Unfortunately, it is not unusual to run across inspectors and builders who refuse to go any further than what is legally required of them. While they may perform inspections which conform to the minimum legal requirements and meet basic Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), they are too often content to stop there. Instead of seeing the SOPs as a floor from which to rise, they see them as a ceiling which limits their efforts. When an inspector takes this kind of minimal approach to inspections, homeowners can be less than fully informed and only partially protected.
At Domicile Consulting, we see the role of a home inspector differently. In fact, we go well beyond the SOPs on most, if not all, of the commercial and residential properties we inspect. While it may take more time and effort on our part, we like the peace of mind that it brings to both our client/buyer and to us as business owners. We sleep well at night knowing that we have taken every reasonable measure to ensure our clients have been provided with the information they need to make intelligent choices.
A Quick Story
Not long ago, a young couple, expecting their first child, entered into a contract to purchase a newly constructed $1 million condo. It was ultra-modern, tres chic, and located in a super-trendy part of town but was it safe? During the inspection, I noticed that the electrical utility’s power pole and transformers were located less than 20 feet from the master bedroom window. That prompted me to pull out my gauss meter to measure the electromagnetic fields (EMF). No, this is not SOP and something that many inspectors will not do. As a matter of fact, some of the most rancorous debates I’ve had with other inspectors is over whether or not to test for electromagnetic fields The mere mention of the possibility of using a gauss meter To test for EMFs brings out references to Ghostbusters, tin-foil hats, etc.
So, why do we run the risk of ridicule and test for EMFs when we spy a potential source? The answer is simple. We want to be certain that we’ve done everything within our power to inform our client the way we ourselves would want to be informed. That mind set and the knowledge of a recent report which found pregnant women exposed to high EMF levels suffer miscarriages at nearly three times the rate as those exposed to low levels  are what motivate us to perform these simple, quick, and non-invasive tests. When we test for elevated electromagnetic fields we make no claim to having any special scientific knowledge nor do we claim to know anything definite about potential health hazards resulting from exposure. We only show our clients how the needle on the meter moves while we walk around the home. We then discuss in a general sense what EMFs are and recommend that they performed their own research on the subject and any potential health risks.
The Importance of Going Above and Beyond
While there’s nothing legally wrong with doing the bare minimum, we just can’t do it. We pride ourselves on going the extra mile. This means more than simply pointing out problems and potential issues. It means showing you exactly how defects in the building shell, HVAC system, and ventilation system can affect your property’s structural integrity, as well as your health and safety, comfort level, and environmental footprint. In addition, we can perform tests that some other home inspectors may refer out or shy away from altogether, such as radon testing, shower pan testing, thermal imaging, etc. We believe that a home inspection should not be strictly coupled to the transaction process but should instead be designed to provide the buyer with a guideline on how to make the home safer, healthier, more efficient, and more durable. We can even assist in helping you find someone to complete any and all needed repairs or upgrades.
What to Look for When Hiring an Inspector
When you hire an inspector, it’s important to look at both their industry and state licensing credentials. Be sure to verify their experience, reputation, and if they are insured. Demand to see several samples of their home inspection reports since in reality, a home inspection and is more of a product than a service; and that product is the home inspection report. Next, be certain that they are going to bring more than a flashlight and pencil. You need to hire a thorough inspector who will examine your property as if it were their own. This means having access to state-of-the-art technology, such as infrared imaging, moisture meters, combustible gas detectors, radon detecting equipment, and fiber optic borescope cameras that can see inside wall and attic openings to find hidden cavities. A good inspector will not only encourage you to be on-site to discuss their findings but will offer to go over their detailed inspection report with you after the inspection so that the issues can be fully fleshed out and a comprehensive understanding of the condition of the building can be yours.
To ensure your home inspection provides all the answers you need about your property and more, hire an inspector that goes above and beyond. Call Domicile and see the difference.