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Contact Information

p. 360.600.4354
p. 503.502.1495
f. 360.833.2208
e. NickelsenHomeInspections@gmail.com
t. www.twitter.com/pdxinspector
fb. www.facebook.com/pdxinspector
 



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Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question? See if you can find it below. Click on the question of your choice and it will take you to the answer.

Still can’t find your answer? Contact Us and we will promptly answer your question and, perhaps, include it on our list!

Thank you! – Nickelsen Home Inspections, LLC

Home Inspection Process and Related Questions

“How do I book an inspection?”
“Do you work on the weekends?”
Where do you perform home inspections?”
“How long does a home inspection take?”
Do I have to be there for the home inspection?”
“Can’t I just do it?”
“Are you a franchise?”
“Are you a ‘deal killer’?”
“Do I need to read the Service Agreement?”
“I have a new house. Should I have a home inspection?”
“I have a condo. Should I have it inspected?”
“Do you do one year warranty home inspections?”
“I am going to sell my house. Should I have a pre-listing inspection?”
“Can a house ‘fail’ an inspection?”
“What if a home inspector finds problems with the home?”
“What is a ‘construction draw’ inspection?
“What is a ‘re-inspection’?”
“What is the real estate market like in the region?”
“What is your office located?”
“Do you offer ‘home warranties’?”
“Do offer any guarantees?”
“Do you do radon testing?”
“Do you do asbestos testing?”
“Do you do lead paint testing?”
“What is the craziest thing you have run into at a home inspection?”

Standards of Practice and Ethics

“I heard that I should never use a home inspector that was referred by a realtor. True?”
“Do you pay people for referrals?”
“Do you do repairs on homes you have inspected?”
“What are your Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics?”

Credentials

“What are your credentials?”
“Do you support Senate Bill 6229?”
“I am looking for an inspector in another State. What should I do?”

Looking to Hire?

“Are you looking to hire any new inspectors?”

 

Home Inspection Process and Related Questions

Q. “How do I book an inspection?”

A. That is our favorite question!

Introduce yourself to our home inspectors (“Meet the Inspectors”), choose one and call them to schedule your appointment.

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Q. “Do you work on the weekends?”

A. We work 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

However, most people don’t ask for inspections on Sunday, and we have yet to get a request for a Christmas morning inspection. If we did, Santa would be doing the chimney inspection for us!

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Q. “Where do you perform inspections?”

A. We perform residential home inspections in South West Washington, “from the mountains to the coast”, and as far north as Olympia. While based on the Vancouver / Longview area, we travel far and wide to do inspections. If you would like a more complete list, please visit our Areas Served page.

A truncated list: Camas, Vancouver, Longview, Washougal, Kelso, Battle Ground, Olympia, Stevenson, Kalama, the Long Beach Peninsula and everywhere in-between. We travel up to 2.5 hours to get to an inspection!!

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Q. “How long does a home inspection take to complete”?

A. The actual inspection can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half.

However, we provide computer generated reports that are delivered on site and we take the time to go over them with you. Given that it takes time to put all of the information in the computer, the home inspection can take anywhere from 2-3 hours, depending on how much information needs to be put in the inspection report.

Further, we do digital pictures upon request and/or at the home inspector’s discretion. Taking the pictures, adding them to the home inspection, and printing them out adds at least 20 minutes to a home inspection.

We have done 2500 square foot homes in as little as one hour, and 1000 square foot homes in as much as 5 hours (very rare). It really depends on what we need to write down.

There are some inspectors who suggest that you are not getting a good home inspection if it takes less than 2.5 hours. These are usually inspectors that do only one or two a week and are… well… old and slow. If you perform as many as 20 inspections a week (like we do), you learn how to be fast…

Nonetheless, it isn’t about being “fast” it is about being “accurate” and giving you the information that you need to make a good decision about your home… we serve as “conduits for educated real estate transactions”.

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Q. “Do I have to be there for the home inspection?”

A. Absolutely not!

If you are asking if we would like you to be there for the home inspection, then the answer is … absolutely!

While we try to make our reports as understandable as possible to the “average Joe” (and “Jill”), there is no doubt that you will be able to understand the home inspection report better if you are actually there. When you are there you are able to go over the report with your home inspector… you will be able to ask questions. Further, many items that seem HUGE on paper are not as big as people think… if we can’t go over the report with you and explain the actual condition of your home, you may take a rather common problem and think that it is worse than it really is.

So, you don’t have to be at the inspection, but it sure would be nice!

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Q. “Can’t I just do my own home inspection”?

A. Sure.

However, it will hold no weight in a court of law; it will not be considered a “home inspection” in your contract, and hence you will not be able to back out of the deal (if necessary) without having had a professional home inspection; you are not trained in real estate forensics, etc. etc. etc.

So, sure… you can do the home inspection yourself, or you can have the “handy man” in the family give you his advice, but you truly can’t replace the benefits of having a professional home inspection done on your home.

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Q. “Are you a franchise?”

A. No!

We are locally owned, and locally grown… like a good organic vegetable… or something like that.

Some popular companies in the area are not only franchises, they were started in Canada!

Nickelsen Home Inspections, LLC is proud to be serving this community independent of national franchises. When possible, we try to utilize the skills of other local small business owners as well. See our Local Affiliates and Local Partners pages.

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Q. “Are you a ‘deal killer’?”

A. (Laughing…)

No.

If we went around “killing deals”, we would be out of work. As one realtor recently said, “I have never seen a home inspection ‘kill the deal’, but I have definitely seen a Termite infested crawl space kill one!”

We have had clients decide to purchase another house using the same realtor, but we know of no deal that we … murdered.

Further, 95% of our business is referred to us by our client’s realtors. Many of those realtors have used us for years, and years… if we “killed deals” we wouldn’t be doing 1400 inspections a year! Trust me.

We have seen home inspectors that know how to exaggerate and blow things out of proportion. We have seen teams of home inspectors yell to another inspector, “Hey, Bob… we have a big problem here.”

That is not what we do.

While some home inspectors may lack the necessary social skills and temperance to make a professional assessment of a home, Nickelsen Home Inspections professionals understand how to deal with people. We want our clients to be educated… Not frightened!

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Q. “The Service Agreement is too long… do I need to read it?”

A. Well, that is up to you. You do need to sign it… People often don’t read documents that they sign. We tend to think this is a poor practice.

If you want the truncated version of the home inspection Service Agreement, it sort of goes like this: “I can’t see through walls.”

You can find our Service Agreement in the “Services” section of our website.

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Q. “I have a new house and don’t think that I am going to have a home inspection. Do you think that I should?”

A. Well, that is completely up to you.

If you are asking if we do home inspections on new homes very often, then the answer would be a definite “Yes!” And if you are also asking if we find notable problems on new homes, the answer would be a definite “Yes!”

We have done home inspections on homes that were 30 years old and had almost no problems whatsoever… but we have done homes that were less than one year old and the list was quite long.

Getting a home inspection done before you buy a house or sell as house could be one of the better decisions you ever make. While it may cost two or three hundred dollars, it could save you thousands of dollars, and a lot of time!

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Q. “I have a condo and the Condo Association takes care of the outside of the home. Should I get a home inspection performed before I purchase it?”

A. Yes.

We don’t just find problems on the outside of the home. As such, you should definitely have the inside of your condo inspected.

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Q. “I have heard something about a 1 (one) year warranty home inspection. What are those, and should I have one done on my house that is almost one year old?”

A. Well, if you want to find out what the contractor didn’t finish, you should definitely have a one year warranty home inspection done.

With our home inspection report you will be able to go to the contractor and ask for the items to be repaired while the home is still under warranty. If you pass the time, and don’t have an inspection performed, you may have to live with the problems and face them when you want to sell the house… when a buyer comes along and has a home inspection!

So, be smart: get that one year warranty home inspection done before it is too late! Give us a call and find out about our discounts on one year warranty home inspections.

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Q. “I am going to be listing my house soon and was thinking about having a pre-listing inspection performed, but my realtor said that it would be a waste of money. What should I do?”

A. Well, on the one hand I would suggest that you trust your realtor. On the other hand, there is convincing evidence, even from realtors, that houses which have a prelisting home inspection performed have a market advantage:

• A pre listing inspection can help your home sell faster…
• A pre listing inspection can maximize the amount that you can get for the home…
• A pre listing inspection can give you the peace of mind you need by helping eliminate the element of surprise when the buyer has a home inspection
• And a pre listing inspection gives you the opportunity to resolve issues that you were not aware of before.

Click here to read more about pre listing home inspections.

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Q. “Can a house ‘fail’ an inspection?”

A. No.

During the building process, contractors are required to have Code compliance inspections. The building inspector can fail pass or fail the project at that time.

A home inspection, after the home is finished, is a little different. What “passes” or “fails” is up to you, the person buying the home. What is “tolerable to a 32 year old man with experience in carpentry may or may not be “tolerable” to 73 year old window who just wants things to “work right”.

'Nickelsen Home Inspections professionals will give you the information that you need to determine whether your house “passes” or “fails” inspection.

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Q. “What if a home inspector finds problems with the house?”

A. There is no such thing as the “perfect house”. Rarely do we perform home inspections and find only a couple items. Hence, you can bet that the home inspector is going to find some items that need to be addressed…

What you decide to do with that information is completely up to you…

If you are a home seller and you just had a pre-listing inspection performed before you put the house on the market, you may want to do a number of things with the home inspection report. Perhaps you adjust your price. Perhaps you decide to have some of the items fixed. Perhaps you do nothing, but at least you have some peace of mind, knowing what things someone else’s home inspector is going to find…

Or maybe you are a home buyer and you just had a home inspection performed on the house that you think you are going to buy. You also have a number of options... You could still offer full price and know what things you are going to need to address once you move in. Perhaps you decide to pay full price and ask the seller to fix a number of items on the list. Maybe you are going to fix the problems yourself, but you are going to offer the seller a little less for the home to help off set the costs involved in fixing XY and Z. Or, in extreme situations, you decide that you want to use the home inspection clause and back out of the deal and get your earnest money back. You have a number of options.

So, if there are “problems” with your house—and there is probably going to be at least a few, if not dozens—it is completely up to you what you decide to do with that information you receive from the home inspection report.

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Q. “What is a ‘construction draw’ inspection?”

A. Briefly, loaning institutions—such as banks—hire us to do a construction draw inspection before they furnish the contractor with money for the next phase of a job. If that phase of the project is completed, we provide the loaning institution with a report that says as much, and they give the contractor the money that he or she needs to move on to the next stage of the project.

Nickelsen Home Inspections, LLC performs dozens of construction draw inspections a year. If you are interested in scheduling a construction draw inspection you should contact Kurt Nickelsen by clicking here.

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Q. “What is a ‘re-inspection’?”

A. A reinspection is done for anyone that wants to make sure an issue is resolved. For example, let’s say that we perform a home inspection for the buyer and find a number of issues in the crawl space that need to be address: carpenter ant damage, mis-alligned vapor barrier (plastic), loose and falling insulation and blocked vents.

The person buying the home may request to have all of these items addressed, but they want to make sure that the issues are resolved properly.

After the seller contacts the buyer to let him or her know that all of the items are fixed, the buyer may have a Nickelsen Home Inspections professional come out to make sure.

Most people who request to have items fixed on a home before they sign the dotted line do not have re-inspections performed.

YET, most of the homes that we do reinspections on still have items that were not fixed, or were not fixed correctly.

That means that most people who request to have items fixed by the seller are still living with the problems that they requested to be addressed—they were either not completed, or they were not fixed correctly.

Hence, it is very important for you to have a re-inspection done if you ask to have some items fixed on a house, regardless of whether those items were “fixed” by the present owner or a contractor. If you don’t, many of your problems may still be there.

The cost for a reinspection is listed in Our Services page. If you would like to book a re-inspection, you should contact the home inspector that did your home inspection.

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Q. “What is the real estate market like in the region?”

A. While we perform hundreds of home inspections per year, and may be successful investors in real estate ourselves, our expertise is not in appraisal or in marketability.

If you are interested in such issues, the best person to ask is your Realtor or other real estate professionals.

I am sure that most of them would agree with Nickelsen Home Inspections in saying that SW Washington and NW Oregon aren’t just wonderful places to live, but they are established markets and are proving to be excellent places to invest your money in real estate.

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Q. “Where is your office located?”

A. It is in a bag… in the truck.

We do all of our home inspection reports on site. From the computer to the printer, the paper to the pens, the phones to the work orders, and everything in-between, our office is with us at all times.

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Q. “Do you offer ‘home warranties’?”

A. No.

We are not in the business of offering warranties on a home; we are in the business of performing home inspections. If you are interested in getting a warranty on your home, please talk to your realtor who can point you in the right direction.

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Q. “Do you offer any guarantees?”

A. Absolutely!

We guarantee to give you the best home inspection possible…

That isn’t what you were asking, was it?

A home inspection is a visual, non-invasive inspection of the property and a report will be provided to you about the condition of the property at the time of the inspection. If a system or component of the home fails one hour or one year after the home inspection, this is very unfortunate, but it happens occasionally.

The best option for you to is to make sure that you get a home warranty when you buy the home. See the question above.

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Q “Do you to radon testing”?

A. No.

To offer a radon test as one of our professional services is not cost effective, and while other inspectors may claim that their radon test is more than what you could do yourself, the difference would be minimal.

You can purchase radon tests at Home Depot, Lowe’s and other similar outlets. Click here if you want to order one from a local company for $20.

Regardless of whether we do radon testing, it would be worthwhile to note a few facts concerning radon in the Pacific North West…

In the area, Clark and Skamania Counties are given the highest rating for radon by the EPA. This doesn’t mean that they are the highest in the Country; it means that these Counties are listed as a “Zone 1 – Highest Potential, greater than 4 pCi/L”. When radon in a particular area is listed at 4 pCi/L, homes in this area may or may not be at risk for radon poisoning.

If you are interested in reading the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s facts regarding radon on a national level, click here. You can also learn about radon in Washington, and Oregon by clicking on each of those States.

If you have Real Player you can watch this excellent short video that tells you everything that you need to know about radon!

Need radon mitigation? We recommend contacting EcoTech—Environmental Services, a local company that specializes in that field.

NOTE: Even Eco-Tech, a local company that specializes in radon abatement, suggests that you test your home for radon … yourself! Click here to purchase a radon test from them do to at your home!

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Q. “Do you do asbestos testing?”

A. No.

We do not do asbestos testing because it is completely unnecessary. If you are looking into purchasing a home that is older, assume that there is asbestos.

Now what?

You should not remove it. Having asbestos in a home is not really the issue. The real problem is when people remove it.

So, if your house is older and has old ceiling tiles (for instance) you should not remove them. Rather, you could drywall and paint over the tiles.

When performing a home inspection we may note that something probably has asbestos in it, and that comment is quickly followed by, “don’t remove it!”.

If you are interested in learning more about asbestos we recommend the following sources: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—EPA, where you will learn about the affects of asbestos, some history and other interesting things.

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Q. “Do you do lead based paint inspections?”

A. Not any more… and the reason is similar to the asbestos question above.

They used lead based paint until the late 70’s. If your house was built in the 80’s, then there is nothing to worry about.

If your house was built while they still used lead based paint, then you should assume that there is lead based paint in the house.

Now what?

Again, like the asbestos question above, you do not remove it. Rather, you cover it. If the house hasn’t been painted in 30 years (unlikely), then you are probably going to have to paint it anyway. This is what we suggest if you have an older home: paint it.

Further, if you really want to do a lead based paint test you can do exactly what a home inspector would do in the first place: buy the test at Home Depot or other stores.

Again, some home inspectors may try to sell you on the idea that you “must have a lead based paint test” and perhaps they will try to tell you that you couldn’t possibly do what they are doing.

Bunk!

You do not need a $125 test that you could do yourself for less than $15—a test that, as mentioned, isn’t even necessary. Just assume that there is lead based paint on that 1963 home and that some areas should be painted.

The government discusses this issue using rather “extreme” language, but their message is essentially the same. You can read more about it here: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—EPA.

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Q. “Craziest thing you have run into at a home inspection?”

A. Gee… Well, running into a raccoon in a crawl space under a house and having it chase me out was pretty “crazy”. The stories we could tell you…

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Standards of Practice / Ethics

Q. “My realtor referred me to you, but somebody told me that I should never use an inspector that the realtor referred… What do you think about that?”

A. Honestly, if you don’t trust your realtor, then why did you hire him or her in the first place?

You hire a realtor because you trust them to guide you through your real estate transaction—perhaps the greatest financial commitment of your life. Part of that process is the home inspection.

Are there “bad apples” out there? Absolutely! There are unethical realtors and home inspectors! But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. The vast majority of realtors and home inspectors are wonderful people.

If you don’t trust your realtor’s referrals and suggestions, I propose that you get another realtor.

But remember Nickelsen Home Inspections, LLC when you need that inspection performed!

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Q. “Do you pay anyone for referrals? Do you have a ‘referral program’?”

A. No.

While forms of paid referrals are fine, others are not. As such, we pay nobody for referring us.

We perform more home inspections a year than any other company in the area, and we have done this for years without having to “pay” anyone…

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Q. “Do you do work or repairs on the homes that you are inspecting?”

A. NO!

At the present time (June, 2006) Washington State has no law which states that home inspectors can’t do work on the homes that they inspect.

Nonetheless, we find this practice to be intolerable and an utter conflict of interest. We perform home inspections to give you, the buyer or seller, information about your home… not to get work out of the deal.

And be assured that there are home inspectors in the area that do repairs on the homes that they inspect. Watch out for them!

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Q. “What are your Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics?”

A. We commit ourselves to the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics of the American Society of Home Inspectors. You can read both of these documents by clicking here.

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Credentials

Q. “What are your credentials?"

A. Well, it depends on who you are asking.

While Nickelsen Home Inspections, LLC is a wonderful group of local home inspectors, there is a level of individuality to our business.

Every home inspector is licensed with the Washington State Department of Agriculture as a Structural Pest Inspector. Currently, this is the only “credential” that Washington State requires, though there is legislation (Senate Bill 6229) that would change that.

Other inspectors in the company have other forms of education and certifications. I suggest that you introduce yourself to each of them and learn more about that. Click here to visit the “Meet the Inspectors” page.

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Q. “Do you support Senate Bill 6229?”

A. We support State involvement in the home inspection profession. We support greater standards in the business. Legislation always fails in one way or another—there is no perfect law (at least not in this world).

So, in a sense, yes we do! If it were to stay the way that it is, we would be content. See the following link if you would like to learn more about Senate Bill 6229.

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Q. “I am from another State and am looking for a good home inspector. Where should I look for one?”

A. Excellent question!

You should look for a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors. Go to www.ashi.org; towards the top of the page you will find a home inspector locator. Type in your local information, and bingo! It will bring you to a list of qualified home inspectors in your area. Hope that helps!

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Looking to Hire?

Q. “Are you looking to hire anyone?”

A. Actually, no… but keep reading…

We do not “hire” home inspectors. All of the home inspectors that work with Nickelsen Home Inspections, LLC are business owners. They make their own schedules, market themselves, and perform their own home inspections.

While we are a team, we also realize the value of having more time to pay attention to home inspections, as opposed to paying all of the taxes, handling all of the business expenses, etc. These qualified individuals are provided invoices, packets, software, etc. etc. etc. and it takes a little of the burden off of being a completely autonomous business owner.

So, if your question is whether or not we are looking for a qualified individual that is self-motivated and is interested in working with a team of qualified home inspectors, then the answer would be “Always!”

Give Kurt Nickelsen a call if you are interested in joining our team of inspectors.

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