Building a Successful Home Inspection Business

Expert Interview Series: Home Inspector Mike Chamberlain on Building a Successful Home Inspection Business. Special thanks to Inspection Certification Associates (ICA), North America’s most trusted provider of online Home Inspection Training and Certification.

Mike Chamberlain is the owner and lead home inspector with MC2 Home Inspections. He has a background in construction and residential real estate and has nine years of experience as an inspector and business owner. We recently asked him about the challenges of running a home inspection business. Click on banner to read interview.


What your home inspection may or may not uncover

HIDDENDEFECTA home inspection is a fairly standard part of the home buying process. What many first time homebuyers do not know is that your standard home inspection is not going to cover absolutely everything. Even after some homeowners get a clean inspection report they may find themselves buried in repair or replacement costs. To avoid these pitfalls it is important to understand what your home inspection covers, as well as what your home inspection might not uncover.

Avoiding Asbestos Exposure In Older Homes

asbestosDespite increased regulation in recent years, the mineral fiber asbestos can still be found in millions of American homes. Here’s how to minimize exposure.

Hidden Home Problems : Things To Look For Before Buying A House

Purchasing a new home is a very exciting and sometimes nerve-wracking experience. But there are many things to consider before taking this big step, including considering the potential problems you may run into as a homeowner.

The dangers of buying a home “as-is”

When buying an as-is home, what you don’t see can cost you!

Interested In Buying A Foreclosed Home? Here’s What You Should Know

As prospective homebuyers look for deals, they’re becoming increasingly  interested in foreclosed homes.  In fact, 20 percent of all sales in April  were foreclosure re-sales.


Interested in buying a foreclosed home? Here’s what you bargain hunters need  to know:

Where to buy

Even though the national foreclosure rate appears to have peaked (In April, the  number of foreclosures was down almost 3 percent from a year ago), a tide of new  foreclosures continues to plague the beleaguered housing market. Naturally, the regions with the most  foreclosures – to date – are the ones worst affected by the housing crisis:  places like Atlanta, Sacramento, Miami, Las Vegas (The “poster child” of the  housing crisis — prices dropped over 60% from  the peak in 2006), and Riverside, California areas, where 14.75 out of 10,000  homes were foreclosed in April.

How to buy

While you can buy directly from the owner before they’re officially  foreclosed on, or dare to try your hand among the seasoned, fast-moving,  competitive investors at an auction, it’s safer – and easier — to find homes that  are owned by the bank (or “REO,” which is  industry lingo for real-estate owned). You can inspect the home before you  purchase it (This is important, as foreclosed homes are generally sold “as is” and may need significant repairs — something you’re going to need to budget  for), and you can mortgage your purchase (be sure to secure your financing in  advance as it’s a competitive, and fast-moving market).  Furthermore,  former homeowners are out of the picture at this point so you won’t have to  evict them. And you can be reasonably sure that the property’s title is free of  liens, because the bank will typically perform an extensive title search before  listing the home for sale.

What to expect

Working with a real estate agent who specializes in foreclosures can be a  huge time-saver, but you should pack your patience anyway as there may be  unexpected challenges and road bumps along the way.  Also – while you can  expect significant savings (in some markets, upwards of 40%,  compared to non-distressed/non-foreclosed properties), remember that a bargain price – with virtually no  room for negotiation, by the way, so don’t bother with a lowball offer — doesn’t  make up for a $30,000 roof repair, active termites or other high cost issues.   Pay  for a complete home inspection and back out of the deal if the problems are too  significant.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the  author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

Signs of a competent home inspector | Inman News

I don’t understand how a home inspector who is not an electrician can evaluate an electrical system; who is not a plumber can evaluate a plumbing system; who is not an HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) contractor can evaluate a furnace. Can you explain?

This is a great question, and there is an analogous question that answers it clearly. How can a family doctor who is not a cardiologist diagnose your heart; who is not an orthopedist determine the condition of your joints; who is not a gastroenterologist evaluate your digestive system?

The answer in any of these cases is that family doctors and home inspectors know the basics of the systems they are inspecting, without being specialists. Here are some examples that relate to home inspection.

A home inspector may not have the electrical knowledge of a qualified electrician. However, if the inspector is competent, he can inspect a service panel for overfusing; double tapping; bundled ground wires; inadequate bonding of ground wires; combined ground and neutral wires in subpanels; bonding of neutral buses in subpanels; evidence of overheated wires; aluminum wire issues; corrosion; physical damage; and more.

Visible wiring can be checked for unprotected wires, damaged or detached conduits, exposed splices, terminated wire ends, damaged insulation, open junction boxes, inadequate weatherproofing, and more.

Outlets are routinely tested for open grounds, reverse polarity, lack of ground-fault protection, defective ground-fault devices, lack of arc-fault protection, hazardous locations, physical damage, and more.

When defects are found, home inspectors recommend further evaluation or repairs, just as a family doctor recommends a cardiologist when heart-related symptoms are observed.

A home inspector may not have the plumbing knowledge of a qualified plumber. However, a competent inspector checks waste and water supply piping for corrosion, physical damage, leaking, approved materials, correct sizing, standard connections, supply-waste cross connections, lack of dielectric fittings, and compliance with numerous other plumbing standards.

Fixtures such as sinks, toilets, tubs, and showers are operated and tested for proper installation and function, corrosion, physical damage, leaking, and more.

Water heaters are checked for age and condition, as well as compliance with numerous standards, including water supply fittings, gas or electrical connections, combustion air supply, exhaust venting, proper placement in the building, earthquake strapping where required, and more.

When defects are found, home inspectors recommend further evaluation or repairs, just as a medical practitioner would recommend an orthopedist when a patient has joint pain.

A home inspector may not know as much about heating and air conditioning systems as an HVAC contractor, but a competent inspector routinely checks furnaces and air conditioning systems for fire clearances, fuel connections, exhaust venting, combustion air supply, location of fixtures, air flow at registers, condition of ducts and insulation, corrosion, physical damage, and more.

When defects are found, home inspectors recommend further evaluation or repairs, just as a family doctor would recommend a gastroenterologist for a patient with an abdominal disorder.

Home inspectors are the first line of defense for homebuyers. They are the generalists who provide preliminary examinations. Their job is to find the symptoms that indicate when a specialist is needed.

To write to Barry Stone, please visit him on  the Web at