Below are some of the frequently asked questions from the field. We are here to help. Should you need further information, or additional questions not addressed here please contact us!
What changes to your business have you made since the pandemic began?
As of March of 2020 we have had to approach business a little differently. Since the outbreak, we have closely monitored and followed CDC guidelines to ensure everyone's safety to the best of our ability. The first thing that happens when Rick pulls onto the property- he dons a face covering. When entering the property, he immediately washes his hands with the soap he carries with him, and dries with the towel he also carries. After the inspection is complete on the interior, he will once again wash his hands before exiting. These are standard procedures that he had been following prior to the outbreak.
We have also since added a Theta Ricoh 360 degree camera to our tools, so that you can remotely view your pending purchase virtually through your inspection report. As always, Rick is available via phone, meassaging, or video calls should you have any immediate questions.
What's included in a General Home Inspection?
A home inspection is a visual evaluation of the major systems in the house including structure, roof, exterior, heating/cooling, plumbing, electrical, and the interior. As long as it's safe and accessible we'll walk on roofs, enter attics and crawl spaces, remove access panels and operate equipment. We'll look at every room in the house using the Standards of Practice of the Florida Association of Building Inspectors (FABI).
Can I (a homeowner) perform mold sampling myself, or do I need a professional?
It is important to have a trained professional collect air samples. A professional mold inspector does not rely only on air sampling results to decide whether or not a home has a mold problem. Carefully conducted mold sampling is combined with visual inspections and discussions with the homeowner. In addition, many different factors affect the reliability of an air sampler. The professional mold inspector understands these variables and accounts for them in the sampling plan. Trade Secrets Inspections is IAC2 certified, so you can rest assured you have a professional.
Do I need an Engineer or a Home Inspector?
You need a home inspector. When you hire a home inspector, you are hiring an experienced professional who has training and experience in the building industry. It is the job of the inspector to not only evaluate the condition of the house's major systems and structural integrity, but also to evaluate how these systems are working together and identify areas that need to be watched, repaired, or replaced.
Your home inspector gives you the Big Picture analysis of the house you are purchasing. If the home inspector identifies the need for a costly, detailed analysis of any of the houses' systems or structure, the inspector will recommend the appropriate professional, which may be an experienced engineer with expertise analyzing that particular system or structure. The need for this kind of expensive, detailed analysis is rare.
Hiring a Professional Engineer on your own can be a disappointing experience. The term Professional Engineer does not mean that the individual has training or experience conducting home inspections. Additionally, a home inspection does not involve engineering analysis. Therefore, hiring a Professional Engineer to complete a home inspection undoubtedly costs more, but it may not give you the results you desire and deserve.
I rent a house served by a well. What does my landlord have to do?
There are no specific testing requirements for a well serving a single family rental unit. Wells serving multiple rental units or commercial property may fall under the Limited Use Public Water System rule.
When will the inspection report be ready?
We provide the inspection report 24 to 48 hours after the completion of the inspection. This comes to you via a password-protected secure web link or email. It is your choice on the method of delivery.
I am trying to remove asbestos in my home or investment property...where do you recommend I start?
We highly recommend an asbestos abatement company, and not doing it yourself, as the wisest and safest decision when it comes to removing asbestos from any residential, commercial or public building. Asbestos abatement companies will properly test for the toxic mineral, follow strict regulations and processes, and carry the right abatement removal equipment to keep them, others and you safe from exposure. There is a step by step Guide to Hiring an Asbestos Abatement Company available thanks to the Mesothelioma Center.
What is Mesothelioma, and why should I be concerned?
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare but serious cancer of the lining of the lungs or abdomen. It is most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos. In over 30% of all mesothelioma cases, asbestos exposure occurred during military service. Veterans from all branches of service are at risk, with the most common being the United States Navy and the Marines. There are resources available for Veterans; go to Mesothelioma Veterans Resource for more information. Not just veterans and our current military are at risk; there are many other fields where asbestos is used. The Mesothelioma Justice Network is dedicated to educating and demanding justice for all mesothelioma victims, providing many resources form legal to medical. Contact them for more information. And for those who are not Veterans, the organization MesothelioGuide is another available resource dedicated to education and support.
When should I schedule an inspection?
As soon as possible after you have a signed purchase agreement. Make sure that your purchase contract has plenty of time for you to get repair estimates for major problems that may show up during the inspection. Remember, the inspection can take 3 to 4 hours to complete an average sized home, and utilities must be turned on for the duration of the inspection.
For newly constructed homes, schedule the inspection a few days before your walk-through with the builder so that you'll have our written report in hand during the walk through. You should schedule warranty inspections at least a month before the warranty expires.
What if the inspection reveals problems?
We may find unexpected things, no house is perfect, not even new construction. The report is not a seller's "MUST FIX" list; it's simply an impartial report of the house's condition giving you clear direction for what should be done about each problem. Every situation is different; it's up to you and your real estate agent to decide how to proceed after the inspection.
Will Trade Secrets Inspections perform or manage any repair work?
No. Not only are we bound by a strong code of ethics and do not perform repairs on any home we inspect, it is illegal under Florida State Licensing for Home Inspectors for the inspector to perform repairs on their inspection.
I live in a house served by a well. What tests do I have to run?
The state of Florida does not have requirements for routine private home well water sampling. However, we recommend that homeowners test their water for coliform bacteria and nitrates every year. Also, most homeowners should test for lead every three years. Trade Secrets Inspections will gladly perform this service for a small fee.
The builder says my new home is radon resistant, so I can’t have a radon air quality problem, right?
Even if you have purchased a home with Radon Resistant New Construction (RRNC), unless you, the builder or a home inspector tested your new home for radon, that’s not necessarily so. Although the name Radon Resistant New Construction implies that the home resists radon, RRNC simply is the installation of radon system pipes without a radon mitigation fan. Without the fan, the home is “radon system ready,” but not resistant to radon entry.
Do you perform swimming pool/spa inspections?
Yes. Just as the home inspection informs you about the condition of the home you are interested in purchasing, a pool inspection informs you about the condition of the pool.
Are there limitations to the inspection?
Yes. We can't see through walls or predict the future. A home inspection is not an appraisal, or a check for compliance with building codes. It's also not an evaluation for any biological, geological, or environmental hazards. See the inspection agreement and the FABI Standards of Practice for more information on the limitations of an inspection.
How do I prepare for the inspection?
It is the seller's responsibility to get the house ready for the inspection. The seller should:
-have all utilities turned on (water, electric, gas) -clear access to areas like attics, crawl spaces, electric panels, water heaters and furnaces -unlock areas such as storage closets, fence gates, electric panels, pool equipment and -crawl space hatches -remove or secure pets so they are not free to roam
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, we would highly encourage as many people in attendance as willing. However, under current CDC and local governmental guidelines for small business we encourage you to stay home during the inspection. If you choose to attend, we ask that social distancing is observed.
Does a brand new build need an inspection?
In a perfect world? No. In a human world of imperfections? Yes. Regardless of the quality of construction or the integrity of the builder, no home is flawless.
A commonly held fallacy is that all construction defects are discovered through municipal building inspections. That is incorrect, not due to any shortcomings on the behalf of the inspectors, but the purpose, scope, time allotment and procedures for municipal inspections are not the same as for home inspections.
Municipal inspectors inspect primarily for code compliance, not the quality of workmanship. They can cite a builder for improper structural framing or for non compliant drain connections, but a poorly fitted door, or an uneven counter top and slipshod finish work are not included on their list of concerns.
Municipal inspectors rarely inspect an attic or a crawlspace. They come to the job site with a clipboard and a codebook, not with a ladder and overalls. Construction defects in such areas can escape detection. Municipal inspectors typically inspect a roof from the ground or possibly from the builder's ladder. From these perspectives, defects can go undiscovered. And final inspections are performed before the utilities are turned on, so municipal inspectors cannot determine if or how well appliances and fixtures truly work. They don't test outlets for ground and polarity because this can be done only after the power supply is turned on. Nor, without power, can they test the performance of GFCI or AFCI safety breakers.
The lack of utilities also prevents the testing of plumbing fixtures such as sinks, showers, tubs, and dishwashers, and of gas fixtures such as furnaces, fireplaces and water heaters.
When buying a new construction home, you should not forego the benefits of a thorough home inspection.