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  1. #1
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    Default Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    So I have given some thought to maybe getting the required training to be a home inspector. I have a keen eye for detail and always been somewhat interested in the industry. My only concern is that climbing roofs is not really my cup of tea. Is it possible to do a worthwhile inspection for my customers without climbing on the roof? I have no problem climbing ladders or crawling around in attics, just walking on the actual roof makes me super nervous.

    I appreciate any feedback on this. Thanks for your help!

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    The SOP do not require one to walk the roof.

    I can only speak for myself, but I know longer walk roofs I cannot access with my 10 folding ladder. Nor roofs which are too steep, metal roofs, wood shingles and tiled.

    I did make my own camera pole which extends to 26'. Also a good pair of binoculars.

    You will hear varying opinions about walking roofs, but one must do what they are comfortable doing. There is no wrong or right in reality. For instance I have been inspecting for 24 years and have never had a complaint or issue with inspecting from the ground or from eaves.

    Just be sure to cover your limitations and restrictions in your report.

    Its wise if possible to query current owners as to age, historical aspects of roof during their tenure such as repairs, leaks, age, quality of shingles if known.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    I'm not sure how you "know" longer do anything - however......
    While the SOP allows you to not walk roofs, or enter attics, or enter crawlspaces, or do anything that you deem "unsafe"......the reality of this profession is, You should not sign up for a career, if you are not prepared to do what's required to do "the job".

    While you can always disclaim (within the SOP) walking on a roof, maybe this really isn't the career path for you. While I don't walk every roof, I do walk most of them. If you are afraid of walking roofs, and decide you are going to "disclaim" every one, do yourself and your potential clients a favor, and find something else to do.

    My feeling is, that when you sign on to be a home inspector, you should be prepared to enter very tight crawlspaces, hot attics with limited crawl access, and walking on roofs. While it may be OK to not enter a particular crawlspace for a given reason, or enter an attic because its too small, or too hot, or walk on a roof because its too steep. My opinion is, an inspector trying to do a good job for his client will do those things if it is safe to do.

    I try to limit my roof walks to a 6/12 pitch. I may go up one that is over that pitch, or not walk on one less than 6/12 because its not safe (in my opinion). But the basic job should require walking on a roof, IMHO.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian McCarron View Post
    So I have given some thought to maybe getting the required training to be a home inspector.
    DON'T DO IT!!!!

    Your mother wanted you to become a doctor or engineer. Listen to your mother! You are not going to become rich being a home inspector. It's not like the ads: "Work from home - $$$!"The agents hate you, long hours and muddy crawlspaces. Not at all glamorous. Definitely not Mike Holmes!

    Department of Redundancy Department
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    If walking a roof scares you, I don't think you're cut out for this business. To be a good inspector you will need to walk roofs whenever possible, or when it's safe and practical. Roofs are one of the most important parts of the inspection. What about crawling into a dark confined crawlspaces, full of spiders and cobwebs, animal feces, dead animal carcases, rotent infestations.

    Last edited by Trent Tarter; 05-19-2015 at 08:36 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian McCarron View Post
    ........ just walking on the actual roof makes me super nervous..........
    If you can not walk a roof with confidence then you know that you should not get into doing Home Inspections. Something like not liking blood and wanting to be a surgeon. It's a a sign.

    Roofs are a integral part of a home inspection. As is inspecting the electric service panel. If electric scares you then you should not be doing inspections.

    If you can not walk a roof you would be doing yourself and the client a disservice by not performing a competent and complete quality inspection. SOPs have outs for roof and other things which many HI use as excuses to get out from providing a quality product. Don't cheat yourself or others by attempting to rationalize what you are not providing. The fact that you asked the question demonstrates that you have personal ethics, don't compromise them to make a buck.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    I limit my roof walking to 6/12 pitch or less. I'm not a roof rat! I'm lucky in that most of the homes in my area have roofs that are in the 8/12 or better range. If my 15' ladder can't reach it, then so be it. I'm not going to risk it….

    As for entering the profession… It is a very rewarding profession, if you give it your all. It will take 2-3 years to realize a descent profit and most of those that start fail within the first two years. Go to a classroom type school to get your education, The ASHI School and AHIT would be your two best options.

    The license requirements in NC are not too difficult but they are not easy either. You will need pre-license education and passage of the state exam.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    For a whole pile of extra money, you can buy a driveable lift (cherry picker) to look at roofs, but nothing replaces walking on them. Go to a hypnotist, suck it up, or grit it out, but inspecting roofs are a critical part of our business. I use a 17' Little Giant. I often have to pull it up behind me to access a higher roof. It's a pain in my ......rear. I kind of like roofs. I often pause to check out the views. But I always error on the side of caution.

    They make special shoes like Cougar Paws if that makes you more comfortable.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    If you don't own a 40 ft ladder you really don't own a ladder.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    There is no legal requirement via a duty of care or standard of care required to use a 40' ladder. Plus if you are going up a 40' ladder I hope you have a safety harness on?

    Many an inspector has fallen and been injured or killed from falling from a ladder. Ask any nurse in the emergency department how many people come in from ladder falls.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    In my opinion, there are far too many things that can only be seen up close while walking a roof that cannot be seen from ground level or with binoculars.

    - nail pops in shingles
    - surface cracks and loss of stone granule coating on shingles
    - failed tar seal edge flashings
    - loose and unsealed overlap seams on rubber or rolled mineral aggregate roofs
    - bubbled and loose rubber membranes (some of these area actually have water beneath the membranes)
    - soft roof decking
    - cracks and deterioration of mortar caps on chimneys
    - deterioration of terra cotta flue liners and brick and mortar inside chimney flues
    - deteriorated rubber gaskets on flashing boots around plumbing vent pipes

    I'm sure there are some other defects I am missing but this is just to illustrate how much you can miss and not see if you don't walk a roof. Many houses around here are 2 stories with some being 3 stories so a smaller ladder that only gets you to one level or inspecting from the ground only will not cut it. It sounds like some areas are different and buyers in those areas are different but around here, you need to get on to as many roofs as possible. I carry a 32' extension ladder and that barely makes it on some 2 story houses.

    The dollar amount of what you can miss (in my experience) from not walking a roof can quickly surpass the meager fee you might get for the entire home inspection. Yes, you can disclaim up front what you don't do and where you won't go to set the proper expectation and buyers can choose not to hire you. But if the right/wrong person gets their ear and says "your inspector should have caught this" or "your inspector carries insurance to cover this missed defect", it will just tun into a headache you don't want.

    If you really are not comfortable walking roofs, this might not be the profession for you.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    Thanks for all the feedback gents!


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    If you don't own a 40 ft ladder you really don't own a ladder.
    I have one of those, but I'm smart enough to leave it in the barn where it has an inch of dust on it. Of course, my wife says it's actually only 36'.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    There is no legal requirement via a duty of care or standard of care required to use a 40' ladder. Plus if you are going up a 40' ladder I hope you have a safety harness on?

    Many an inspector has fallen and been injured or killed from falling from a ladder. Ask any nurse in the emergency department how many people come in from ladder falls.

    Using the legal escape clause is a cop-out. 25 ft or 30 ft up is just up.

    That's why I say if you can not clime a ladder and walk a walkable roof , without confidence, you should look elsewhere for work. It is not the height nor the fall that kills it is the sudden stop. The fall is a result of something you did wrong. No Error- no fall.





    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    I have one of those, but I'm smart enough to leave it in the barn where it has an inch of dust on it. Of course, my wife says it's actually only 36'.
    Your wife probably says that you exaggerate all of your length statements.


  15. #15

    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post

    Go to a hypnotist


    I love it. How much does a hypnotist charge to do a roof?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Last edited by John Ghent; 05-21-2015 at 01:51 PM.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    A newbie that never walks a roof? Won't get any work.
    Yesterday, roof with 3 skylights, 2 were fastened down, #3 was not. No way you can find that with a pole cam or a drone.
    You don't have to risk a fall to prove anything, but bring the ladder and climb to the eave at least. Set the feet on dirt or the lawn so they don't slip. Then practice on an easy roof, stepping onto the roof. Climb back onto the ladder the same way you got off. Use a bungy cord to strap the ladder to the gutter.

    Last edited by John Kogel; 05-21-2015 at 11:06 PM.
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    There is a distinct difference between not walking a roof because of being scared to, versus recognizing potential damage to roof tiles etc. However, recognizing potential damage (or even injury) also comes from experience, something you can't acquire by osmosis.

    If you chose to disclaim roof walking you had better come up with a better reason that nervousness about doing so. The client will expect more and you should be in a position to provide it.
    OTH...you could always hire a roofer for an hour or two to do it for you and incorporate any findings into you report. Or use their report and defer to that in your report. Of course the roofer won't be free and you pricing would/should reflect the additional expense. Not a good way to start out in a new business venture.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    Garry,

    It may be a co-op in your opinion legally speaking, but I am merely pointing out how the law would likely look at the legal requirements in so far as the SOP and standard of care. It's a fact that there is no requirement to carry a forty foot ladder any more than there is the requirement to carry a ten foot ladder by the standards. There is no requirement in the standards requiring walking a roof. Where inspectors get into trouble is not reporting their limitations and/or reasons as to not accessing a roof and not recommending further action.

    As to human error, yes I agree, but also remember there have been cases in which inspectors through no fault of their own have had ladders fail due to poor design by manufactures, fwiw.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Garry,.......
    As to human error, yes I agree, but also remember there have been cases in which inspectors through no fault of their own have had ladders fail due to poor design by manufactures, fwiw.
    You could say the same thing about your car. It could fail by design fault. So therefore you should not drive, ride or be anywhere that cars may affect you.

    If you can not trust the ladder get a one that you can. Which is different than being nervous or afraid to go up one. Just like ropes used for climbing. You buy the ones that you can be confident in without hesitation and believe me there is a difference between a $.40/ft rope and a $2/ft rope. But anyone that climes will tell you that they have done research and have spoken with others before they decide what they will use. Know your equipment.

    As far as SOPs, there is a huge difference between what you have to do as a minimum and what you should do as a mater of quality of service.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post

    As far as SOPs, there is a huge difference between what you have to do as a minimum and what you should do as a mater of quality of service.
    It's caledl a "Standard of Care" which means "This is what the majority of home inspectors(or any profession) do"……

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    You could say the same thing about your car. It could fail by design fault. So therefore you should not drive, ride or be anywhere that cars may affect you.
    OMG ... ... you were beginning to sound like a bozo from the past - someone who thought he knew more about what you "needed" than about what you thought you needed ... Ralph Nader.

    As far as SOPs, there is a huge difference between what you have to do as a minimum and what you should do as a mater of quality of service.
    Okay, the old Garry is back ... Whew!

    Yes, there is a difference between the "minimum standards required by a Standards of Practice" and the "Standard of Care established for the profession in your area".

    The Standards of Practice simply establish "the absolute minimum" which is required.

    The Standard of Care for the profession in your area is established by what 50% plus 1 of the inspectors in your area actually do, or would do, under the same conditions.

    Flat roof, no rain, no snow, calm day, reachable by a 17 foot Little Giant or similar ladder - I suspect that the Standard of Care ANYWHERE and EVERYWHERE would be to go up on the roof and walk it.

    12/12 slope roof, no rain, no snow, calm day, reachable by a 17 foot Little Giant or similar ladder - I suspect that the Standard of Care ANYWHERE and EVERYWHERE would be to *NOT* go up on the roof or walk it.

    Between those two roofs, and given other weather conditions, the Standard of Care is what would 50% plus 1 of the local inspectors do ... and has absolutely NOTHING to do with the Standards of Practice --- other than the Standards of Practice must be met.

    And being that Standards of Practice are minimum requirements, meeting them should be a no brainer ... 'the inspector is not required to:' which is followed by a long list of things that the inspector is "not required" to do - but - no Standard of Practice prohibits, or even discourages, doing more than what is stated.

    As Ian suggested - hire a roofer to do your roof inspections. Learn to walk roofs with the roofer, learn from the roofer the things he is looking for and how he sees them, eventually you will either become accustomed to walking walkable roofs, have the roofer do all your roof inspections, or ... not stay in the business.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    This was from yesterdays inspection and it is pertinent to this topic. The rubber roof in this picture looked like it only had a bunch of tree debris (weed growing out of debris) and improperly installed drip edge flashing at first glance. But as soon as I stepped onto the roof in the area of the debris from the adjacent copper roof, my foot nearly went all the way through the membrane. There was no decking beneath that spot and the membrane was like a trampoline. And the area where the rubber roof junctioned with the asphalt shingles had no cant strip beneath the membrane at this transition. A look at the roof from the eaves of a ladder never would have allowed me to reveal this.







    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    As a woman in this business, I take pride in providing the most thorough inspection possible. I have noticed, in my neck of the woods anyway, that the inspectors that have been here a very long time are NOT walking roofs or going into crawlspaces.

    I inspected a home after one of the guys did. He did not go up on the roof or under the house, but I did. I found that most of the ridge vent shingles were broken in half, flues and vents were cracked or broken, etc., and under the house the furnace flue was disconnected and venting under the house.
    The previous inspector apparently just glanced at these areas from the ground and said everything was OK.

    It just doesn't seem possible to do the best for your client if you are not willing to do the work. JMHO.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    Quote Originally Posted by JC Warner View Post
    As a woman in this business, I take pride in providing the most thorough inspection possible. I have noticed, in my neck of the woods anyway, that the inspectors that have been here a very long time are NOT walking roofs or going into crawlspaces.

    .....
    I don't know how some inspectors get away with performing inspections like this. When I ask buyers on the phone if they have any particular concerns about the house during the times they have seen it, most will make some comment about wanting to know the condition of the roof. If I didn't walk roofs or go in crawlspaces around here, my referral business would be non-existant.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  25. #25

    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    I was usually good at picking the guys that I wanted to work for me. One time I was wrong. On the first inspection he came with me we were on a very low pitch roof, two stories up. Mostly could be called a flat roof. He went up ok. But he was not going to go down under any circumstances. He freaked. After I finished the inspection and he decided he was not going to end his life by going down the ladder I calmly climbed down and started to remove the ladder. I told him I would call the fire guys to come rescue him and they would probably have news people tagging along. He relented, but I had to go back up and guide him down a rung at a time. When he had both feet on the ground I fired him.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Thinking of going into the home inspection business

    Quote Originally Posted by John Ghent View Post
    I was usually good at picking the guys that I wanted to work for me. One time I was wrong. On the first inspection he came with me we were on a very low pitch roof, two stories up. Mostly could be called a flat roof. He went up ok. But he was not going to go down under any circumstances. He freaked. After I finished the inspection and he decided he was not going to end his life by going down the ladder I calmly climbed down and started to remove the ladder. I told him I would call the fire guys to come rescue him and they would probably have news people tagging along. He relented, but I had to go back up and guide him down a rung at a time. When he had both feet on the ground I fired him.
    Love it.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

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