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What Your Home Inspection Doesn't Cover: An Interview with Ed Chatterton of Inspector Ed Home Inspections

By Ed Chatterton

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

My company Inspector Ed Home Inspections Inc. was started to assist people in the home buying process. Growing up in a family that was handy and in the trades, I was taught young about the many different aspects of a home. As an adult, I have heard people say, including my father, that they were unhappy with their home inspection. I felt that home inspecting could be an area that I could be of service to many people because of my background, knowledge, and hard work.

Some people are unfamiliar with the problems associated with many homes. Often buyers look at a potential house and they tend to focus only on the surface and whether or not the house is big enough to suit their needs. They also look at the cost and sometimes "the great deal" ends up not being such a deal after all due to unseen problems.

My company is thorough and try to provide the buyer with enough information so they can make an educated decision and feel confident that they made the right decision with Inspector Ed Home Inspections Inc. My company walks the homebuyer through the house, trying to point out everything that would be a concern to the inspector as if they were buying the house themselves. The company will try to answer all questions the homebuyer may have regarding their possible purchase. The company also offers a detailed inspection about the house as well as a termite inspection.

What are the main areas that are inspected during a home inspection?

The main areas inspected during the inspection are the costly areas, some of which are the structure, roof, plumbing, heating/air conditioning, electric, etc. During the inspection, my company likes to point out the surprising costs of fixing all the little things. Sometimes my company has seen all the little things that add up to be more costly than the expected big dollar items.

Can you list some key areas/structures that aren't covered that might require an additional professional inspection or evaluation?

Areas that cannot be inspected during the inspection vary depending on each house. Areas that are used for lots of storage limit the inspector from seeing and doing a thorough inspection; for example, closets, attics, and other places that are inaccessible. Finished basements sometimes do not allow the inspector to see the whole structure. Some areas such as fireplace chimneys should be cleaned and inspected by a licensed company.

An inspection is also limited when the seller occupies the house. The inspector is only in the house normally for 1.5 to 3 hours; the inspection is not intended to be technically exhaustive. A house is a large area to cover in a short amount of time. Most inspectors can offer a technically exhaustive inspection, but that involves coordinating and planning from multiple licensed contractors to give their estimates and professional recommendations. This cost varies per house, may cost thousands of dollars, and may require weeks to schedule. In today's market, some of the buyers cannot afford to wait a long period of time because the demand for houses is high. As president, I feel that by choosing my company you will receive a very thorough and informative home inspection. This has been said by many of my past customers; and if one chooses my company, I hope they can agree.

Is there a common misconception people have about a house that's been inspected?

I like to say that "a house is like a used car, no matter what age, it has problems." Some problems may turn others away, while others will be more likely to buy because of the problems. Also just like a car the house needs maintenance and service by licensed professionals. With this said, the most common misconception about buying a house is that a new house is better than an old house. Sometimes this holds true and sometimes it doesn't.

What's one thing that's important to know about what a home inspection does not cover?

A home inspection can only cover what is visible and able to be inspected. Some house problems are located within the walls and are not visible to the inspector. Some houses also have dangerous repairs located behind the walls that are not visible to the inspector as well. The inspectors are not superhuman and cannot see behind walls. Most people understand that, but some people don't and expect all problems to be found at the time of the inspection. I like to remind people that as inspectors we are people too and are at the house that is being inspected for the first time also. Therefore, as home inspectors we use our past knowledge from other houses to help the buyer make a more educated decision.

Do you have any tips to help people in __ get the most out of their home inspection?

1. Pay attention. 2. Take notes. 3. Bring an educated family member or friend that knows about houses. 4. Ask questions. 5. Know your budget.

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

I prefer phone calls. I find that if someone is really interested in using an inspector, they should talk to the inspector himself to make sure they are comfortable with that company. I feel that 75% of the people that shop for an inspector based on price are doing a disservice to themselves. They should be asking others for recommendations and referrals, and they should also research reviews on the company. Every business model says that word of mouth is the best advertising, and my company finds that to be true.

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I entered the home inspection business to try to assist people that are unfamiliar...

Phone: 646-872-6198

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