am continually learning after 25 years.  Master inspectors do not cost significantly more to hire than a junior, so protect yourself with the better value. Any inspection fee difference between inspectors is immaterial in comparison to the price paid for a bad home or a bad inspection experience.  Fight the impulse to "save" a few dollars.  Go for the best qualifications and experience you can afford.  

Get peace of mind with AwfullyPicky.com Home Inspection.

Call Jerry at 248.224.0258 to schedule a convenient appointment  

Complete selection of inspection services
    AwfullyPicky.com Home Inspections
provides the full array of inspection services needed for home buyers, sellers, and those building new homes or remodeling:
 

   Get peace of mind with AwfullyPicky.com Home Inspection.

Call Jerry at 248.224.0258 to schedule a convenient appointment  
 
Inspection warranties
   
Home warranties are only as good as the agreement and the company that stands behind them. Experience shows that many warranties are very limited and do not cover the problems typically encountered. Extensive warranties usually cost well over $1,000. How can an inspection company provide you a full and extensive warranty for a $200 to $300 inspection fee?  Partial home warranties provided by many Real estate companies and home sellers start at $400 and cover a very limited number of conditions or components. Read any agreement carefully with your attorney to determine if it is too good to be true. Also call the state to determine if the inspection firm is licensed to provide such insurance. You need recourse in the event of problems. Inspectors cannot include a free $400 home warranty with their $300 inspection fee - and perform a 2 to 4 hour inspection, and remain in business without cheating you somehow.
 

Quality control systems
   
To assure quality results requires a thoroughly planned and executed inspection process that prevents errors or omissions and damage. AwfullyPicky.com Home Inspections has worked twelve years to optimize such a system.  I provide one of the best home inspections in the profession.  It informs the client and is enjoyable and very educational.

Appropriate dress
   
Your inspector needs to dress professionally yet be able to enter dirty areas such as crawlspaces, attics, basements, etc.  At AwfullyPicky.com Home Inspections  I bring items to help protect you if you desire to peer into some of these dirty areas. For unhealthy environments, respiratory equipment is utilized for safety. Additional clothing is brought to prevent damaging or polluting the home.

Get a better report!
Get a better inspection!
Get a better inspector!
Call… Experience the difference!

   Get peace of mind with AwfullyPicky.com Home Inspection.

Call Jerry at 248-224-0258 

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