Home Inspections Play a Pivotal Role in New-Home Construction

Client’s often ask if a real estate professional is needed when building a new home. The answer is “yes” because the real estate professional will look out for the client’s interests before and during the building process. Client’s also ask if a home inspector is needed when building a new home. The answer to that question is also “yes” and your clients should make sure that a home inspection contingency is written into their offer.

A home inspector will perform several Phase Inspections during the building process and ensure that your client’s dream home has been thoroughly inspected. With a new construction home, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors recommends that you have two or three inspections of the property during the building process. Most often, an inspection is performed before the foundation is poured, after the framing has been built and before the final walk through.

What type of inspections are needed during the home construction process?

Pre-pour Inspection:

During this phase, the inspector will physically and visually inspect the foundation and verify compliance with the engineered drawings, review the proper placement, support, sizing and spacing of graded rebar and ensure that it is supported using proper beam depth, width and placement. The vapor/moisture barrier placement will also be checked.

Framing Inspection:

During the framing inspection, the inspector will physically and visually verify compliance with building standards or, if applicable, an engineered design. Specifically, the inspector will ensure proper door and window egress placement, framing members are properly attached, spaced, graded and aligned, and that joints are not stressed and are fastened with the proper materials. Additionally, the plumbing, electrical wiring and duct installations along with the roof structure and roof surface will be inspected.

Final Inspection:

The final inspection is like a standard home inspection and will include all appliances, doors and windows, the exterior of the home, the roof and attic, plumbing, HVAC and electrical systems. This phase will prepare you for the final walk-through with your home builder.

Why does someone need an inspection when building a new home?

These inspections assist in monitoring the building process by providing an unbiased, third-party evaluation of construction. Skilled home inspectors from a respected national brand like HomeTeam Inspection Service will inspect the important structural and mechanical components of the home, before they are covered in concrete and drywall. Not only will the report include areas of concern, but it will also introduce you to your new home’s features and systems. Occasionally, significant problems are uncovered that can save the homebuyer and builder thousands of dollars in costly repairs.

Common issues found in newly constructed homes are:

• Incorrect installation of the roof shingles, which may cause water penetration.
• The mechanical room or space being built too small so it cannot adequately fit all the appliances, including the furnace, water heater, pressure tank, etc.
• The home is not correctly insulated, which may cause the removal of finished walls and ceilings to add insulation. This can be especially true in some inaccessible sections of the roof.
• The siding of the house is improperly installed and needs to be replaced.
• Improperly installed electrical systems such as open grounds, missing switch plates and poorly installed wiring and electrical panels.
• Crawl space ventilation is not installed, resulting in water from condensation to build up and cause mold or moisture damage.
• Improper insulation around recessed lighting, which may cause air leaks and heat loss.
• Drainage and grading issues, which could cause water intrusion and future structural damage.
• Structural issues, such as a damaged roof truss system or an unusual floor frame configuration, which may require structural engineers to be called in to evaluate.

Adam Long is the President at HomeTeam Inspection Service. For more information, please visit www.hometeam.com.

3 Key Criteria for Evaluating a Home Inspection Company

As a trusted professional, clients naturally look to their real estate agent for a home inspector recommendation. With over 25 years of experience in the industry, HomeTeam has identified several considerations to use when recommending a home inspection company:

Knowledge
Look for licensing and professional certifications. Not all states require home inspectors to be licensed to perform home inspections. In many states, home inspectors can be part-time or there one day, gone the next. Do your homework to ensure that the home inspection company your client chooses has the proper state licenses or, in states where there isn’t licensing, that they’re members of a professional organization like ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) or InterNACHI, where they can receive training and certification.

Experience
Seek national brands like HomeTeam Inspection Service that have developed proprietary resources, tools and technology designed to provide a level of service above what an independent home inspector can provide. On the national level, they can be found at conferences and events and are constantly tracking industry news, trends and challenges to collectively provide the best service to clients and agents.

Professionalism
There’s no standard insurance coverage for home inspectors, but two types of coverage are critical. General liability insurance, which covers damage that occurs while performing an inspection, is the most common. Professional liability (errors and omissions) insurance applies to issues related to the inspection. This type of insurance covers the agent, so agents can have peace of mind knowing that they’re indemnified from recourse after the transaction.

Some states require home inspectors to have professional liability (errors and omissions) insurance, but the minimum requirements vary. Texas, for example, one of the most stringent states with home inspection regulations, requires home inspectors to carry $100,000 per claim and $100,000 aggregate of professional liability, or errors and omissions, insurance. However, they don’t require general liability insurance.

Look for a home inspection company that carries both professional liability (errors and omissions) insurance and general liability insurance at coverage amounts of at least $250,000 per occurrence/ $500,000 aggregate. A national home inspection company, like HomeTeam, requires that all locations have these coverages regardless of state requirements.

At the end of the day, it’s up to the client to choose the best home inspection company for them, but being able to provide some criteria for evaluating a company will help position the agent as even more of a resource. 

Ask the Expert: How Can A Home Inspection Company Be A Valued Partner In The Real Estate Process?

Q: How can a home inspection company be a valued partner in the real estate process?

A: Home inspections occur in almost 90 percent of transactions nationwide and can play a role in client satisfaction. Performing a high-quality inspection should be the minimum that a home inspection company offers. But what else is there?

Technology
Technology can be effectively used throughout the home inspection process – from scheduling to report delivery and even creating a seller’s repair request list. Providing these scheduling options and tools makes everyone’s job easier and faster.

A Full-Service Solution
Many home inspection companies offer a wide range of inspection packages. Since different homes, different clients and different regions require different types of inspections, choose a home inspection company that offers many additional services to choose from to create the solution that is right for your client.

Coordination
No one wants to spend additional time calling and coordinating various types of inspections from several different service providers on the same inspection. Find a One Call Does It All® Solution where a provider can schedule any type of inspection for you, at the same time as the home inspection.

Time Savings
The typical home inspection can last anywhere from 2.5 – 4 hours. HomeTeam Inspection Service cuts this time nearly in half by utilizing a team of inspectors, which allows for more time slots available each day, and greater availability when you need an inspection.

Professionalism
All companies adhere to varying degrees of professionalism. Home inspection companies that show up in uniform with branded vehicles help make the client feel at ease. Clear and calm communication helps the client to absorb information and make confident decisions.

Choosing a home inspection company that provides the services outlined above results in a positive experience for the client, a true benefit to all!

 

My HomeTeam Now Available In Your Area

Looking to schedule an inspection fast?

Scheduling your HomeTeam inspections just got even easier with My HomeTeam, your own personal inspection dashboard that functions like an app!

You can quickly see our availability and schedule an inspection with minimal typing, view past inspections performed for you by our team, call, text or email us in seconds.

Contact us today for the simple download link. We will send you a personal My HomeTeam link via email or text. It’s that easy. Setup is a snap, and you’ll be up and running immediately.

You can then click on the link to open your My HomeTeam in your phone’s web browser and follow these instructions for you Apple or Android device:

iPhone or iPad: Tap the ‘Share’ button in the Safari browser and then tap ‘Add to Home Screen’

Android Phone or Tablet: Tap the ‘Menu’ button and tap ‘Add to Home Screen’

Ask the Expert: What Can Sellers Do To Prepare For The Home Inspection?

Q: What can sellers do to prepare for a home inspection?

A: Completing these quick and easy tasks before beginning the selling process will help reduce stress and save your clients valuable time during the home-selling process.

Clean the House
An important part of selling a home is keeping it clean in anticipation of a showing. Cleaning the home will convey that it’s been well cared for and that the house is less susceptible to any issues caused by neglect.

Check All Windows
Have your client take a quick inventory of the windows to make sure they’re in good working order. Replace windows that are cracked or broken before the inspection to save time during the selling process.

Finish the Honey-Do List
Some areas of the home, although not typically thought of as areas that would affect a home’s appeal, may be displayed as safety concerns on a home inspection report. Your client can help themselves by replacing burnt-out lightbulbs, testing smoke detectors, replacing air filters and unclogging drains. These little things are easy to forget in day-to-day life, but taking care of them is a relatively easy task that will help potential buyers focus on the important systems of the home.

Check All Outlets
A sampling of electrical outlets will be tested as part of the home inspection to make sure they’re in good working order. Encourage your clients to take note of which outlets are not functioning in the home and replace them. Or, they may want to consider hiring an electrician to make sure both outlets and the electrical box are updated and in proper working condition.

Clear Areas for Easy Access
Home inspectors will be looking at the major parts of the home, including the foundation, HVAC systems, electrical systems, plumbing and even the water heater. Making sure home inspectors can easily access these areas, including the basement and attic, will save time during the inspection process.

Consider a Pre-Listing Inspection
Hiring experienced and professional home inspectors can save a lot of headaches during the selling process. They will thoroughly go through the home and notify clients of any potential issues ahead of listing the property.

Buddy Stark, Director of Operations for HomeTeam Inspection Service,  Real Estate Magazine

Ask the Expert: How Can I Guide Clients Through the Home Inspection Process?

Q: What can be done to guide clients through the home inspection process?

A: After being in business for 25 years and performing over a million inspections, HomeTeam Inspection Service has identified the top ways to ensure a smoother home inspection, contributing to happier clients and a better outcome.

Make It Convenient
The home inspection process—from scheduling to report delivery—should be convenient for everyone involved. Online scheduling, text messaging and electronic delivery of reports make convenience possible when it comes to the home inspection. If a home inspection company isn’t providing this, clients are missing out on the best possible experience.

Don’t Keep Them Waiting
Ten years ago, it was commonplace to wait five days or more for a home inspection, but today, consumers want it now. Plus, consumers are busier than ever today. They not only want a home inspection that can be performed soon, but also one that can be performed in half the time of the traditional three- to -four-hour inspection. That’s a large part of what makes HomeTeam successful. Our team approach allows for a faster inspection and more appointment slots each day.

Give Them Options
Clients only want to pay for services they need. While most home inspection companies offer a wide range of services, client needs vary, and the leading home inspection companies allow clients to schedule individual services like pest, mold and radon.

Ensure It’s Educational
A home inspector will not give a pass/fail grade on a home, but will give an objective assessment on the condition of the home during the inspection. Educating the client on their new home and how to maintain it is a sign of a professional inspector. Communicating information in a non-alarming manner is critical to helping clients absorb information and make prudent decisions. An inspector that’s accessible to answer questions onsite and after the inspection instills peace of mind in clients and makes them more confident in their purchase decision.

Deliver Accurate Reporting
In addition to a verbal report that the client receives onsite, the most professional inspection companies will furnish a narrative, electronic report that’s emailed to the client and agent. A narrative-style report is more detailed than a checklist-style report, putting forth a clearer picture of the home with less room for interpretation. Including photos and a summary helps the client easily identify any safety concerns or areas that warrant attention.

Adam Long, President of HomeTeam Inspection Service, Real Estate Magazine’s, Ask The Experts

Home Inspections a Crucial Piece of the Real Estate Puzzle

“Whether you’re buying something that’s 100 years old or brand new—whether it’s 5,000 square feet or 500—you should inspect. It’s money well spent and it’s about being a smart buyer or seller,” says Larry Wallenstein, a real estate agent with RE/MAX Consultants Realty 1 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Wallenstein knows the true value and importance of a home inspection and the effects it can have on his transactions. For the past 17 years, he’s used HomeTeam Inspection Service for all his inspection needs.

“It’s about reality,” he says, noting the significance of always attending inspections. “The inspectors point things out that you can feel and touch…I think that’s very important. If you read something on paper, you don’t always understand it. If an inspector walks you up to something and says, ‘Look at this,’ that makes a huge difference.”

Unique to most inspection companies, HomeTeam sends a team of inspectors on site, helping to keep inspections and transactions efficient. In fact, HomeTeam of Southeast Florida will send as many as five HomeTeam inspectors. They make sure the job is thorough and the property is well assessed.

“I’ve never been a believer that somebody can be a jack of all trades. When you use a company like HomeTeam, you get people who are trained in specialties, so you’re going to get a better quality of results,” says Wallenstein.

HomeTeam delivers a robust variety of tech tools to support everyone involved, from online scheduling to text and email reminders about inspection dates. Electronic reports are also delivered, chock full of photographs reminding buyers about what they saw in-person at the inspection. Working with HomeTeam has proven to be invaluable for Wallenstein and his customers, which is why he’s stuck with the company for so many years.

The local HomeTeam that Wallenstein works with is owned by Colin Conroy. Every time a new category arises in the inspection process (such as when mold and defective drywall became issues), Conroy would personally call Wallenstein to fill him in on the new details.

“When I started in the business I knew nothing. I remember sitting on the floor of an empty house listening to Colin say, ‘This is really important because…’ and ‘This is how we’re going to look at it and how we’re going to explain it to the customer,’ so I respect him tremendously,” says Wallenstein.

Home inspections can save buyers and sellers a lot of time and many headaches along the way. Wallenstein even stresses the value of pre-listing inspections, so sellers can deal with problems head-on rather than having to budge on the price down the road. But whether he’s representing a buyer or a seller, home inspections remain a very important piece of the puzzle, and HomeTeam Inspection Service is always there.

“They’re always responsive,” concludes Wallenstein. “Working with HomeTeam is about knowledge, it’s about efficiency, and it’s about being accessible for the customer and willing to help them understand.”

By Nick Caruso, Real Estate Magazine 

Ask the Expert: How Can Homeowners Ensure Preparedness For Fall?

Q: What can homeowners do to ensure their home is well prepared and more energy-efficient throughout the coming months?

A: Fall officially begins this month and HomeTeam Inspection Service—the only national home inspection company to utilize a team of inspectors onsite—offers the following home maintenance tips.

Roof
Inspect the roof covering and flashing from the ground for indicators of wear, like missing, loose or cracked shingles or tiles. Water can seep into these areas and cause damage if left unattended. Contact a professional roofer for repair or a replacement evaluation if water intrusion is occurring or suspected.

Gutters and Downspouts
Gutters and downspouts are critical in protecting your home from water damage. Fall is one of the most important times to check your gutters and downspouts to ensure they’re not rusted, rotted, disconnected or full of debris.

Fireplace
Have a certified chimney sweep inspect and clean your chimney, fireplace and vents at least once per year, as recommended by the National Fire Protection Association. A do-it-yourself inspection for creosote buildup can be performed by wearing goggles and a basic disposable dust mask. Take a flashlight and your fireplace poker and scratch the black surface above the damper (smoke chamber). If the groove you scratch is paper thin, no cleaning is needed. If it’s 1/8 inch thick, schedule a cleaning. If you have 1/4 inch of creosote, don’t use the fireplace until it’s cleaned—a chimney fire could occur at any time.

HVAC
Get your furnace cleaned and serviced by a professional before the heating season begins. Also, clean or replace your furnace filters as recommended throughout the year. Dirty filters restrict airflow and reduce efficiency.

Ensure that all supply and return vents aren’t blocked or closed, as this causes the return duct to pull in cold air from cracks in windows and doors. In addition, the warm air that’s still trying to push up through closed vents will either start to leak out ducts that aren’t sealed properly, or be forced back down into your basement or floor cavities.

Trees and Bushes
Trimming trees and bushes provides many advantages to your home’s exterior. Trim so that all leaves and limbs are at least three feet away from your house. This prevents them from hitting the sides of your house when it’s windy, decreasing the amount of leaves and debris that will end up in your gutters.

Windows and Doors
Cracks in the seals around windows and doors allow heated or cooled air to escape, which can cost you money. Caulking and weatherstripping can wear over time, so check the seals around your windows and doors. One of the easiest ways to diagnose this issue is to close the door or window and hold a lighted candle near the frame. If the flame flickers at any spot, you likely have an air leak. Replace or add caulk or weatherstripping where needed.

Buddy Stark, Director of Operations for HomeTeam Inspection Service,  Real Estate Magazine