Monday, April 14, 2014

What is the best time to Schedule a Lake Mary Home Inspection?

Why is it not a good idea to schedule a summer home inspection in the afternoon?

There are many systems in the attic that require detailed investigation for a home inspection report.  The systems of the attic are trusses/rafters, sheathing, HVAC and exhaust duct work, electrical, insulation, ventilation, plumbing and in some cases HVAC components, chimneys and hot water heaters.

The plain and simple answer is the attic temperatures in Southern and even Northern states can reach extreme temperatures of 140 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit or even higher.  If you are paying for a home inspection and schedule your inspection for the afternoon; you will, most likely, not be getting a thorough inspection.  According to most state standards of practice(SOP) a home inspector does not have to enter the attic if the temperature in their opinion is extreme and dangerous to the inspector.

F.  Inspectors are NOT required to:
1.  Perform any procedure or operation that will, in the opinion of the inspector, likely be
dangerous to the inspector or other persons or damage the property or its systems or

1.13 The inspector shall report on any system and component included in these standards of practice which were present at the time of the home inspection but were not inspected and provide the reason they were not inspected.

2.10 The inspector is not required to enter any premises that visibly shows a physical threat to the safety of the home inspector or others nor inspect any area or component that poses a danger to the inspector or others.

InterNachi SOP
III. The inspector is not required to:
C.  enter or access any area that may, in the opinion of the inspector, be unsafe.
F.  do anything which may, in the inspector's opinion, be unsafe or dangerous to the inspector or others, or damage property, such as, but not limited to:  walking on roof surfaces, climbing ladders, entering attic spaces, or negotiating with pets.
IV. The inspector is not required to:
A.  enter the attic or any unfinished spaces that are not readily accessible, or where entry could cause damage or, in the inspector's opinion, pose a safety hazard.

It is the general opinion of the national associations and many of the states, that it is dangerous to the inspectors health to be exposed to extreme heat for prolonged periods of time.  Rules have been drafted into the SOP of each to protect the inspector and the buyer during the inspection process.

A recent discussion regarding inspections of attics in one of the national home inspectors forums:

I do not take random temperature readings of the attics I inspect. I do know that during the summer months attics in my area will hit 130f without any trouble. Once they get that hot I do not spend much time in them!  - Inspector from Tennessee
Location: Las Vegas, NV; single family, ranch style, home; south facing; reading of decking was south roof field; roofing material asphalt/fiberglass 3 tab shingles, one layer; approximately 10:30 A.M.; outside temp about 99 degrees.  I don't know what the air temp was in the attic but I didn't stay there very long either! - Inspector from Las Vegas.
I was in one last week and it was 189, let me see if I can find the pic.  Inspector from Utah
I also have recorded the 180 degree (upper) range in the attic when there has been very little wind movement and exterior temperatures exceed 115 degrees. No, you won't stay up there for long . . . Inspector from Las Vegas.
135 is common for me.  Inspector from Illinois.
In South Florida the typically daytime temperature might be 92 degrees to 95 degrees and the attic temperature might vary from 120 degrees for a tile roof to 140 degrees for a dark color shingle roof. - Inspector from South Florida.

As you can see from the inspectors comments that they are concerned about getting out of a hot attic as it can be dangerous to their health.  If you are looking for a thorough inspection, schedule it early in the day before attic temperatures reach extreme levels.  In the cooler hours of the morning inspectors are more likely to spend the necessary time in the attic investigating the systems you should be concerned with.

Frank Carr is the Owner / Inspector at First Choice Home Inspections in Deltona, FL serving Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Lake Counties.  Formerly in the building trades, Frank’s focus is a safe home and building FCHI. We believe that consumers have the right to expect the highest standards of thoroughness, fairness and effectiveness from their home inspector and that is exactly what we provide.
First Choice Home Inspections 
(386) 624-3893
Website:  Http://

Monday, April 7, 2014

7 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Home Inspector

When purchasing a new or existing home; the most critical part of the buying process is the home inspection.  Never sign a waiver to surrender your rights to a home inspection, even on a new home.  A home inspection is your right in the buying process and should never be relinquished.   The home inspection process is in place for your protection, to discover any defects or building flaws unknown or not disclosed by the seller.

Once you have selected your dream home; how do you find the right home inspector to investigate your future home and investment?  In the selection process; there are seven critical questions you should ask a home inspector.
1.     Is the home inspector licensed by the state or approved agency?  Many states require a home inspector to obtain a state license to inspect homes.  If you are obtaining financing through a government program, VA, HUD, or FHA; that agency may also require an additional certification or approval for the home inspector.  You should verify the license with your state or agency prior to contracting the home inspector.

2.     What is the inspector’s background and certifications?  The inspector’s background certifications are critical to their understanding of building technologies.  Your inspector should have a basic knowledge of the construction process to thoroughly evaluate the property being inspected.  The inspector should be able to determine whether a crack is structural or cosmetic based on their knowledge of the buildings obscured structure that lies beneath the drywall.  Has the inspector stayed current on modern building technologies and what certifications have they completed?  Home inspector organizations, like National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI), require inspectors to stay current and take continuing education units (CEUs) that often exceed state requirements.  Ask if they are a member of a national organization.

3.     How many years has the company been in business?  Has the company met the requirements to stay in business and are they current with modern building technologies.

4.     Ask how many inspections a day does the inspector complete?  Is the inspector working for your best interests or his?  One or two is the answer you are looking for.  If the inspector is completing three or more, it is likely they are cutting corners to complete all the inspections.

5.     How much time is spent at an inspection?  This number should vary based on the size of a home.  The basic number you are looking for is 1 hour per 1000 square feet.  If the inspector is inspecting a 3,500 sq. ft. home in less than 3½ hours on site, they are most likely not the best inspector for your family.  This time should not include the completion of the written report.

6.     Written Report, How Long? How many Photos? There are many styles of written reports, which will be determined by the preference of the inspector.  That being said, style is not as important as content.  There should be at least one summary page, one page per system (7) and one page per room.  A typical 3 bedroom, 2 bath, and two car garage should have a minimum of 20 pages excluding photos.  Photos again may be a personal preference but should include at least one per deficiency noted in the report.  The minimum number is 15-20, but if a picture is worth a thousand words, 20-30 is better.  

7.     Does the Inspection Company and the Inspector carry insurance?  Who would the courts consider liable for damage to the property during the time of the inspection?  What type of insurance do they carry and what is the liability amount of the insurance?  Many states require an inspector carry minimum liability insurance, but would it cover full damages to the property in the worst case scenario? 
When purchasing your home, you may not have to be an expert on the home, but you should have a knowledgeable inspector on your side.  You should feel secure in the knowledge that your family and your investments are safe.  Choose wisely, when selecting a home inspector and never put your family’s safety at risk by waiving the inspection.  Never select an inspection company based on price or how quick they can complete an inspection.  One item found by a competent inspector can save you thousands of dollars in repairs down the road.

Frank Carr is the Owner / Inspector at First Choice Home Inspections in Deltona, FL serving Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Lake Counties.  Formerly in the building trades, Frank’s focus is a safe home and building FCHI. We believe that consumers have the right to expect the highest standards of thoroughness, fairness and effectiveness from their home inspector and that is exactly what we provide.
First Choice Home Inspections 
(386) 624-3893