National Property Inspections Welcomes New Franchise Owners in August

National Property Inspections is pleased to announce two new franchise owners who will take the company’s brand to new areas:

  • Logan Godkin is from Livermore, California, and his territory will cover Livermore and part of Alameda County.
  • Wayne Merrill is from Washington, Utah, and his territory will cover Washington County in southwest Utah.

Each of these new business owners completed the 120-hour intensive training program in July 2014 at the National Property Inspections, Inc., headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, and is now undergoing field training with another NPI business owner.

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Tagging Along

Submitted by Lawrence Englehart, GPI Franchise Owner, Nova Scotia, Canada

Inspector + ACQ. As a first-time home buyer, is it OK if I bring my dad with me to the home inspection?

A. For most people, the process of buying a new home can be both an exciting and at times an overwhelming experience. Since this will be your first home purchase, I can appreciate why you would like to have your dad, or maybe a trusted family member or friend, present with you during the home inspection.

I personally prefer the purchaser to be there during the entire home inspection process, as this is a great opportunity for them to ask relevant questions and to receive education on the various components and systems within the property. However, I would strongly recommend not bringing children or pets to the home inspection — in an effort to avoid unnecessary distractions or potential mishaps.

Remember, the primary objective of a home inspection is to provide you with a comprehensive visual examination of the home’s overall structure, major systems and components. It is intended to help you make an informed purchasing decision.

So, regardless of who you invite, it is extremely important that the home inspector be allowed to inspect the property with the least amount of interruptions or distractions.

Most home inspectors have a process or system they follow during the inspection of the property that allows them to systematically inspect the various systems and components in the home. Unfortunately, distractions may increase the chances of them missing something important because they are being redirected to another location within the home by a well-meaning friend or family member.

As an example, if the inspector is in the furnace room, that would be excellent opportunity to ask questions regarding the heating system. If you do have a question regarding another area of the home, I would suggest taking notes as the inspection proceeds and then wait until the inspector is in that area, or to ask that question at the very end of the inspection process.

For me, I would never consider any question about an area of the home or system I am inspecting to be a distraction, as I find it much easier to explain areas of concerns when it is observed, rather than later over the phone without the system or item in front of me.

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Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks

Submitted by Roland Bates, President, NPI/GPI

Inspector + Client2Like the old Bob Dylan song, “Times, they are a-changing,” and that’s especially true with business communication. In case there are any “old dogs” reading this, you have to embrace change or be left behind. Or worse yet — be called an “old dog.” Still, there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned face-to-face meeting or even a phone call. I find the best mix of communication for business is a mix of the old and the new.

Pretty face to pretty face. There is no substitute for meeting clients or making sales calls face-to-face. In my limited-capacity mind that’s the best way to solicit business, build relationships and work out any perceived differences that two interested parties might have. And ultimately that’s the only way to shake hands. Shaking hands is the best way to greet someone and, assuming it’s a business meeting, symbolize “deal done.”(Let’s hope the handshake is never entirely replaced with the Howie Mandel fist bump.)

Did I catch you at a busy time? In order of importance, and next to face-to-face meetings, is the ever-so-important phone call. I can only guess at how many business-related phone calls I’ve had in the last 25-plus years. Some days my ear would literally become sore. Once you know someone well, a phone call is still one of the best ways to discuss details of a business matter, build relationships or tell that joke that only you find funny (all my jokes are funny, I think). For years, phone calls greatly outnumbered business-related emails.

Emails: Can’t live without them. At first emails seemed more interesting than practical. I might have checked them once a day. But we now have the ability to attach photographs, documents and the like, which has made email an essential business tool. It’s said that most businesspeople get more business-related emails than they do phone calls. I believe that, for that has definitely been the case for me for some time now. And speaking of phone calls, who doesn’t have a cellphone?

Text messaging. Are business-related text messages slowly outnumbering business-related phone calls and emails combined? I wouldn’t bet against it. There are a lot of people who silence the ringer on their phones and use them to call out but don’t answer incoming calls. They use their cells for mostly texting.

I’ll save webinars, video conferencing, etc., for another time.

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It’s Never Too Late to Change Careers

Picture2Tired of the corporate grind or working for someone else, encore entrepreneurs — those over 50 who plan on working through their retirement — are looking at changing careers by going into business for themselves. Oftentimes, this involves starting a franchise business.

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), one in four individuals between the ages of 44 and 70 are interested in becoming entrepreneurs, and this is one of the fastest-growing groups in the United States.

If you’re a member of this group, then now is a great time to explore your options for owning your own business. National Property Inspections in the United States and Global Property Inspections in Canada have plenty of open territories where you can start your own residential and commercial property inspection business. We offer an intensive, comprehensive training program, and our home office staff in Omaha, Nebraska, will help you every step of the way as you build your business.

Named a top low-cost franchise by Franchise Business Review, National Property Inspections, Inc., scored outstanding with 4.1 stars on our 2014 franchisee satisfaction survey — click here to read the survey summary. In addition, National Property Inspections, Inc., is listed in Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2014 Franchise 500 and the magazine’s top low-cost franchises list.

Ready to start your new career with NPI or GPI? Contact Julie Erickson at 800.333.9807, Ext. 24, or email julie.erickson@npiweb.com for more information.

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Squeaky Wood Floors Got You Down?

Submitted by Randy Yates, Technical Supervisor and Technical Training Administrator, NPI/GPI Corporate

Wood Floor_shutterstock_146879384Some folks say that a squeaking floor adds character to a home. Some say it makes it hard to sneak in or out late at night without awakening the kids, the parents, the dog or a sleeping spouse. Sometimes squeaking floors are just a plain old nuisance.

Building standards for quite some time have required the use of adhesives and a scheduled fastening pattern or system to prevent squeaking floors from occurring. Gluing is a must, but the type of fastener used matters, too — nails or screws, depending on the thickness of the floor, which is minimum ¾ inch thick, plywood, OSB, or particle board. The length of the fastener is determined by the thickness of the floor. The fastening pattern is a minimum of every 12 inches apart.

So can you fix an older floor from squeaking? Depending on the floor covering, like carpet for example, if you can find the floor joist and, although not recommended, you may be able to drive a nail or screw a screw directly into the floor to stop a squeak. Carpet oftentimes can cover up the fastener head. The preferred method would be to pull back the carpet. Forget it, though, for tile- or linoleum-covered floors; the squeaks will have to stay.

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Dealing With Mould in the Attic

Submitted by Lawrence Englehart, GPI Franchise Owner, Nova Scotia, Canada

Mold Spores_shutterstock_108833519Q. Can a home inspector tell me if there is mould in my attic?

A. First, let me clarify that the inspection for or the identification of mould is beyond the scope of a typical home inspection. Without getting too literal, whether we spell it as mold or mould, it is a type of fungus that will decompose organic material (e.g., wood, paper) and prefers damp or wet locations. Mould growth has been known to adversely affect people’s health and can cause wood rot and structural damage. Only an accredited mould professional has the necessary training and tools to accurately classify the specific mould species that may have invaded your attic space.

During the inspection of an attic, there are times when the home inspector will identify visible discolouration on the underside of the attic (roof) sheathing. There can be multiple reasons for the cause of this discolouration, but it is usually associated with excess humidity and poor ventilation in the attic space. Excess humidity can come from many sources, such as a bathroom fan or a clothes dryer venting into the attic space or exhausting directly into the soffit area; which, as a result of thermal convection, can cause the warm moist air to flow back into the attic.

Or another source might be from an uninsulated attic hatch or pull-down stairs or even gaps or other types of penetrations, such as pot lights, holes in the framing for plumbing, electrical or mechanical systems, etc. There are so many ways to improve ventilation in the attic, but each situation is different so it would be best to consult with a qualified attic ventilation specialist on possible solutions.

Regardless, the only precise way to know if you have mould in the attic is to have a mould professional take a sample (e.g., swabbing, tape lifting) from the discoloured area and grow it in a lab petri dish. This method would allow them to accurately identify the species of mould that is in the attic.

However, accurately knowing the species of mould does not change the fact that professional mould remediation will still be required. Ironically, it is not unusual for a mould remediation company to look into the attic space and say: “Yes, you have mould!”

If you do some research you will notice there are many companies that specialize in mould removal, control and remediation. Depending on the mould remediation company, part of the process usually involves addressing the causes of the mould growth by taking measures to properly ventilate the attic space and ensuring that visible gaps caused by any plumbing, electrical, or mechanical systems are properly sealed, as well as confirming the bathroom exhaust fan is venting directly to the exterior of the building envelope, etc. Depending on the circumstances, the affected area(s) may need to be removed or may require an application of a special antimicrobial disinfectant and followed up with a type of sealer/paint to encapsulate the area. It is not unusual for a severe mould infestation to leave black dust-like spores on top of the insulation, which will then have to be professionally removed and replaced.

If you still have questions or concerns, you should research online resources, such as Natural Resources CanadaCMHC or Health Canada.  In the United States, visit your state department of health website or the Environmental Protection Agency website.

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Don’t Let Your Builder’s Warranty Expire Without Getting Your Home Inspected

ÁþVIf you built your home or bought a brand-new home, then it came with a 12-month builder’s warranty covering construction defects. But would you know if your dream house was harboring defects? You would if you got an 11th-month builder’s warranty, or if you had the house inspected at closing time.

If you had your new home inspected at closing time, great job. If you didn’t — thinking as most people do that new homes don’t need to be inspected — then now may be a good time to get that inspection, before your builder’s warranty expires. Even if your builder is outstanding and reputable, subcontractors performed a lot of the work, and you don’t necessarily know their reputation.

You’d be amazed at some of the common defects that our NPI and GPI inspectors find on brand-new homes:

  • Cut trusses in the roof system, which can cause a sagging room and structural instability
  • Improper or missing caulking around windows, which allows air and moisture to enter the home, potentially resulting in wood rot, mold problems and higher energy bills
  • Insufficient amounts of insulation in the ceiling or attic, which affects energy costs and the comfort of the home
  • Reversed polarity in electrical outlets, which is a fire and shock hazard
  • Roof covering or flashing improperly installed, which could cause a leaking roof, damaging ceilings and causing possible mold growth

Defects like these and others that are found before the expiration of the builder’s warranty can be fixed at no cost to you as the homeowner, as they are covered under the builder’s 12-month warranty. So don’t delay; order your builder’s warranty inspection before your warranty expires.

To find an NPI/GPI inspector in your area, visit http://npiweb.com/FindAnInspector/tabid/80/Default.aspx in the United States, or http://gpiweb.ca/FindAnInspector/tabid/157/Default.aspx in Canada.

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NPI and GPI Welcome Four New Franchise Owners in July

Picture2National Property Inspections, Inc., parent company of National Property Inspections in the United States and Global Property Inspections in Canada, is excited to announce four new business owners who will take the company’s brand to new areas:

  • Russ Leap is from Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, and his franchise territory will cover Fayette and Somerset Counties in south central Pennsylvania.
  • Jon McCreath hails from Acworth, Georgia, with franchise territory covering Bartow, Cherokee and Paulding counties northwest of Atlanta.
  • Dragan Milanovic is from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and his franchise territory will cover Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.
  • Doug Stoner is from Lititz, Pennsylvania, with franchise territory covering Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

“We’re thrilled to have these new franchisees on board with NPI and GPI,” said Roland Bates, president of National Property Inspections, Inc. “Each of these business owners has worked very hard to make his dream of owning his own business a reality, and we will be with them every step of the way as they build their businesses.”

Each of these new business owners completed the 120-hour intensive training program in July 2014 at the National Property Inspections, Inc., headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, and is now undergoing field training with another NPI/GPI business owner.

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What Buyers Should Know About a Home Inspection

Submitted by Roland Bates, President, NPI/GPI

ºoVarious trade groups, in addition to some states and provinces, have defined what a “home inspection” is and what it is not. Most inspectors both explain and provide their clients a copy of the standards of practice to which they adhere. Within those standards, a home inspection is defined. Although the time involved in performing a home inspection is not defined, two to four hours is a pretty good average. During this time, an inspector can tell you a lot about the house, but they cannot tell you everything.

Standards of practice typically provide for a “random sampling of like items.” An example of this would be electrical outlets. If a TV, cable box, or the like is plugged in to an outlet, then the inspector will not inspect that particular outlet. (Imagine the seller’s reaction if the cable box is unplugged and their favorite TV program does not record.)

Another example of random sampling is windows. The inspector may open some windows but not all. Thus, a window could be painted shut or otherwise damaged and not be mentioned in the inspection report.

One of the biggest quandaries for an inspector is deliberate concealment. A ceiling could be freshly painted to hide water statins and thus conceal a roof leak. The most elaborate scheme at concealment that I have personal knowledge is the following: The home had a large basement. One of the foundation walls had started to bow. The seller “furred” or built a false wall directly in front of the wall in question. At the time of the home inspection, the floors above had not deflected, and the doors and windows were in square, etc. In short, there were no clues that there was an issue with this wall, and it’s unlikely any inspector would have discovered it. Over time, the bowing worsened, the floors above deflected, etc. To make a long story short, a neighbor knew the name of the contractor who built the false wall and this contractor told all. Ultimately, the seller had to pay for the repairs.

In summary, not many things get past a good inspector, but please remember they do not dismantle anything and are only on site for a limited amount of time.

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What Sellers Should Know About an Attic Inspection

Submitted by Roland Bates, President, NPI/GPI

AtticWhy do you need to get into the attic? Like the old expression, if I had a dollar for every time I heard that …

Granted, the attic could be a great place to store your Christmas decorations and the like. And it could be a pain in the backside to move that treasure trove, but accessing the attic is an important part of a home inspection. What follows is a partial list of the things an inspector will look for while in the attic:

  • Roof leaks
  • Broken or sagging roof rafters
  • Damaged roof sheathing
  • Cut or damaged roof trusses (making room for air handlers, etc.)
  • Undersized roof framing, which may not support a snow or wind load
  • Missing insulation
  • Open electrical splices
  • Clothes dryer filling the attic with lint and moisture
  • Bathroom exhaust vents, and the resultant moisture, terminating in the attic
  • Water heaters and air handlers are sometimes located in the attic and naturally need to be inspected
  • And, yes, occasionally raccoons, bats, squirrels or other vermin are found in the attic — hate it when that happens

All of the aforementioned items are valid reasons for an inspector to access the attic. And speaking of access, hopefully the access panel has not been painted or nailed shut. And, please understand that in opening the attic access, there is a possibility that some dirt, debris or fibers of insulation could fall on the floor. A professional inspector will typically put down a drop cloth and sweep or vacuum the floor before he/she leaves.

One last comment: As the seller, perhaps allowing the inspector access to your attic has inconvenienced you. On behalf of all inspectors, thank you for understanding. If you purchase another home, the inspector you employ will want to access that attic and look for all aforementioned items on your behalf. So, hopefully, it all balances out in the long run.

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