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How Your Home Is Inspected: An Interview with Ryan Lusk of A Better Choice Home Inspection

By Ryan Lusk

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

I have been in the construction industry for over 10 years. I was a builder and customer care manager for a national home builder for most of that time. I am a member of both FABI (Florida Association of Building Inspectors) and HIASF (Home Inspectors Association of South Florida). I offer general home inspections, insurance inspections (4 point, wind mitigation, roof certification) and WDO inspections.

Buying a home is one of the largest investments you can make in your life and knowing the condition of your home, both good and bad, is essential. I always encourage my clients to be at their inspections so we can address any concerns or questions on site. It also gives me the opportunity to educate my clients on how to maintain their new home. Understanding proper maintenance can greatly increase the life of your home.

What types of inspections would a homeowner typically order?

The most common type of inspection requested is a general home inspection. Clients want to know what the condition of the home is and any potential costs associated with it. The insurance inspections (4 point and wind mitigation) are also very common. Some of these are required by their insurance companies, depending on age of home. For example, a 4-point inspection is typically required for homes over 25 years of age but this can vary depending on insurance company.

The next inspections clients will ask about are termite and mold. A termite inspection is known as a WDO inspection. WDO stands for wood destroying organism. Many clients are concerned about both of these inspections due to climate conditions here in South Florida. Beyond these clients have many options for specialized inspections. These inspections can include thermal imaging, radon, engineer inspections, etc.

Can you outline the major steps in the inspection process from start to finish?

I follow the FABI standards of practice, which can be viewed at www.fabi.com and are more strenuous than typical national standards. You can see my inspection requirements there. In all of my inspections I am looking for any potential areas of concern and even the good elements in a home. I always start my inspection before I reach the home. I perform online research for permits, appraisal site information and any other pertinent information related to the home. From here I can simply mention the elements looked at in home. The specifics behind each area can be found in the standards of practice. They include but are not limited to: roof, exterior (building), grounds (fence, grading, etc.), pool, seawall, interior (walls, flooring, etc.), attic, electrical, HVAC, kitchen and appliances, plumbing, water heater, garage, structure, crawl space.

When you're inspecting a house, what are some of the main things you're looking for?

Let me start off by saying that every element inspected in a home is important. It is amazing how what seems to be a small concern can become a major problem when nothing is done to repair or maintain it. The typical trend I see clients most concerned about are the structure, roof, electrical system, plumbing system and HVAC. These are also usually the most costly to repair.

Without being too specific, some of the main things I am looking for are first and foremost safety concerns. As I am walking the home this is always at the front of my mind. Fire hazards, structural concerns and anything that might be a potential harm to you and your family.

The second thing is are all the elements in the home operating as intended(in good working order) and what is their estimated life expectancy? An AC condenser that is working well but is 30 years old has a much higher potential of failure due to typical life expectancy.

Another big thing for me is sealant issues. Moisture damage can cause a lot of havoc and headache. Any point in or around a home that is not properly sealed can be a potential area of moisture intrusion and damage. I have seen the tiniest unsealed nail in an exterior cause thousands of dollars in damage because water was seeping in around it for an entire year. As I stated before though, everything in the home is important. The importance of any inspection should be on par with the future owner of that home.

What does the inspection report include and when it is usually available?

As stated, I follow the FABI standards of practice which are more strenuous than the typical national standards. (You can see these at www.fabi.org.) Beyond those standards, I provide large high-resolution pictures accompanied by my comments and notes. My report is designed to be easy to follow. A copy of a sample report is available upon request.

I guarantee my reports within 24 hours of completion of the inspection. I take a lot of pictures (average 200-300 per home). I take the extra time to look though them all again and make sure I do a thorough report.

Is there anything that most homeowners or homebuyers in Florida don't understand about the home inspection process?

I think most homeowners have a pretty good understanding of the general home inspection process. Having said that, no matter how much we wish we were Superman, we cannot see through walls!

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

I always like to speak to my clients so I can address any questions they may have over the phone. Clients can reach me at (954) 636-3937 or (954) 399-6991. If anyone would like a sample report please email me at flabchomeinspection@gmail.com. I look forward to assisting you.

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