Today, I had the benefit and enjoyment of spending time once again with Paul Neis of Harbor Home Inspections. As you may recall, I wrote a rare and glowing recommendation for him after he inspected a house for me in Edmonds a while ago. Alas, I lost that house at (quite literally) the last moment thanks to an unexpected layoff (thus, no loan, etc). Fortunately, work is easy to find and it only took about a year to return to the house hunt and, as a result, find a wonderful little 1910 Craftsman in the Hillman City area.
Needless to say, I never gave a thought to anyone but Paul doing the inspection, but I wasn’t sure if he ranged east. A quick email happily resolved that question and today, we met for yet another house inspection.
As you might guess, a 1910 Craftsman that has been renovated holds a lot of potential for issue, particularly in that folk who “flip” houses (as this one has been) sometimes try to cut corners (to say the least). Fortunately for me, Paul demonstrated the usual attentiveness and thoroughness that I experienced at the previous house and he even made note of a few things that I wouldn’t have considered, like:
- Caulking exposed cracks between wood siding and trim, but ONLY if they are in a position to receive incoming water (i.e., not if they’re open to the bottom, since you WANT water to drain out, but you prefer that it never have the chance to get IN in the first place).
- Making sure that the ENDS of trim and pieces that have been cut or mitered to fit the house exterior are painted/sealed so that weather over time has no way to intrude and rot that lovely trim or siding from the inside, out.
- Closely inspecting ALL openings on every side of the house and pointing out those larger than a pencil. (As Paul put it, “If it’s big enough to slide a pencil into, then it’s big enough for mice and other things you’d likely prefer not to have getting closer to your woodwork, foundation, insulation, etc.”)
- Not only inspecting every dang outlet in the place (there were 70!), but also inspecting them for secure attachment to the wall (he found one that wasn’t… we added it to the punch list).
- Not only inspecting the tubs and sinks, but actually filling them to the “brim point” (where the overflow in a sink or tub is supposed to catch water rather than send it over the sides and onto your floors!) to ensure they do what they’re supposed to do and that brim drain works as intended.
- Not only suiting up and crawling through the attic and crawlspace, but actually checking for missing insulation, wrapping on ALL pipes and heating ducts, as well as making note of the condition of joists and joist hangers (or their lack) under staircases there, where you as a homeowner would never see or notice them).
- Not only checking the furnace, water heater, and pump, but filling every tub and sink in the place, then draining them and flushing all the toilets to make that pump (in particular) come ON and making that water heater come ON and making that furnace come ON and verifying that each do what they’re supposed to do in the range of time at which they’re supposed to be effectively doing it.
- Not only verifying that all external faucets work, but that they are also within the range they’re supposed to be for pressure (between 40 and 80 PSI in King County; these two were dead middle at 60).
- Not only walking the roof and inspecting it, but also checking for sheathing and loose shingles as well as pointing out too much overhang of the back (dropped) roof shingling.
- Not only turning on and triple checking all appliances (does the ice maker and water in the fridge work? do the ovens and burners work correctly? does the vent hood fan actually vent and is it vented to the outdoors properly?), but pointing out the necessity of the stove being attached or secured to the back wall AND that the plumbing has the appropriate angles and traps and feeds where they’re supposed to be (and not where they aren’t!).
I really could go on (we were there for about five hours…!!) but suffice to say the upshot is that Paul came to this inspection with a serious and focused perspective; that was what impressed me so much last time out with him… this is a guy who wants to make sure that I, as a homebuyer, am informed, understand WHY some of the things he was mentioning matter, what those things can or may mean if not addressed, and which were things that warrant conversation with the house seller. In short, he doesn’t just show up and collect your money – he educates you, too.
(Now, I’ll admit, I’ve become quite the fan of HGTV’s “Mike Holmes” since the house in Edmonds, and there were a few things I had noted before Paul ever arrived (brought my list!) and, as usual, Paul carefully listened to my concerns and laid out both the situation, the causes, and (in his professional opinion as a person who spent several decades in construction prior to becoming an inspector), whether or not they were things about which to be worried. Simply put (and as I’ve come to expect from Paul), he did the thorough and careful job that I knew he would.)
So… I have said it before and I will happily say it again: If you’re looking for a home inspector who has the knowledge, experience, and attitude of stewardship in relation to looking out for your best interests, I sincerely think you would have to go a very long way indeed to do better than to choose Harbor Home Inspections and Paul Neis.
Actually, I’ll go further — if you’re thinking of selling your home, you should probably consider having an inspection so you know what a buyer is likely to find concerning. Mind you, there were not a lot of concerns at this house, but you just never know which ones a buyer will find off-putting.
I think you will find (as I have) that the best thing Paul Neis brings to his work is an approach that gives you a certain hard-to-find thing called ‘peace of mind’. Thanks to Paul and Harbor Home Inspections, I have it and, I must say, not only does it feel damn nice, it’s damn reasonably priced to boot. (And you just can’t beat that with a stick.)