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5 Things to Ask During Your Home Inspection: An Interview with Dane Hylen of Hylen Home Consultants

By Dane Hylen

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Hylen Home Consultants offers free services to anyone who has questions about anything regarding real estate. We have a team of professionals that we rely on to provide free advice on all manner of subjects. We've even helped PCS'ing soldiers find a realtor and lender in another state (although that one took quite a bit of research and a fair amount of time-- we had to make sure we were referring the soldier to someone who was familiar with military needs and was honest and hardworking!)

The reason I started Hylen Home Consultants is because there are a lot of military clients in this area, due to Fort Drum, and many of them have a ton of questions and concerns about real estate and don't know who to trust (although I work with anyone, not only military). Since I was in the military for more than 10 years and have done military moves, I'm uniquely suited to being able to help them.

Hylen Home Consultants is also the premier home inspection company in New York's Fort Drum area, including Jefferson County, Lewis County, and St. Lawrence County, from Lake Ontario to Lowville and everywhere in between, and this is how the bills are paid. We have been trusted by home buyers to help them make informed buying decisions regarding their homes systems. Our home inspections typically range from 2-3 hours long depending on the size of the house and you are invited to follow along with your inspector as they perform their inspection. We take great pride in every inspection we perform. When the inspection is over, your inspector will review with you and electronically deliver a detailed inspection report regarding the property the same day.

Is it important for a home inspector to be licensed? Can you briefly explain why or why not?

Yes! Home inspectors must be licensed in the state of New York (and most other states). Years ago, anyone could just "hang a sign" so to speak and they were instantly a home inspector. This led to many people getting sub-standard inspections, a lack of trust of home inspectors, and many other shady practices such as contractors saying they were inspectors, saying a home needed work, and then offering to do the work--talk about conflict of interest! Licensing for home inspectors means that a home inspector has the knowledge to perform an inspection and is trusted by the state to perform an inspection in an ethical and honest manner.

Is there anything that homeowners don't ask you about that you wish they would?

I always encourage my clients to follow me around during home inspections so that they can ask questions and also so I can explain things to them about the systems of their new home. I wouldn't say there are any questions I wish they'd ask because I'm constantly talking with my clients. That being said, there shouldn't be any questions regarding a home that are off-limits to your home inspector; if it occurs to you, ask!

If a home inspector doesn't want to talk to you or asks that you not be present during the inspection, this should be a red flag, as communication about the homes condition is key! There are a few areas where I'll ask my clients not to accompany me, such as roofs, attics (that require me going up a ladder), any other dangerous areas; and when removing the covers from electrical panels, I ask them to stand back, but this is only for their safety and my insurance company.

What is one of the best questions that a client has asked you during an inspection?

The best question you can ask a home inspector is "why" or "what" followed by whatever your concern as a home buyer is. I don't know what they're concerned about until they tell me. Usually during my first conversation with a client, by email or phone, I try to ask if they have any special concerns about the house, and then I ask again during the home inspection itself.

I suppose the funniest question I've been asked was when a client from the West Coast asked me why a basement was made out of rocks, like the Flintstones, and I had to reassure him that the rocks were here before we were, and that the foundation would be there long after us and the house were long gone. He'd never heard of, let alone seen, a field stone foundation.

What are the types of questions that a potential home buyer should ask to follow up on any defects you find?

This goes to choosing the right home inspector in the first place. Before you hire a home inspector, you should be sure that any defects they find will have a recommendation with them. If I find that a disposal is leaking, I recommend repair by a licensed plumber. Some inspectors will just note that the disposal is leaking, and then it's up to the client to figure out what to do about it or have to follow up with their realtor or home inspector to get a recommendation.

It'd be unethical for a home inspector to recommend a specific plumber, electrician, etc., because then you run the risk of appearing to have found a "defect" in order to get work for a friend who will then kick-back money to you. The language should be clear but generic; and if a client wants specific names/companies to do repair work, I refer them to their realtor, the good realtors know who does good work and who doesn't just as well as I do.

Do you have a few tips for anything that people should not ask their home inspector?

There's really no question that is off limits regarding a home when it comes to your home inspector. If you see something, point it out. If something occurs to you, mention it.

What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

You can contact me here Hylen Home Consultants. You can also find me on Facebook, and if you'd like to connect via LinkedIn, I'm there as well and always enjoy making new connections. https://www.linkedin.com/pub/dane-hylen/54/32a/b60

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About The Author

Hylen Home Consultants is the premier home inspection company in New York's Fort Drum...

Phone: 315-608-1557

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