Questions to Ask When Researching Home Inspectors

We only allow our inspectors to perform one inspection per day. Our inspectors take their time with your home, using specialized equipment to ensure a thorough assessment. Typically we spend about three hours on a house. Condos in high rise buildings are quicker because there are items such as the roof, exterior, structure, and common areas that are not included in the inspection of a condominium. It then takes about another two to three hours to document the items in the report. Add in driving time to and from the inspection, there is your 8 hour day. Since this is our full-time job, we want our inspectors home with their families and do not perform inspections in the evenings. It is common for other inspectors/inspection companies to do 2 to 3 inspections a day. That usually means they will spend 1 to 2 hours at your property. They need to move fast so they can get to the next job. The sad thing is that the faster they go through your home, the more things that are overlooked.  Those are the items that you will end up dealing with in the long run.

Every home inspector and every website can tell you that they are the best.  Most inspectors are afraid of being reviewed. We take great pride in our reviews.  Our unique difference is that before we even begin the inspection, we want you to know that we are doing the inspection with one goal in mind.  To impress you.  Our process is thorough, accurate, and professional.  Our main goal is for you to feel that we did our job for you so well, that you will want to go out of your way to write a review about us.  We know we make ourselves vulnerable by doing this.  We do ask that you post a photo with the review.  It is the best way for us to show that our reviews are real and not fake.

Our inspectors make every attempt to walk on a roof. Plain and simple, It’s just the best way to inspect it. Sometimes, however, this is not an option. Height, slope, snow, winds, and rain can make going on the roof dangerous. If the inspector cannot walk on the roof, we will take a series of high-resolution pictures from different angles so our inspectors can document the conditions. We have staff on hand with Remote Pilot Certificate Part 107 from the FAA. This is the certificate required for anyone using drones for commercial use. Our drone is equipped with a 4K camera which allows us to take the clearest shots available. If we cannot fly, then we have pole mounted cameras that will also take high-resolution photos. We will do what we can to get the best pictures of the roof. If we find the roof leak free, we place a five-year warranty on the roof. Please click on the Platinum Roof Protection Plan to get the complete details.

Our inspectors use FLIR thermal imaging cameras on every inspection. Our cameras have MSX technology and side by side (or picture in picture) photos. We scan the exterior shell of the home, under bathrooms and kitchens when the water is running, and the electrical panel.  If water is entering the building at the time of the inspection, our tools help us find it.  We do verify every area that appears to water entry with a moisture meter.

When most inspectors turn on the furnace, they see if it produces heat. Our inspectors go a few steps further. We use the Testo-310 Combustion Analyzer to record the temperature, carbon monoxide, oxygen, and carbon dioxide going up the vent/flue. This unit will determine the efficiency of the furnace. When there is a crack or hole in the heat exchanger, the system the recognizes the changes in the combustion gasses. These changes in combustion gasses usually indicate a new furnace is needed.

Most home inspectors only use the gas detector when they smell gas. On every inspection we will use a gas detector to test the joints out in the open. We cannot check for pipes that are behind drywall, but we will at least check the pipes that are out in the open.

I can’t tell you how many times we find urine from pets, or humans, around a house. You don’t know if you don’t look. So yes, every inspector carries a black light to be used on every inspection.

We scan exterior walls, exterior ceilings, ceilings under bathrooms, and ceilings under kitchens. If we find cold spots, we will place the moisture meter in those locations. The readings will be in our report. Our goal is to give you a definitive knowledge of any problems. An example would be if the roof was leaking and we saw stains in the drywall. If it rained recently and the area is dry, we can safely say that it was repaired. If moisture is there, well, then it wasn’t.

The State of Illinois uses the term “Representative Sample”. This means one per room. Many inspectors only do the minimum of one per room. This is not acceptable for us. Windows are too expensive and in that each one needs to be tested and documented if it doesn’t work correctly. Naturally, there are limitations. If there is a china cabinet in front of the window, we will not move the cabinet. If we can reach it, we will open it.

The State of Illinois uses the term “Representative Sample”. This means one per room. Many inspectors only do the minimum of one per room. As this is not acceptable for us each outlet will be tested and documented. Improperly wired outlets can be dangerous and our report will indicate which are wired incorrectly.  Again, there are limitations. If there is furniture in front of the outlet, it will not be tested. If we can reach it, we will test it.

We document the furnace, air conditioner, water heater, garage door opener, refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, and any other appliance where we can find the model number and a serial number. The company we use checks these appliances to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) on a monthly basis. Our clients are allowed to change these appliances at any time they wish. They can also add to the list if they buy additional items at no extra cost. Roughly 10% of the inspections we do have appliance recalls.  With this process you can get the appliance repaired from the manufacturer (usually at no cost to you)

Most inspectors provide photos in the report, but we take it to the next step. Items making sounds, loose items, sewer line, and chimney scans are the types of videos that we put in our report. These videos are posted on an unlisted YouTube page so they are only available to someone who has the report.

I cannot stress how important this is. The State of Illinois does NOT require home inspectors to carry E&O Insurance. Over 80% of home inspectors do NOT carry E&O Insurance. This insurance is not designed to protect you. It is designed to protect the home inspector. This type of insurance is in case the inspector misses something bad enough to cause you to sue him/her. If that something bad does happen, you want to be sure someone with deep pockets is there to fork over the money.

Another big one. We are entering other peoples homes, climbing on their roofs, starting furnaces, flowing water, and walking around with tools in our pockets. Sometimes things happen. The inspector’s ladder may fall over and damage a car, he may have forgotten about the turning on the stove and walked away, or maybe turning on the water to the jetted tub and it overflowed. Thousands of dollars of damage can be done to a home. Who is going to pay for this if there is no insurance? It will be you. In the real estate contract, there is a clause that you are responsible for any and all damages to the property caused by the inspector. Please make sure the person you hire is a professional and carries professional insurance like E&O and General Liability. WE DO!

Above I talked about the importance of E&O insurance. I mentioned that you basically have to sue the inspector’s insurance to collect any reimbursement. Inspectors are human beings. Inspectors make mistakes. Sometimes things just break at that awkward moment. We accept this. What we don’t accept is our clients paying for our mistakes. This is why we purchase a 90-Day Warranty on every inspection we perform. As long as we say that something is acceptable, the warranty company will pay to repair, their covered items only, with no deductible to you. This warranty is good for 90 days from the inspection or 22 days after you close, whichever is longer. For more information, please click on 90-Day Warranty.

Another warranty we place on the property is called MoldSafe.  Should new visible mold appear, your covered! Be aware that this is a limited warranty and it does have a deductible.  For more information, please click on MoldSafe.

We do!  We want our clients protected.  And let’s face it, you just can’t see what is going on inside the pipes.  We run the water, but unless we use a sewer scope, we just don’t know.  We do offer Sewer scopes for an extra fee.  The SewerGard Warranty does have limitations and there is a deductible.  But it sure does take the sting out of having to repair a broken sewer line in a home you just bought.  Please click on SewerGard to see the actual policy.

As long as the roof is not leaking at the time of the inspection, we can purchase a Platinum Roof Protection Plan for your home.  This plan covers the roof for FIVE years.  It does not replace the roof, it only pays for the repair.  It also comes with a hefty deductible of $500.00.  But at least you will know what the maximum cost will be should that unexpected and unpleasant surprise happen.  Please click on Platinum Roof Protection Plan to view all the details.

Sometimes it might be two or more years down the road when an appliance manufacturer has to issue a recall on their product.  These products are deemed unsafe.  With our recall tracking service we provide on all homes, you will be notified via email.  This notification comes with the problem associated with the appliance, what happened to the other people who had issues, what the fix is, and contact information to get the appliance fixed by the manufacturer for free.

If at the end of your inspection, you feel that one of our inspectors did not meet, or exceed your expectations, then you can simply say I don’t want to pay for this.  We will apologize for what ever caused the issue and simply part ways.  You won’t owe us a penny.  We will not deliver a report.  Once the report is delivered, this guarantee is null and void.

My name is Charlie and I have been inspecting homes professionally since 1993.  Please visit the inspector’s bios down below to find out more about them.  Another noteworthy item is about our other inspectors.  We have the luxury of training over 200 inspectors each year.  When we find the brightest, most passionate, and kindest people in the group; we do what we can to recruit them.  No inspector goes out in the field alone without my personal approval.  They have to work with me until I feel comfortable with their knowledge.  Quite frankly, many don’t make it past me.  My reputation, and the reputation of this company is extremely important.  I will not let anyone work under our name that cannot or will not exceed our clients expectations.  And we set those pretty high.  Our goal, as stated above, is to give home owners the peace of mind that comes from knowing their home has been inspected using the best equipment, by skilled professionals who are committed and passionate about their work. And those passionate, committed, and skilled professionals are on our team.  
Our inspectors are human. They do make mistakes.  It’s how we handle those mistakes that make us good human beings.

WE WANT YOU THERE!  We want you with us as much as possible.  The more you discuss about your new home, the better it is for you.  Also, sometimes we may think an item is too insignificant to put in the report.  But you feel you want it written in the report.  Well it goes in the report.  In other words, if it is important to you, it is important to us.  But we won’t know that if you are not with us during the inspection.