Frequently Asked Questions

How quickly can you come inspect? We understand that during a real estate transaction, time is of the essence. Which is why we are a multi-inspector company. Having a team of inspectors means usually, we can get to the property within a few days of your call confirming the inspection. However, during the busiest times of the year (typically late spring thru early fall), the schedule fills up. We always encourage our clients to get something “penciled in” on the schedule as soon as you can and then confirm once you know it will be going forward. Please confirm or cancel no less than three days ahead of schedule.

How long does an inspection take? Usually an inspection lasts 2 to 3 hours. It depends on the size, age, and previous care and repairs to the home.

Can I attend the inspection? You are welcome to attend the inspection. For the most efficient and informative inspection, we ask that you provide us with any concerns you have prior to the inspection, so we can concentrate on those during the inspection. Otherwise, save your questions until the end of the inspection and we can review any problems or issues at that time.

Can you do a septic inspection in the winter? Yes, if the ground is frozen, we bring equipment to unearth the cover of the tank.

Does the house need to be clean and neat for the inspection? It is important that we have easy uncluttered access to your house, especially the basement, attic, utility areas, bathrooms, and kitchen.

Do you provide a report? We do not use a “template” report or a report that simply has checkboxes. Our report includes details of each area of the home and often has as many as 60 pictures included, sorted by section It is approximately 35 pages and includes any important features or concerns. We send the report by email in guaranteed 48 hours or less. Hard copies available upon request.

What are your rates for a home inspection? We are priced competitively. If the home is unusually large, say over 3,000 sf, is over 80 years old, if it is a multi-unit, or if it has other “special” features that require additional time, pricing will vary. Call us for more details or for a specific quote on your home.

What parts of the house does the inspection cover? All areas are typically covered including the exterior, garage/shed, roof, basement/crawlspace, heat, plumbing, electrical, kitchen, fireplace/alternate heat, interior, baths, attic. We have over 250 items on our checklist that we use when we inspect a home.

What parts of the house aren't covered? There are some areas we just cannot see. For example, we cannot see inside walls, although we use techniques such as a thermal imaging camera for a hint of what is there. We cannot see underground, so underground pipes, electrical, drainage etc., are not covered. Often an attic or crawlspace area has no means to enter, so this would not be covered.

Do you get on the roof and inspect the chimney? Yes, if possible. However, especially steep or high roofs, metal roofs, and roofs with ice and snow on them would not be accessed for safety reasons. If we cannot access the roof, we view it and the chimney with binoculars. Also, when in the basement, we open the chimney cleanout and view the inside of the chimney from the bottom. Like all areas of the home, if we see a potential problem that needs further review by a professional in that field, we will recommend that for you.

Do you do radon testing and how much does that cost? Yes, we are certified by the State of Maine for Radon Testing. We use continuous radon monitors that give a detailed hourly report and fast results. Pricing may vary based upon location, please call the office for a quote.

Can you inspect a house that has been winterized and the utilities are shut off? Yes, it is possible to inspect a house like this, but does not provide as good an inspection if the utilities are turned on. We encourage everyone looking at a house such as this to get the sellers to have all utilities operating prior to the inspection. Otherwise, there are many items, such as plumbing pipes, heat, etc., that we just can’t inspect properly, and you cannot be assured are working satisfactorily.

How long is an inspection? A typical inspection lasts 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Where do you typically see mold present? Mold is a result of excessive moisture, so it is most often seen in basements and attics but may be found anywhere in a home. If the home has been vacant and closed for an extended period, it may be all through the home. The key thing to remember about mold: mold is the symptom; moisture is the problem. Mold is costly to fix and if not mitigated, can make you sick. Your home inspector should check for mold and discuss with you the consequences if it is found.

How often should a septic inspection be conducted? Unless the house you are purchasing is new, we recommend a septic inspection at the time of purchase. After purchase, the tank should be pumped every three to five years and inspected by the pump company for obvious problems. Unless problems are noticed by the pump company, or you are experiencing other problems such as backups, you may not need a further inspection.

If your house was built over 20 years ago and it has not been thoroughly inspected, we suggest you have that completed. Problems with septic systems can be very expensive to fix.

How often should I test for radon in the air and/or water? If you are purchasing a home that has not been tested, we recommend as a minimum, radon air testing. The only exception is if it is a mobile home or house on posts or block foundation. We recommend radon water testing if the radon air is high. Some agencies, such as the Maine DHHS Radon Section, recommend radon water testing no matter what the air reading is. Radon water testing is never necessary on a public water supply system. After initial testing, further testing is generally not necessary for at least 5 years, unless significant changes are made to the structure, such as new windows, insulation, etc., or if significant local geological work has been completed such as blasting.

If my house is on a slab, I shouldn't worry about radon, right? It is a common misconception that a house on a concrete slab does not need to be tested for radon. However, we have seen radon results as high as 67 pCi/L (the limit is 4) for a house on a slab, so this is just not the case. Another common misconception is that if you see ledge in the yard of a home you should test, but not if you don’t. We have seen houses built on sandy and clay soils that still have excessively high readings. You should always consider testing, unless the house is on posts or blocks. Also, newer homes have been found to have typically higher readings due to the tight nature of the way they are now built.

What is a first draw lead test? Overconsumption of lead is a serious health concern. If you are buying a home that was built prior to 1972, it may have had lead solder used to connect the plumbing pipes. While the water is sitting in the pipes the lead tends to leach into your water and can cause you to become sick. A first draw lead test is taken when the water has not been used for at least 6 hours and the sample is then sent to the lab for lead testing. If the lead is high, we recommend as a minimum, running the water for a couple of minutes prior to drinking, or purchasing your drinking water from the store. We have also found that some faucets and fixtures built in China during the 1990’s and into the 2000’s have excessive amounts of lead, which can leach into your system. If this is a concern for you, then first draw lead testing should be completed even for a newer home.

Why do I have to sign an agreement? I’m sure you are tired of signing papers by the time you’ve connected with us. Our agreement is crucial in not only protecting us, but you as well. Please take the time to read your agreement to be sure of the terms between us.

Payment: Payment is due prior to services being performed and may be made by credit card, check, money order, or cash and made out to Perkins Home Services, LLC 499 Broadway #250 Bangor, ME 04401. To pay by credit card, please call 207-944-6218.

For a full list of inspection areas covered: See the Internachi website – www.nachi.org/sop.htm for more info.

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