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19 May 2020
home inspections home inspectors

What is a 4-Point Home Inspection?

A Direct Inspector’s 4 point inspection looks at the four primary systems (Roof, Electrical, Plumbing, HVAC) in your new or current home. Most insurance companies want to know that the major systems are in good working condition, this will also show how older homes have been maintained. Please do now confuse this type of inspection with a safety inspection, four point home inspections are only focusing on the functionality of the four main systems. Each 4 point home inspection is completed by a licensed home inspector, we will never send an unlicensed inspector to your property.

10 Apr 2020
home inspectors

Questions to Ask When Hiring a Home Inspector

Congratulations! You put in an offer to buy a home, and it’s been accepted! Now it’s time to get a home inspection to make sure you are willing to move forward with the purchase.

Most potential home buyers choose to include an inspection as a contingency in the purchase agreement. It’s a wise move. The last thing you want is to buy a home without realizing that there’s a significant foundation or roof problem.

If this is your first time buying a home, you’re probably not familiar with what to look for in an inspector or even know how to pick the right one. Here are a few things you need to look for and be aware of before hiring a home inspector.

Ask For Referrals And Check Online Reviews

Who do you trust the most when it comes to referrals? Most people trust their close friends and family. When researching home inspectors in your community, you want to reach out to inspectors whom your friends and family would recommend and trust.

If you have a friend and/or family member who recently bought a property and found themselves impressed with their home inspector, they may be a good candidate. Keep in mind that you may have to speak with several inspectors before deciding to go with the one you feel comfortable with. You also may need to wait until they find any issues that their inspector may have missed.

Next one the list, check any recent online reviews of the inspector and the company they work for. Browse reviews on sites such as Google, HomeAdvisor, Yelp, and Facebook. You can tell a lot about your home inspector based on what others say about them. With proper research you should be able to determine if the home inspector is a good fit for your recent purchase.

Interview Your Potential Candidates

Once you vetted the available home inspectors and selected reputable inspector, reach out to them or their company. Listed below are several questions you will want to verify before moving forward. Here are a few we have frequently been asked in the past.

Are you certified Home Inspector and are you currently licensed? Believe it or not, Some states don’t require any certification or current license to operate. However this is a limited amount, most new home buyers seek to find a trusted & certified inspector for their home. If your chosen home inspector has a certification or license, you will have some peace of mind that they have been professionally trained and were required to complete the course work necessary to become certified.

Are you currently insured and bonded? By maintaining insurance, the home inspector is covered in the case that there’s a mistake in their inspection report. For example, if the inspector misses something that ends up costing thousands of dollars in repairs inorder to be upto code and the inspector doesn’t carry error and omissions insurance, the buyer is liable and will have to pay for correcting the mistake.

Are you a full-time home inspector? If they are a full time home inspector, then you know that the demand for their services is high enough to make a living from it. This can possibly indicate that they are good at what they do. Many fly-buy-night home inspectors will market heavy and then move to a new region, trusting a home inspector that has been in your area for a while is a good sign.

How long will the inspection take? This depends on the type of inspection being provided. If you are having a wind mitigation inspection for your insurance company, this can take 30min to an hour. If you’re having a 4 point or complete home inspection and it takes less than one to two hours, the home inspector may not be spending enough time to do a thorough inspection.

Will you provide a full report of the inspection? What will this report include? Does it include pictures? Do you have a sample? How long will it take for me to receive it? By asking to see a sample report, you can determine if you’ll be able to understand the reporting style. Many companies will use their own software, or a trusted reseller software to compile their reports. You should be able to receive your home inspection report within 24 hours of the inspection (pending any home tests that require longer to be completed).

How do you keep your expertise up to date? What training do you have? This will give you an idea of how serious and professional the home inspector is. A good inspector will stay up to date on their training, and will continue to build their base on new and updated information.

Can I get names and contact information of your last three references? You’re really interviewing this person for a job. It makes sense that you do your due diligence before trusting them with such a large purchase.

11 Mar 2020
direct inspectors aluminum wiring

Single Strand Aluminum Wiring in Older Brevard County Homes

aluminum wiring inspections home

Many homes constructed or modified between 1965 and 1973, have some amount of single-strand (solid) aluminum wiring. This was often a substituted for traditional copper branch-circuit wiring in residential electrical systems. After almost a decade of use by homeowners, contractors and electricians, an inherent weaknesses was discovered in the aluminum metal that lead to its desuetude as a branch wiring material. Aluminum has been found to become defective faster than copper due to a few qualities inherent in the metal. Due to these deficits neglected connections in wall outlets, switches and light fixtures containing aluminum wiring become increasingly dangerous. Poor electrical connections cause aluminum wiring to overheat, which can result in a potential life threatening fire hazard. The presence of single-strand aluminum wiring may void a home’s current or future home insurance policy. When seen in a home, Home Inspectors may instruct their clients to talk with their insurance agent about whether the presence of aluminum wiring in their home is considered a potential fire hazard, a defect, and/or a problem that requires changes to their policy language if not replaced.

Where can I check to see if my house has aluminum wiring?

aluminum copper wiring example

If you are looking to buy a house built in this era (1965-1973), you want to check for this type of wiring during your onsite home inspection and understand what options are available to mitigate the risk. The primary location to check for the type of wiring in your home is inside your home’s electric panel. This should ONLY be done by a licensed electrician or a Licensed & Certified Home Inspector. Do not do this on your own, You need to remove the dead front cover to the electric panel to see the wiring and this should only be done by trained professionals as it is a huge safety risk.

Home Inspector Facts and Figures

* On April, 28, 1974, two individuals were killed due to a house fire located in Hampton Bays, New York. “Fire officials determined that the fire was caused by a faulty aluminum wire connection at an outlet.” as stated in U.S. Depository Property U.S.G.P.O.D-295

* In 1972, manufacturers modified both aluminum wire and switches and outlets to improve the performance of aluminum wired connections.

* Homes built before 1965 are unlikely to have aluminum branch circuit wiring. Homes built, rooms added, and circuits rewired or added between 1965 and 1973 may contain aluminum wiring.

* According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC): Houses wired with single strand of aluminum wire that is used for fifteen (15) and twenty (20) amp circuits are 50-60 times more likely to have (1) one or more connections reach “fire hazard conditions” than homes wired with copper. This wiring was primarily utilized in residential homes built/constructed between 1965 and 1972.

Identifying Aluminum Wiring

Aluminum wires tend to be the color of aluminum and are easily discernible from traditional copper and other metals. Since the early 1970s, wiring-device binding terminals for use with aluminum wire have been noted with CO/ALR, which represents “copper/aluminum revised. Look for the complete word “aluminum” or its’ initials “AL” on the plastic wiring jacket. Aluminum wire could have the word “aluminum,” or a specific brand name, such as “Kaiser Aluminum,” printed on the wire jacket. If the labels are difficult to read, shining a light along the length of the wire, can help identify them.