You have found the home page of Benchmark Home Inspection Services.
You didn't come here shopping for a new tie or to keep up on fashion trends. You are about to make a purchase that will affect you and your family for years to come. Not just a house, a home. It's a big deal... They all look great from the curb but now that the decision is made about which one, you need to know about the guts and the person you choose to help you with this will also have an effect on your families well being and safety for years to come.
In the process of purchasing a home we often push ourselves to the edge of our financial limits. Having a surprise major repair needed within a short time of this can be financially disastrous. Living in a home with undiscovered hazards could cause you or your family serious injury or worse. This isn't a time to be looking for an economy grade inspector... If you've been burned by a bad inspection in the past, I'm preaching to the choir. If this is your first house, you may have no idea of the minefield you've started walking through.
At this point your asking yourself who you can trust & how you would know a good home inspector from a bad one. I could sum it up with something eloquent like; "Nothing is apt to cost so much as an inspection that cost too little" But I'll elaborate a bit more. As you read further you will be introduced to the right questions to ask any prospective minefield map salesman. Once you have the answers to these questions, I believe your choice will be clear ...
1) Your inspection done by the owner of the company.
In the age of the "big box" superstores and mega corporations quality is being swept aside for production & profit. You can literally buy a franchise operation for just about anything today. A company in a box... With the recent real estate boom, off-the-shelf inspection companies popped up everywhere & quality has had a hard time finding it's way down from investors to bonus driven managers, through office staff to field employees and often back to office staff who write your report even though they weren't there doing the inspection. Maybe worse, maybe not; everyone wanted to be an inspector, disgruntled gas station attendants and flunkies from every profession flocked into "inspector schools" and correspondence courses to "train" in something in which they had no former experience. They took their business models and hung up their shingles. For many of them it was the first time they ever swung a hammer... You can tell who they are, they're the ones who will work for half of my fee.
Many inspectors and inspection firms these days can make a very nice living by pandering to real estate agents. They sugar coat the issues and help "sell" the house. In return they become the golden boy of the entire office at We Have No Integrity Realty Co... and receive hundreds of exclusive referrals each year. My focus is not on marketing myself to realtors, my focus is and always has been on my clients & their need for an unbiased property inspection. It may have been the longer and harder road but I have built my business well by maintaining this focus.
When you schedule your inspection with Benchmark, you will always deal with the owner of the company. A company that was built from the ground up, on a foundation of experience, under a roof of integrity and trimmed with professionalism. Your inspection will be done with the care & personal dedication only a company owner can bestow on his valued clients.
2) Over the years I have studied with the masters of many trades.
A high proficiency in the building trades is likely the most valuable asset a Home Inspector can have. These skills don't come to you in a class room, they are learned, one step at a time, hands-on, on the job site. Like many others, I was born into the building trades as my Father and Grandfather before me. I grew up with a basic understanding of how things work and what can make them fail. On entering the workforce I had a thirst for knowledge and worked my way through many of the trades involved in residential construction, learning from those who had their knowledge passed down through the generations of their families as well as learning the lessons the houses will teach you as you take apart what was built a hundred years ago. To me the old houses are the best, no matter how vast your knowledge, there is still a lesson around every corner.
In short, I don't just know how to inspect it, I know how to build it... I don't just know where to look for the things that go wrong, I know what makes them go wrong and I understand the breadth of the things that I can't see.
3) At least three - four hours to do a thorough inspection.
One of the primary factors that can determine whether or not your inspection is thorough is going to be the time spent at the home doing the inspection. Always ask a prospective home inspector how long the inspection will take. You will actually get a very wide range of answers... While my inspection of a typical single family home will often take between three and a half to four hours, other inspectors may devote as little as forty five minutes or an hour or so. Just think of the number of things that may be missed as they run through the house in such a short period of time. Your realtor may love them for that, as they won't have to take so much time out of their busy day, but you will not be well served by this. The one thing you want in an inspector is for him to be thorough. In my opinion it is not possible to do a thorough inspection in less than three hours, usually more.
During this time the issues found will be carefully explained to you. Having the building trade experience that I do, I can tell you the best course of action to have the issues repaired and the pitfalls to be aware of. I will take the time to answer all your questions and be sure you are comfortable with your understanding before moving on the the next area. You will also have the proper use and maintenance of the equipment in your prospective home explained throughout the inspection. And now is an important place to take heed. One of the new gimmicks in minefield map making is to bring a fancy computer and print out the report on site when the inspection is done. It looks real fancy and most people like it, at least until you think about it...
With Benchmark, the time on site is all time spent inspecting, not inspecting and doing the report on the fly.
4) The Inspection Report:
The physical manifestation of the actual inspection is the report itself. This is what you take with you and have to show for your money. There are many different styles of reporting formats. Some are an endless maze of checkboxes, some as thick as a novel, and most will contain very little useful information. My ability to convey to you what my findings are and to what level of severity is as important as the inspection itself. Without a clear, understandable report, the inspection was worthless.
After several hundred inspections I personally designed the reporting software I use to make a report that is easy to read, understandable to the uninitiated and conveys to you the information you need to know to make decisions. Written in plain English and including digital photography, the Benchmark Report will give you the information you need and leave out useless fill. The report is done off site, giving me time to consider all the facets of what was discovered during the inspection, include supporting documentation and insure the report has sufficient detail to stand on it's own and be useful. Your report is e-mailed to you within forty eight hours of the inspection.
5) The Inspection Fee:
Will it be the price of a seasoned inspector or a waltz through the minefield that starts out with a dollar store map and ends up costing an arm & a leg. (Bad pun apology space reserved). If your still thinking you just need to find the best price, I can tell you right now, I'm not it. But if that is your main focus, just say so, I'll save us both some time and give you the numbers of the cheapest inspectors around. My fee is fair and competitive for the service I provide and the time I put into making your map and being sure you know how to follow it. It is based on the size and complexity of the property to be inspected so give me a call or drop me an e-mail and I will be happy to discuss the details with you. Go forth now, you are an educated consumer.
Benchmark Home Inspection Services is a full service, owner operated home inspection company with a reputation for the most thorough and concise inspection reports in the business. Serving Morris/Sussex & surrounding counties in New Jersey and Offering Structural/Mechanical Inspections, Radon Testing, Termite/Wood Destroying Insect Inspection, Open Pit Septic Inspection W/Video Scope, In Ground Oil Tank Testing, Well Water Testing. Lead Paint Inspection.
See my reviews by past clients and find me on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-Hopatcong-NJ/Benchmark-Home-Inspection-Services/223417980990?created
This page is still under construction, if there are any questions I've not answered here or to discuss your inspection needs I can be reached by phone at (973)663-3320 and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
NJ Home Insp. Lic. # 24GI00064900
NJ DEP Lic. # MET11819