10 Questions To Ask When Selecting A Home Inspector
1) What kind of formal INSPECTION training have you taken?
Michael Leavitt was originally certified by the American Institute of Inspectors (A.I.I.™) and carries the A.I.I.™ Lifetime Master Inspector credential. This required both classroom and field training, combined with both classroom and field testing. The certification process took place back in 1995 and since then he has performed several thousand inspections and continued to broaden his scope of inspection expertise. Since 1995, Michael has continued his training with specialty courses in stucco, moisture entry, electrical efficiency, EIFS, lead, meth, mold, roofs, structure, and most other aspects of residential buildings.
2) Are you licensed by the State of Utah for home inspections?
Our prospective clients are always surprised to learn that the State of Utah has no license for Home Inspectors. Michael Leavitt is one of the founding members of UTCHI - Utah Coalition of Home Inspectors and has been active in working with State Legislators on licensing requirements since 2004. It has been an uphill battle where UTCHI attempts to set a high bar for proficiency and the private interest groups do their best to water it down so that anybody can easily become a home inspector. The result is no current licensing and anybody can print business cards today, set lowball fees, and call themselves a home inspector. Prospective home inspection clients must beware of low fee, inexperienced, part-time home inspectors.
NOTE ABOUT HOME INSPECTOR CERTIFICATIONS: In the last few years, there have sprung up numerous diploma mills and trade associations offering free online unproctored certification testing. The term “Certified” has become so watered down that the use of the term in this century is virtually meaningless to consumers unless the inspector has taken proctored testing with the preferred in the field certification testing verses free unproctored online open book testing.
3) Can you make repairs if they are needed?
NO... If the inspector say "Yes"-- BEWARE! They may have a vested interest in the outcome of their report. We don't do repairs and we don't make estimates. We adhere to a strict Code of Ethics which forbids any actions that could be interpreted as a conflict of interest.
4) How long does your inspection take?
2 to 3 hours - Our structured inspections generally takes 2 to 3 hours to complete onsite. We strictly adhere to our Standards of Practice and the extra investment of time assures you of not only the highest quality inspection but the same thorough inspection every time.
5) Do you have a written guarantee?
Yes... We provide our MLC Satisfaction Guarantee and NOT the all too common “$12 limited coverage 90-day mechanical guarantee” that other firms in the area are offering. Let us repeat, we do not offer any guarantee or warranty covering the future performance of the components of the home. Components can look just fine today and still break tomorrow. That is the nature of home ownership. If you need the peace of mind that structural and mechanical warranties offer, each are available for $300 - $700.
For another perspective on the way items fail in a home, please read the article on Breakdowns by our good friend/newspaper columnist/retired home inspector/humorist Walter Jowers. This should be required reading for all home buyers.
“But Your Competitor Offers A Guaranteed Inspection!”
We believe that our prospective clients should be very apprehensive about inspection firms touting “Guaranteed Inspections” as a major sales tool. If you think you're going to get a meaningful structural and mechanical guarantee from another home inspection firm, then you need to get the fine print and read it very carefully. The guarantees from home inspectors that we have read are only marketing gimmicks that are riddled with loopholes and provide no meaningful coverage. We know, because we were the first inspection firm in northern Utah to offer them back in 1995. We were shocked at how worthless the $12 warranty programs were and realized that we were offering a false sense of security to our clients. Over the years, we have come to realize that our clients are paying me for our no-nonsense-straight-shooting-professional-opinion and not for a $12 worthless fluff guarantee. To read the details of our MLC Satisfaction Guarantee please click on the link... MLC SATISFACTION GUARANTEE
6) What happens if you honestly miss something?
WE RIGHT OUR WRONGS... We strive to do our very best, yet realize that we are only human and prone to occasionally making mistakes. Therefore, we stand by our work, and right the wrongs which we may make. We have built our business on performing the highest quality home inspections and we have an extremely long list of satisfied buyers, sellers, and agents, one of which probably referred you to our service.
Our clients must understand that if we find 90% of the issues wrong with their home, then we have done an excellent job. Many issues are concealed from our view, hidden in walls, obscured by personal possessions, and/or covered by other building materials. Some issues never come to light until a remodel is performed and we accept no responsibility for concealed and latent defects that were not and could not have been identified during our normal inspections. We do the best we can to identify all of the major issues and we also find lots of little issues along the way.
7) Do you go over the report in person with the buyer?
YES... We prefer to walk the property with the buyer at the conclusion of the inspection process to show them firsthand anything discovered during the inspection. This allows us the chance to step back and see the bigger picture. We have found that this client walkthrough is the key to giving a buyer the correct perspective about the conditions identified with their property. When the buyer is out of the area, We take extra time to include digital pictures that help convey the issues in the report. When necessary we also go through the report with our client over the phone page by page.
8) What kind of report do you use?
COMPUTER NARRATIVE... We have a state-of-the-art computer generated report that includes custom narrative comments and not computerized check boxes. We are able to take advantage of laptop technology to create a report that is easy to understand and quite comprehensive. This type of report points out the strengths and weaknesses of the home and the digital pictures help to convey the severity of the reported items.
9) When do I get the report?
DOWNLOADABLE THE FOLLOWING MORNING... With modern day internet technology we are able to e-mail the PDF version of the report in full color by the following morning after the inspection. This gives us the opportunity to finish off the documentation back in the comfort of our office.
10) How much is your fee?
MORE THAN MOST OTHER FIRMS... This is sometimes the first question asked, and yet it tells the least about the inspector and the inspection. It has never been our goal to be the cheapest inspector in town--only the best. We have always felt that the buyer deserves the highest value for their investment dollar. We set our fees according to the size, age and components of the home. Our inspection fees generally range from $335 to $585, with large homes being considerably more. Our inspection report may require a higher investment, but the information it will provide will save you both money and time by eliminating unnecessary headaches later on. MLC INSPECTION FEES
Michael Leavitt regularly performs home inspections in the following areas and beyond: Orem, Provo, Springville, Mapleton, Spanish Fork, Benjamin, Payson, Elk Ridge, Woodland Hills, Genola, Elberta, Santaquin, Lindon, Pleasant Grove, Cedar Hills, Highland, American Fork, Lehi, Highland, Alpine, Saratoga Springs, Eagle Mountain, Salt Lake City, Draper, Sandy, Midvale, Bluffdale, Riverton, Herriman, South Jordan, West Jordan, Magna, West Valley, Bountiful, Layton, North Salt Lake, Cottonwood Heights, Taylorsville, Murray, Holaday, Magna, West Valley, Centerville, Farmington, Kaysville, Woods Cross, Park City, Jeremy Ranch, Deer Valley, Heber and Sundance.