Buying as home isn’t easy. You need information fast. Here are some helpful questions our clients frequently have. This is just a starting point for the information we want to provide you. We are here to help!
DO I NEED A HOME INSPECTION?
We are not unbiased about this subject, but our experience has taught us to feel strongly about this one. We find problems – in all homes. In old homes, in newly constructed homes, in renovated homes. Some problems our clients are not aware of. We find some that are difficult to identify, and many that are serious issues. Most people educate themselves about small purchases in life by reading reviews about products before they buy – this is likely your biggest purchase you will make in your lifetime!
Buying a home is a difficult process where many people are pressuring you. We would never let a family member buy a home without an inspection and we don’t want you to either, even if it’s not with us. We can show you more about your home than just the problems. After our inspection you will be aware of the issues, better prepared to budget for the problems now and for the future, and may have an entirely different outlook on the property.
HOW DO I FIND THE RIGHT HOME INSPECTOR?
Not all home inspectors are the same. Please consider these factors when choosing your home inspector:
- Licensed/Insured – The basic qualification of a home inspector is being licensed and insured.
- Certifications – Many home inspectors have additional certifications to be a better home inspector or to enable them to provide additional services. For example, Jameson is a certified deck inspector with the NADRA and ASHI, a Certified Residential Thermographer, a Certified Pest Inspector with the NPMA, among other qualifications.
- Additional Services – You should know which services you feel are important and be sure you are able to find an inspector and other vendors to perform these services. Some of these additional services could include services such as a wood destroying pest inspection and radon testing. These additional services are often additional charges depending on the company. At Another Level Home Inspection, we offer both of these additional services and we include a wood destroying pest inspection in our home inspection at no additional cost. Please review “Are there other services I should consider” below for a more detailed description of additional services.
- Price – Prices vary based upon the location, square footage, age and other factors of the property depending on the inspection company. At Another Level Home Inspection, we want our price to be competitive and simple. One method of providing a better home inspection is by charging more and doing less inspections to ensure the accuracy and detail needed to complete a thorough home inspection. You should understand getting the lowest price is typically not the best option when it comes to home inspections because the issues we find frequently outweigh the inspection cost greatly.
- Technology – Drones, moisture meters, thermal cameras, radon machines and other equipment is used by Another Level Home Inspection to provide a better inspection. These additional pieces of equipment can help us find issues that may not be visible when just viewing the property.
- Style – Different inspectors have different communication styles and operate in different ways. Typically, the website is a great indicator of how the inspector communicates. Try and find one that is a good match for you. At Another Level Home Inspection, we are dedicated to our clients – to answer all of their questions and concerns to the best of our ability. Once a client, you’re always a client to us. If you have questions about your home years later, we are happy to help!
- How many inspections – How many inspections has your inspector performed and do they do it as a primary job or along with another position.
- Organization/Community Support – Is your inspector part of an organization like ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors). ASHI is a great place for inspectors to learn from one another and support each other. They are the oldest professional home inspector organization and helped create many of the guidelines for what is considered to complete a home inspection. Jameson is a proud member of ASHI. He is a Certified ASHI Inspector, which is the highest level of ASHI home inspectors. This means he has completed 250 inspections to ASHI’s standards and ASHI qualifies his work. He is also a Director on the ASHI Board of Directors.
WHAT IS A HOME INSPECTION LIKE?
During the Home Inspection, we have the chance to spend some time evaluating the condition of a property. This generally includes parts of the following areas for most inspections:
Roof – Exterior – Siding – Trim – Drainage – Structure – Foundation – Windows – Doors – Electrical – Plumbing – Heating Systems – Cooling Systems – Insulation – Ventilation – Permanently Installed Appliances – Interior Areas – Kitchens – Baths – Chimneys – Fireplaces and Other Areas
A home is the biggest purchase most people will ever make, and a home inspection is always recommended before buying a home. It’s important to realize the condition of your investment.
While some little quirks may be nothing to worry about, there may be more serious issues that only a professional home inspector can assess. A large part of surviving the home inspection is understanding what is and what isn’t included. Here’s a helpful infographic that shows you what’s covered in a home inspection.
There are aspects of the inspection that are limited and many of those limitations are specifically mentioned in the report.
Your inspector is a generalist. They will not provide the cost or specific nature of the repair in accordance with proper protocols. They will identify parts of your home that need to be investigated further or repaired by a qualified professional.
There are other types of inspections such as an energy audit, home assessment, combustion safety test, and many other inspections that are different and not included in a home inspection.
Our home inspections are extremely detailed and thorough. As a result, we try to accomplish as much as possible with the dedicated time we have with you.
At Another Level Home Inspection, we are there to teach you about your home. We discuss the components and share our knowledge with you. We want you to be present and engaged during your inspection. It’s our job to make sure we understand all of your questions and concerns before, during, and after your inspection.
HOW QUICKLY CAN YOU INSPECT MY HOME?
Volume varies seasonally. Many agreements have an inspection period of at least 7 days and Home Inspectors are often difficult to obtain last second. While we will complete a same day or next day inspection when possible, call as early as you have an accepted offer or even confirm our schedule when you make your formal offer and plan ahead.
WHAT AREAS DO YOU COVER?
We are licensed in Massachusetts and at this time do not serve other States. We primarily work on the North Shore but serve many areas of Eastern MA on request and frequently inspect in the Greater Boston Area. If it’s in Mass ask us and we may be able to assist you.
ARE THERE OTHER SERVICES I SHOULD CONSIDER?
There are a wide variety of different things to consider when purchasing a home. The majority of home inspectors offer some additional services but that may vary by the inspector. Some common things to consider looking into further:
Radon: Radon is present in all areas even in the outside air. However, it may be at elevated levels in your home. We offer Radon In Air testing and use a machine that takes a measurement every hour and provides us with a short-term snapshot of what the radon level is in your home.
You may think this isn’t a necessary add on to your home inspection, but radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. This is one of the main reasons we recommend testing every home, every two years in accordance with the EPA’s guidelines. There is a lot of misinformation about testing protocols when to test and the types of tests offered.
We would love to discuss it in further detail with you if you would like more information. You can also educate yourself more about radon at https://www.epa.gov/radon. There is good news, according to the EPA you can always mitigate the radon level to an acceptable range!
Wood Destroying Insects (WDI) – often referred to as a pest inspection: Another Level Home Inspection offers a WDI inspection that follows the NPMA guidelines. We include an NPMA-33 form with our inspections, which is considered to be the commonly used document for this type of inspection. This inspection is not focused on all insects, we are specifically looking for wood-destroying insects that are also re-infesting. We want to identify any accessible pest activity that may result in damage to the structure of your home.
Whenever we have the opportunity to access the areas for this inspection, we encourage completing a pest inspection. Another Level Home Inspection includes a WDI inspection with every home inspection at no additional cost to you. We include this service because we often find WDI in many homes and feel it is a very important part of the inspection that many people do not want to pay an additional fee for – we don’t want our clients to not have that information because it wasn’t a service they added on to their home inspection.
Lead: In homes built prior to 1978, lead was commonly used in paint and a variety of other materials. Lead poses some serious health concerns and can be quite common in older homes. Learn more about lead and its potential dangers at https://www.epa.gov/lead/learn-about-lead. We encourage lead testing in homes of this age but want our clients to be aware they may be obligated to remove lead in some circumstances if its presence is confirmed.
Lead testing is comprehensive, and for that reason, we do not offer testing as it may be better to perform that inspection concurrently or at another time. At Another Level Home Inspection, we are not trained to detect lead and do not include it in our home inspections at this time.
Mold: Mold can grow on many surfaces provided it has the right moisture level, temperature, and a proper food source. It can have significant health effects on everyone living in the home. We always recommend mold/indoor air quality testing as air quality cannot be fully diagnosed visually. If we identify something that appears to be mold-like, we will also note it in your report to be evaluated further, however, we are not mold experts.
Learn more about mold and it’s health concerns at https://www.epa.gov/mold. If you find a mold-like substance in your home, it is recommended it be treated as mold until confirmed not to be hazardous. At Another Level Home Inspection, we are not trained to detect mold and do not include it in our home inspections at this time.
Well Water/Water Quality: Water quality and well testing are important things to consider for health purposes. While aspects of the plumbing are part of a home inspection, water quality testing and well equipment testing are specialized and are not included in a typical home inspection. It is recommended that you complete a water quality test, regardless of supply, and have well equipment inspected. Learn more about wells and water quality at https://www.epa.gov/environmental-topics/water-topics.
Septic Systems and Sewer Laterals: In Massachusetts, a Title V inspection is required for any transfer of ownership of a property. This inspection is an examination of the functionality, but not a guarantee of remaining life. The septic system in a home may limit the type of home and occupancy on a property. Learn more about septic systems at https://www.mass.gov/septic-systems-title-5.
Sewer laterals bring wastewater from the home to the septic system or to the utility. Many homes have piping that is under the ground which is usually aged and deteriorated. Having a camera scan of these pipes is always recommended when purchasing a new home. We do not complete Title V inspections or complete sewer later inspections but would love to discuss them further with you if you have any questions about them.
DO YOU HAVE THE LOWEST PRICE?
No. In fact, we focus more on value than pricing for our customers. It is not possible to have the lowest price and the best inspection, because charging a lower rate, requires doing more inspections. We prefer charging a competitive price but for a top-end inspection. This provides the most value for our clients because of the importance of the time we have at the property.
HOW LONG WILL MY INSPECTION TAKE?
We want to ensure the time is available for not only us to inspect a home but for us to answer all of your questions. To inspect with this level of detail 3 hours or even sometimes more is needed even for a small single-family home. Please let us know of any time restraints prior to confirming your inspection. There is no part of our process we feel is not needed and we prefer to complete the inspection in its entirety.
WHAT SHOULD I DO BEFORE MY INSPECTION?
Do you have an accepted offer? You may not want to pay an inspection fee if you are not under contract and in many cases, it is best to wait until your offer is accepted. However, there are cases where homeowners never got a home inspection prior to buying, and they want one to determine what issues may be happening in their home that they are not aware of.
Do you understand the scope of the home inspection? See “What is a home inspection like?” above.
Is the property ready for the inspection? Utilities should be on. Inspectors should have access from an agent to the property with plenty of time for our inspection. Any clutter or obstructions to the areas we will inspect should be removed. We have been blocked by clutter and large furniture many times before and we may not have the opportunity to check some areas if it is inaccessible.
Have radon protocols been considered by the homeowner? If you are considering a radon test, the homeowners should be aware of the testing protocols needed to create a valid radon test. To complete a radon test we require all exterior doors and windows to be closed (with the exception of normal entry and exit) 12 hours prior to our inspection. We can also consider setting up the radon prior to the inspection and have results the day of.
What issues do you plan to find? No home is perfect, even new construction. You should expect to find issues. Some issues are frequent during certain eras of construction. If there are known issues, you could consider setting up a contractor to get a cost estimate prior to and/or during the inspection
CAN I BE AT MY INSPECTION?
While not required, attendance is recommended for your inspection. There are many things that can be beneficial like observing the property the day of the inspection or seeing a particular component first hand. The good news is we have years of experience at documenting things in a great report, so if you can’t be present or our current protocol restricts you from being present we will ensure the problems are documented for your review later.
DO YOU HAVE ANY CHANGES RELATED TO COVID?
Yes. We take the COVID pandemic very seriously and are taking every precaution possible to ensure the safety of all parties involved in an inspection. We are asking sellers and listing agents NOT to be present for our inspection, we are limiting clients’ parties to two and asking only one buyer’s agent to attend. We also prefer attending only part of the inspection to minimize the chance of spreading the virus. Please confirm current practices as much as the virus, change frequently.
HOW LONG UNITL I RECEIVE MY REPORT?
Reports are typically delivered the evening following the inspection and within 48 hours generally. If you need an inspection report on the same day, no problem. Request a same-day report at the time of scheduling and if we can accommodate, we will schedule your inspection to allow that.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT AFTER MY INSPECTION?
After your inspection, you are probably feeling overwhelmed and have a lot of questions. You may have good reason to feel overwhelmed but keep in mind this is the common feeling after most inspections.
If you did not pay prior to the inspection you should issue payment so it doesn’t hold up the delivery of your report. You should expect to get your report within 48 hours (in most cases sooner) and your radon report shortly after the pickup of your radon test.
If there is follow up from additional inspections (electricians, structural engineers, heating contractors, etc.) you should consider scheduling them immediately. Most inspection periods are short and you can involve us if you don’t have your report to ensure they fully understand the scope of what they are investigating further for you.
When you get your report, review it in detail. Be sure to read all information and instructions. Reading the report can be overwhelming and you should take your time. Once the information from the report is digested, make a list of things you plan to do immediately and in the near future so you can begin to budget.
Don’t forget that we are here for you if you have any questions following your report! We anticipate phone calls, emails and/or texts about your report – and we are happy to discuss in detail.
Ask A Question
Questions are the root of all answers.
Don’t Be Shy!