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Preparing Your House for a Home Inspection: An Interview with Craig Maginsky of Home Pro Inspections LLC

By Craig Maginsky

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

After graduating from Boston College in 1980, I obtained a job in the financial services industry on Wall Street and moved to New York City. I had a great career for 17 years trading commodities, but realized I wanted to do something different that would involve my own business. I was reading the New York Times Real Estate section one Sunday and came across an article about home inspections, and the fact that besides most home buyers wanting their largest investment inspected prior to purchase, banks were now requiring an inspection prior to making a mortgage commitment. I wanted to do something different that would be my own business and involve helping people.

I had worked for my Dad who was a builder, during summers home from college and had a working knowledge of construction practices. I did research on the Home Inspection industry and made the decision to start a Home Inspection business. I attended a two week home inspection course in Omaha, Nebraska to learn about proper inspection techniques of various home systems and report writing. I started my business by attending open houses sponsored by local real estate businesses and meeting as many real estate agents as I could. My hard work and the relationships I have established over the past 16 years has paid off. I have an excellent reputation and have excellent reviews online by many of my clients. I offer a quality Home Inspection for a reasonable price and as a result, I obtain many referrals from friends and family of satisfied clients.

What are some of the services your company provides?

Services my company provides include radon in air testing, water testing (which includes both chemical and physical analysis, bacteria, and radon in water testing), and wood destroying insect/pest inspections. I can also recommend independent inspectors for septic systems, mold and in-ground oil tanks if needed.

What key areas of a house should someone examine prior to having a home inspection?

When viewing homes for sale prior to making a decision to purchase, the home buyer will decide if the home fits their needs from the design and layout of the home. What appeals to the home buyer is what they can "see" with their own eyes. A buyer will look at all areas of the home with different perspectives. A buyer for a newer home looks differently at the home than a buyer for an older home who knows the home will need cosmetic updating. As a professional, experienced Home Inspector with a 'trained' eye, I can point out things that buyers would not see at a walk around tour of the home with an agent. The most obvious areas to look at first time at a house are the roof (are the shingles old or damaged), windows (are they updated thermal pane or old single pane wood windows), the exterior siding of the home (is it in decent condition or in need of a paint job?). These are areas which if not in good shape can pretty much be determined by the buyer. If the roof is in bad condition, the windows need updated and the home needs to be painted, you're looking at an additional large investment.

What are the most common areas that fail home inspections?

I really do not use the word "fail" but prefer "deficient". Some common areas of a home (especially older homes which I specialize in) are crawlspaces (which have dirt floors, possible significant termite damage), structural foundation problems, old electrical systems (old wiring, no grounded outlets, old fuse box main panels and disconnects), old plumbing (old water supply piping, old drain and waste piping), and old heating systems. Typically systems that are old and past design life and in need of updated/replacing.

For you personally, what area bothers you the most if it is not up to code?

The only thing that 'bothers' me personally is when a system or something is deemed 'unsafe'. It bothers me that the current tenant or owner would not correct a situation that concerns the safety of people living in the home. As I specialize in older homes, current "Codes" do not apply. Codes will only apply when the home is 'updated/renovated". I make it my mission to point out any and all safety hazards I come across during my inspection.

Do you have any general advice for someone who is about to have a home inspection?

For someone who is ready to have a home inspection, I would advise them to be diligent and do some basic research on the inspector. The Real Estate agent may give one, two or three names of inspectors of inspection firms for you to call. Google the inspectors name and find online reviews of the inspector for work with previous clients. Talk with the inspector and ask as many questions as you can think of. If you are comfortable speaking with the inspector you will likely be comfortable accompanying him/her on the inspection. If you call an Inspection Company to book an inspection, be mindful that you may have a less experienced home inspector Intern show up to do your inspection (under the supervision of a licensed inspector who will not be there).

What are some consequences to failing a home inspection?

I always put my clients interests first and foremost, even if I have a solid relationship with the agent. Most agents appreciate my honesty and the way I communicate with the buyer as far as 'deficient' areas of the home which will require a significant expense they did not consider before the inspection. Of course, some agents are going to be angry that the 'inspector' cost them a commission. However, I find these type of agents rarely last in the long term in the Real Estate business.

What is the best way for people to get in contact with you or your company?

The best way to contact me is by phone as I always have my cell on. If I am busy on an inspection with a client and you get my voice mail, please leave a message and I will call you back as soon as possible. You can also either send me a text message or email and I will answer promptly.

203-912-0531
www.homeproinspectionsllc.com/

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