Friday, February 26, 2010

Inspecting a Central HVAC

Many people would like to know what we inspect when we inspect a central air conditioning unit. The first thing we look for is if the unit is sized correctly for the amount of sq. footage of the house. Every 650 sq. ft of house needs approximately a ton of cooling as it takes more energy to cool a house. A 2500 sq. ft. property will need approximately 4 tons of cooling capacity.

The primary function of a cooling system is to first dehumidify, then to condition the air. If the unit is not properly sized for property conditions, cooler ductwork will cause water to condense and stain the ceiling. We look for clues to see if the unit is working properly:

* We will take several temperature readings at the supply registers;
* We will take note of the compressor size in comparison to area served;
* We will note if the HVAC system is servicing 2 levels;
* Are there thermostats on both levels being serviced;
* Are there return air grills on each level being serviced;
* We will note the temperature conditions on both levels - Supply temperature in relation to return air temperatures;
* We will note the humidity levels on both levels;
* We will note if water stains are present under service runs or around system registers especially in basement homes.

By taking all of these factors into consideration, we can make an educated guess as to the system’s performance. If we see water stains, undersized units or inconsistent temperatures, we generally call for a professional to further evaluate the unit.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Home Inspection Fees In The New York/Long Island Area.

"What does the inspection cost?" Too often this seems to be the first question when someone calls us for home inspection information. Asking about qualifications and experience should be the most important and first questions our phone callers should ask. Just as in all professions the level of experience and talent of home inspectors varies. The size and age of homes varies. The amount of work and knowledge to do a thorough inspection varies from home to home. Unfortunately most people get consumed with price and fail to see the benefits of hiring a highly qualified inspector versus one which has very little experience.

In New York home inspectors are licensed and to obtain a New York State Home Inspector License you need to complete a 140 hour class and receive a grade of 70 on a state test. I agree that licensing is better than no licensing, but to try and teach someone all the systems and problems a home inspector will come across in a 140 hour class is impossible. If you are looking to hire a home inspector look for other credentials other than a home inspector license, such as other licensing, certifications or education relating to home construction. I believe you really want a home inspector who has more education and experience than the required 140 hour class. A home inspector license is a starting point but more experience is necessary to complete a thorough inspection.

Lets talk about Money: Most homes in the areas we inspect range from $300K to millions of dollars. In the New York/Long Island area home inspection fees may vary normally by as much as $200 with the mean price for a home inspection being in the $400-$600 range. In most cases if you called 5 inspectors you may get a difference in pricing of less than $100. However the difference in the quality of the inspection and the experience of the inspector could wind up costing you much more than the $100-$200 you saved on the home inspection fee. The value of a good thorough home inspection and report can be only be measured by its usefulness. If a thorough inspection turns up little wrong with the house, you've bought some relatively inexpensive peace of mind. If the inspection finds serious problems, your cost could end up saving you many thousands of dollars.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

We are a UNIQUE Home Inspection Company

Precision Home Inspection of America's co-owners and brothers Lee and Hank Jaworowski have started a revolution in the New York/Long Island Home Inspection Industry. Up until now a thorough home inspection would take 3-4 hours when it was completed by 1 person. All inspectors in their area send 1 inspector per inspection.

Lee and Hank do home inspections together which take 1/2 the time. Not only do their inspections take 1/2 the time but in their case Lee is a licensed professional engineer and Hank is a former home remodeler/home builder. This brings quite a bit of education and experience to a home inspection that is competitively priced with your conventional 1 person inspection.

Their phone continues to ring off the hook as more and more home buyers become aware of our their one-of-a-kind service.

Visit their website at or call them at 551-556-4663 for more information.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Home Inspection Reports - What Type is Best?

There are basically two different types of home inspection reports on the market today. The checklist report and the narrative report.

Checklist Report

The checklist report list inspected items and usually consist of some type of condition word following the item such as “fair ”, “good”, or “needs replacement”. This is usually the depth of the report. This type of report usually does not state the exact problem when one exists. They tend to be too brief in their “descriptions”. This type of report usually leaves the client asking alot of questions that this type of report is unable to answer, such as why is something labeled fair, good, or needs replacement?

Narrative Reports

The narrative type report consists of a variety of short paragraphs or statements on items inspected

The narrative report requires more words to communicate both good and bad parts of the property. The reason more words are needed is due to the need to use complete full sentences in order to make the reading material flow in a professional manner. (The whole sentence needs to be read to fully understand the condition.)

At times these reports read more like a novel and the reader quickly loses interest.

Reports Which Utilize Diagrammed Pictures

“Pictures can be worth a thousand words” is a saying we have all heard over the years. In the case of a home inspection report this is exactly the case. One must remember that most home buyers are in the dark about what certain items are in a home therefore to say that that there is a crack in the air handler in the burner means very little to most home buyers. They have no idea what an air handler in a burner is. But if they were to be shown a picture of the air handler with an arrow pointing to the crack that was found they would know exactly what a air handler is and exactly where, in this case, the crack is.

Home inspection reports should be both accurate and concise. The inspector's client should be fully informed of the condition of the property in an effective manner and be easily understood. This type of report can only be accomplished with numerous diagrammed pictures with short non-technical explanations of the items inspected. This type of report takes longer to prepare and that is why you should always ask any home inspection company you are thinking of using what type of report they generate. You should also request to see a sample of one of their reports.

If you cannot find a sample home inspection report that reflects diagrammed pictures accompanied by short non-technical statements you can visit and click on “Free Sample Report” on the left hand column of the home page.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Eight Tips To Sell Your Home In A Tough Market

Eight Tips To Sell Your Home In A Tough Market

If you are currently considering selling your home then there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get that all important sale. Certainly, with the way that the economy is currently selling your home has become more difficult and it is now a buyer’s market. Below are 8 tips for selling your home and which should hopefully help you to achieve the price you are after.

Tip 1 - Before you put your home on the market it is a good idea to do some research beforehand. The quickest and easiest way of doing this is through looking as a few property classifieds in your local newspapers or by going online. This way you can gather information regarding what prices houses similar to yours are selling for currently.

Tip 2 – Decide on who is going to sell your house including yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask friends, family members and work colleagues if they can recommend someone to you. The other choice is to sell it privately through the property classifieds, but if you do you need to be aware of the right procedures to follow first.

Tip 3 - Getting your house looking great inside is crucial but you need to make sure that the house looks great outside as well. Remember the first thing that is going to be making an impression on any prospective buyers of your home is the front area. So make sure that this area is kept clean and tidy at all times.

Tip 4 - You need to remove as much clutter as you can from your home and put it into storage until the sale has been completed. If there is too much in any room it can make them look much smaller than they really are.

Tip 5 - Although you don’t think your home needs it repainting the main rooms in your home in neutral fresh colors is a good idea. This way the prospective buyers will be able to see the rooms more clearly and get a feel for whether their own belongings will fit into them.

Tip 6 - It is important that before every viewing you make sure that your house is clean and tidy. This is especially important if you have pets as although you may not be able to smell the odors potential purchases will.

Tip 7 - Spend time on staging the rooms to show them off to their full potential. As you do this make sure that the focal point in each room stands out.

Tip 8 – Make sure you are aware of all the problems in the house that may come up when a potential buyer has an inspection done on your home. A great way to get this information is to purchase a pre-listing inspection by an independent home inspector who is not affiliated with any real estate agent or mortgage broker you may want to use. This inspection will provide you with the information on items that may need repair. You can then decide to either repair the item (s) or at least get estimates to have these items fixed if they come up on negotiations on the house.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Home Inspectors Who Pay Real Estate Agents For Inspections

Home Inspectors Under Scrutiny For Payments To Realtors
CBS Homes Preferred Inspectors Being Investigated

OMAHA, Neb. -- Four home inspectors are under review for their financial relationships with an Omaha realtor. The American Society of Home Inspectors, or ASHI, is now investigating home inspectors on Omaha Realtor CBS Home Real Estate's preferred vendor list.

Some inspectors who talked to KETV News Watch 7 said the fees are just good business. Others said the payments are necessary to get on a realtor's "preferred" list, and get business from the realtor. Are home inspections ever compromised by the relationship?

A woman who only wanted to be identified as Kathy said that before she moved into her new home, she hired a home inspector to check it out. It took about two weeks for her to find out the inspector had missed something. A plumber pointed out yellow water stains in the basement. "They determined that there was damage behind the
wall that was leaking, a broken pipe or something," Kathy said. She sued her home inspector and won an $1,800 judgment. Kathy is convinced her inspector didn't
provide her with the full story on her new house. "I thought, 'OK, if they could have at least pointed this out to me.' I love the house, so I would have still purchased the home, but maybe I could have gone back to the previous owner and have them fix the damages," Kathy said. What raises further questions in Kathy's mind is how she found the inspector. "I was referred to the home inspector by my real estate agent," Kathy said.

The same real estate agency that sold her the house provided Kathy with a short list of inspectors. She was free to go to any inspector she could find, but with so many to choose from, she relied on her agent's help and chose one from the list.
It's not uncommon for real estate companies to provide lists of preferred vendors, including home inspectors. But how do vendors get on these lists?

Pat Casey's inspection company, Home Buyers Protection, is on CBS Homes' preferred vendor list. So is John Wanninger's company, Amerispec." They each pay CBS $2,500 a year to participate in the program. They see that fee as a cost of advertising.
"There is no guarantee of business as a result of that money," Wanninger said.
"What do you get for the fee?" Casey asked. "I get access to the real estate agents."
That access may include office presentations and realtor business meetings. Casey and Wanninger believe there's nothing wrong with their companies participating in this program.
ASHI is now investigating Casey's and Wanninger's companies, plus Quality Home Inspections and Cornerstone Home Inspection Service, all on CBS's preferred vendor list.

"Paying for referrals is not ethical," said ASHI's Miki Mertz. Mertz, of Midwest Inspector's Institute, trains new home inspectors for ASHI certification. She is investigating the complaint against the four inspectors. When it comes to referrals, Mertz said, the ASHI code of ethics is clear. "It's OK for real estate agents to refer business to home inspectors if it's truly based on merit. But if the realtor's giving that inspector the business only because they paid a sum of money to get on a list, then that's not ethical," Mertz said. The rule is that inspectors can't pay real estate companies for referrals. But what makes it more complicated is that the ASHI code of ethics does allow inspectors to pay for advertising, and that's a matter of interpretation.
"If I thought it was unethical, I wouldn't do it," Casey said. Casey believes he's paying CBS for advertising. The owner of Metro Property Inspections, Larry Crouch, sees it differently. He refuses to have anything to do with fee payments.
"I just think when you've paid to get on that list that real estate agents give them, to me, that's just not fair. It's unethical," Crouch said. Crouch said that because he refused to participate in CBS's preferred vendor program, his business
initially dropped about 10 percent. "I think the first year it started, I probably lost 40 to 50 inspections. There were maybe 15 or 20 agents who stopped using me," Crouch said. Crouch believes inspectors may be tempted to give a bad house a good inspection just to stay on the realtor's preferred list.
"The term that's used in our profession is 'soft soap the inspection,'" Casey said.
Casey and Wanninger said they would never "soft soap" an inspection for CBS.
"By softening an inspection, or not revealing potential issues in the home inspection business, would be financial suicide," Wanninger said. The president of CBS Home Real Estate, Larry Melichar, agreed. "I can't imagine a vendor that we work with doing that. We certainly wouldn't be involved in something like that," Melichar said.
Melichar said the only reason CBS puts out a preferred vendor list is to help the buyer. Melichar said the inspectors are simply paying for good advertising.
"It's not a matter of getting referrals. They don't get referrals," Melichar said. "What they really get is a chance to market their services to our organization and to our clients." Casey would like realtors to do away with preferred vending programs, but for now, he sees his $2,500 advertising fee as a cost of doing business.
Kathy said she'd advise homebuyers to check inspector's references carefully before you closing the deal. "Do their own homework," Kathy said.
How do you know if your home inspector is paying a real estate company to be on its preferred list? You have to ask. CBS said it does not disclose that information to its buyers. The American Society of Home Inspectors hopes to complete its investigation by early summer.