FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
(Click below for answers)
HOW CAN I SELECT A GOOD INSPECTOR?
WHAT IS AN INSPECTION?
SHOULD I ATTEND THE INSPECTION?
WHAT DOES THE INSPECTION INCLUDE?
WHY DO I NEED AN INSPECTION?
WHAT DOES AN INSPECTION COST?
CAN I DO THE INSPECTION MYSELF?
CAN A PROPERTY FAIL AN INSPECTION?
WHAT IF THE INSPECTION REVEALS PROBLEMS?
NO PROBLEMS FOUND, DID I REALLY NEED AN INSPECTION?
WHAT IS RADON?
WHAT IS MOLD?
WHAT MAKES MOLD GROW?
CAN I BE EXPOSED TO MOLD?
DOES MOLD AFFECT MY HEALTH?
WHEN IS MOLD A PROBLEM?
WHEN SHOULD I HAVE A MOLD INSPECTION OR TEST FOR MOLD?
WHAT IS AN "EXPERT WITNESS"?
CAN AN "EXPERT WITNESS" GUARANTEE THE OUTCOME OF MY CASE?
Follow-up phone consultations are always welcomed!
By following these simple steps, you can help to ensure that you are making the right choice when selecting a Home Inspector.
When it is time for you to start looking for a Home Inspector, where can you find a list of qualified companies from which to choose? You might want to ask your Realtor, Banker, or Attorney for a list of names. Otherwise you can search the web under Home and Building Inspections, ask friends or co-workers, or check out the directories of top national organizations such as ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) www.ashi.org for a listing of Inspectors in your area.
After you have a list of names from which to choose, get a pen and paper and start making some phone calls. Don’t be afraid to ask the "tough" questions. A legitimate Home Inspection Company will appreciate that you are being careful when making your choices, while a marginal one may become defensive. Remember, not all inspectors and their qualifications are created equal!
1. Choose An Inspector With Top Qualifications
Buying a home will likely be the largest investment you will ever make. Consequently, it is very important to choose wisely when selecting your Home Inspector. Direct, "hands-on" experience in building is one of the most important criteria to look for. For instance, a house cannot be dismantled during an inspection, so it is important to have someone with the experience and background that would not have to disassemble a wall to know what’s inside and how it’s put together. A house is made of many different components and systems that are all inter-related and are all supposed to work together. Many of these are hidden from view, and cannot be directly viewed. It is important to choose an inspector who has experience in home building, from the ground up, and has been involved in the installation and layout of these systems.
Don’t be confused by Home Inspector "certifications" obtained through quick study courses (sometimes two weeks or less), or sold through trade organizations. It takes many years of experience and training to develop the necessary skills and insight needed to be a good Home Inspector.
BACK TO TOP OF PAGE
2. Experience, Experience, Experience
Check into how long the Inspector has been in the business, and how many Home Inspections he has performed. There is no equivalent to experience! Do you really want someone inspecting your house that is a part time inspector, or has only been performing inspections for a few years?
3. Be Sure To Obtain A Written Report
Be sure that your Home Inspector provides a detailed written report, not a hand written checklist with stock responses that is given to you at the end of the inspection. A checklist can be difficult to interpret and to read, and may be void of many of the details and advice you will need to make informed decisions. A step up from this is a computer-generated report, which offers a combination of the checklist and a narrative reporting formats, and which includes specific comments to each home.
4. Professional Affiliations & Certifications
Be sure that the Inspector you retain has a professional affiliation and certification through a nationally recognized organization such ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors). ASHI is recognized as the leading national organization for the industry. Investigating each inspectors credentials and qualifications will help to give you insight into the background, and depth of industry involvement of the Inspector you plan to hire.
BACK TO TOP OF PAGE
5. What Type Of Equipment Will Be Used?
Many Home Inspectors bring nothing more to the Inspection than a flashlight. Today’s Home Inspector though, should be taking advantage of some of the newer technologies being introduced, and fully utilizing the best testing equipment available. This equipment is delicate and can be very expensive, but in order to stay on "the cutting edge" and provide the best service possible, it is a necessary investment. Proper equipment should range from the more sophisticated testing devices (electrical circuit analyzers, electronic carbon monoxide & fuel gas analyzers, digital moisture meters, digital cameras to document findings, etc.), all the way down to the more mundane but necessary equipment, such as ladders, flashlights, levels, etc.
Why is price last on the list? It is important to ask yourself this question… "Do you really want to go bargain hunting for the Inspector who will do the job for the least amount of money?" -or- "Is it important to hire the most qualified?" Of course one should always try to be budget conscious, but when hiring a Home Inspector, you should always search for the most qualified and most experienced person you can find. What may seem to be a good deal based on price could result in you choosing an inexperienced inspector who misses costly defects. Considering all factors you will find that hiring the best does not cost it pays!
A well trained and experienced inspector will be able to find defects sometimes overlooked by an inspector chosen based on price alone. Take a look at the photo below and see some common defects found by a trained and experienced inspector.
A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from the roof to the foundation. Having a home inspected is like giving it a physical check-up. If problems or symptoms are found, the inspector may recommend further evaluation. Purchasing real estate brings risk that an inspection will help reduce. The inspection is an analysis to detect major defects and deficiencies associated with the property on the day of the inspection. Richard L. Davis (Ric) will perform each inspection. You can view Ric's qualifications by clicking on the tab to the right labeled "View Richard L. Davis Qualifications". He has the experience of inspecting several hundred and in some case thousands of properties much like the one you are having inspected. His comparison of your home or building to others the same age and style gives you a reference for what defects and deficiencies are typical.
The inspection gives you a chance to become familiar with the property. You will learn where things are located and how they work. You will learn how to protect your investment with proper care and maintenance tips. You will see and learn things about the property that only a thorough inspection can provide.
The inspection includes a written report describing the condition of systems and items associated with the property. This report will state what was and was not inspected and may include repair suggestions and life expectancies. Ric may recommend that an expert further evaluate or perform more technically exhaustive tests to determine the full scope of a repair or replacement need on certain defective or deficient systems. Take this information, combined with the other things you know about the property, and draw your own conclusions.
BACK TO TOP OF PAGE
No one source should be relied on when making the decision to purchase. Other important information can be obtained from Realtors, county records, utility companies, appraisers, and mortgage companies, etc. Do not forget the seller! The inspection will help to reduce your risk of costly surprises for repair and replacement items. Once you have experienced a thorough inspection with Ric, you won’t consider purchasing property without first having him inspect it. The inspection Ric performs will provide you with valuable information and peace of mind for years to come.
Learn About the Home Inspection Process with our Virtual Home Inspection
Take the Virtual Home Inspection Tour now to see and hear what a professional home inspection is all about. Learn about some common problems discovered during the home inspection with our virtual home inspection tour.
Please note: The Virtual Home Inspection Tour is a pop-up window. You will have to press the “Control” key on your PC in case you have a pop-up blocker installed. Also, the virtual home inspection tour is narrated for your convenience. Please make sure the sound on your computer is turned on so you can fully participate.
If at all possible, yes. Valuable information regarding the condition of the building and it's systems can be gained from spending just a few hours with the inspector. Information on the proper operation and maintenance of the building and it's systems is also given at the time of the physical inspection.
If you cannot attend the inspection, the inspector will complete the inspection, produce the written report and call you to discuss the inspection and the items contained in the report.
The standard inspector's report will review the condition of the building's heating system, central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic, and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement, and visible structure. Other services are available such as Radon testing, mold evaluations, and well and septic evaluations at additional costs.
The purchase of real estate is probably the largest single investment you will ever make. You should learn as much as you can about the condition of the property and the need for any major repairs before you buy, so that you can minimize unpleasant surprises and difficulties afterwards. Of course, an inspection also points out the positive aspects of the property, as well as the maintenance that will be necessary to keep it in good shape. After the inspection, you will have a much clearer understanding of the property you are about to purchase.
If you already own a building, an inspection may be used to identify problems in the making and to learn preventive measures which might avoid costly future repairs. If you are planning to sell your home, you may wish to have an inspection prior to placing your property on the market. This will give you a better understanding of conditions which may be discovered by the buyer's inspector, and an opportunity to make repairs that will put the property in better selling condition.
The cost will depend on several factors including square footage, age of the property, number of furnaces, type of foundation and other items. Call us and we will be happy to quote your inspection. Do not let cost be the leading factor in deciding whether or not to have a home inspection, or in the selection of your home inspector. The knowledge gained from our inspection will be well worth the cost. Remember the lowest priced inspector is not necessarily a bargain. The inspector's qualifications, including his experience, training, and professional affiliations, should be the most important consideration.
Even the most experienced property owner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional inspector who has inspected hundreds, perhaps thousands, of properties in his or her career. An inspector is familiar with the many elements of building construction, their proper installation, and maintenance. The inspector understands how the systems and components are intended to function together, as well as how and why they fail. Above all, most buyers find it very difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the property they really want, and this may affect their judgment. For the most accurate information, it is best to obtain an impartial third-party opinion by an expert in the field of property inspection.
No. A professional inspection is an examination of the current condition of the property. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, or a municipal inspection, which verifies local code compliance. An inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a property, but rather describe its physical condition and indicate what may need repair or replacement.
What if the inspection reveals problems?
If the inspector finds problems in a building, it does not necessarily mean you should not buy it, only that you will know in advance what type of repairs to anticipate. A seller may be willing to make repairs because of significant problems discovered by the inspector. If your budget is tight, or if you do not wish to become involved in future repair work, you may decide that this is not the property for you. The inspection provides information you need to make an informed decision.
BACK TO TOP OF PAGE
No problems found, did I really need an inspection?
Definitely! Now you can complete your purchase with peace of mind about the condition of the property and its equipment and systems. You may have learned a few things about your property from the inspection report, and will want to keep that information for your future reference. Above all, you can rest assured that you are making a well-informed purchase decision and that you will be able to enjoy or occupy your new home or building the way you want.
Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas. You can't see radon. And you can't smell it or taste it. But it may be a problem in your home. Radon is estimated to cause many thousands of deaths each year. That's because when you breathe air-containing radon, you can get lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.
The EPA recommends you test your home for radon, it's easy and inexpensive. Fix your home if your radon level is 4 pico curies per liter(pCi/L) or higher. Radon levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk, and in many cases may be reduced.
Since there is no known safe level of radon, there can always be some risk. But lowering the radon level in your home can reduce the risk.
A variety of methods are used to reduce radon in your home. In some cases, sealing cracks in floors and walls may help to reduce radon. In other cases, simple systems using pipes and fans may be used to reduce radon. Such systems are called "sub-slab depressurization," and do not require major changes to your home. These systems remove radon gas from below the concrete floor and the foundation before it can enter the home. Similar systems can also be installed in houses with crawl spaces. Radon contractors use other methods that may also work in your home. The right system depends on the design of your home and other factors.
BACK TO TOP OF PAGE
Environmental Reporting for Radon
Radon is a radioactive gas that has been found in homes all over the United States. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe.
Zone 1 - High Concentration
Zone 2 - Moderate Concentration
Zone 3 - Low Concentration
Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Radon can also enter your home through well water. Your home can trap radon inside. Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the United States is estimated to have an elevated radon level (4 pCi/L or more).
Mold is a tiny microscopic organism that digests organic matter and reproduces by releasing spores. Molds are a type of fungi and there are over 100,000 species. In nature, mold helps decompose or break-down leaves, wood and other plant debris. Molds become a problem when they go where they are not wanted and digest materials such as our homes and buildings.
Mold enters a building as tiny spores. The spores need moisture to begin growing, digesting and destroying. Molds can grow on almost any surface, including; wood, ceiling tiles, wallpaper, paints, carpet, sheet rock, and insulation. The mold grows best when there is lots of moisture from a leaky roof, high humidity, or flood. There is no way to get rid of all molds and mold spores from a building. But you can begin to control mold growth by keeping the building and it's contents dry.
When molds are disturbed, they release spores into the air. You can be exposed by breathing air containing these mold spores. You can also be exposed through touching moldy items, eating moldy food or accidental hand to mouth contact.
Most molds do not harm healthy people. But people who have allergies or asthma may be more sensitive to molds. Sensitive people may experience skin rash, running nose, eye irritation, cough, nasal congestion, aggravation of asthma or difficulty breathing. People with an immune suppression or underlying lung disease, may be at increased risk for infections from molds.
A small number of molds produce toxins called mycotoxins. When people are exposed to high levels of mold mycotoxins they may suffer toxic effects, including fatigue, nausea, headaches, and irritation to the lungs and eyes. If you or your family members have health problems that you suspect are caused by exposure to mold, you should consult with your physician.
You know you have mold when you smell the "musty" odor or can see growth appearing on finished surfaces. Some mold is hidden growing behind wall coverings or ceiling tiles, in crawl spaces, wall cavities or in attics. Even dry, dead mold can cause health problems, so always take precautions and call us for a consultation or mold inspection when you suspect mold.
Mold is often found in areas where water has damaged building materials and furniture from flooding or plumbing leaks or when the building has become over humidified. Mold can also be found growing along walls where warm moist air condenses on cooler wall surfaces, such as inside cold exterior walls, behind dressers, headboards, and in closets where articles are stored against walls. Mold often grows in rooms with both high water usage and humidity, such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, crawl spaces, attics and basements. If you notice mold or know of water damaged areas in your home, it is time to take action and call us. Remember we do not do any mitigation so our evaluation will be completely unbiased. We are not motivated to exaggerate the problem for the mitigation work. We can also guide you through the mitigation process if needed.
Even a clean, dry building will have some mold spores, but not enough to cause health problems, however when you smell mold it may be hidden behind wallpaper, in the walls or ceiling, crawl spaces or attic areas, or under the carpet. If you suspect you have a problem with mold or are aware of a water leakage or water damage problems you should consider calling us for a consultation or to investigate and test your building.
An “Expert Witness” is considered qualified, educated and experienced enough to render opinions that are considered accurate and relevant about their industry. An “Expert Witness” can provide important information and insight that will help guide the method and approach your legal counsel will take to best serve you. An “Expert Witness” bolsters the strength of your case. At Davis Inspection Services, LLC we make every effort to present your matter in a factually clear and logical way. An "Expert Witness" is one of the important tools that is in your legal counsel's toolbox. When selecting an "Expert Witness", we urge you to choose wisely. Ric Davis owner of Davis Inspection Services, LLC has the integrity, experience, education and powerful communications skills required to deliver expert witness services at an affordable and fair cost. Please review the “View Richard L. Davis Qualifications” page.
No, however a wise attorney once said, "You'll probably win with one, but surely lose without one." At Davis Inspection Services, LLC we guarantee to do our best for you by providing the information that you, your legal counsel and if the event arises, the jury and judge need in order to make an informed decision. Typically, our clients have prevailed on their civil complaint or cross-complaint. In some cases, however, our expert witness services have provided information that determined the costs for remedy did not warrant the costs and time of litigation. In both cases we have saved our client money.
“Serving Southeastern Michigan since 1986
with over 18,000 completed inspections”
Follow-up phone consultations
are always welcomed!
“Service that will stand the test of time!”
MOLD INSPECTIONS MOLD INSPECTIONS MOLD INSPECTIONS MOLD INSPECTIONS MOLD INSPECTIONS MOLD INSPECTIONS MOLD INSPECTIONS MOLD INSPECTIONS MOLD INSPECTIONS MOLD INSPECTIONS MOLD INSPECTIONS MOLD INSPECTIONS MOLD INSPECTIONS MOLD INSPECTIONS MOLD INSPECTIONS MOLD INSPECTIONS MOLD INSPECTIONS MOLD INSPECTIONS MOLD INSPECTIONS MOLD INSPECTIONS