Yvette had some concerns about her home and wasn’t sure where to start. She wasn’t quite sure about the condition of her house and wanted to know what projects needed to be completed. She had purchased her home several years ago and had a traditional Home Inspection performed on her house prior to purchasing the home by a licensed home inspector.
The goal of a home inspection is to observe and comment on the good, the bad and the ugly conditions of the house and report on serious issues, such as, open electrical boxes, water leaks in the attic or basement, etc. In most instances what it doesn’t do is provide suggestions on what needs to be done and only what should be done and references a licensed contractor to make the repairs on their report.
A home examination goes a step further and educates the customer on the reasons why certain issues arise and why they have to be fixed. With this knowledge the customer begins to understand the importance of the problems and are able to control the outcome of the repair when hiring a subcontractor. Sometimes the repairs can be performed by the home owner. For example, Yvette’s windows were leaking into the house. Upon examination we noticed that the weep-holes were being clogged and weren’t allowing the water to drain to the outside. It had to be cleaned. She took this knowledge and examined the rest of the her windows across her home where she began to understand what to look for.
In other instances the repairs are more complex and have to be done by a licensed sub-contractor. Yvette took a lot of notes and together we broke-it down by different trades that would have to make the specified repairs. Below is a testimonial of her experience going through a Home Examination:
The age-old adage cautions against giving away fishes, but rather encourages the teaching of the valuable skill of fishing to sustain life in perpetuity. I was a recent recipient of those lifelong fishing skills, courtesy of Brian.Yvette DeLeon
The story starts with a house built in 1950, making it a respectable 69 year old edifice. My house, although well maintained over the years, still requires regular “tune-ups” so it can continue to be around for another 69 years and more.
With that in mind, and now being familiar with his wealth of know ledge from our weekend seminars, I approached Brian to accompany me on a whole-house walk through, the purpose of which would be to identity obvious issues and make suggestions for prioritizing, addressing and correcting them. It would also provide me with the opportunity to identify some “nice to have” changes, and how to get them done.
Brian prefers an outside-in, top-down approach, so armed with a clipboard and a sheaf of blank forms, which he provided, we set out to document all the issues. We started with an assessment of my home’s exterior. A number of things immediately caught his attention – good and bad. The overall condition was good – roof, windows, siding, landscaping.
Then he saw the downspout of the gutter. One of his cardinal rules had just been broken. Water should always be directed away from the house’s foundation. To defy that would be to court disaster! He suggested a 4” pipe extender be attached to the existing downspout. I could either camouflage it with existing mulch, or leave it exposed, as long as it was directed away from the house’s foundation. A quick trip to Home Depot, and this was easily and quickly accomplished.
I also pointed out to Brian that the latch on the gate was no longer holding it closed as it should. We bounced a couple solutions off each other, and zeroed in the one that seemed most likely to succeed, raise the latch by an inch, so the clasp would now be able to make direct contact. This is another good thing about our interaction. He encourages analysis and thinking, which allows you to arrive at logical conclusions.
We tried drilling the new hole to re-attach the latch, but I didn’t have the correct sized bit. Brian gave me clear instructions on what would need to be done, and I completed the task, with some good old elbow grease. I took the old screw with me to the hardware store, matched it for a replacement, and also got a bit that would create the correct sized hole in the pole. Armed now with a fully charged drill, a replacement screw, and locking pliers, I did as instructed, and voila, a gate that now securely latches!
One valuable lesson Brian imparted was the use of the drill’s clutch – also known as torque control. I now know that the clutch determines the amount of the driving force applied to the screw or drill bit. The lower the number, the more tempered the driving force. If you want to go all out, crank it up to the highest number! Drilling a hole in the steel pole of the gate needed the highest setting.
Moving inside, Brian was able to provide additional guidance on some quick fixes that I could handle, and one that I couldn’t. A new flapper for one toilet; and a few quick spritzes of Pam to lubricate a sticky valve in the other; both effected by me. The new flapper needed adjustment to ensure that the chain had the correct tension to raise and lower it during flushing. The railing on the staircase was loose and a potential hazard. The head on one of the screws was so worn it was virtually impossible to remove, but he applied the necessary muscle, while talking me through what he was doing and why. The result was a securely attached stair railing.
Brian also has an eye for the aesthetic, and made a seemingly obvious suggestion (that I completely missed) on fixing a wobbly and noisy ceiling fan. The blades were warped and ragged, creating the same turbulence the wing on an airplane would if it were warped. Not only did he suggest getting new blades, but he suggested a color change that has completely transformed the unit! I picked up the blades during the same visit to the hardware store, removed the old ones, and installed the new ones. The wobble and noise have been considerably reduced. I would recommend carrying one of the old blades with you to the store to make the correct size match.
In addition to the projects I was able to take on myself, Brian also assisted me in making a comprehensive and detailed list of other projects that will require professional solutions. These include electrical, construction, roof repair, and general safety concerns. I have reached out to a number of the providers from Brian’s list with a formal “request for estimate”, and so far they have responded favorably.
It has always been said that knowledge is power, and I can endorse that. The knowledge I gained from Brian during our walk-through is applicable to more than just the projects we tackled on that day. For starters, I have greater confidence in my ability to tackle some home projects, but I also have a better appreciation for the design and functionality behind a home’s features. The detailed list I was able to distribute to the sub-contractors sends a very direct message to them, “I already know the issues that will need to be addressed, and I am in control of the project”.
The home examination not only helped her see where the problems are and how to fix them but also gave her a greater sense of control over the entirety of her projects. She was able to communicate to various subcontractors with more confidence. She was detailed and knew what she wanted. Below is an example of the communication she had with one of the tradesman:
The areas of the email that are colored in red was where we helped Yvette further express her concerns and needs to the sub-contractor in a way that was more specific and detailed.
If you’re looking to have a Home Examination done on your home give us a call at (516) 458-4676 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can put your mind at ease and help you take more control over what needs to get done around your home.