Friday, August 17, 2018

Thorough Home Inspections

Email received today relative to a 63 page (OMG) one year warranty inspection conducted the first of the week on new construction the client (who has purchased three other new homes) did not have inspected before closing. We were there because of issues they were experiencing with the home. 

"Hi Chris,

It has taken me this long to absorb your report. This is by far the most comprehensive home inspection report we've ever read. We have to tell you and Drew thank you so much for such a thorough report. It was a real pleasure meeting both of you. We will definitely pass along your name to anyone we hear is looking for a great inspector.

Thanks again,"

This speaks to a recent comment I heard about a new agent being berated by other, more seasoned agents, for booking a home inspection with us because we are "too thorough". When she shared that with her client the response was "that is exactly who we want". Yes, we may not be your agents choice but you can believe, as a homebuyer, when we are finished we will be yours!!! We do not arrive at a home to protect your agents commission. We arrive to protect your best interest and to thoroughly educate you on the condition of the home you are considering purchasing. We are there to either support your comfort or discomfort and we do not care which. 

If you happen to be an agent who places the best interest of your client ahead of your own then we are the home inspectors for you. If not, probably best that you not consider us as we could prove to be a great disappointment to your transaction as we uncover the truth about the home being considered.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

How to save 20% on a home inspection

Stop Drew from going fishing and save 20% on one home inspection only (not including the radon test) booked during August 2018 by any agent who has never worked with Chris D. Hilton or Drew Cline previously (we will check). 

To celebrate and introduce the most experienced new home inspector in North Carolina’s arriving being released to conduct inspections on his own (Chris is picky!) we are offering 20% off (one per agent) of home inspections booked during the month of August. 

Book your clients home inspection at this link:

Fill out the information about the house and the inspection, click on “find appointment”, select time under “Openings for Drew” and click “Reserve Drew”. Enter the information requested and, in the notes, enter “20% off of home inspection for Realtors first home inspection with Drew”. It’s that simple to try Drew out and save your client’s money in the process. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

What a client thinks

Review posted today on Google about a recent inspection: "Chris is a common sense realist with a plethora of construction knowledge and experience. A great asset to a potential homebuyer who wants to be assured that they are getting the best bang for their buck. I highly recommend Chris and his team."

I responded back: "Thanks Mike, plethora is a big word, may have to look that up. In all honesty to everyone our relationship only goes back over 30 years. You should know." Mike is a commercial construction project manager.

Monday, May 21, 2018

What a client thinks

Recent Google Review: "Chris Hilton was recommended to me by an associate and when I checked his website there was no question that he was the right company for my inspection. The home I'd chosen had some earlier problems that had been repaired, but due to Chris's experience, he was able to identify some problems that allowed me to make an informed decision about the purchase of this home. Best money that I've ever spent."

Friday, April 27, 2018

What a client thinks

Just posted on Yelp: "My husband and I are in the process of purchasing our first home. Our realtor referred us to Chris Hilton to conduct the home inspection and I'm so glad she did. He arrived promptly on time and was fully prepared to go to the 100 yards. Chris is very personable, respectful and knowledgeable of his profession having over 20 years experience. I walked with him throughout the home asking questions and absorbing how the home works. He went into the attic and welcomed my step dad to go with him into the crawlspace (and he did). He walked around the house even in the rain. He documented everything and took pictures. It took around 3 hours from start to finish. His report was done and sent to my realtor and myself the very next morning. I was nervous going into the inspection but he eased my nerves knowing that he is on the buyers side and working hard to prepare the buyer for any future issues. I highly recommend Chris Hilton to do your home inspection!"

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Why such hate from agents?

“Why such hate from agents (Realtors)?” This was the question asked of me early this morning from a Realtor, I have always heard was involved in the process of disparaging me with other agents, who may have found a little enlightenment over the past few days. She is having difficulty comprehending the very obvious hate from some Realtors, who are not involved with me, and apparent love she is discovering from those who have worked with me consistently for many years. Why is it that hundreds of Realtors hate me, talk bad of me, prefer that I not be involved in their transaction, consistently bad mouth me among their peers and belittle agents who choose to work with me? 

They say confession is good for the soul so for the first time, in 20 years, I am going to confess. There are a huge number of Realtors who hate me because, when I started in this business, that was one of my primary goals and it has worked well for me. When I attempted to explain this goal to my Realtor wife she said that I was nuts, that my business and success would come from Realtors and that I could not make it in home inspections with such an attitude. 

I had never been on a home inspection with a home inspector. Imagine that. I started in the business with very little concept of how my competitors did what they did, and I didn’t care. I learned from classes, books and formed my own concept of what a home inspection should be. The state of North Carolina has a minimum standard of practice and I quickly learned that most home inspectors, for the most part, limited themselves to that standard. My thought process was that I would want a home inspector who cared about me and my family.
Who would be better than a father or grandfather with extensive construction experience? I had a father like that, was a father like that and later became a grandfather like that. So why not inspect homes to a higher standard and become that to my clients. Inspect homes as if your child was the buyer and your grandchildren would be the occupants. It did not appear to me that is what other home inspectors were doing based on their reports and the outcomes of their inspections.

To put it in the terms of a leader in our industry I considered every home an elephant hunt but found the elephants by looking for the tiniest little squirrel most inspectors were ignoring and unlike them, I included those in my reports. Then, I included things they choose to ignore, because it made too many waves with Realtors, including but not limited to abandoned wells, below grade fuel oil tanks, asbestos, placed radon monitors in unfinished basements as was the confusing intent of the EPA standards which most test providers chose to ignore because the test would be lower pleasing more folk. The EPA, at my request, later clarified that requirement bolstering what had been my position since the beginning forcing others to follow instead of buck my lead. 

On one of my very early inspections I was confronted by a high performing listing agent who chose to stay by my side and argue about everything I brought up. I politely ask her to step out in the yard and advised her that she had a choice. She could leave, or I would leave. She left and has spread her hate of me throughout the industry ever since. I can quote her comment to my wife “You know I hate your husband”. This spread like wildfire through her company and other high performing agents who have basically black-balled me forever. 

How do you become a successful home inspector while being black-balled by most high performing agents? You connect with those they don’t have influence over, many of which are new agents. You ride up the ladder as part of those new agent’s team until they are high performing agents. Hence the agents who love me and the ones who don’t. 

An interesting thing happened to me before I actually did my first inspection. I attended a meeting of the local chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors and sat beside of the only person in the room I knew. He happed to be one of the longest serving and respected home inspectors in the community, as well as a structural engineer, and his book reflected that. When asked for introduction of new attendees he stood up and said, “Gentleman allow me to introduce my greatest fear in this industry who will now be inspecting the homes we have previously inspected.” He went on to explain who I was and that I had more construction experience than everyone in the room together. Now, that is the way to break the ice in a room filled with strangers. 

Now we have this guy with extensive experience and knowledge setting out to conduct a home inspection as if he were the buyers father or grandfather. The result was more detailed tougher inspections and reports than the Realtors were accustomed to seeing. The guy who introduced me above’s report might have 8 pages while mine could be 40 or even 100. Now the Realtors happy listing weren’t so happy. If you aren’t happy with this inspector how do you keep him out of your listings? Simple, represent him to all of the agents you associate with as a deal killer we don’t want involved with our home inspections. And they did and still do. 

Why would I start out on such a crazy path?  I became, over time, the home inspector the buyers began to demand and that Realtors, who honestly care about their client’s best interest, preferred. I enhanced that by becoming the most available inspector covering a larger area and working crazy hours seven days a week. When your inspector of choice wasn’t available I was. I became the number two choice by default. I was available when they were not. 

There you have it, the most hated home inspector loved by a few and by his home buyer clients who spread the word bringing more business than he can handle.  

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Home Inspection Crisis

As I write this article I am 67 years old with over 30 years’ experience in residential and commercial construction and 20 as a home and commercial building inspector. I am with little argument one of the most experienced inspectors in the State of North Carolina and for that part North America. I have pretty much maxed out the volume I am personally able to handle alone. Having trained numerous construction superintendents, project managers, dealt with too many subcontractors suppliers and employees, I committed in 1998 to work on my own for the remainder of my life.  With the average home inspector in his 60’s (yes most are men), past what is generally considered, put out to pasture retirement age, on Medicare, currently or soon drawing Social Security, who will inspect your homes in the future? One day it dawned on me, listening to Realtors concerned about my retirement, that I am the problem. I fully intend to continue inspecting into my 80’s and have many years left inspecting your homes and commercial buildings. But, what happens as I have all the volume I can handle, if I get hurt, sick, too tired to continue, my bride decides she wants to travel more or, as we all will, drop dead?

After great consideration and consternation, I think I may have discovered a solution in a much younger guy, who grew up on a tobacco farm in Pinnacle, North Carolina at the foot of Pilot Mountain, red neck country boy, Eagle Scout Drew Cline. Drew has spent 12 years as a pest inspector and technician addressing wood destroying insects, moisture and wild life issues in homes. Drew is loved by his clients and the Realtors he has worked with. Drew sat under the tutelage of Bonnie and Tom Gregory, the best home inspector instructors available in North Carolina at the Home Inspector Training Center in Burlington. Now Drew is working by the old man’s side learning the nuances of actually inspecting homes and commercial buildings. Drew is now, without doubt, the most experienced, best supervised, best new home inspector in North Carolina. Working, by my side, Drew has already inspected more homes and commercial buildings than any other new inspector in NC. Now we are working on osmosis passing my experience over to him as he works along with me.

Crisis alleviated? Not quite yet. 

You must play your part.

Now the future of home inspections in North Carolina is in your hands as the homebuyers and Realtors assisting homebuyers. Drew will not be inspecting homes you don’t book him to inspect. Be assured that Drew has his mentors readily available should he need us, and should your booking be old or complex, I will be right by his side. Go to this link, fill out the information about the home then on the next page PICK DREW!