I like to try before I buy as much as I can. Yes, I love shopping online and for a lot of things (lunch boxes, curtain rods, copy paper) purchasing sight unseen works just fine. For others, I like to see the product in person first – to feel the sheets, try on the shoes, fire up the lawn mower, test drive the car.
When purchasing services, though, you can’t really “try before you buy.” It’s in these situations we rely on trusted sources for recommendations and advice.
A home is likely the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. Yet you can’t book an overnight stay in the home before you buy it, no matter how cool that sounds. But, you can get pretty close. Your home inspection allows you several hours to poke through all the nooks and crannies, open the drawers, and try the faucets in your soon-to-be new home. It also gives you a comprehensive picture of the home’s condition and any potential problems. This critical process should be led by an honest, straight-forward professional. But how do you know who to hire?
Well, I actually did get to “try before I buy” with Boggs Inspection Services. I shadowed an inspector, buyer Julia Lovelace-Johnson and agent Kimberly Rucker during the entire process. My conclusion? Boggs’ inspector Tom Hitchman is not only a great guy to spend a few hours with, but he knows what he’s doing and makes sure you know, too.
The inspection started with a meet and greet in the sunny front yard. Tom reviewed the inspection process and asked Julia if she had any initial questions or concerns. More than anything, I noted Tom’s calm, competent demeanor and clear explanations of the inspection process. This set the tone for the entire day and Julia was put visibly at ease.
I opted to follow Tom around the outside of the home, his first action item, while Julia and Kimberly headed inside to take another tour of the home. As we walked, Tom explained, “The main thrust of the inspection is to educate the buyer on the home and any issues, or potential issues, it has.” The scope of the inspection includes the outside, inside and all systems in the home. “The nature of a home inspection is visual, not invasive,” Tom notes. This means he will, to the best of his ability, check all areas and components, but will not open walls, pull out appliances, or move furniture.
As we walked around, Tom checked for the presence of dry rot, inspected windows, examined siding, caulking, gutters and drainage. He surveyed concrete areas and tested external doors and electrical. He took notes as he went, ensuring nothing was missed. “The main things we look for on the exterior are issues with siding,” Tom noted. “In the Northwest, we have lots of issues with decay due to moisture.”
Tom noted only minor maintenance issues for the buyer, but no major concerns. An inspection of the roof is included in each Boggs Inspection Services report. However, this home’s roof pitch was so steep, a careful visual inspection with binoculars was substituted.
After donning clean booties over his shoes, Tom made his way inside and reviewed the exterior inspection with Julia. After answering questions, Tom explained the comprehensive inspection packet included with each Boggs inspection. “We review the warranties and extras that come standard with our inspections,” he explained. And the extras are many, making a Boggs inspection a high value for your dollar.
While Julia and Tom discussed the packet, I chatted with Kimberly Rucker, a 24-year veteran realtor with Berkshire-Hathaway Home Services on Martin Way. “I work with Boggs Inspection Services a lot and I’ve known Tom for a long time,” she shared. “The guys are good with people, have a great rapport with my clients, and really explain things well, especially to first time buyers who are new to the process.”
Before transitioning to the interior inspection, Tom pulled out his laptop and logged the items he and Julia had discussed from the exterior. By recording findings directly, Boggs inspectors make sure nothing gets missed. “We like to document as we go to ensure accuracy and get the best level of detail in our reports,” explained Tom.
Next up was the garage. Tom inspected the electrical panel, removing the entire face and checking each breaker, noting details as small as the variety of brand names on several breakers. His careful explanations to Julia ensured she was part of the process yet not overwhelmed by information. After thorough exams of the HVAC system and hot water heater, all while noting his findings electronically on a tablet, Tom lead Julia into the home for a room by room walk-though.
In each room, windows and doors were checked. Faucets and drains were reviewed. Drywall cracks were noted and outlets were checked for proper amperage. Through it all, Tom chatted with Julia and Kimberly, keeping the entire inspection personal and comfortable. We all cheered when storage was found under window seat cushions and we all attempted to latch a faulty bathroom door (without success).
It was a team effort, but Tom was definitely our captain.
If we stick with the “try before you buy” metaphor, I feel confident saying the Boggs Inspection Services “shoe” fit for me. It was comfortable, fun (yes…I promise it was!), professional, and achieved exactly what it promised: a comprehensive home overview from top to bottom ensuring you know exactly what you are buying. And if the shoe fits…well, you know the rest.
To schedule an inspection, call 360-480-9602 or visit the Boggs Inspection Services website.