For a home seller, life is moving a mile a minute. They're concerned with keeping their house in pristine condition for last-minute showings. They're packing boxes, lining up movers, and planning for their next home. Add "prepping for a home inspection" to that list and the stress builds.

At Insight Inspections, LLC, I understand all of that and as a home inspector, it's part of my job to make the home inspection process the least disruptive as I can for home sellers. Here are a few tips for home sellers to follow that will make the home inspection process easier on everyone.

1) Access: The kitchen pantry in my own home is a prime example of a difficult-access issue. Because of the deep shelves, our pantry stores plenty of food, but it also blocks access to the attic, which a good home inspector will want to check out. In this case, clearing out the pantry of items and shelves gives clear access to the attic. A home inspector doesn't want to disturb your personal belongings so it's best if you can keep clear access to attics, crawlspaces, heating systems, garages and all other areas of the home that will be inspected. This includes closets as many attic accesses are found in closets.

2) Utilities: A house isn't always occupied at the time of the home inspection. If a home is vacant, the home buyer and/or real estate agent/Realtor should confirm that all utilities are turned on, including water, gas, and electric as well as all appliances such as the furnace, air conditioner, and water heater. For liability reasons, a home inspector cannot turn on these utilities. For example, I inspected a home recently in which the water was turned off at the meter. The real estate agent pushed me to turn it on, which I declined. He then turned on the valve at the meter, and water came gushing out of the washer hookup. There was a reason the water was off to the home, which is why your home inspector will not turn on utilities. When the utilities are not on, this makes for a less complete report for the home buyer as I cannot check many systems and appliances without the utilities being on.

3) Breakers: It's also helpful for home sellers to make sure all of the electrical breakers in the main panel are turned on. Again, if I come across a breaker that is turned off, I cannot turn it on for safety and liability issues. If any of them are flipped off, it's helpful for the home seller to leave a note explaining why.

4) Light bulbs: Have you ever tried hunting for an item in a dark, unfamiliar basement? I did recently when trying to complete an inspection in a basement with no lights. While I was prepared (as all home inspectors should be) with flashlights, it makes the job more difficult when there is insufficient lighting in a home.

Bottom line: When you're selling your home and you have a visit from a home inspector, you (understandably so) want them in and out with the least amount of disruption. That's my goal, too. Home sellers, real estate agents, and home inspectors can work together to make that happen.

If you or someone you know needs a home inspector, I encourage you to Google "Home Inspector Wichita" and compare reviews of Wichita-area home inspectors. You'll see we have more 5-star Google+ reviews than all Wichita-area home inspectors combined. 

When consumers look for information these days, where do they start? If you're like us, it's Google. A quick Google search can provide information that used to take hours to research.

Another benefit of the Internet is that consumers can hear directly from other customers about what they liked or disliked - rants and raves - about a product or service. Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases a person will make, and it's important to be well informed before making that decision. It's why home buyers hire home inspectors -- to gain insight into their potential new home before signing on the dotted line.

But how to you go about finding a good home inspector? That's where Google can help.

Google+ is an incredibly important tool for prospective home buyers and consumers. An example: When you Google "Home Inspector Wichita," your search returns several results. What we hope you notice is the stars that may or may not appear next to a business listing.

Insight Inspections, LLC, has several reviews, and ALL of them are a 5-star rating. To put this into perspective, Insight Inspections has more 5-star Google+ reviews than all other Wichita-area home inspectors COMBINED! These reviews come from real customers who have shared their experiences to help you make an informed decision when hiring a home inspector. And these reviews cover many aspects of our home inspection service and product/reporting, including: ease and flexibility of scheduling, thoroughness of reporting, and experience with our staff. These reviews are from first-time home buyers, investors, and repeat clients.

Take a look for yourself. If you have any questions, give us a call (316-570-0549), send us a note, or look around our website.

For this blog, I'll share a story about a recent client. We'll call her Nancy.

Nancy was ready to close on a nice home in east Wichita when she called me to complete the home inspection. When I got to the house, I was greeted by Nancy and her son. I started on my inspection of the property, and Nancy followed me closely, which I encourage clients to do so they can ask questions and we can discuss defects as I complete the inspection.

She was full of questions and a bit skeptical of the home inspection process. After I completed the inspection and we were talking in the kitchen, I learned why Nancy felt uneasy.

She finally told me she was concerned that if I missed any items on my final report, she would be stuck with repairs that could have big price tags. She said she had a bad experience on her last home and ended up paying for some expensive repairs. I completely understood where she was coming from.

That's when we began discussing the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) Buy Back Guarantee program, which I participate in (I'm also InterNACHI certified). InterNACHI understands the financial commitment that comes with buying a home. In addition, the organization is so confident in the training and certification required of its inspectors (i.e. me) that they give home buyers a worry-free, buy back guarantee.

How it works: If I miss any defects on your home inspection report, InterNACHI will buy back your home. InterNACHI knows buying a home is a huge financial decision and provides the buy back guarantee to help home buyers feel more secure. Other home inspection organizations don't offer this benefit so take it into consideration when choosing your home inspector.

The fine print:

- InterNACHI honors the guarantee for 90 days after closing

- InterNACHI will pay the same price you paid for the home

- The guarantee excludes homes with material defects not present at the time of the inspection or defects that are not required to be inspected per InterNACHI's residential standards of practice. 

- InterNACHI doesn't collect identifiable consumer data. No data is sold or released to any third party.

Last week, I received a call from a Wichita woman looking to schedule a home inspection for a property she received as an inheritance. She wanted to do some renovate the kitchen; but before she invested a large chunk of cash into a remodel, she wanted to make sure the house was structurally sound. After a Google search for "Wichita Home Inspectors" and a review of my website, she chose to call me because I’m a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Clients like that I earned a civil engineering degree from Kansas State University as well as achieved certification from the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).

Ruth’s experience brings up a good point: while home inspections are often thought of for home buyers and home sellers, they’re important for investors, too. As a property investor myself (I currently own and maintain nearly 40 properties), it’s important to know the condition of the property you’re thinking about investing in and if it will be worth the financial risk.

Property investing isn’t cheap. And it isn’t a purchase to take lightly. Yet some investors will purchase a residential investment property and forgo the home inspection because they, personally, won’t live there. From an investment standpoint, it's risky business to make a large purchase and not know exactly what you’re getting. What if there is significant damage or problems that can affect the purchase price as well as the cost to fix? And what about the safety of the tenants? They deserve to live in safe shelter.

That’s where home inspections for property investors come in. If you’re considering purchasing a residential property as an investment, give me a call or text. I can share my investment property experiences with you as well as schedule an inspection of the property.

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There’s been a lot of talk about radon this month as November is designated as Lung Cancer Awareness Month. As you know from my previous posts, I’m a big advocate of radon testing, especially after I found out our home has high levels of radon (which we’re in the process of mitigating – we’ll share more about that soon).

Local NBC affiliate KSN aired a great story last week about the importance and need for radon tests. In addition to informing people what radon is, where it comes from, and why radon is dangerous, it touched on the two types of radon tests: do-it-yourself kits and professional tests from a certified radon technician (like myself).

Here’s a breakdown of the differences so you can choose the best test for you:

Do-It-Yourself radon tests

Often referred to as charcoal kits, you can purchase them at most home improvement stores

Set it up in the home and after 72 hours, mail it to a laboratory out of state for results

Results take approximately 5 to 10 days to receive, depending on where the lab is located

User is responsible for correct set up as well as correct monitoring and sending to lab

Cost about $9 to purchase and about $10-$15 to overnight to the lab

Results do not qualify to be used in a Kansas real estate transaction
Tests by a certified radon technician

Professional-grade radon measurement test. I use a Sun Nuclear 1028 Continuous Radon Monitor calibrated annually

Machine is set up in the home for 48 hours of continuous monitoring. Machine takes a reading once every hour. Results available immediately       

Radon technician can send results immediately. Results include graphs as well as highest, lowest, and average levels of radon during testing period

A state-trained and certified technician is responsible for performing test correctly

Cost about $100

When completed by a certified radon technician, these are the only results that legally qualify to be used in a Kansas real estate transaction.
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer so safety is the #1 priority. No matter which test you choose, I encourage everyone to test for radon. If you're interested to know radon results immediately, give me a call or text to make an appointment.
It’s been a little while since our last blog post, mainly because Cari and I were finishing last-minute wedding details. After a great wedding and honeymoon in the U.S. Virgin Islands earlier this month, we’re glad to be getting back to business. As if our wedding wasn’t excitement enough, we returned home to Wichita to learn the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) approved my application to perform radon tests!

This is quite an accomplishment as the application process was extensive – I spent several weeks preparing the 100+ page Quality Assurance Quality Control document that outlines exactly how I will conduct radon tests, prepare the information, share the results, and maintain that part of our business (that’s in addition to the hours of studying and courses I completed through my alma mater, K-State).

Radon testing is important, and I encourage every homeowner to have his or her home tested. That’s coming from a homeowner myself, as well as a home inspector. Once I received all of my radon-testing equipment, I tested our house and found we have significantly high levels of radon. I think about it all the time when we’re in the house, knowing that we’re breathing in radon gas. (To give some perspective, KDHE recommends mitigating radon when the levels are 4 pCi/l or higher. Our home spiked at levels of 10 pCi/l with a 48-hour average level of 5.1 pCi/l.

Did you know that your chance of developing lung cancer increases dramatically if you smoke AND have radon in your home? In fact, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. For more information on radon-related cancer, visit the Cancer Survivors Against Radon website.

Now that we know we have a radon problem, mitigation is top on our list. We’ll keep you updated on the process. And if you’d like your home tested (which I highly recommend for your family’s safety), give me a call or text today: 316-570-0549.

The statistics are scary and shocking.

 - Radon - an odorless, colorless gas - is the #2 cause of lung cancer, second only to smoking.

More than 200 lung cancer deaths per year in Kansas may be linked to indoor radon, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Indoor radon contributes to 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States each year, estimates the EPA.

These statistics alone should prompt you to have a radon inspection done on your home. If not, I'll share a personal story of how radon can have a devastating impact.

About a year ago, one of Cari's former coworkers shared that her husband was battling cancer. By the time he started feeling ill, it was too late, and doctors found he had advanced stages of lung cancer. He was told there is no cure, nothing that can be done to save him. He began chemo, however, to try and prolong his life. But the news became worse, and the family learned the aggressive cancer was spreading. Now it was a painful brain tumor. His battle is ongoing.

It wasn't until the husband was well into treatment that the family learned his cancer was caused by high levels of radon in their home. What's even more devastating is that radon can be easily found and mitigated, which could have saved the husband's life.

I hope this story makes an impact on you. ANY home could have radon gas collecting inside, posing a danger to your family. His story definitely made an impact on me.

I'm in the process of earning my radon certification and ordering equipment so that I can provide these important tests either as an addition to a home inspection or as a standalone service. We'll keep you updated.

There are many myths when it comes to home inspections. In this blog, I'll take time to dispel some of the biggest myths I've heard.

Myth #3: All home inspectors are the same.

Take a minute to think about what you do for your day job. Are you a writer? A lawyer? A mechanic? Regardless of your industry, you are an expert in your field.

The same goes for home inspectors. Many people have an interest in home repairs and may have a good amount of experience with them; however, that doesn't mean they are the best choice to perform your home inspection.

I am passionate about home inspections and have extensive training, certifications, and tools so you know I'm doing the job right. Certified by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), I'm bound by its strict code of ethics. And while InterNACHI has its own Standards of Practice, mine exceed those.

I've also invested thousands of dollars in state-of-the-art home inspection tools and software.

As is similar with other products and services, consumers often get what they pay for. A cheaper price may not mean the best home inspection. I know from experience. When Cari and I bought our house, the home inspector missed several large defects. For example, we had a Federal Pacific electrical panel, which had been recalled years ago as well as several open junction boxes in the attic. Don't let the same happen to you.

Call or text me today to schedule a thorough home inspection. 316-570-0549.

There are many myths when it comes to the home inspections. In this blog, I'll take the next few weeks to dispel some of the biggest myths I've heard.

Myth #2: An appraisal is the same as a home inspection so I don't need both.

If a real estate agent, appraiser, or home inspector tell you this, I suggest finding a new team to help you in your housing purchase. An appraisal and a home inspection are vastly different, and while you need both during the home buying process, the two services provide completely different information.

An appraisal places a monetary value to the property. That value is based on the housing market in your area – looking at recent sales for similar properties in the area. Yes, the appraisal does take the property's physical condition into consideration but on a very limited basis. For example, if you remodeled a bathroom, that improvement will be considered in your appraisal and increase the value. The appraiser, however, will not check the electrical or plumbing to ensure they are done correctly.

A home inspection gives you a view into the inner workings of your potential home. Is the heating system working properly? Is the electrical panel up to code and safe? Is the foundation rotting because of improperly directed rain water? These are just a few of the hundreds – yes, hundreds – of items I look for at EVERY inspection. These are also items an appraiser will not look for. There's nothing wrong with that; it's just not an appraiser's job.

There are many myths when it comes to the home inspections. In this blog, I'll take the next few weeks to dispel some of the biggest myths I've heard.

Myth #1: New construction doesn't need inspected

Have you ever bought a piece of furniture or other item that requires assembly? When you pull out the instructions, they remind you to check that all of the parts are in the box and free of damage. Now, be honest, how many of you haven't checked for all of the parts and found that -- when you have what seems like a million pieces spread across your living room floor -- you were missing an item?

This is a prime example that just because a chair -- or a home -- is brand new, it can still have defects.

Recently I completed a home inspection on an award-winning home in Wichita. It was a beautiful model home that recently went on the market. Now, you think that because no one ever lived in the home, it would be in perfect condition, right? Wrong. While the construction was done well and the home was beautiful, it's impossible for any home to be 100% free of defects. Some of the items I found included:

- Improper drainage around the foundation;

- An improperly installed electrical breaker in the main panel;

- Less than one inch of space around the water heater and furnace exhaust pipe (despite the manufacturer's notice printed on the pipe)

Today's lesson: A home is too big of a purchase to make without gathering all of the information possible. No matter how old the home -- five days or five years -- homebuyers should protect themselves and their investment by hiring a professional home inspector BEFORE making the purchase. And even though new homes often have warranties, what you don't know about can't be fixed.

Call or text us today to schedule your new home warranty inspection: 316-570-0549.