What is a LodeStar?
A LodeStar is a star that is used to guide the course, a guiding light, North Star, an inspiration or guide. A light that guides you home. That is what we created LodeStar Inspection Services to be – a guide that helps you have peace of mind and confidence in your homeownership decisions.
What happens if the house Fails the inspection?
The home inspection is not a Pass/Fail test of the house. It’s actually simply an identification of areas of the home that are not operating like they were intended to. You get to decide, with the information from the report, how you move forward with the house.
How much does the home inspection cost and when do I pay?
Most folks usually spend between $400 and $600 on their home inspections. The exact amount is determined by the size and complexity of the home. Because it takes less time and there are fewer things to inspect in a condo, it costs less to inspect a 1 bedroom/1 bath condo than a 4 bedroom/3.5 bath home. You can pay online or in person at the time of the inspection; and can pay with cash, check, money order, and MasterCard, Visa, and American Express.
What is a home inspection?
A home inspection is an objective, visual examination of the structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems of a home. We use the house like you will; and if we find items that are not operating as they were intended to, we document them with photos and words, in your report.
How long does a home inspection take?
A home inspection usually takes about 3 hours – depending on the size of the home.
Can I come to the home inspection?
Yes, we’d love to meet you! Our clients have told us that they get the most benefit from attending the last hour of the inspection.
Do I have to be at the home inspection?
No, you don’t have to be there. We are working for you, and we want to make sure that we give you everything you need to make an educated decision. It’s ideal if you can attend for the last hour, but, if you can’t be at the inspection we will have a video chat or phone call with you to go over our findings. We do lots of inspections for people relocating to our area who have never seen the home in person. Our goal is to give you the info you need and want so that you feel like you were here with us and know the house.
What do you inspect?
We inspect the major, visible components of the home: the porch, exterior, siding, window wells, hose bibbs (spigots), deck, patio, driveway, garage, roof, soffits, fascia, gutters, downspouts, flashing, attic, attic access stairs or hatch, insulation in attic and covering opening to attic, attic ventilation, structure, sheathing, and electrical components, basement, foundation walls, subfloors, beams, joists, posts, ventilation throughout the home, remove the cover from each electrical panel sub-panel, identify and mark the water main, and water shut-offs for the hose bibbs (spigots), inspect and operate accessible windows and electrical outlets, lights and fans, plumbing components – including flushing all the toilets, running water in the sinks, showers, and bathtubs, laundry tubs, and dishwasher and washing machine, the heating and cooling systems (HVAC), clothes dryer, refrigerator, garbage disposal, exhaust fan over the stove, the stovetop and oven, the water heater, and more.
What do you not inspect?
The inspection is a visual inspection only – which means we can’t tear out drywall to see what’s behind it or pull up carpeting to see what’s under it. If we can’t see it to inspect it, we’ll let you know and point you in the right direction to get it tested. We do not test built in vacuum systems, spas and hot-tubs, pools, lawn irrigation systems, and safety alarm systems.
What if the house is not up to code?
The home inspection is not a code inspection, and the house is not required to meet current code in order to be sold. What we are looking for on the inspection is if the components of the home are operating as intended based on the time it was built (or renovated).
Who needs a home inspection?
- Buyers: Most of our clients are buying a home they have fallen in love with and hire us to give them the information they need to have peace of mind as they move forward with homeownership.
- Home-Owners: Folks who have lived in their homes for more than 7-10 years also benefit from the information an inspection provides, so they are able to be aware of, prioritize, and stay on top of maintenance and other home projects. It’s like a detailed objective honey-do list.
- Home Sellers: Having an inspection before putting a home on the market allows sellers to proactively make repairs to their homes before buyers come through with their home inspectors. It can minimize stress for sellers and allow them to budget for any major repairs – rather than racing to get them done on a tight time-frame when requested by a buyer.
- Rehabbers/Investors: When a home is rehabbed or “flipped” the seller can save time, money, and aggravation if they have a home inspection before putting the house on the market. It’s also a great way to ensure that work is complete and done as expected prior to making the final payment to contractors.
- New Construction Home Buyers: New home builders use subcontractors to do the work on the houses they build, and the foremen can’t do quality control on every item of every new home. The County and City inspectors do not do QC inspections, either. They just check to make sure certain items are up to code. The home inspector bridges the gap for home buyers by making sure that the home is being built to industry standards AND the way you will expect it to be when you move in. Most new construction inspections include several phases: a foundation inspection, a pre-drywall inspection, a pre-settlement inspection, and an 11 month inspection. It’s also best to wait til the 11 month inspection to test for radon in new construction so that the soil has time to settle before testing. Just ask and we’ll be happy to go deeper into this.
Why don’t you offer a home warranty like some other companies do?
We offered warranties briefly and were disappointed because of their very limited ability to cover what our customers expected and needed, so stopped providing them. They have a bad reputation in the warranty industry. And, it makes sense that they don’t provide as much coverage as most folks need – they cost the inspectors around $30 altogether. Compare that to the full warranties that buyers and sellers purchase are between $450 and $650. How much protection can $30 really buy? We stand behind our inspections – call or email us if you feel like we missed something, so we can address it.
Can you see if there is mold behind walls?
No, we can’t see through walls – although, it would have been helpful to have had x-ray vision when my two sons were little! Seriously, though, we use Infra-Red Cameras to identify temperature differences in drywall, which might be a clue that there is a leak behind the wall. And if there is water behind the wall, there might be mold, as well.
Why spend money on a home inspection - I’m buying new construction?
Great question! The home you are having built is being inspected regularly by different government officials. They are checking that the rules have been followed and that everything meets the code as it is supposed to. They are not hired by you and using the house like you will. They are not doing a home inspection – testing outlets and windows and making sure the dishwasher is fully connected (among other things). The first new-construction home I inspected was selling for around $500,000. During the inspection, I found that the drain in the bathtub in the primary bathroom was not connected! So as it emptied, it was pouring through the recessed lighting in the living room below, onto the lovely wooden mantle and fireplace, onto the hardwood floors, onto the electric panel in the basement! The roof was also missing shingles and the chimney didn’t have a liner. I think the buyer’s investment in the inspection was $600 – and it saved them over $25,000!
Can your testing guarantee that my house doesn’t have any mold?
No, but we can give you peace of mind about its presence with mold testing and an Infrared camera inspection. Mold is everywhere and a natural part of life on earth, but it’s usually originating outside. Our air tests determine if mold is originating inside your home. An Infrared camera inspection identifies areas of moisture – from hidden leaks or floods – that create the perfect environment for mold to grow. For more detailed mold information, click here
Can your testing guarantee that my house doesn’t have any radon?
Nope. But once you know what your home’s radon level is, it is easily lowered to acceptable levels. Radon comes from deep within the earth and is everywhere – inside and outside. When it builds up in the lowest levels of the home is when it becomes a concern. In some cases the normal day-to-day activities in a home are enough to keep the levels low. However, in other cases a permanent solution that draws the radon from below the home to above the roof is the best way to keep it consistently low. For more detailed radon information, click here
How common is it for people to test for radon?
85% of our home inspection clients get radon testing at the same time.
When should I not test for radon?
If you are buying a new construction home, wait to test it for radon until it has been “under roof” for at least 6-9 months so that the ground has had time to settle. If you are buying a condo that is on the third floor or higher (but, not the penthouse), you probably don’t need to test for radon.
How do I get a quote or schedule an inspection?
Call the office at 410.878.3039
, email us at LodeStar@LodeStarInspections.com
, or check pricing immediately here
. Just give us the address of the property you need to have inspected and we’ll give you a quote and let you know of upcoming appointments that match your availability.
Do you do inspections on Saturdays and Sundays?
Yup! We perform inspections 7 days a week so that more folks can attend their inspections.
Will my report have photos in it?
Yes! We provide photos of most of the defects we discover. We’ll even include photos of your new appliances so you can remember exactly what they look like.
Can my parents/kids/friends come to the inspection?
Yes, they are welcome to attend! However, due to the COVID pandemic challenges of remaining physically distanced during home inspections, our policy is to have no more than three people in the home at a time with the inspector.
Will you get on the roof?
We will get on the roof if it is safely accessible using a 15-foot ladder. Whether we get on the roof or not, a thorough roof inspection is performed from the ground using binoculars and through evaluation of the underside of the roof from inside the attic.
Will I get a discount on other services if I get them with my home inspection?
Yes! The services that we provide are discounted when they are bundled with the home inspection. The quote that we email you or give you over the phone already has the discount built into it. If you call and ask for a stand-alone radon test, for example, it will cost more than if you ask for a home inspection AND a radon test.