Inspecting with integrity to a higher standard

Ten Important Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector

1. What does your inspection cover?

HUD.gov answer: The inspector should ensure that their inspection and inspection report will meet all applicable requirements in your state if applicable and will comply with a well-recognized standard of practice and code of ethics. You should be able to request and see a copy of these items ahead of time and ask any questions you may have. If there are any areas you want to make sure are inspected, be sure to identify them upfront.

HomeWise Answer: In Texas, our inspectors use the most current TREC Texas standard report form, as required by the Texas Real Estate Commission, while following the TREC SOP, as the minimum standard of practice, as well as the TPREIA and Internachi SOP's. In Colorado the inspectors use the Internachi SOP as a guideline, because Colorado does not license inspectors. These SOP's are all minimum standards that are followed for all full home inspections. We will report on all areas which have deficiencies that need attention to help prevent further damage. Full home inspections are non- destructive and therefore we cannot inspect in areas that we cannot see in or access. Other than areas that a normal person will not be able to easily access, we like to say we inspect from the dirt to the top of the roof.

2. How long have you been practicing in the home inspection profession and how many inspections have you completed?

HUD.gov answer: The inspector should be able to provide his or her history in the profession and perhaps even a few names as referrals. Newer inspectors can be very qualified, and many work with a partner or have access to more experienced inspectors to assist them in the inspection.

HomeWise Answer: We have been in business since March of 2015 and have performed over 1,000 inspections. Although we have only been in business three years, it is the amount of inspections performed that is key. Most would say that is a record number of inspections for how long we have been in business. We attribute that to how well we perform our job as the professional inspector, our attention to detail, and our integrity for our clients best interest.

3. Are you specifically experienced in residential inspection?

HUD.gov answer: Related experience in construction or engineering is helpful, but is no substitute for training and experience in the unique discipline of home inspection. If the inspection is for a commercial property, then this should be asked about as well.

HomeWise Answer: Our inspectors are licensed Professional Real Estate Inspectors with many years of construction experience. In Texas, inspectors are required to have 130 classroom hours of qualifying real estate inspection courses, complete an additional 200 classroom hours of qualifying inspection courses in areas such as foundations, framing, building enclosure, plumbing systems, roofing, electrical systems, HVAC, appliances, standards of practice, legal and ethics, report writing, and/or complete 40 hours of fieldwork AND 24 hours of approved experience coursework, complete 16 hours of fieldwork AND 60 hours of approved experience coursework, and/or have 5 years of personal experience in a field directly related to home inspection and provide two affidavits from persons who have personal knowledge of your experience. "Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) has completed it's evaluation of the sunrise application for regulation of home inspectors and has made a report available. Colorado does not currently regulate home inspectors. There is currently no significant activity by legislatures to create licensing." (As of 10/15/14 InterNachi.com). What does this mean for clients in Colorado? The owner of HomeWise Inspections has completed all the requirements for licensing in Texas, as well as all the requirements for Internachi. This means you get inspectors that are highly trained in the field of residential construction and inspections, as well as light commercial. Please see the links below for the full requirements of each certification.

4. Do you offer to do repairs or improvements based on the inspection?

HUD.gov answer: Some inspector associations and state regulations allow the inspector to perform repair work on problems uncovered in the inspection. Other associations and regulations strictly forbid this as a conflict of interest.

HomeWise Answer: Never. While our inspectors are more than capable to make most repairs to a home, we do not hold licenses in all trades, and we are inspectors. While we were contractors at one point, we no-longer provide repairs because we feel this infringes on the integrity of the inspection. The inspection needs to be separate from repairs to prevent our inspectors from being bias. How does this help you as a client, HomeWise Inspection inspectors reports on the issues that need repair not report on issues that make a contractor money. If an inspection company offers to make repairs, are they doing so to make more money or is it really an issue?

5. How long will the inspection take?

HUD.gov answer: The average on-site inspection time for a single inspector is two to three hours for a typical single-family house; anything significantly less may not be enough time to perform a thorough inspection. Additional inspectors may be brought in for very large properties and buildings.

HomeWise Answer: The short answer, it depends. Many factors go into how long an inspection will take. Most of the time it is 3-4 hours depending on the type of inspection and/or items being inspected. It also depends on if the client attends the inspection, and what the condition of the home is. We know your time is valuable and if you wish to attend inspection, but not the whole thing, we can call or text you prior to completion so you can come by at the end, for the walk-through and review.  You are more than welcome to be there, and this is just an option if you choose to attend all, some, or none of the inspection.

6. How much will it cost?

HUD.gov answer: Costs vary dramatically, depending on the region, size and age of the house, scope of services and other factors. A typical range might be $300-$500, but consider the value of the home inspection in terms of the investment being made. Cost does not necessarily reflect quality. HUD Does not regulate home inspection fees.

HomeWise Answer: It depends on many different factors. Due of this, we do not post our prices because it's not that simple. Inspection companies that post their prices often find that they under bid the job once they arrive on the inspection, and want to start charging you more because "thats not included". Often times they realize the inspection, due of conditions, is going to take them longer to inspect and write the report, so they rush through and give you a sub-par inspection. We look at the information on the home when pricing because all homes are different, with extra kitchens, a multitude of HVAC and electrical systems, out-buildings and pool houses/separate structures not apart of the "house", large decks, finished/unfinished basements, crawlspaces, age, flip homes (most "flip" homes are done incorrectly), etc. Please note that a "cheap" inspection is not always a good inspection.

7. What type of inspection report do you provide and how long will it take to receive the report?

HUD.gov answer: Ask to see samples and determine whether or not you can understand the inspector's reporting style and if the time parameters fulfill your needs. Most inspectors provide their full report within 24 hours of the inspection.

HomeWise Answer: In Texas, our inspectors use the most current TREC Texas stand report form, as required by the Texas Real Estate Commission. The TREC report form cannot be changed much, and has to follow what the state requires. This is only an inspection report form and does not limit Homewise from inspecting items that are not covered under the report form. This is where the "Other" sections come in. In Colorado, the inspectors use a report form designed by the owner of HomeWise, to cover all areas that are covered under the inspection; and for us is a little more user friendly during the inspection. The reports are done on our mobile devices as we inspect, with high quality pictures and diagrams that address the issues. Many reports we see from other companies have tons of pictures and small meaningless comments as filler, in hopes to make the client think their home was really inspected. Many companies do this just to reduce their liability, however HomeWise only gives you the issues, information, and education, which is why you are needing an inspection.

8. Will I be able to attend the inspection?

HUD.gov answer: This is a valuable educational opportunity, and an inspector's refusal to allow this should raise a red flag. Never pass up this opportunity to see your prospective home through the eyes of an expert.

HomeWise Answer: YES Please attend your inspection. We welcome anyone you want to bring with you to attend the inspection. This is where you can learn valuable information about your home and meet your inspector. We welcome questions because we are there to help you, our client, to give you as much information as possible. We also go over the inspection findings, so you know what to expect on the report, and by who and how these should be repaired. Contractors are often hired to repair items, and we recommend attending your inspection to learn the correct way to repair issues, so to not get taken advantage of. Our inspectors are educated, and will not give out misinformation that can confuse clients. If you want an inspection company that is working for you, to protect your interests, look no further than HomeWise Inspections.

9. Do you maintain membership in a professional home inspector association?

HUD.gov answer: There are many state and national associations for home inspectors. Request to see their membership ID, and perform whatever due diligence you deem appropriate.

HomeWise Answer: Our inspectors are members of both InterNACHI and TPREIA associations as well as being a part of many Facebook groups. These groups are helpful for inspectors to share knowledge and information between one another. The Facebook groups also allow our inspectors to see other inspector posts, asking for help with issues that they are not sure about. We find that we help more than we ask because of experience in the construction fields, training, and education.

10. Do you participate in continuing education programs to keep your expertise up to date?

HUD.gov answer: One can never know it all, and the inspector's commitment to continuing education is a good measure of his or her professionalism and service to the consumer. This is especially important in cases where the home is much older or includes unique elements requiring additional or updated training.

HomeWise Answer: The Texas Real Estate Commission requires inspectors with an active license to complete 32 hours of inspector CE, including a 4 hour Standards of Practice Review course and 4 hour Inspector Legal & Ethics course. InterNACHI's Continuing Education requirement for members is very straightforward: twenty-four (24) hours of Continuing Education every year (based upon the date the members joined) are required to maintain InterNACHI membership. TPREIA with is the Texas Professional Real Estate Inspectors Association and has the same requirements as TREC, because TREC is the higher standard and is required by TREC. Although Colorado has no licensing for home inspectors, our inspectors are required to follow the InterNACHI continuing education annual requirements.

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