Sunday, July 30, 2017

"Do I Need to Be There?"

Sometimes, clients ask if they need to attend the Complete Home Inspection being done on the house they’re buying. No, it’s not necessary for you to be there with me during your inspection. But, I prefer having you follow me around in the house while I’m inspecting it. So, if it fits your schedule, please make time to join me.

This month, a client responded to receiving his written report with, “Thank you Miki for taking the time yesterday to inspect our home. I appreciate you explaining everything to me! I will let you know if we have any questions about the report.” And that’s the key. When you follow me through the house during the inspection, I can explain the features of the house to you as we find them – e. g. the main water shut-off, the electrical panel, the furnace filter and how to change it. I can also answer all of your questions as they arise.

It’s your chance to see things first-hand, to see what’s unique about the house you’re buying, and to ask about anything that confuses you or that you want to learn more about. So, please, join me for your Complete Home Inspection.

Whole house inspections, condo inspections, radon testing, mold testing, and more, we do it all for you. Call or E-mail today to schedule your Complete Home Inspection, 913-268-0222, www.completehomeinspectionkc.com.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Defect of the Week

In the last week or so, two different houses were found to have roofs with asphalt shingles covering wood shingles. Sadly, I have to tell my clients that they probably won't be able to get homeowners insurance on such a house until the roof is stripped and replaced. And for the seller, that means that no one will be able to buy their house until something is done about the roof.

For decades, it has been a common practice to cover existing wood shingle roofs with asphalt (or "composition") shingles when the house needed a new roof. It wasn't perfect, but it worked. A few years ago, after many storm related insurance claims, the major insurance companies made a business decision not to write new policies for houses that had asphalt shingles over wood shingles. It doesn't matter what kind of shape the roof is in.

Two, and sometimes three, layers of asphalt shingles are fine.  But, not asphalt over wood. Why? For the insurance company it just costs so much more in labor and materials to replace such a roof system if you were to make a claim in the future. A wood roof has gaps underneath the shingles to allow the roof to "breathe". Asphalt roofs instead need solid decking to go under the felt and shingles. So the asphalt-over-wood roof needs to be stripped to the bare rafters and started from scratch. That's where the expense comes in.
From the outside, the roof may look normal. But once I lift of the edge of the asphalt shingles, and also look in the attic during your Complete Home Inspection, then I know there are two layers, with the asphalt composition shingles over the wood shingles. And that means that the house may be uninsurable.
That's just another reason to have your prospective house inspected by Complete Home Inspection BEFORE you buy it. And for sellers, it's another reason to have your house inspected BEFORE you put it on the market. It's a great way to avoid last-minute surprises for either party, and get some peace of mind at a very hectic time for you.
Whole house inspections, condo inspections, radon testing, mold testing, we do it all for you. Call or E-mail today to schedule your Complete Home Inspection, 913-268-02222, www.completehomeinspectionkc.com.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Not So Fast

You have to move quickly to buy a house in Kansas City as the inventory of existing homes is tight. Your offer on a house will have competition and you may begin to feel that you don't have time to really mull things over, revisit a house, or check things out thoroughly because you might lose the house to someone else. In this case, haste truly does make waste. Just this week, a couple was hustling through the process of making an offer on a house. They hired me to do a Complete Home Inspection for them and we discovered that the two layers of roofing (composite over wood) would keep them obtaining homeowners insurance. They walked away from the deal, avoiding a HUGE problem had they bought the house "as is".

It's even more important for you build a home inspection clause into your offer now so that you'll be able to slow down and find out the condition of the house. Let me thoroughly inspect the property for you, from top to bottom, and give you a written report, complete with photos, detailing my findings. Buying a house is too important to just rush through the process trying to beat everyone else. Do what you have to do to get your offer in before others. But then treat yourself to a Complete Home Inspection before everything's finalized. Too many houses are currently being bought "as is". With your Complete Home Inspection, you'll get some peace of mind knowing that your haste didn't stick you with a problem house.

Whole house inspections, condo inspections, radon testing, mold testing, and more, we do it all for you. Call or E-mail today to schedule your Complete Home Inspection, 913-268-0222, www.completehomeinspectionkc.com.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Your inspection report

The written report you receive, by E-mail, following your Kansas City home inspection will be thorough, detailed, easy-to-read, and understandable. It's a summary of your inspection that includes a list of recommended repairs, suggested maintenance tips, and photos. Your report acts as a permanent record of the condition of the house at the time of the inspection. It may be useful as you negotiate with the seller of the house. And, it might help you figure out what needs to be done after you move in. 

home inspector Kansas City - Miki MertzLast month, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) again asked me to teach other home inspectors how to improve their inspection report writing. It's always an honor to be asked to share my knowledge and experience with my colleagues. This is the third time in four years I've presented this topic at ASHI's annual Inspection World. Earlier this month, Indiana's ASHI chapter had me do a four-hour seminar on report writing. I've also presented the topic to home inspectors in the Great Lakes ASHI chapter, Minnesota's Society of Housing Inspectors, and the West Virginia state association, as well as a couple of non-ASHI organizations.

Obviously, I take inspection report writing very seriously. That is just one more benefit of hiring Complete Home Inspection to do your Kansas City home inspection. You can be assured that your report will meet your needs and be the best it can possibly be. Watch a video explaining and describing your inspection report: www.completehomeinspectionkc.com/kansas_city_home_inspection_013.htm

Whole house inspections, condo inspections, radon testing, mold testing, and more, we do it all for you. Call or E-mail today to schedule your Complete Home Inspection, 913-268-0222, www.completehomeinspectionkc.com.

Friday, January 6, 2017

January is Radon Action Month

January 2017 is both Kansas Radon Action Month and National Radon Action Month, designed to educate you about the dangers of radon exposure and encourage you to identify and address radon problems in your home. Radon is a tasteless, odorless, colorless, naturally occurring radioactive gas found in nearly all soils, resulting from the breakdown of uranium. Outdoors, radon is diluted to low concentrations. But once inside an enclosed space, radon can accumulate to significant levels.

About one out of every three radon measurements performed in Kansas are elevated, being above 4 pCi/l (picoCuries per liter). This is true for Johnson, Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties in Kansas, each recording average radon values in excess of 4.5 pCi/L from all tests conducted.



The best way to find out if your house, or the house you're looking to buy, has a radon problem is to have a certified radon professional, such as Miki Mertz of Complete Home Inspection, do a test for you. Complete Home Inspection uses a continuous radon monitor that takes samples over a period of two full days, with the test unit placed in the lowest livable level of the house. Windows are kept closed throughout the time of the test. The test results are then averaged into an overall number for your final report. As mentioned earlier, if the radon level is higher than 4.0piC/l, then it should be fixed, or "mitigated". In Kansas, all residential real estate contracts include a recommendation that home buyers include a radon test on homes purchased. All radon tests performed during real estate transactions in Kansas must be conducted by a state-certified radon tester, such as Miki Mertz of Complete Home Inspection.

Additional information about radon can be found on the Complete Home Inspection web site at http://www.completehomeinspectionkc.com/kansas_city_home_inspection_055.htm, at www.kansasradonprogram.org, and at www.epa.gov/radon.

Whole house inspections, condo inspections, radon testing, mold testing, and more, we do it all for you. Call or E-mail today to schedule your Complete Home Inspection, 913-268-0222, www.completehomeinspectionkc.com.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Flip-itty-doo-dah, again

Some houses marketed as having been "newly remodeled" are in the process of being "flipped" - someone bought a distressed house at a bargain price, did some fix-ups, and is now selling it to make a profit. That's fine, but you really need to make certain that the remodeling and the flipping are being done correctly. And the best way to be certain is to schedule your Complete Home Inspection before buying such a house.

Twice in one week, houses listed as having a "New Kitchen" had dishwasher problems. In the first, the "New Dishwasher" was just that, "new". It had been taken out of the box, slid into the dishwasher slot under the "New Granite Countertops", and left there. It wasn't plugged into electricity, wasn't connected to the water supply pipes, and had no drain pipe installed. The "New Dishwasher" was actually a "Useless Dishwasher". You wouldn't discover any of this until AFTER you had moved in and had a dishwasher full of dirty dishes. The second house had a "Newly Remodeled Kitchen" with a dishwasher that had power and water, but no drain pipe had been attached. You wouldn't have discovered that until water began running all over your kitchen floor.

And, the second house also boasted of a roof that was less than a year old. No need to inspect that, right? Sadly, the new roof had been installed over the two existing layers of roofing. Most, if not all, insurance companies will not give you homeowner's insurance on a house with three layers of roofing. In this case, the less-than-a-year-old roof, and the other two layers, will have to be stripped off and yet another new roof will need to be installed.

So, even in the case of a house being flipped, it is critical for you to schedule a Complete Home Inspection of the property BEFORE you buy so that you'll know condition of the house at the time of the inspection.

Whole house inspections, condo inspections, radon testing, mold testing, and more, we do it all for you. Call or E-mail today to schedule your Complete Home Inspection, 913-268-0222, www.completehomeinspectionkc.com.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Defect of the Week

Even in the midst of this heatwave, your Complete Home Inspection will include a thorough furnace inspection. The furnace is the furthest thing from your mind when the heat index is over 100 degrees, and that's as it should be. Furnaces are still on my mind, though, and that's why you hire me. Two different furnaces in two different houses this week, were found to have serious problems.

In the first case, the seller of the house had the furnace serviced by a technician last September. So, with the current heat wave and with the technician checking it out less than a year ago, there was probably no reason for me to be thorough, right? Look at the hole I found in the furnace flue pipe. Plus, the furnace was contained in a small, closed room that offered no secondary combustion air. That means that deadly carbon monoxide would be spilling out of this pipe anytime the furnace kicked in.

In the second case, my client was a boilermaker by trade. When we checked the furnace in the house he was looking to buy, I noticed that the gas burner remained lit for only about ten seconds. When the electronic igniter went out  (as it was supposed to), the burner went out, too. This happened repeatedly. Ten seconds of heat just isn't going to cut it in February in Kansas City. Since he has been in the heating business his entire life, he was impressed that I found the problem.

The things you wouldn't even think to check when buying or selling a house are the things that I pay the most attention to in your Complete Home Inspection.

Whole house inspections, condo inspections, radon testing, mold testing, and more, we do it all for you. Call or E-mail today to schedule your Complete Home Inspection, 913-268-0222, www.completehomeinspectionkc.com.