I founded LPM Enterprises, now dba LPM Home Inspections, in 1998 as a way to leave the corporate world of risk managment after 30 stress filled years. I became a risk management consultant, providing services to insurance carriers, brokers and their clients. When I wasn't building or fixing risk management departments for companies many of my assignments involved inspecting commercial and idustrial properties and kept me on the road more than I liked. My wife is a Realtor. She suggested that I look into doing home inspections, pointing out correctly that the only difference between them and what I had been doing was that businesses didn't have bedrooms (at least most of them). The only real difference was in the size and scope of the property being inspected. Both have foundations, structure, electrical systems, plumbing, roofs and all the other obvious stuff. I am licensed in South Carolina and have completed somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000 home and light commercial inspections. Most of my clients are from somewhere else, so I photograph the exteriors and every room, whether there's a deficiency or not, just to help them remember the house they're buying. I think I'm pretty thorough but I did have one complaint where the buyer thought I should be able to see inside walls. I have to admit, I can't.
I use my background in law enforcement to conduct each inspection; I simply treat it like a crime scene and proceed in a methodical, detailed manner to look for "evidence" that might impact the condition of the house. I also use my risk management background, looking for things that could result in an insurance loss (claim). I look at what the component is, what it's supposed to do and whether or not it does what it's supposed to do.
I've developed an iPHONE app, a Quality Inspection (QI) that helps buyers, agents and Realtors walk through the property they're interested in and complete a detailed, step-by-step punch list of deficiencies. I'm especially proud of the feature that lets them touch one of the nearly 500 components on the screen and get a popup that explains what to look for in that component. I've got a website with a glossary for those who don't have an iPHONE, www.lpmenterprisesinc.com. The app and website are visual iinspections and are not designed or intended to take the place of a detailed home inspection by a licensed, professional inspector. They will, however, help give the buyer a better idea of the condition of the house they're buying.
I make it a point to be extremely careful with the language I use when describing a deficiency. The turn of a word can completely change the tone and context of an inspection report and damage the ability of the Realtor to get the sale to closing. Minor problems should be described as minor problems. I'm aware of an inspector who zeroed in so hard on a failed Ground Faul Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) that it looked like the entire house was an electrical disastor. He should have explained, accurately, that a GFCI is an important safety device and that they sometimes fail. He should have further explained that replacing one is an easy fix and only costs about $15-$20.00. In this case the buyers were so frightened by his language that they walked away from the sale.
My reports, including photographs, are electronically recorded and sent to the client by e-mail. They can be printed, copied and forwarded to anyone the client chooses.
I don't specialize in one particular area of home iinspections. Every home or commercial building presents itself differently, with clear benefits and disadvantages. Home iinspectors are concerned with three major issues; water, water and water. It is insidious and can find its way inside walls, around doors and windows where it can rot and decay the wood framing and substrate. Rot and decay under the skin of a house can cause thousands of dollars of damage and I make every effort to identify water or moisture intrusion and report it to the buyer.
On a separate level from home inspecions are stucco and EIFS inspections. I've been trained and certified and have performed more than I can count. There were major problems in the early and mid 1990's with wood rot and decay from improper installations and, in some cases, poor materials. Most of those issues have been resolved with more required training of installers and much improved products. I still specialize in stucco inspections but find myself doing a lot of phone consultations on how to maiintain the house so moisture doesn't get inside the walls.
All that said, you can't see inside the walls and I still recommend having a stucco inspection performed before closing on a sale. Nobody needs that kind of surprise.
We conduct detailed home, commercial and industrial property inspections to help buyers identify costly physical or cosmetic deficiencies before they close the sale. 3,000 inspections performed.