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What You Should Know About Your Home Inspection: An Interview with Chuck Handte of North Georgia Home Inspections

By Chuck Handte

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

I have been in the real estate and construction business in the North Georgia area since the 1960's. When the access to our area was improved by the construction of Interstate 575 and 515 in the late 1980's, the demand for second homes increased. Since there were no adopted or enforced building codes in the area, several lending institutions contracted with me to inspect the construction process of the residences on which they had construction loans. This inspection process began to mushroom with new buyers moving into the area. I did my professional training at the National Institute of Building Inspectors, and this education has been enhanced with professional certifications from The International Code Council as a residential and light commercial Code Inspector, a Certified Inspector certification from the American Society of Home Inspectors, and a Georgia Residential Contractor License. All of these certifications require continuing education, and my certifications are current. Further training was obtained in the areas of mold and mildew, radon, and water quality. The services offered by me in North Georgia are residential and light commercial inspections, ICC Code inspections, radon inspections, mold and mildew inspections, septic inspections, and water quality inspections.

What are two or three of the most common repairs that are needed on the houses you've seen in the area?

The construction practice in the area I service is generally good with a local pride of craftsmanship. Because of the mountainous terrain, the most important repair issue is ground slope at the foundation, and subsequent water entry into the foundation (the third rule in plumbing is that water does not flow uphill). Other common issues include electrical outlets with defective GFCI units, electrical outlets with reverse polarity, ungrounded outlets, chimneys with excess creosote, and insulated windows with loose seals.

What should a standard home inspection cover?

My inspections cover from the immediate grounds around the house to the roof with all the systems in between, including retaining walls, foundation, roof, gutters, support structure, siding, chimney, porch, deck, patio, interior components, electrical, plumbing, kitchen, baths, hvac, and garage.

How long should it take for homeowners to receive their inspection report?

My report is a personalized 15 page document and is done at the time of the inspection. Time is always "of the essence" in the real estate business.

Should a quality home inspector also provide repair work? What are some of the reasons why or why not?

It is against the ASHI Standards of Practice to provide repair work after the inspection as it is a conflict of interest. Sometimes I think I could have made a lot more money if I had included repairs. I could have magnified more things wrong that needed repair.

What are the certification requirements in your state? What are a few benefits of hiring a certified and trained home inspector?

The State of Georgia has no certification requirements as to inspectors, so it is a " buyer beware" state when choosing an inspector. There are a lot of "quickie" inspection certifications that can be obtained promising great rewards, so the buyer should first of all inspect the inspector, not as to price, but as to credentials, training, and experience. My personal opinion is that if you have not had personal, hands on experience in the construction industry, you need to look at another profession.

If a home inspector misses a major defect, do homebuyers have any recourse?

Most commercial inspection reports have a contract page which spells out what is to be inspected, the inspection limitations, and inspector liability. If an inspector misses a major issue, he(she) or his(her) E@O insurance should be responsible. If not, the recourse in my area is through Magistrate (Small Claims) Court.

What is the best way for people to reach you and your company?

You can reach me through my web site, with has a link to my email or by cell phone at 707-273-0345.

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Phone: (706) 273-0345

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