To Test, or Not to Test: that is the question…

One of the biggest “dilemmas” Home Buyer’s face is whether or not to perform radon [air] testing when the house they’re trying to buy already has a radon [air] mitigation system.

When a radon mitigation system is in place, this question and conversation almost always takes place…. I should point out (much like Mr. Shakespeare) the intent of this post is NOT to answer the question, but rather that both arguments – testing and not testing – have a devil’s advocate. First, lets re-cap Radon. According to the US EPA: Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell or taste. Right about now you’re thinking “okay, if radon is cancer-causing where and what is the dilemma?” So allow me…

It is always Maida Services recommendation to test. But, the decision comes down to which is going to help you sleep at night.

The NO test argument:  “We have a short time line and I don’t think we can wait for test results…”  Or, after dually noting that the property being purchased has a mitigation system installed, and, that system’s sole purpose is to remove radon: ” I don’t think I need to pay for a radon test, it’s extra money that I don’t need to spend…” Consider that if / when a radon mitigation system is professionally installed, it’s usually tested to make sure that its working. A simple test can help determine whether an existing system may need to be repaired or upgraded.

The YES test argument: “There doesn’t seem to be any info available on the mitigation system…” or, “I don’t care that this house has a fancy radon mitigation system with ALL the bells and whistles – I want it tested…” Consider that the system may have a continuous monitoring system which could provide read-outs as to the radon levels. Not to mention the probability of the system’s failure warning device.

Pro’s & Con’s: If you don’t have the property tested for radon, are you going to wonder if you should have tested after you’ve moved in? If you have the property tested and you are affirmed that the mitigation system is in fact performing it’s function – Did you waste the time and extra money to find out the system is doing exactly what it is supposed to do? Are you glad you tested because the system needs upgrades?

” Thus conscience does make cowards of us all” – W.S.

The How’s and Why’s

I’ve decided to kick off this new blog with The Common How and Why Questions I hear when scheduling a Home or Commercial Inspection.

HOW much do you charge? (Yep, let’s tackle this one right away…)

Answer: Like many other Home Inspectors or Commercial Inspectors, I base my quotes on the description of the property. The style of construction, the gross living area (GLA), year of construction, additional structures, number of rooms, etc. all have an affect on what the cost of the inspection will be. For the most part, the average cost for my inspection is around $495.00* – without additional services. (Remember, the fee includes a Wood Destroying Insect Inspection – no charge – even if its FHA/VA.)

Why: Simply stated, the description of the property is probably going to determine how much time needs to be allotted for not only my inspection services, but also composing the report. The time that I spend on-site is only part of the time I put into the inspection.

HOW long does your inspection take?

Answer: It really depends on the house… plan on more than 3 hours.

Why: Consider which factors have an affect on how long the inspection will take. Realistically speaking, a property that is 150 years old with 2500 sq. ft. of living area, 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths is going to take longer to inspect than a 10 year old property, with 2000 sq. ft. of living area, 3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths. (And, thus it should.) Even if the inspection itself doesn’t take that long you may have questions that need to be answered about my findings.

HOW soon can I get you there?

Answer: I can schedule within  4-6 days. Appointments are available on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Why: I realize I shouldn’t need to elaborate, but just in case: In this market there seem to be more “short sales” and/or buyer’s just have shorter time frames to finish their inspection and get all their Laboratory testing results. So if you think you might have a short window, best bet is to call our office before you have an accepted offer in writing and “hold” a time slot under your circumstances.

HOW do I get my report and when?

Answer: Home Inspection reports are sent to you via email within 48 hours – most are the same day. You should expect Laboratory results in about 5 days.

Why: Some property inspection reports take longer to compose reports for than others (I know; kind of self explanatory). For those buyer’s that have a small window of time, especially for laboratory results: there are many ways to expedite reports. Maybe place radon canisters and draw water tests before your inspection? Or maybe hand deliver testing vials to the laboratory rather than use a prepaid mailer?

HOW long do I have to cancel my appointment?

Answer: Maida Services has a 48 hour cancellation policy to avoid a cancellation fee.

Why: The cancellation policy is in place because of how far we schedule in advance. Obviously there are some exceptions to the rule, amongst them: if we are holding a time slot for you because you have a small window of time. Or, if you scheduled an inspection before you had an offer in writing. At this point your probably wondering “what’s the cancellation fee?” For those that are not exceptions, the cancellation fee is a hefty $150.00. This encourages people to keep in touch about their appointments.

* Average based on 2011 pricing.

Hello world! Maida Home & Commercial Inspection Services is Joining the 21st Century

Recently, Maida Services, Inc. has made leaps and bounds to “modernize” our services and provide our customers with easier access to the information that they want and need. So if you’re interviewing Home Inspectors or are a Real Estate Professional, take a look at some of these changes.

We’ve updated our Reporting Styles: Same steadfast thoroughness; no more restrictions of space from templates. Maida Home & Commercial Inspection Services reports are now composed on state-of-the-art software that allows the inspector to import digital photography, point out problem areas, include links, and specify deficiencies about the property. (Wahoo!) If you haven’t seen a sample, view it here. Reports are emailed to our clients. Computer generated detailed narrative reports have changed the entire industry. While thinking of Home or Commercial Inspectors, consider the report you receive after a home inspection is equally as important as the Home Inspector’s inspection itself. What good is a home inspection if you can’t easily understand the inspector’s report?

Website, Website, Website: Since this website was first published in 1999, it has always been a great resource for all things home inspection – including termites, radon, well water, lead paint and mold. Maida Home & Commercial Inspection Services website got a drastic makeover in 2009. Its new features make finding information that much easier. You can view sample reports online, get costs sent to your email and look up credentials. You can also access your lab test results (e.g. radon air test, water quality test) by just clicking on the ready link and enter your canister/vial numbers that are included in the “General Information” section of the report. Then print/save the pdf file.

Its amazing what happens when you implement technology! Granted, it’s been a slow process and we can’t take all the credit but this was HUGE for us!

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