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5 Things to Ask During Your Home Inspection: An Interview with Dan and Cynthia Traylor of House Calls Home Inspections

By Dan and Cynthia Traylor

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

We are Dan and Cynthia Traylor, and our business is located in El Sobrante. We offer thorough residential and commercial inspections backed by years of building and inspecting experience. House Calls Home Inspections originated in 2000 and since then has completed thousands of inspections.

What qualifications is it important for a home inspector to have?

A home inspector should practice continuing education, and be licensed and insured. The inspector should be a people person, thorough, honest and unbiased. Say it like it is during the inspection and follow-up with an easy to read, accurate report.

Building, new construction, remodel of existing homes and inspecting homes is an ideal background experience. I have built multi-family, custom homes and commercial buildings for over the past 30 years. With this combined knowledge and a strong ethic towards good old-fashioned customer service, which we practice, we feel we have the perfect mix to educate our clients about the house. Not only are we there to address concerns that we find in the house, we are also there to teach how to best maintain it. It is a great honor to have a client trust us with a large part in their decision making process.

House Calls is an affiliate member of The West Contra Costa Association of Realtors (WCCAR) and Contra Costa Association of Realtors (CCAR) and a member of National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI). Contra Costa County Business License No. 026369.

House Calls is also distinguished for working with first-time buyers. We have performed several first-time buyer seminars leaving the attendees a lot of fresh information and feeling much more at ease and relaxed.

Is there anything that homeowners don't ask you about that you wish they would?

Safety issues. Is my family going to be safe in this house? As an example, just a few of the safety concerns I address are Identifying electrical issues, smoke and carbon monoxide detector installation, practiced fire and EQ drills, egress, adequately installed stairways/handrails. Doing so keeps the home buyer and seller's feet on the ground. Purchasing or selling a home is exciting and hopefully a happy time. Safety is one of the many issues to consider during the experience beyond what color they may paint the kitchen.

What is one of the best questions that a client has asked you during an inspection?

Best question asked by homeowners that we wish all homeowners would ask is: "What can I do to prepare this house for an EQ?" I address this topic in detail during the course of a typical two to three hour inspection. I begin with the foundation and its type of attachments, or the lack thereof: electrical, placement of tempered window glass, window egress, and again a practiced escape plan.

What are the types of questions that a potential home buyer should ask to follow-up on any defects you find?

Another good question is, "Who should perform the repair work? A contractor, handyman, or is this something a handy homeowner can do?" At the time of the inspection and within our report we describe the type of professional you should contact. We provide "The Homeowner's Handbook" with each home inspection report, offering a good start!

We strongly encourage attending the inspection. This provides the client the opportunity to ask the inspector on site how to prioritize and follow-up. Hearing it in person with an issue right in front of a person makes a more lasting impression. I am always happy to take my time with my clients and explain in detail how to repair/replace or maintain a concern.

Do you have a few tips for anything that people should not ask their home inspector?

A home inspector following his code of ethics should not offer, or accept, to repair any issue reported on, remaining unbiased. It is a conflict of interest. And never ask "Should I?" or "Would you buy this house?" Home inspectors are generalists and, again, unbiased.

What's the best way for people to contact your company?

Whatever their preference. Telephone, email, text. Also, our website has a contact form they may complete and a lot of information regarding specific areas covered during an inspection, our references and recent testimonials. You may also find us, and further endorsements on House Calls on and YELP!

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