How to Choose a Home Inspector When You’re Buying a Home

Some thoughts on how to choose a Home Inspector
I will attempt to break down this question as we are seeing some really strange trends in our current economy and housing Market.
As I've been a Home Inspector in Lancaster CA for many years I'm often asked the same question over and over again. Clients, friends and many other "folks" want to know what separates one Home Inspector from the next. I will begin with a variation of a checklist that can be found at my website linked in this article.
When choosing someone to inspect your Real Estate Purchase it's important to remember a few things:
I recommend Making a "Checklist" and calling a few Home Inspectors in your area - try not to book the first one you call! You'll notice in a series of recommendations I have YOU ASK... I didn't mention PRICE until the end.
By the way, if our "candidate" is in the middle of an inspection and needs to call back, that's fine! Don't get into a hurry!
Experience - Ask the Home Inspector "What type of experience do you have. How long have you been in business? What type of Industry related experience do you have besides being an inspector?"

We're trying to get an idea as to how long our "candidate" has been around and what his or her background may be. I'm sorry to say but we don't want newbies inspecting our expensive purchases. I also don't want someone who... no offense here, was working at a Retail Store this or last year and is now responsible for helping me decide on the most expensive purchase that most of us will ever make.
Are you a member of a Professional Organization and are you "Certified"? The answer here should be YES.

This topic has some debate as to which certifying body is "better", I could care less. It's like saying your Real Estate Agent is better because they are from one large firm and not the other. The idea here is that an inspector has made a commitment to be a professional. If they are not a member of Nachi, ASHI or NAHI to name a few... I'd want to know why!
Do you carry Insurance? The only answer here is YES.

If you are a buyer or a Real Estate agent, recognize the fact that most professional and full time inspectors carry insurance. If you as an Agent are "shopping" for your client, be careful if your inspector doesn't have insurance, you may be liable as the "referring party".
Are you INDEPENDENT? The answer here should be again, YES

Sorry if this sounds bad, but most Good inspectors I know are independent inspectors... Distant from any binding agreements with "outside" parties limiting their scope and ability to "talk freely" about their thoughts and findings.
Are you LICENSED? The answer here will vary, check with your local areas or state's website.

Many states (no Licenses are required in California by the way) have License Requirements for Home Inspectors that require State Licenses. Inquire with your State's Website before you call an inspector. As a Home Inspector in Lancaster CA we have very few requirements here, but this will vary from state to state and area to area.
Who will perform my Inspection? Preferably, the answer for this one is "Me"

Here is another one that I get some "flack" for. In a perfect world, the person answering the phone will be the person inspecting your Real Estate purchase. A couple of reasons for this include: A Real Estate Inspection can be a liability if performed poorly and should be done so by the person who would be responsible! Let's think about this for a minute... If I have someone that works for me... would they be more likely to mention an "obscure or minor" item knowing that "it's no big deal and shoot, I'm not responsible anyway" or as ME the owner.. knowing that liability AND reputation are on the line? Easy one I think!
What type of Inspection Report will I receive?

While the best report will come from the best inspector, I've decided that the Checklist paper type are too antiquated and are nearly obsolete. They are easier for me, the Home Inspector to use, but are easily less informative than the computerized reports that I now use. It's the 21st century, request a computerized report with pictures for goodness sake! The inspector generally has the ability to store relevant information and common situations that are relevant to your local area and the paper type are generally not. I could be wrong on a small scale, but not by much!
Can I attend the Inspection?

The answer here is a very important inspector should actually "encourage" you to be there. If they didn't I consider it a red flag, unless you indicated prior to asking this question that you couldn't be there! The reason I say it's a red flag is because of this, a shy or reserved type of person may be a great inspector, but is likely to find it difficult to be comfortable explaining items and "being under the gun". Does that make sense? It should! So this is actually a good time to tell if your inspector is a "Chatty Kathy" or "Mr. No personality". There is a really bad inspector in my area that people really like and he does well, simply because he is so friendly and well spoken. His or her clients should be reading these questions before calling him though:-)
How long will it take to get my Inspection Report? The answer should be either: Soon or Very soon!

Meaning this, inspectors that takes several days, especially during the workweek to deliver reports creates a lot of problems. This is because: Most inspectors I know have very good memories, but good enough to have 4-6 reports backed up and waiting to be written? No, of course not. Myself, I have most of my report done when I'm leaving the inspection, thanks to the advent of a portable tablet style laptop ( a necessity in my book) I could probably go "out to the truck" and send it out. I don't though. I insert my photos and proof read my work and send it out later that day or by the next morning or so. We all have ways that work for us, I just don't see how many inspectors can write accurate reports several days after leaving the job site.
Can I call you if I have any questions after the inspection or after I receive my report?

Most inspectors are going to say YES! Try to remember in this "interview" with your potential home inspector whether you got a feel that this person is a sociable one or just in a hurry to get off the phone. As mentioned, if he or she is in the field and offers to call back, don't hold it against them. See if they do and think of it as an opportunity to see if they do as they say! After all it's easier to answer a phone that to make time to call people back. The last question should be "How Much". Not to say that this isn't important to you, it just should carry a smaller "weight" if you will. I think that people put way too much emphasis on the cost of a Home Inspection rather than looking at some facets that I have made available for you here!
I will be writing another article on a topic " I'm buying a Home As-Is, should I get it Inspected?" Yes you should, I'll write more about it soon.
I hope that you find this tips helpful and if I can be of further service visit my website Home Inspection in Palmdale CA.
Thanks again for reading and good luck!
By Tim Spargo, Certified Residential and Commercial Real Estate Inspector

The Verification Home Inspection to Prove Repairs

When a home inspection contingency is part of a real estate purchase agreement, the buyer often requests certain repairs (called out in the inspection report) to be completed by the seller prior to closing. A home re-inspection is a way for him to verify that the repairs have been done properly. He calls back the same home inspector he hired originally, who then examines, either for free or for an additional fee, the specific defects thus identified, and he excludes everything else.
This verification home inspection is often confused with what is known as the "verification of property condition," but the two are actually different. The latter term refers to a final walk-through the buyer takes through the property to make sure that the house is in the same condition as he expects. It is not a tool for further negotiations, nor does it in any affect the binding terms of the contract. In other words, it doesn't remove any obligation the seller has to complete repairs to which he has agreed, but it also doesn't permit the buyer to tack on additional demands. All the walk-through really does is absolve the real estate agent(s) of liability.
It is also important to distinguish between the original home inspection, which is the work of a generalist, and follow-up work or "further evaluation" recommended in the inspection report and performed by specialists. Some clients object to having to shell out additional money for more inspection fees, but the home inspector is not licensed to make repairs or to render an expert judgment in areas that require special qualifications, such as pests, chimneys, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, foundation, soil, septic/sewer, and hazardous materials such as radon, lead-based paint, asbestos, and measuring air quality. Many inspectors do acquire additional, special licensing, but even then they need to be careful to avoid conflicts of interest. Washington State permits inspectors to repair defects they inspected only after a year has passed.
Use the same home inspector hired originally to conduct the verification inspection. Otherwise, you are really paying for another complete home inspection. The first inspector is already familiar with the house and can immediately tend to the specific defects highlighted by the client.
Some home inspectors charge a re-inspection fee (typically about a third of the original fee). Others provide this service free of charge for a limited period of time, typically up to a year after the original inspection. Members of each school of thought justify their position with sound philosophical and ethical reasoning, differing primarily in how strongly one feels it is necessary to stay above all suspicion of taking kickbacks, despite having vowed to adhere to ethical Standards of Practice.
Some inspectors shy away from doing a verification home inspection. There are certain liability dangers that arise when the seller hires a layperson, without financial protection or license, to make repairs. The layperson may, intentionally or unwittingly, make only cosmetic repairs, and the inspector may be unable to tell that the real problem remains unaddressed. In this case, the only recourse the client has is to come after the person conducting the inspection. Because of this, many inspectors will not agree to do a home re-inspection without proof (e.g., invoice) that the contractor was a licensed professional.

Why Fireplaces Should Be Inspected Before A Home Is Purchased

Fireplaces should be inspected as part of a routine home inspection before homebuyers purchase their new property. This is a basic safety assessment. Just as a roof caving in could be a hazard, a fireplace that has improper ventilation or creosote build-up can cause harm to homeowners.
Fireplaces are one of the top three features people look for in a home, behind upscale kitchens and outdoor porches, according to the National Association of Home Builders. While new homes are usually equipped with gas fireplaces that produce less pollution in the air and are glassed in to prevent contact with the fire as well as reducing the risk of embers and wood rolling out onto floors, there are still many places that offer wood burning stoves. Most people are aware that chimney flues should be cleaned out once a year in order to prevent creosote from building up on the inside of the chimney. Creosote is a by-product of burning wood and can catch on fire. Creosote fires have been responsible for entire homes burning down.
Home inspectors will also be looking for cracks or leaks which can lead to toxic fumes entering the home. Debris that has gotten caught in the chimney, such as sticks and twigs or birds nesting in unused chimneys can cause a fire inside the chimney that can spread to the home or cause an explosion.
Blockage in the fireplace can lead to fumes being pushed into the home instead of released out. Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that can cause death and can leak back into a home with a chimney that doesn't offer proper ventilation. Having a carbon monoxide alarm is essential for any home with a wood-burning fireplace. Lives literally depend on it.
While fireplaces can add a 10% increase to the value of a home, open fireplaces shouldn't be used as a sole source of heat. While the heat close to the fire is evident, fireplaces suck up heat from the rest of the house, causing other parts of the home to remain cool or cold. Wood burning stoves are a great alternative.
A home inspector will also ensure the fireplace damper works. If left open when a fire isn't burning, air gets sucked out of the home. A damper that doesn't open can cause smoke and fumes to spread into the home.
For those looking at homes with fireplaces, be sure to have a trusted home inspector look at all the aspects of the fireplace during the inspection. Having the chimney cleaned before moving in is recommended unless the current homeowners can provide proof of cleaning within the last year.

Home Inspection For Home Sellers

Those who sell homes have one thing to rely on every time they try to make that one important deal with their buyers: their reputations. And what better way to keep one's reputation as a seller as untarnished as possible than to make sure that all the properties he sells are of superb quality and free from those defects, which usually cause the downfall of one too many agents or sellers? A good seller must know when to seek the help of other professionals like him, and in the case of selling homes, seeking a pre-listing home inspection before you decide to put your property out there in the market is indeed a smart move.
Home inspection is essential for that one important factor in every business transaction: consumer satisfaction. As a seller, it is important that your buyers are satisfied with their purchasers. Purchasing a home after all is a big deal. That satisfaction must last not only for the first three days after they purchased the home, but for many more years after that transaction. You would not want to be swamped with complaints after some time just because there were some defects which both you and the consumer failed to see before the perfection of the contract. It is important for you to realize that the buyer will be relying on your words as a seller, and especially in cases of professional sellers and agents, you would want to establish a healthy relationship with the consumer market.
Also, as a seller, you are offering your buyer the guarantee that the home you're putting up for sale is of great quality. As a professional, you must always be fair and truthful to the buyer. And though you may want to be fair by informing them of all the defects of the home, you may just want to have these defects repaired so you can offer something better to the public. In this way, you save both yourself and your buyer from potential hassles.
By having pre-listing home inspection, you will be able to make a better offering to the public, by selling homes which are livable, free from defects, and safe for the welfare of your buyer. It is the task of home inspectors to identify, through a non-invasive and visual examination, material defects in the different components of the home. Basically, he spots which parts need repair so you will be able to improve on it before you sell it to the buyer, or at least inform the latter of the imperfection in the property. Home inspection also provides an inspection report, which provides a detailed description of the inspected systems and the material defects. In some cases, the reports also contain recommendations which the client may act upon later on. As a seller, these reports will be very useful as your guide in making the repairs or as a reference for your buyer.
As a professional engaged in this business, the last thing you would want is having accusations of defrauding or tricking the buyer being thrown at you, or even worse, lawsuits. And you would not want any of these just because you failed to exercise a little more diligence by seeking a professional home inspection.

For all your Laundry & Ironing Needs

Are you considering using a laundry service in the Newcastle area? If so, then you’re on the right track. As we will discuss below, there are all kinds of reasons why using a professional laundry and ironing service is a good idea. Read on to find out more. 

Laundry Services Save You Money

Doing your laundry at home can involve some pretty hefty start-up costs. You have to buy a washing machine and dryer and pay a professional to create the right fittings in your utility room. It can end up costing you thousands of pounds. And we haven’t even included the cost of all the equipment you need for ironing either. 

For many people, therefore, paying a small regular fee to use a professional in the Newcastle area offers much better value. You make low, manageable payments and don’t have to go into debt to finance the equivalent services at home. 

Laundry and Ironing Services Save You Time

Doing the laundry and ironing at home is not only expensive, but it cuts into your time too. Who wants to spend all day sorting through clothes and getting rid of creases? Not you. You would prefer to save that time and invest it in something more productive and enjoyable. 
Ironing and laundry services take almost all the labour out of the process. Not only do they offer full washing and drying facilities, but they can often collect your dirty laundry and deliver it back to you once it is clean, removing the need to travel. 

Laundry and Ironing Services Use High-Quality Equipment
While manufacturers have improved home washing machines, dryers and irons over the years, they can’t compete with professional, high-quality equipment available at laundrettes in Newcastle. Top laundry services segregate fabrics and clean them in such a way that prevents dulling and colour bleeding. With their professional approach to washing and quality detergents, you can rest assured that your clothes will come back smelling and looking beautiful. 

Laundry and Ironing Services Offer You More Options

Laundry and ironing services in Newcastle know that some people are allergic to specific detergents. Many, therefore, offer a customizable service that allows you to choose which detergents and softeners you use. You have a choice of bio and non-bio and can even instruct the laundrette to use specific brands. 
You also give you a choice of how you would like your clothes to be washed. Many offer handwashing and specialised services for delicates, including household upholstery. 

Laundry and Ironing Services Work Around Your Schedule

If you’re a busy person with a hectic life, then laundry and ironing services in Newcastle can help you better organise your time. Most services will bend over backwards to fit around your schedule, allowing you to get on with your day without worrying about when you’ll be able to do the washing. 

Laundry and ironing services, therefore, give you professional results without the hassle. With them, your clothes will always look great, and you won’t have to dedicate your precious free time to chores. 

Putting Together a Home Cleaning Checklist

When challenged with cleaning your entire house, it can be overwhelming. Your key to a successful and clean home starts with being organized and efficient. Using a Home Cleaning Checklist will keep you on task and provide you with direction. Below are some suggestions to help you stay on track.
1. Write a checklist starting with your most important cleaning chores that need your attention. You can print a checklist from the internet by typing "Home Cleaning Checklist" in the Google toolbar if you don't want to write one yourself.
2. On your checklist start with a headline of your first area of your home. Title the section with the name of the room, like Master Bedroom, Bathroom, Kitchen or Living Room etc. I suggest underlining the Title for emphasis. Under these titles you will write down your tasks in respective category.
3. List all the cleaning chores under each main title, such as lamp shades dusted and wiped down under "Living Room".
4. When you have completed the chore, draw an empty box beside it to show you have finished the task. Do this for every room you have listed. Be as detailed as possible.
5. Last but not least. Jot down any cleaning supplies you might need to complete your chores. Be sure to review what you already have to ensure time and money savings. There is nothing worse than going to the cupboard or pantry and finding two of this or three of that.
6. Add a cleaning schedule to your Home Cleaning Checklist if you have time restraints. Write in the time you would like to start cleaning these sections or areas of your home. Make sure you write down hourly goals for each section or whatever time you will think is necessary to complete each chore.
7. Draw a box next to the time of day to check off the entire area of your home when you are all finished. I like to hang my home cleaning checklist on the fridge. Then I can check off each item as I go. Happy Cleaning!
Note: If you have anyone living with you or you have children get them involved. Let them be a part of the planning and give them daily jobs too. This makes cleaning a lot of fun and you will actually look forward to planning your daily cleaning schedule and writing your cleaning checklist.

Hire a Professional Cleaning Company or Clean Yourself

That's true that it's not easy to have a clean and well-maintained home when you have a busy life. With our everyday chores, we still are responsible for the cleanness of our homes. No one will do it instead of us. Almost no one. There always are people ready to clean our homes, but we all understand that they ask money for this kind of help. And it's normal, it's their job. As there are so many people who prefer to hire professionals to clean their home, there is plenty of housecleaning companies that offer their services. In general it's privately-held companies that provide quality and affordable cleaning services.
You can hire a cleaner to clean your house once a week or twice a month. You will feel free of household chores spending more time enjoying life's pleasures. There are so many interesting and exiting things to see and do. With the outside help you will be able to sit back and relax in your clean and organized home. Be sure you will be satisfied with the work and customer service the cleaning company provides you with. The cleaners are highly skilled people who follow specific, detailed service procedures. Your home will be thoroughly cleaned, from top to bottom. Every corner and nook will sparkle. Professional cleaners will help you keep your home in perfect condition.
You should look for the cleaning providers that will offer you services within your budgetary constraints. It's important to emphasize all the details before the cleaners start their work. You should inform them what services exactly they need to provide and what areas should be cleaned. They can charge extra for some additional services, be ready for that. You can sign a contract and order exactly the services you require.
If you want to save money and (what is more important) you have time and desire, clean your home yourself. As a matter of fact, it's not so hard to spare some hour or even less to cope with one or two cleaning tasks. You can make a schedule and thoroughly follow it. This will help you be always sure that everything planned is completed. So, keep a schedule and clean a different room of the house every few days. Try to make all the rooms of your house spotless. You are strong enough to cope with all the mess in your house. All you need is time and desire.
So, you can save your free time or your money. It's up to you. Decide what is better for you.

5 Cleaning Habits That Get Results

Unfortunately, as everyone knows, house cleaning is a never-ending job. If you get behind, it can soon become an enormous seeming-task, so the obvious answer is to do a little every day to stay on top of things. However, many people's busy lives make daily cleaning difficult, but if you develop good cleaning habits you can keep your home clean with a minimum of daily effort. The key is to prevent messes from building up and doing a little easy daily maintenance that need only take a few minutes of your valuable time. Here are 5 tips to help you develop better cleaning habits that will save time and effort in the long run.
Clean as you go - While you're walking from room to room, pick up things that need to be put away or organized. Keep an eye out for simple tasks that can be accomplished while you're on the phone, for example.
Take your shoes off - When possible, take your shoes off at the door. Shoes carry and deposit a lot of dirt around the house. If you don't have a lot of time for sweeping or vacuuming, this simple practice can make a big difference. Don't be shy about making family and guests do the same - tell them you're turning Japanese.
Develop a routine - Make a schedule for the week and stick to it. Designate a day for different chores, one day for the kitchen, one for the bathroom, etc. - if you stick to it you'll be surprised at how little time you actually need to spend each week on each chore!
Throw things away - If it's not really needed, throw it out! It's easy to allow clutter to take over. That broken toy, those old dog-eared magazines - get rid of them. If you can, recycle or donate anything that might be useful to someone else.
Delegate - Get your family involved in daily cleaning. Use some subtle psychology on the kids and give them fun assignments and rewards for work done. Have each family member be responsible for a different task and use your creativity to make it a successful team effort.
It's a fact that many people simply don't have the time to do it all on their own these days. Cleaning services are becoming increasingly necessary for a lot of London families. 2 income families and single parent households are the norm these days, and for those seeking a bit of help it's good to know that when it comes to cleaning services London offers choices for every budget. Reputable cleaning services are to be found in every neighborhood and it should be easy to find one that meets your family's needs.

Vacuums – One For Every Need

Although vacuums have been around since the turn of the last century, it took a little while for every household to have one. However, once electricity became popular and was finally added to almost every home, housewives ran out to buy one of these new modern marvels. Looking at these earlier models in museums make it apparent that there really isn't that much difference between then and now.
New ones are stronger, and of course they are aesthetically more pleasing, albeit in some cases that might even be questionable after seeing some newer models that come with all sorts of bells and whistles literally sticking out all over. One major innovation was the replacement of the old disposable bags with HEPA filters that are supposed to be more desirable, however, there are many who disagree with the logic for these HEPA filters since once they are opened to empty out, all the dirt and dust are then exposed to the air, negating the original purpose.
Rechargeable hand held models became popular in the 70s. They were made to hang on a wall in the kitchen and were always nearby for quick cleanups. They had about 15 minutes of use at full power, and when replaced in their charging units they could recharge completely in about the same time.
The original carpet sweeper had a major design rehab soon after when electricity was added. The original models were made for quick cleaning on hard floors but models that could handle a variety of carpet thicknesses were developed almost immediately. These designs were tall and sleek and very lightweight, making them almost a mandatory addition for every housewife. Not necessarily ready to replace the normal household vacuum, they were the perfect companion for every type of flooring need.
A popular choice that has been around since almost the beginning is the canister model. These are smaller, easier to move about, very light as compared to the typical upright models, and are the perfect choice for homes with staircases. The long hoses lend themselves to making any cleaning job easier because of the variety of available attachments to do just about any possible job from floor to walls to furniture and even windows and tight corners.
Lately, models that handle pet fur seem to be the popular choice for anyone who has pets. Pet fur needs special attention because it can become ingrained in carpeting and the fabric of furniture. Models that handle pet fur tend to be very strong when it comes to suction, and much larger than a regular machine. There are special attachments that help get the fur and dander out of just about anything from your favorite easy chair to your wall to wall carpeting.
The newer cordless models are much more powerful than their earlier predecessors and many more styles are available to suit just about any need. Uprights can convert to hand held and some can even handle carpeting of any depth. Certain styles need to be plugged in in order to be recharged, and others need their battery packs recharged in order to use. Both are equally as powerful.

Tips For Shopping Greener

* No more plastic bags - or at least use fewer. Use your own reusable bags for carrying your shopping. Admittedly, the plastic shopping bags are useful for wrapping nasty rubbish, so maybe you can still have a few for this purpose. Or reuse the ones you have stashed away somewhere (or that you see blowing in the wind). If you haven't got around to getting reusable carry bags, (a) get around to it immediately with no more excuses (b) recycle any plastic bags you get given, (c) opt for paper bags or cardboard boxes if you have the option.
* If you only need a few things and the shops aren't that far away, then walk or bike. Take a back-pack to carry your odds and ends if you bike! If you walk and have a child in a pram or pushchair, you will discover that pushchairs have quite a bit of carrying capacity.
* Alternatively, only shop once a week rather than just popping down to the shops whenever you run out of loo paper or coffee.A� This will require planning and writing a shopping list.A� Shopping once a week is also good financial sense. It is only human to succumb to temptation and throw in a few extras, so shopping once a week reduces the occurrence of this to once a week.
* Buy in bulk. This means that you have less packaging to deal with. And it's usually cheaper. This doesn't always mean buying the king-sized packs. Sometimes, visiting the bulk-buy bins is all that's needed (sneaky tip - save and reuse ziplock bags each time you visit, if you can!). You can also club together with other people vegetable co-op style to bulk buy staples like salt and flour at wholesale prices from the factory.
* Don't nip from supermarket to supermarket to get the specials from each one, as this means you're using more petrol per shopping trip. Do your homework and find the one that offers the lowest all-round prices. However, you will have to balance this against distance travelled - no point travelling for an hour just because the carrots are 50p cheaper per kilo at Supermarket X.
* Buy things in recyclable containers where possible. Tins are recyclable, and so are containers made from more robust plastic (e.g. ice cream containers, PET bottles, yoghurt bottles). And buy things with as little packaging as possible to reduce waste.A� Excess and unnecessary packaging shoved on by the store is one of the biggest nuisances of modern supermarkets. Resist the temptation to return all the unwanted packaging to the store, even if it gets you mad... hang on a minute; that sounds like a good option for a protest campaign!
* Buy locally grown produce that's in season. This, like many other of the green shopping tips, is also cheaper.
* Put your money where your mouth is, as much as possible, when it comes to issues like free-range vs. cage eggs, or free-range vs. battery farmed pork.