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Providing Peace of Mind to New Hampshire Homes: An Interview with Home Helpers Inc.

By Kristen Bosse

Please describe a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

We're a family-owned home inspection firm offering residential inspections throughout the Cary, Raleigh, and Durham areas of North Carolina. We primarily inspect single-family homes but also do many condominiums, townhouses, and small multi-family properties. We offer radon testing and termite inspections done together with a home inspection. We have recently expanded adding a second inspector to the firm and will soon begin offering additional environmental testing to include mold, asbestos, and indoor air quality.

What is your position at Home Helpers Inc?

I am the company's president and primary inspector. My wife Jenn, runs the back end of the business handling paperwork, bookkeeping, and marketing.

Many sellers view the home inspection as a procedure that will inevitably create more expenses on their end. What is your opinion on this statement?

It's unfortunate that some home sellers feel like the home inspector is their enemy. I've encountered all types of sellers, from the seller who had no idea there was anything wrong with their home and was determined to fix everything and not pass along a single issue to the new homeowner to the seller who refuses to fix anything, even major safety issues insisting that there is nothing wrong with their home and it has been just fine whole time they have lived there.

Though most seem reasonable, willing to come to middle ground with the buyer and make most needed repairs.

Should the buyer be present during the inspection of their potential new home?

I prefer that the buyers attend the second half or arrive at the end of the home inspection for a wrap up of my findings and a tour of the house. This allows me uninterrupted time to concentrate on the home without being distracted. When the buyers arrive I can take as much time that is needed to point out the defects I found, answer all of their questions and concerns and educate them on the basic features of the home as well as showing the locations of the electrical panels, main water shutoff, HVAC systems and other important items in the home.

Apart from buying or selling a home, or there any other times where a home inspection is necessary?

Absolutely, your home is very much a living entity and should be treated as such. It rises from the ground, inhales and exhales air. It has an internal climate and is affected by the environment around it. It gets sick when systems break down and needs repair when wounded. In most cases, you will not know what is wrong until something breaks down or when what appeared to be just a stain turns into major deterioration. And just like with our own bodies, one symptom is usually a sign of a bigger problem that, if not repaired, can lead to even more and bigger problems later on.

Additionally many of the new green features installed in newer construction require specialized training to ensure they are operating correctly. Modern tight construction depends very much on these systems to work properly and when they fail the consequences can be quite severe.

Ironically, as large of an investment as a house is, it is maintained far less frequently than a typical car though your house often costs many times as much. A home rarely ever receives a check-up. Instead, problems that occur in a home are typically only addressed after something breaks or becomes very obvious. At this point the damage is done and the expense can cause a financial strain. Most homeowners give very little consideration to the fact that, if found early on, home related problems can be addressed before those small issues become large problems. A yearly inspection of your home is highly recommended.

Please elaborate on the importance of radon testing in your home.

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer second only to smoking. Radon is invisible, odorless, and colorless and enters the home through the smallest of cracks in a slab, basement floor, or from the ground in the crawlspace. Radon levels can change throughout the year and are typically highest in the winter months.

Approximately 1 in 15 homes will test positive for high levels of radon. The only way to know if elevated radon levels are present in your home is to test.

What should customers look for in a qualified home inspector?

Choosing a qualified home inspector can be very difficult. The consumer generally does not have a chance to meet or interview the inspector prior to hiring them and typically has to rely upon online recommendations or referrals from real estate agents.

I have been in the building trades for over 20 years and home inspector for over 7 years; the best inspectors always have a hands-on background in construction. There's no other way to learn this profession, to know what to look for, to understand why it happens and provide recommendations on how to repair it if you've never been through that process already.

I've done it all from forming foundations, installing roofs, framing, wiring, plumbing, HVAC systems, every aspect of construction right through to finish. An inspector without a background in construction, finding and fixing defects, simply cannot provide all that is needed to perform a thorough inspection and provide the necessary technical support needed to help home buyers through the process of purchasing a new home.

Is there anything you believe you do differently than other home inspectors?

I believe I provide the best service around. I answer my phone, respond quickly to emails, always provide the inspection report the same evening the inspection is performed and am I always available for questions after the inspection is performed. I offer online scheduling, and I am a member of the local MLS- multiple listing service, which enables me to gain access to homes without having a real estate agent present.

I also love what I do, I have always been interested in construction and I take classes every year and keep up with all the latest developments, products, and techniques including green building and energy efficiency.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you?

We strive at being at the forefront of technology and were the first company in our area to offer real-time online scheduling of our services. Our website offers answers to the most commonly asked questions, we provide upfront pricing and full support after the inspection. Please feel free to call, email, or text with any questions or visit our website directly.

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