I recently sat down with Eric Phillips at Pillar to Post to find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about home inspections. Learn more in this exclusive Q&A!
I’m about to buy my first home – why is it important to get a home inspection?
Your home purchase is likely one of the biggest and most important investments you will ever make. For roughly 1/10 of one percent of your purchase price, A Pillar To Post home inspection will give you a clear, unbiased evaluation of a home's condition and help give you peace of mind. It will help you make an informed decision during your purchasing process and will also provide you with information you may need for any repairs or maintenance your new home may require. A professional home inspection will allow you to buy with confidence.
My family friend is pretty good with around the home repairs, why don’t I just ask them to take a look at the house instead of paying a professional?
One of the reasons I became a home inspector was that, just like your friend, I had a knack and a passion for repairing things around my house. Only after more than 600 hours of training and education to obtain my professional home inspector’s license, did I discover the many things about homes and home systems that I didn’t know. When I perform your Pillar To Post professional home evaluation I inspect more than 1,600 items inside and outside of your home using specialized equipment. Also, as a member of Texas and national home inspector associations, I stay up-to-date on current issues, and all of my inspections are conform with their Standards of Practice.
What makes Pillar To Post different from other home inspections companies in town? What’s the advantage to a franchise?
Pillar To Post places an emphasis on standards of professionalism and customer service. Pillar To Post is active across the United States and Canada in more than 500 locations in 8 provinces and 44 states. As part of this franchise, I am required to deliver the same exceptional level of service that our brand demands from all of our 500 plus inspectors throughout North America. You can expect to get the same high quality service every time. We’re going to make sure your experience is consistent and unparalleled in the home inspection business.
As a franchise, I offer three different Home Inspection Packages that allow you to select the range of services you prefer, so you can have peace of mind when buying the home you love. Your report is printed and delivered at the time of the inspection, so there’s no waiting for results. As a Pillar To Post Home Inspector I provide you top, professional service and the finest inspection report in the industry. In fact, Pillar To Post was named the leading home inspection company in North America for 2015 in Entrepreneur Magazine’s annual franchise rankings.
What are some of the recurring issues you see in the Bryan-College Station area?
The expansive clay based soils in this area are very susceptible to movement from changing environmental conditions. They shrink when they become dry and they swell when they become wet. Your house foundation will most likely also experience movement when its supporting soils move. As inspectors, it is our job to understand soil mechanics in the area and how the foundation interacts with them, and then to render our opinion as to how the structure is performing. Not all movement is bad, in fact it is anticipated in this area, within limits.
As a safety professional for most of my 30 years in construction and manufacturing, I can’t help but focus on aspects of a home inspection that will keep you and your loved ones from getting hurt or killed. In older homes I typically find electrical receptacles in critical areas like kitchens, bathrooms, garages and outdoor areas that are not properly ground fault circuit interrupt (GFCI) protected. These rather simple devices cost $15 at your hardware store and will prevent electrocution. I liken GFCI receptacles to sunscreen – we didn’t know how important it was until someone came up with the idea. Now we won’t allow the kids outside without it. Same thing for GFCIs; they are must haves now, and in older houses you’ll very likely have to install them.
Finally, the other important safety aspect I see is a lack of smoke detectors in sleeping areas. Did you know that new houses don’t need smoke alarms in kitchens or garages like we were taught when we were kids? They’re actually recommended in sleeping rooms and in common hallways outside of sleeping rooms. It makes sense as you’re more susceptible to dying from smoke inhalation while asleep. It’s also important to include a carbon monoxide detector if you have gas or wood burning appliances in your home.
Can I go through the house with you as you inspect?
I wish you would! It’s the part of my job that I look forward to the most. I love being with people and teaching them things. Often they teach me things as well! The cranky home inspector who wants to be left alone to do his job is not going to make it anymore. If you accompany me on a Pillar To Post home inspection I’m going to make sure you understand your new home’s advantages and limitations while we examine the most important investment of your life.
I’m selling my house, is there any reason why I should get my house pre-inspected?
It’s a great idea that people in this area have not fully embraced yet. A pre-listing home inspection can detect unknown problems or potential upgrades that you may wish to address prior to selling your home. As a buyer, when a seller presents you with that detailed Pillar To Post pre-listing inspection report in that professionally prepared binder, you have increased confidence that your investment is sound. Being aware of issues in advance will also allow for disclosure of problems when selling your home, which can result in a smoother transaction for both parties.
What kind of contacts do you have in town if we do find a problem?
I have contacts in town with my associates in HVAC, wood destroying organisms and septic. I even go as far as to arrange their appointments during your inspection. I also have access to Pillar To Post corporate offices, staffed by experts in the home inspection business, and over 500 inspectors that I can call upon at any time for questions or advice. I call it my unlimited book of knowledge!
What’s the one thing you wish home buyers knew that they often miss?
I wish people would pay more attention to the exteriors of their homes. We call this the building envelope, and its primary function is to keep your home resistant to water damage. Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t spend a lot of time looking at their roof covering and structure, chimneys, flashing, siding, etc. until they notice a problem with water intrusion or rot. Water damage (rot) is a chronic problem and you generally won’t notice it until it has reached advanced stages that are expensive to repair. I estimate that I find these kind of problems in 90 percent of the homes I inspect.
What kinds of after service resources do you provide for home owners?
I’m there for you 24/7, whether it’s a week after the inspection or 10 years after. I recently helped a guy get his garage door opener to work well after his inspection. Pillar To Post also offers a service with our best-selling Premium package that is called “Lifetime Maintenance Advisory”. If you have a question about your inspection or about your house for as long as you own that house you can call Pillar To Post and we will get you an answer. We’ve been doing this for over 25 years and nobody else in this area can compare to that.