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What to Expect From Your Home Inspector: An Interview with David Pace of Pace Inspection Services

By David Pace

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

Some of my earliest remembrances were of visiting my father's construction sites. He spent most of his life as a masonry contractor before moving to California where he became a carpenter. He worked for several custom home builders building homes throughout the Alamo, San Ramon and Danville communities. I started my construction career in the late 1970's. Pace Inspection Services was born out of my own construction experience and the realization that what is envisioned on the blueprints and what is finally built, may have material defects that could affect the financial and sometimes physical health and wellbeing of an unsuspecting buyer or seller. Over the last 21 years, Pace Inspection Services has been completed over 8,000 residential and commercial inspections extending from Seattle to Los Angeles but concentrating in the east bay area.

What areas should a standard home inspection cover?

The California Business and Professions Code defines a home inspection as a "noninvasive, physical examination. of the mechanical, electrical, or plumbing systems or the structural and essential components of a residential dwelling of one to four units." It goes on further to say the home inspection is designed to "identify material defects in those systems, structures and components." It can include "any consultation regarding the property that is represented to be a home". As you can see the State of California has a low expectation of what a home inspection report should include. Reputable inspection associations such as the California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) have established Standards of Practice which define what member inspectors are required to inspect. The standards of CREIA and ASHI have been recognized by the California State Legislature. After reading these standards, the client will be fully aware of the scope of the inspection. While the Standards may slightly vary, they will generally include: Foundation, Basement, and Under-floor Areas, Exterior, Roof Covering, Attic Areas and Roof Framing, Plumbing, Electrical, Heating and Cooling, Fireplaces and Chimneys and Building Interior. There are specific areas under each of these categories which a home inspector should report on. A client should insist on reviewing the Standards of Practice prior to the home inspection. The Standards will also include a section which will discuss the limitations and exclusions of the inspection.

How long should it take to receive an inspection report, and what information should be on it?

Generally, a home inspection should be available within one or two business days. The method of inspection report delivery (email, postal delivery, website etc.) will vary with the inspection company. The inspection report will provide information about the overall condition of the inspected property. A well written report will communicate to the client the particular issue, indicate the location, tell why it is an issue and give the client some direction for as how to proceed. The inspection report will assist the client in making a well-informed buying decision.

Should a quality home inspector provide repair work? What are some of the dangers of hiring an inspector who does repair work as well?

It is a violation of the California Business and Professions Code for a home inspector to "perform or offer to perform, for an additional fee, any repairs to a structure on which the inspector, or the inspector's company, has prepared a home inspection report in the past 12 months". A client should never engage the services of a home inspector for repairs. It is a violation of state law and an obvious conflict of interest.

Considering there are many states that do not require certification, what are a few benefits of hiring a certified and trained home inspector?

Many in the California real estate community are under the mistaken belief they are engaging the services of licensed home inspectors. Not so. California does not license home inspectors. Many home inspectors are "certified". A certification is only as meaningful at the group or association establishing the certification requirements and overseeing the process. Some less than reputable associations have been known to "certify" family pets and children. Not all home inspection associations or groups are "created equal". The certification requirements for both CREIA and ASHI are difficult and among the highest in the country. You can engage the services of a certified CREIA or ASHI inspector with confidence that they have the experience and background to provide quality inspection services.

What if the home inspector misses a major defect? Can they be held liable?

A home inspector can be held responsible for "missing" a defect if the inspector acts outside the Standard of Practice. A home inspector has the responsibility to provide a reasonable standard of care to their client. The California State Legislature considers the "standards of practice and code of ethics of the California Real Estate Inspection Association, the American Society of Home Inspectors, (or) other nationally recognized professional home inspection associations" in "ascertaining the degree of care that would be exercised by a reasonably competent home inspector". Did the inspector provide a reasonable standard of care and did the inspector follow the Standards of Practice? If a client feels the inspector missed something which should have been reported, call and discuss it with the inspector. There is extensive information about how to resolve a dispute with a home inspector at the bottom of the "Code of Ethics" page on the CREIA website (www.creia.org).

What is the best way for people to reach out to you or your company?

I would encourage those who may have interest to visit www.paceinspection.com. There is information about my qualifications and experience. There is also a sample report of an actual inspection. The client and address has been changed to protect their privacy. Please feel free to call my office 925-513-0006 or email me at drpace@paceinspection.com.

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About The Author

Chairman of the Board of Directors - CREIA

Phone: 925-513-0006

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