A Major “Red Flag” in Home Inspection

March 18, 2014

This is not the way to bake a pie… This lighting “fixture” obviously speaks for itself.

From an inspector’s standpoint, safety hazards are a priority for me to point out throughout the home inspection process. I’ve blogged about railings/safety in the past, but just had to post this makeshift light. I found it in the basement of a recent home I inspected. It is a major red flag and definitely landed a prominent spot in my inspection report.

Please Note: the pie plate is not considered an approved electrical fixture!  And the fact that the exposed wiring is not properly covered in the junction box is another safety concern.

Do not attempt this nostalgic fixture in your home… no matter how good Grandma’s pie is!

Please don’t hesitate to call me if you have electrical or lighting questions.

Have a great week,


Crazy & dangerous homemade light!

March 18, 2014

All Points Inspection job photos 005 (1)

Not a good way to use a pie plate… This light and other makeshift lights need to be replaced if you’re buying or selling a home.

Inspector Differences

January 7, 2014

Question: When should I hire a home inspector?

stock photo 01Answer: A home inspection is usually performed in connection with the purchase of a property, however there are times when a home inspector can be hired by a homeowner who wants to sell his or her house in the near future.  A home inspector’s services can also be used in connection with purchases of foreclosures or bank-owned houses. Radon testing and water analysis testing is commonly performed in many of these kinds of inspections. (To learn about foreclosure in your state, check your own state’s foreclosure laws.)

Question: Are there differences among home inspectors?

Answer: Yes. A homeowner who searches for the the least expensive inspector could be taking a risk on a report, since he may not be qualified to perform a thorough inspection. Make sure the home inspector you hire has a thorough check list and the experience needed for a solid inspection report.

Question: What kind of questions should we ask when deciding who to hire as our home inspector?

Answer: How long has the inspector been doing residential home inspections? Does he have a referral? (this could be buyers agent or former customers, etc.) How extensive is his inspection report? What inspections is he qualified to perform (such as radon? water? general?)

For more research and reading on home inspectors I’ll recommend this article 5 Biggest Home Inspection Mistakes to Avoid.

Please don’t hesitate to call me if you have any questions regarding home inspection reports.


New house… what could be wrong?

July 23, 2013
Looks great ... right?

Looks great … right?

A recent client was purchasing a completely furnished home from a builder. When I saw this beautiful shower enclosure with a steam unit/controller, I thought, “What an absolutely spectacular steam shower!”

I began to test it. The unit did not function, and I initially thought the power had simply been turned off. The multi-function shower valve was flawless, and the unit was draining properly. Once I fully investigated, I realized that the steam generator wasn’t even present in the basement, nor was the power connected inside the main electrical panel.

This buyer was very pleased to have paid for an inspection even though he originally assumed it wasn’t necessary. (After all, it’s a new home…what could possibly be wrong?) His home inspection fee was money well spent since the builder supplied a steam generator with no labor costs to make this beautiful shower functional before transfer.

Note to self: never assume!

Because of a myriad of reasons, newer homes should always be inspected. There are a variety of other “issues” that can be detected and addressed before “closing” on your dream house.

Please don’t hesitate to email or call me with any questions regarding a Home Inspection for newer homes.


I love home inspections!

June 20, 2013
I'm on a roof .... with a killer view!

I’m on a roof … with a killer view!

I am blessed to be doing something that I love. Really.

Some days are a little tougher than others, I admit. Like the days when an inspection requires me to crawl (literally) in a crawl space or in an attic when the temperature is 90 degrees. But then there are inspections that I do on some really neat locations. In the photo above, getting on the roof was cool (literally) with an amazing view of Lake Erie (where I dream of fishing more than inspecting).


Here’s to a great inspection report!


Is there Radon or Radiation in Granite Countertops?

May 26, 2013
Granite countertops are still popular and add to a home's value.

Granite countertops are still popular and add to a home’s value.

Although most of the media’s attention on whether or not granite counter surfaces are a health risk has quieted down, there is always a lingering question with this issue. As a home inspector, I routinely perform radon tests in homes and have also tested on granite personally. I have not found readings that would be alarming …. as matter of fact, radon is commonly present in most northeast Ohio homes BELOW ground level. According to government EPA “…since granite is generally not very porous, less radon is likely to escape from it than from a more porous stone such as sandstone. It’s important to know that radon originating in the soil beneath homes is a more common problem and a far larger public health risk than radon from granite building materials. Also, any radon from granite countertops in kitchens or bathrooms is likely to be diluted in the typical home since those rooms are usually well ventilated.” http://www.epa.gov/radiation/tenorm/granite-countertops.html

To reduce the risk of lung cancer from exposure to radon, which is a known carcinogen, you should test the air in your home. Although there are home testing kits, a trained radon specialist with knowledge on calibration and interpretation of readings is recommended by the EPA.

There are lots of things that we expose our bodies to everyday … but the beauty and durability of granite countertops far outweighs the minimal radioactivity that occurs naturally in many natural products like granite.

Water & moisture issues

February 16, 2013
window trim damage from moisture

window trim damaged from moisture

Just like a car needs regular oil changes to prevent damage, so do houses. A regular routine for homes should be caulking and painting around areas that are vulnerable to moisture or water leaks.

Here are the two critical areas to inspect:

  1. Siding – wood sided homes and aluminum wrapped windows are guilty culprits of water penetration if typical caulk maintenance is not kept up.
  2. Window frames – many homeowners don’t realize why they have water penetration during heavy rainstorms through windows and doors. Again, a recommendation of caulking and painting to maintain weather seals around all windows and door frames.

Mold and mildew are really common issues when inspecting homes in Northeast Ohio. I’ve addressed proper ventilation inside the home (see Mold…should you worry?), but keeping water from coming into the house needs to be priority as well.

Mold…should you worry?

December 27, 2012
signs of attic mold

signs of attic mold

There are so many kinds of mold species – too many for the average homeowner to keep track of. But when I have to check that box called “Mold” on a home inspection report, the home buyer may find it hard to stay calm. The questions start flying about how to handle the potential sale once mold is found.

To review, here’s what I’ve been explaining to my home buyers:

a) Mold is present just about everywhere…both outside and indoors. Chances are you’ve seen mold in your own home or place of work, and just don’t notice it, or know what it looks like. Mold is most always visible although many times you can smell the existence of it which is distinctly musty. You’ll notice mold in a variety of colors such as brown, gray, black and green.

b) Since mold is always “hanging around,” it’s important to try to find the mold that you can’t always see. Since my inspection requires me to actively search for it, I will look for clues like peeling paint, bulging or discolored walls, or plumbing leaks behind a wall. It’s not always possible to find it all, but experience counts when searching for moisture and mold.

c) Common causes of excessive mold/moisture include previous or on-going problems such as flooding; leaky plumbing; leaky roofs, windows or doors; no ventilation in bathrooms, kitchens or laundry areas; and faulty air conditioning or heating equipment.

d) Nine out of ten times, I find mold or moisture in attics because of either non-existent ventilation or improper venting.

In my area, I will recommend that a homebuyer or homeowner call Nick Biondo at PuroClean in Brunswick, Ohio. For mold remediation call Nick at 330-931-9527 or email nick@puroclean.com or visit his website Puroclean.com

Please don’t hesitate to call me with any “house” questions at 216-276-3702. Don’t forget that if you are planning on putting your own home up for sale in 2013, a “Pre-Inspection” report may be a smart move.

Happy house hunting in 2013!


All Points Inspection

Termites in Ohio

September 14, 2012

termite damage

Many lenders are now requiring a “pest” inspection in addition to the normal home inspection. It’s in your best interest to call a qualified pest inspection service to identify damage to wood structure, which could indicate termites.

Contrary to what you may have heard, there are termites in Ohio.

According to Termite.com: “The main destructive termite species in Ohio is the Eastern subterranean termite.” I’ve seen evidence of this local termite species as a home inspector. Learning from a professional pest control professional about the damage has been an interesting experience for me. This local termite can be destructive to common building timbers.

Identification is the first step in proper extermination. Hire a home inspector with the expertise to spot termite damage.

A good pest control company to call for a quality pest inspection in Northeast Ohio is Patton Pest Control Co.

Safety railings are a ‘must’

August 2, 2012

How many safety hazards can you find in this photo? (or at your own home, for that matter?)

The deck and all steps are important areas of safety for your home inspection

Here is the item most blatantly missing and will cause any home inspection to fail: handrails. I am looking for hand railings on all stairs and a safety railings on any deck platform or steps that are 36-inches above grade or higher. Bench seating on a deck is NOT considered safe, nor does a bench seat meet the safety requirement on the inspection report.

Kids love to climb up on things… and a built-in seat on a deck is too tempting. So keep them safe (and pass inspection!) by installing a safety railing right away.

Have a great summer and stay safe!