Frequently Asked Questions
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.
Do I need to go to the inspection? No, you do not need to be there. Some people prefer to be there, but others find it boring and would rather just look at the report when it is done. The report will provide you with a list of any and all problems found and is usually accompanied by pictures. We don't mind having you tag along, but remember, we are trying to concentrate on our job, so we don't want constant interruptions either.
How quickly can you come inspect? We understand that during a real estate transaction, time is of the essence. Usually, we can get to the property within a few days of your call confirming the inspection. Our report is usually sent to you within one or two days of the inspection. Sometimes other tests such as radon and water take a few extra days.
Does the house need to be clean and neat for the inspection? We are inspecting the building and property, not your personal belongings. You do not need to worry about a cleaning before the inspection. It is helpful that you put things away so that we have easy uncluttered access to your house, especially the basement, attic, utility areas, bathrooms, and kitchen.
Do you provide a report? With a day or two of your inspection, we will send you a report, highlighting all the concerns and comments we have regarding the property. If you provide us with an email address, we will send it to you by email and you will get it sooner than if sent by regular mail. The report is usually 35 pages or so and includes pictures of the property and any important features or concerns. Sometimes, if we are waiting on water or radon test results, we may wait to send your report when all information is in.
What are your rates for a home inspection? $400.00 for a typical home. If the home is unusually large, say over 2500 sf, is over 75 years old, if it is a multi-unit, or if it has other “special” features that require additional time, then the price may be more. If it is a condominium, or smaller home, the price may be less. Radon and water testing is an additional charge. Travel time is extra if the property is outside a 25 mile radius of Bangor. Call us for more details or for a specific quote on your home.
Once the inspection is complete, what is the turnaround time for a written report? Typically 1 to 2 days. If you would like immediate information, we can provide you with field notes the day of the inspection.
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, septic, 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 up the chimney cleanout and view the inside of the chimney from the bottom. Like all areas of the home, if I see a potential problem that needs further review by a professional in that field, I 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. The cost is $150.00 if done along with an inspection. If you only have a radon test done, then there may be a travel charge added; depending on your location.
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.
What is the charge for the water testing? The standard water test is $130.00, $65.00 for first draw lead, and $75.00 for radon water. Stand alone water testing will incur travel fees. Please call for a quote.
Lead time for an appointment: We can often schedule your appointment within a few days of your call. However, during the busiest times of the year (typically late spring thru early fall), the schedule fills up and you may have to wait a couple of weeks to get on the schedule 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.
Time for inspection: A typical inspection lasts 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
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.
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 up for an extended period of time, it may be all thru 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 10 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 your turnaround time?We take pride in getting our inspection reports to you fast. They typical turnaround is approximately one day, and at the most, two. And 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.
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.
Payment: I expect payment at the time of inspection and take cash, check, or credit card. I can run a credit card on site at the property.
For a full list of inspection areas covered: See the Internachi website – www.nachi.org/sop.htm for more info.