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Treating Your Home Like Their Own: An Interview with Austin Property Inspections

By Kristen Bosse

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

Austin Property Inspections opened in May 2007 and has now grown to be a four inspector firm. We perform home and termite (Wood Destroying Insect) inspections.

How did you get into this line of work?

Gary: My nickname is Gear. I am a gearhead that loves to find out how things work. After working for Fox Service Company (an A/C, Electrical, & Plumbing service company) here in Austin for 9 years; I decided to enter into home inspection in 2004 and started Austin Property Inspections in 2007. I have loved going to work each day since.

Samuel: I really wanted to be self- employed and once I found out what a home inspector is and does I was sold. All it took was finding a school and a professional inspector to sponsor me. Plus I enjoy looking at different houses and how they were built. Being outside is nice too.

How important is a proper home inspection?

Gary: The inspection may uncover issues with the foundation, roof, plumbing, or electrical that may cost over $10,000 in repairs to correct. It also covers general maintenance items as recommendations to prevent costly repairs down the road. It is an invaluable educational tool.

Samuel: I think it is very important. Especially if you do not know very much about the different components of a home. It's very easy to overlook a major problem if you don't know what you're looking for or at.

Do you prefer the homeowners to be present during the inspection?

Gary: Yes, home buyers are encouraged to be present. If not for the entire inspection, then minimally for the final summary; so that any questions may be answered. Current homeowners are discouraged from being present and its usually viewed as intrusive in the process to the prospective buyer in getting a feel for their new home. Buyers are typically very uncomfortable when the seller is present at the inspection.

Samuel: Either way is fine with me, but as inspector's, our standards or practice guide us not to release our finding to anyone other than who is paying for the report aka buyer in most cases without prior written consent. Either way is fine with me. Sometimes the home owners try to sneak in some "watcha finding" questions and it's hard to tell them that I can't say without sounding rude. Legally we're not allowed to tell them anything we've found without written consent from the client. On the other hand, with the home owner there, it's an opportunity to show them how professional our company is and maybe they too will choose us to do their home inspection in the future.

Is there ever a necessity to get your home inspected if you are not selling your home?

Gary: Perhaps. There are a variety of home's that we do inspections for that are not for sale. We perform a home inspection for buyer's that have their one-year builder home warranty approaching. We perform a home inspection for newly constructed homes that have never been lived in. We perform a home inspection for renter's purchasing the home they reside in and are purchasing from the owner. We perform City of Austin Short Term Rental inspections. We perform inspections for people that have lived in their home they have owned for a long time and they know there are issues, but want to know everything that needs to be currently addressed.

Samuel: I don't think that there is a necessity. Once again, if you don't really know too much about the components of the home then it may not be a bad idea to have a "check- up" every other year or so.

What is your goal for each customer at the start of each inspection?

Gary: To understand the process of the inspection I Tell them what I am going to do. I Do it. I Tell them what I did and what I found. Tell. Do. Tell.

Samuel: At the beginning I try to let the client know what they can expect and explain to them the process of the home inspection. The beginning is a good time to find out from the client any main concerns that they may have about the home. It's nice to try and give them answers right away to help put their mind to ease.

What should customers look for in a qualified home inspector?

Gary: Licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) is primary. Subsequent licenses are an added plus and indicate that he or she is dedicated to their profession and on-going education. Experience is a key factor. Communication skills are a key factor. Come up with a list of three questions to interview your inspector with and follow your instinct after the interviews as one inspector will always stand out.

Samuel: I would have to say one that is personable and will be patient with the customers' questions. Experience is a good quality as well. I wouldn't assume that the most expensive is the best. Ever inspector has his or her own price. We try to keep ours somewhere in the middle.

What are the most common mistakes made in the home inspection process?

Gary: Every inspector will at some point "miss" something whether he or she admits it or not. Homes are like people and no two are exactly alike. I like to think of inspection as an art form. One must first have a firm knowledge of the process to then develop it into an art.

Samuel: There are not too many common mistakes. Sometimes there is a mix up in the scheduling or if we come upon a house with many big problems, we sometimes overlook the small things. It's not very often though. We usually catch any mistakes before they happen.

What makes your inspection services better/different than other comparable companies?

Gary: I believe that our company stands out simply because we are willing to spend whatever amount of time is needed to ensure that our home buyer has a solid understanding of the state of each of the home's systems and what it would take (money and/or time) to correct any issues as they move forward. Anything can be fixed? but if it's jacked?we'll tell you that!

Samuel: At Austin Property Inspections we genuinely love our jobs and I think that it shows through our customer service. We treat each home as if it were our own. We make it our goal to go above and beyond our clients expectations.

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

There is a "book now" button on our website www.austinpropertyinspections.com that is available 24/7. Pricing is by the square footage and is always listed there and has never changed since we opened the doors. You may also call or text me at 512.848.3523 and I will respond as soon as I am able.

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Kristen has written impressive content including press releases and feature stories...

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