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Permits

As we are now into the new year, I hope everyone had a great holiday season. This weeks blog is about Permits. Not about home inspectors needing permits, however home inspectors searching for permits on the property they are inspecting. So, lets begin.

Just about every scenario we do, we are always in contact with the local building departments for building permits. At the end of the year a repeat client of ours was purchasing another property. They wanted to know about any open permits since the home had been just recently renovated. So, in our search we found 2 open permits.  Which brings us to this blog.

The work for the permits had been performed correctly. The building department was in error because they did not close the permit. It happens. Now what about other scenarios. For example, there maybe new electrical panel box and no permit. This is always noted on our reports. Or new garage door and opener but no permit. This happens too. So why permits?

A permit is to protect the home owner and government. For example, if the current home owner applies for a permit for finishing a garage area then their is multiple trades involved. Additionally, it protects government because they have a record on the property. If there is ever a bad error then the work can be pointed back to the contractor on record or the building department. Also, if no permit then their maybe repercussions when closing and a property appraiser sees new work that was not properly recorded.  The worst case scenario is a home is about to close and no permit was applied for upgrades and the county records office catches that a new kitchen was installed prior to closing. This will definitely raise a red flag.

So, when you are about to purchase a property or change insurance companies and need an insurance inspection, ask your inspector about permits. It is easy to obtain and we provide this service at no cost to our clients. For more information contact us anytime at 352-322-2700 or www.emeraldinspectionservice.com  Our inspections usually range from Clearwater to Odessa and from Zephyrhills to Hudson Florida areas.

 

4 Point Inspections

This weeks blog is about 4 point inspections. The purpose of 4 point inspections and some tricky sales gimmicks of other companies that inflate the inspection process. So lets begin.

A “Four-Point Inspection” is an inspection catered to the insurance companies. With this type of inspection an insurance carrier does not want to go thru 50 plus pages of a home inspection report. There is a lot of software out there and all is different reporting styles when it comes to the actual 4 points.

The 4 Points inspected are: Roof, Electrical, Plumbing, and HVAC. So for example, the roof is inspected to make sure no leaks, no turn shingles and also no condensation in the attic. The electrical has to be in good working order. This means the panel box has no double taps, no over heated breakers and that if aluminum multi-strand wire, the wire has an oxidizing agent applied to the wire. When the plumbing is inspected there can not be any leaks under sinks, hot water heater is in good working order, no corrosion on pipes and if a well is on premise the well pump and filtration system is in good working order.

Lastly, is the HVAC system. Here in Florida, a lot of times we will see heat pumps. This is your a/c and heat. The air handler unit is usually in the garage or the attic. We check to make sure the system is performing properly. No burnt wires inside the housing, the coils are cleaned on the units, drip pans are not clogged, the disconnects to the units work properly and the thermostat is working properly. I usually check the ambient temperature to compare to the outside. Keep in mind that the a/c can not be checked if the outside temperature is below 60 degrees. This may cause damage to the compressor and other components of the system.

So above is the inspection points of the Four Point Inspection. The inspector also, has to check with the local government building department for permits on the home, for the 4 Points.

Now lets briefly discuss why insurance companies require them. First of all, any home over 25 years old the systems may start to enter the bonus life of the system. For example, if a hot water heater is over 15years of age. Its time to replace or really start to budget for that item. So the insurance carrier wants to see if there are any updates been done to the home. The 4 Point Inspection is not to be considered a full general inspection, nor is it never to be. The reporting for the 4 Point is on insurance dedicated forms. For example, “Citizens Insurance”, ” Tower Hill” or “State Farm” insurance.

In closing a lot of home inspection companies will offer this service as an ancillary service with the home inspection, only. We offer this service as a full service for our clients. And you may here from time to time catch phrases during the inspection process of 7 points, 21 points, etc. Pay no attention to them. At Emerald Inspection Service, you have your 4 Point Inspection, our self generated 5 Point Inspection which is for mobile homes and investors only, and the General Inspection. We perform these type of inspections from Sebring to Hernando. From Saint Petersburg to Sumterville Florida within a 24-36 hour time frame. For more information about #4PointInspections  go to our website: https://www.emeraldinspectionservice.com/4-point-inspections.html

Or call us anytime, 352-322-2700 or 844 RADON 40.

4PointInspector

Home Inspection Prices

#Home, #Inspection, #Prices

This weeks blog is about the price of a General Home Inspection and how the price is constructed for the client. We get calls about how much a home inspection cost, but also we get calls for other types of inspection services and their costs. So lets begin of what the average national price may be, and why you should think when somebody drastically cuts everyone’s price.

Depending upon the area, the average price of a home inspection ranges from $320-350.00 for a home inspection that is approximately 2100 square feet or less. In a home of this size you normally have 2-3 bedrooms and usually 2 bathrooms. So a few of the rooms may not take as long during the inspection. However, you still have the major components of an inspection. For example; The Roof, The Exterior, The Grounds, The Porch and Deck, The Plumbing, The Electrical, The HVAC System, The Kitchen, one Bathroom, and possibly The Garage and Laundry Room.  From that point you then have your interior rooms, extra bathrooms, pool, spa, possibly of an exterior building and other areas of the property. To complete an inspection for this size usually takes about 2-3 hours. However, once the walk thru is completed with the client, there is normally a bit of paperwork to complete before the client receives the report. All quality inspectors usually review the report, create a summary and overview of the property. For each report that is generally about another 30-45 minutes of time that is not seen. So as you can see now a home inspection report can take up to 4 hours of time.

When the property is larger then the 2100 square feet, a lot of inspection companies will usually add $50-75.00 extra per 800-1000 square feet to the base price. This is to allow for the extra time needed to complete the inspection. Additionally a lot of companies will add a small fee for properties over 15 years of age and older. Again, the property inspection may take longer and the company may need to allocate for that time.

Now, with Emerald Inspection Service we try to provide additional services while we are on site doing the inspection. For example maybe a wind mitigation during the inspection process or radon testing, or possibly roof certification if the roof is over 15 years of age. This process saves the client, the realtors, the home owners and the inspector time as well. Remember, the scheduling of an inspection is critical to all parties and the worst thing anybody wants is to have to return for an additional service and coordinate with the realtor, home owners, etc.

So, lets talk about companies that charge differently then we and many of our friends do. Some inspectors are new to the industry, so they think by drastically cutting the price will make you as a consumer want to hire them. However, if their report takes 2 hours to complete totally, and is done. Is the report going to show every part of the element being inspected. Is the report showing colored pictures as the inspector takes them. Is that report going to be readable and understandable if problems exist in the future. So for a company to charge approximately $35-40.00 less to entice you for their business is something to consider. Additionally, will that company and inspector be there if you have questions in the future about an entity of the inspection report.

In conclusion of this weeks blog, remember that sometimes the cheaper price is not always the best price. Buying a home is a major investment in anybody’s portfolio. This maybe a first time home owner, an investor, or the family that is downsizing into a smaller home. Consumers should trust their judgement, listen to what the inspection company offers for the cost of the inspection and see what the norm is for that area. If 2 people are charging about the same price or within $25.00 and one is charging $40.00 less, then the question should be why is one far less and what does everyone bring to the table with their inspection package.

These summaries of prices can be in any area, however for reporting purpose we have used the Tampa, Hernando, Orlando and Sarasota Florida as reference for our research on this blog.

For more information, please visit our website: www.emeraldinspectionservice.com or call us anytime @ 352-322-2700 or email us directly to; info@emeraldinspectionservice.com

Tools Of The Trade

Camera, Infrared, Endoscope

This weeks blog, I wanted to share is about the tools inspectors use and how they can make a report better and additionally assist the buyers and sellers in an inspection.  Now while each state has its own standards of practice for inspections, normally most inspectors will be up to date on technology and tools.

Years ago, the typical inspector would have a camera, (Polaroid Instant), clip board, electrical tester, and flashlight.  They may have forms that were printed or they just take notes and complete the report when they return to the office. Believe it or not some inspectors are still this way but upgraded to a digital camera.

So lets begin with the inspector of today. When I started Emerald Inspection Service, my initial investment was approximately $700.00. You may say ok, what did you buy. Well first of all, we use a tablet that has a camera and is internet ready. We don’t use our phone. Then over the course of the year we upgrade on tools and equipment.

We use a laptop for wind mitigation, 4 point inspections and Chinese drywall inspections with a camera because of the standard forms. Our digital camera is waterproof and is very high in pixels. We have CO2 detector, for any type of gas lines. We don’t use soap or the bubbles as they will corrode the pipe eventually. We have a million candlelight power hand held spot light. This is great if somebody, painted over an old stain.  We use pin-less and pin moisture meters to determine if any wood or drywall or flooring is holding moisture. If we suspect something in the wall or can’t get to an area, we use a 16’o inspection camera scope or use our endoscope camera. Additionally, some inspectors can not perform energy audits because they are not certified nor have an infrared camera. We have that too.

So, as you can see this is just a sample of the tools in our toolbox. When you are looking to hire an inspector, ask him what type of tools they have. Also, ask them if there is extra charges for using some of these. Some we don’t charge because it makes the report a lot better. However for an Infrared Inspection, we charge in the range of $250-550, depending on the type of inspection.

If you like to know more about this or have questions, feel free to call us or email us anytime. Our office numbers are 352-322-2700 or toll free at 844-RADON-40. Email anytime at; info@emeraldinspectionservice.com

Wind Mitigation Inspections

wind inspection, wind mitigation

Wind Mitigation Inspection

A wind mitigation inspection is a report that is generated for the insurance carrier. As a home owner with windstorm insurance, state law entitles you to certain premium reductions. However, without a wind mitigation inspection, you can not get the discounts. If you have not had a windstorm insurance inspection at your home you are PROBABLY PAYING TO MUCH FOR YOUR WINDSTORM INSURANCE!

During a wind mitigation inspection, a qualified inspector reports on the key features that may decrease the amount of damage your home suffers during a hurricane or strong windstorms. There features fall into several categories; such as exterior construction type, roof shape, construction methods, age of the roof covering, door and window opening protection, as well as the year the home was constructed. Another factor maybe the elevation of the home and how it relates to wind speed.

When performing a wind mitigation inspection we take precise care to record the following information and take pictures (as seen below) to report to the insurance carrier if you may receive any discounts. Part of the wind mitigation inspection is we go into the attic. In the attic we randomly pick three roof rafters or roof trusses. We usually try to select two on each end of the roof and two near the center. We determine the nail length penetrating into the roof framing member. We also, measure the length of the nail penetrating through the sheathing. Once the attic portion is complete, we inspect any windows and glass block for hurricane stamps or Broward/Miami Dade stickers. This tells us if the glass will be hurricane wind resistant. Once that is complete we from there inspect the garage door for bracing and if any shutters can be attached to any glazing elements. Upon completion of the wind mitigation inspection, we visually inspect the roof and record all dimensions and take a few pictures of the exterior. While we make no guarantee that you may receive discounts from the insurance carrier, we will do our best to inspect all elements required by insurance companies for wind mitigation.

Most insurance carriers have their own type of reporting and we are fully equipped for that specific type of  report. Additionally this process is completed anywhere there is windstorm insurance. Whether its Tampa, Webster, Leesburg or Port Richey. For further information check out our website; http://www.emeraldinspectionservice.com or call us anytime at 352-322-2700

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