A little about your Home Inspector
Updated: Jan 18, 2021
Hello! I figured introducing myself would be an appropriate way to begin this blog. I'll tell you a little bit about my professional background and why I'm passionate about helping folks just like you better navigate and understand the technical aspects of their homes. I've helped homebuyers make informed decisions about their chosen property as well as pre-listing sellers get ahead of any concerns that may affect their sale. I've also consulted on dozens of properties for real estate investors while they analyze homes for any necessary repairs.
To start off, let's talk about why I chose to become a Home Inspector. Some of you reading this may be thinking about buying or selling a house. You may even be a first time homebuyer...you know (or are about to find out) just how overwhelming the process can be. You may develop an emotional attachment to the houses you're considering purchasing: the nice, sunny backyard will be perfect for your dog to run around in, which is way more fun to think about than the functional flow test of the bathroom. The thought of finally being able to host family and friends in your home is exciting...not so much the consideration of R-value in the attic. Maybe you're jazzed about choosing the perfect paint colors for your walls...more so than understanding whatever an anti-siphon hose bib is. I am not implying that all first time homebuyers are clueless, but I would argue that many homebuyers (first time or otherwise) aren't technically savvy with all the systems found in a home. Many prospective homeowners are not looking at their dream house through the same lens as an impartial, unbiased, standards-guided Inspector.
I wrote this article specifically to help address a few common questions and concerns I receive nowadays as a full time Home Inspector. My job, in its simplest form, is to provide you the details about your home that will help you make the best decision you can when buying or selling. Effective communication is a critical skill I bring to the table. This, combined with my training, tools, and experience means you receive the most thorough inspection possible with a report delivered in an easy to understand format.
I found a passion for teaching many years ago as a Naval Officer - not just teaching, but facilitating true understanding... you know, that "ah-ha!" moment when the light bulb clicks on. I was teaching technical aspects of Naval Science to adult learners at my last duty station prior to leaving active duty. Each of the subjects I taught were guided by stringent standards, procedural compliance, and a personal level of knowledge gained through studying, comprehensive testing, hands-on experience, and a strong desire to become a subject matter expert through continuing education.
Many parallels can be found in my career as a Home Inspector. A well-defined standard like that found in the organization I'm a member of (The American Society of Home Inspectors or ASHI) sets the bar for what a home inspection both is and is not. I've developed procedures and processes to ensure each home I inspect receives the same attention to detail. In order to be a competent Home Inspector, one must take it upon themselves to always learn and I am proud to say I'm a lifetime student - there's always more to understand and different skills to master! ASHI (and most other professional inspection organizations) requires its members to complete 20 Continuing Education (CE) credits each year. At the time of this writing, I've completed 34 credits and am on track to break 40 by the year's end.
Let's rewind now 15 years or so. My first ever real job was as an apprentice carpenter for a custom home construction company. I was the new guy, and just a kid compared to the rest of the crew...but my boss was a great teacher and helped facilitate my own path towards learning about how houses went together, as well as why the various steps were taken. He didn't just call out measurements for me to cut 2x4s and point to where the nails go (that did happen a lot, though...), but he explained why the 2x4s were spaced 16 inches on center and why we were using 16D nails for framing. Every subsequent phase of construction relies on the previous step being performed properly...and even as a teenager who was learning the basics of power tools and jobsites safety, my desire to know more about the why was insatiable. Shortly after high school, I shipped off to Annapolis, Maryland to begin my studies as a Midshipman at the US Naval Academy. Upon graduation (and far removed from residential construction), my new occupation took me all over the world as a Surface Warfare Officer where I worked primarily in operational planning and training among a myriad of collateral duties.
After completing my final tour of duty, I decided to return to my roots and dove head first into residential real estate. I began as a project manager for a rehabbing company that focused mostly on single family residences. My job not only required me to figure out what repairs were necessary in order to fix homes to safe and functional market conditions, but also identifying what standard those repairs would be held to (and ensure the work was performed to code). A handful of publications typically dictate these codes. Of course, local authorities having jurisdiction may present slight deviations from the code books and this can vary from city to city, but by and large, all facets of home construction or remodeling will fall under a handful of national publications that I have become quite familiar with over the years. That said, I (and most Home Inspectors I know) are not licensed Code Inspectors...but without possessing at least a bit of code knowledge, how can you expect us to give you the best home inspection possible or refer you to the right tradesperson?
While managing large scale rehab projects, I was not only responsible for planning different phases of construction, but was afforded the opportunity to do quite a bit of work myself or alongside contractors and tradespeople. What better way to continue learning than getting in there and doing it with the professionals themselves! And as with any permitted job, each "checkpoint" had to pass its own inspection for code compliance - usually performed by a licensed representative from the city or county.
An observation holds true for literally every home I've ever inspected (whether it be a well-maintained retail sale or a severely neglected full-gut rehab like the one pictured above with me in the window)...no house will ever be in perfect condition. They're all subject to a countless number of factors, but one concern I run across frequently is uncovering work that was performed improperly - likely without a permit or the subsequent inspections for code compliance. Oftentimes, homeowners will either 1) attempt repairs themselves that they're simply not qualified to do even though they saw it once on YouTube or 2) hire the least expensive labor they can find to get the job done. Don't get me wrong, many homeowners are professional contractors themselves or have skilled friends and family members to rely on. If not, they often understand the value in "you get what you pay for," and ensure the work is done right the first time by a qualified contractor...but you'd be amazed at some of the not-so-handy "improvements" I've run across that obviously were not permitted or inspected by any local authority.
Having been a first time homebuyer and subsequently been involved with improving and selling dozens of single family homes over the years (as well as my own contracting/remodeling work I still perform), I understand the importance of an outstanding home inspection. The details found in your report should give the best snapshot possible of your home's condition whether you're actively looking to purchase, considering selling, or are analyzing repairs as a savvy investor. Have a look at some of my sample reports here to see the level of detail I strive to provide for every client, every time!
Thanks for reading - I hope you'll continue following along with my blog posts as I bring valuable information and insight about the home inspection process. Call, text, or email at any time with questions or to schedule your home inspection! Don't want to miss future blog posts? Click here and subscribe at the bottom of the page!
*The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.