Home Inspection Do’s and Don’ts

While on an inspection last week, a client asked my opinion about some of the cosmetic items in the house, so I explained that I don’t include comments like that in the report.  In my 10 years as an inspector for construction defect litigation, I learned to report on material defects only because that’s what is legally relevant.  As a California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) certified inspector, I adhere to CREIA’s standards of practice to provide the “general condition of the building”.

To become CREIA certified, I passed the comprehensive National Home Inspection Exam, provided documentation of at least 250 home inspections (I’ve done 3,000), and passed an ethics and professional standards exam.  To remain in good standing, I’m held to a strict code of ethics, and I’m required to meet annual continuing education requirements.  This is a rigorous process to certify that my clients are getting a best practice inspection to help them make an informed purchase.

Here are my Home Inspection Do’s and Don’ts:

  1. I follow California standards and best practices for all of my inspections
  2. I don’t include disclaimers or recommend that clients hire experts like plumbers and electricians unless it’s related to a material defect
  3. I don’t editorialize about cosmetic and aesthetic items because they are not material defects, they are matters of personal style
  4. I use my construction background and my inspection experience to provide a fact-based report on the general condition of the home and its systems
  5. I use a best practice workflow on my tablet to make sure that I’m thorough, consistent, and in compliance with CREIA standards to create the report


2018 Swimming Pool Update

Does your client have pool?  Are they aware of the new pool safety inspection requirements that went into effect in January, 2018?  If not, here’s some information that you can share with them.  The Swimming Pool Safety Act (SB-442) now requires homeowners to have at least two safety features to secure their pools, and it will change the way I report these items in my home inspection report.  To learn more, I’ve found two good resources.

Here’s a general overview story of what the law is trying to accomplish, which includes a full list of the seven safety features.  It’s easy to read, and good to share with your clients.  For more detail, you can review the California Pool and Spa Association FAQ’s.  Now that you’re more familiar with law, here’s how it changes  what I’m looking for.  In short, SB-442 requires the home inspector to:

1.  Identify which, if any, of seven specific drowning prevention safety features are present. Those safety features are defined in section 115922 of the Health & Safety Code.

2.  Specifically state if the pool or spa has fewer than two of the listed drowning prevention safety features.

It’s also important to remember that this applies to private pools and spas even if they’re within a gated community.  If you have any questions about SB442, or other home inspections topics, please give me a call.


Nice to meet you!

Welcome to my first post as a Coachella Valley Home Inspector.  I relocated my business from San Francisco to La Quinta in October 2017, and have been meeting home buyers and real estate professionals to share my experience and availability.  Here’s a bit about me.

I began my construction career back in the late 1970’s working as an laborer on large commercial buildings in Denver, Colorado.  My dad was a construction superintendent, and he helped me land a summer job carrying buckets of concrete in 100 degree heat!  I attended Colorado State University, and then went to work full time as a Field Engineer on large industrial projects like waste water treatment plants and shopping malls.

In the late 1980’s I had the good fortune to relocate to San Francisco, working as a project manager on a huge seismic retrofit project at the SFO Airport.  In 1994, I launched the home inspection side of my career as a FEMA Home Inspector after the Northridge earthquake.  Since then, I’ve inspected over 3000 California homes–mostly as an expert witness for construction defect litigation.

I look forward to using my broad experience to assist Coachella Valley home buyers on their path to desert living.  To learn more about my credentials, please visit About.  And, stay tuned for my next post on new 2018 requirements for swimming pools.