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What Your Home Inspection Doesn't Cover: An Interview with Greg Terry of Diamond Property Inspections

By Greg Terry

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

My company is a premier inspection company that provides full-service inspections with world class service. By full service I don't mean I give a bunch of freebies or dazzlers. I just do good, thorough home inspections. There is a misconception in our industry that home inspections should be cheap and quick. My inspections are neither. On average I spend about 3-4 hours on each property testing and examining every component in the home.

I am the owner operator of Diamond Property Inspections and I started my business about 11 years ago. I decided to get into the home inspection business due to the fact that when I bought my first home, I was encouraged not to attend my inspection and was given a 12-page report that did not disclose the obvious foundation crack, leaning chimney, improper gas piping and improper plumbing connections. I was upset and decided that no one else should have to go through what I went through.

What are the main areas that are inspected during a home inspection?

Foundation, Basement, and Under-floor Areas, Exterior, Roof Covering, Attic Areas and Roof Framing, Plumbing, Electrical, Heating and Cooling, Fireplaces and Chimneys, Building Interior, Pools and Spas.

Can you list some key areas/structures that aren't covered that might require an additional professional inspection or evaluation?

Termite inspections, mold inspections (if needed) lead/asbestos testing (if applicable). Geological testing (If applicable). Structural inspections of retaining walls, and truss framing (if applicable).

Is there a common misconception people have about a house that's been inspected?

Yes, that all defects are found. As inspectors we are generalists not specialists. While a good home inspection report is thorough and detailed, it does not cover every single component of every single system. As inspectors we are a lot like a general practitioner or family doctor. Your family doctor went to medical school and knows how your body works, but when you have an ear infection he/she interviews you about the problem, examines the affected area looking for clues as to what the problem is. On occasion he can prescribe some antibiotics and the problem will go away. But more often than not he/she will refer you to an ENT (Ears/Nose/Throat) specialist who then takes over and does a specialized examination to determine the problem.

As home inspectors we are the general practitioners of construction. We go through the homes' systems and components looking for red flags or symptoms of problems and recommend further evaluation by a specialist or licensed contractor in that field whether it is plumbing, electrical, etc.

What's one thing that's important to know about what a home inspection does not cover?

Home inspections are not X-rays we cannot report what we cannot see.

Do you have any tips to help people in Southern California get the most out of their home inspection?

Research before you choose an Inspector. Look for experience, minimum 5 years, All respectable Inspectors will carry E&O insurance. They should belong to a professional organization like CREIA or ASHI that provides quality education and has restrictive membership requirements, Choose a full-time inspector, get a sample copy of a report, check review sites like Yelp! or Angie's List for top-rated inspectors, Ask your inspector for references. Once you have done all of this and narrowed down your choices, then ask what the fee is. If you choose based solely of the inspection fee you will get what you pay for. The money you save on a cheap home inspection could cost you thousands later.

One more thing I think is important. The state of California does not license or regulate inspectors, which allows unqualified individuals to call themselves home inspectors. A good home inspector is experienced in home inspections, not just construction or jurisdictional inspection like code enforcement of city inspectors. Because of the liability involved and learning to read clues of failures in systems and components, good inspections take time and are detailed. When something clearly broken that is an easy thing to detect, but when acquired testing and inspecting procedures are employed your inspector can tell more about the home than the homeowner.

What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

The best way for people to contact me is to just give me a call at 909-910-9905. I am available through text or email as well. If I am awake, I am working.

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