Aaron Marjala is the owner of Tri County Home Inspection. With many years of experience under his belt and an MBA from Cardinal Stretch University, Aaron has kindly agreed to share with this some of his best advice from inside the home inspection business.
What made you want to go into home inspection?
During a case study I conducted in graduate school on the home inspection industry, I noticed troubling gaps in education, training, and overall experience. I wanted to create a service that filled these gaps, and I have. TCHI now inspects over 500 homes annually. We see ourselves as a local boutique style firm, and we provide our clients with the very best reporting, communicating, and customer service.
What are the most common mistakes that home inspectors find?
The most common issues we see are electrical related. These are typically hidden, so the homeowner has no way of knowing that there’s a problem at all! It’s important to get these fixed, because electrical issues are one of the leading causes of house fires and injury. Luckily, they are usually pretty inexpensive to repair.
Also, most people don’t realize that shutting heating and cooling vents in unused rooms will not decrease your electric bill. Instead it can create unexpected blockages, which forces the furnace to work harder. Limited airflow may also cause freezing in your ducts, especially in the winter. As an alternative, I would recommend installing a high efficiency model that is designed to operate with your specific square footage in mind.
What was your most memorable inspection experience?
I was inspecting the basement of a home built in the early 1900s. There were no lights. I went in, and I saw a body lying on the ground. I started screaming, and bolted out of there. A few minutes later, a man walked out of the basement apologizing profusely. He was the gardener, and he was taking a nap where his boss could not find him.
Any final pieces of advice about hiring a home inspector?
Start with references provided from someone whose opinion you trust, like your real estate agent. Research the services provided and make sure the inspector is certified. Book them as soon as your offer is accepted, because you only have a short window for inspection. Also, make sure they offer a warranty or guarantee. At TCHI, for example, if you aren’t happy with your inspection, we will pay to have another company redo it. No one has taken us up on this offer yet!
Finally, remember that you get what you pay for! Typical home inspections last around three hours, and cost around $400. If the price is to good to be true, it probably is. The inspector shouldn’t be in a rush, and should be able to answer all your questions. After all, they should have your best interests in mind.
By: Lara Henerson