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Ask the Inspector

From “Inspection Times” by Mike Crow

Question: Can you give me some advice about chimneys? I want to be sure mine is safe.


The “cold and flue” season is beginning, so if you haven’t checked your chimney for awhile, you should do it soon.

Because chimneys usually work in spite of problems behind the exterior, homeowners don’t think about maintenance until a problem develops.  But chimneys do deteriorate from constant exposure to the weather, and they can become a safety hazard.

Whether you have a basic chimney on your home or a fireplace chimney, regular maintenance is recommended to prevent damage and future high-cost repairs.  In both older and newer homes, there could be a cracked chimney crown.

Another major trouble spot is the point where the chimney connector passes through the wall.  A flue that operates properly is vital to keeping fumes out of your home.  It should be inspected by a professional who can recognize danger signs.  If you need a new flue, you can insert a metal or masonry flue within the existing unit.

Creosote causes problems.  A buildup that is only one-eighth of an inch thick should  be removed.  It can look like a hard tar-like glaze, a crusty type that flakes off, or a powder.  It’s dangerous.  Creosote buildup can ignite and cause a chimney fire.

The best advice: Contact the Chimney Safety Institute of America.  They have qualified chimney sweeps who can clean your system and recommend repairs.

Q. Do you walk on roofs, go into attics, and crawl spaces?

A.  Yes! We walk on 90% of all roofs, attics, and crawl spaces. Sometimes roofs, attics, and crawl spaces are not safe for inspectors to do so. We will note in our report if that is the case.

Q. When do we get the report?

A.  Our goal is to get the report to you the next business day. We can sometimes finish the report at the inspection if requested.

Q. How will I get the report?

A.  Your report will be emailed to you the next day. Your report can be printed and mailed to you or hand delivered if necessary.

Q. How soon can you get to the inspection?

A.  Our wait time for an inspection varies. Usually the wait time is 2 to 3 days. Sometimes we can do the inspection the same day it’s ordered if an emergency comes up. .

Q. Do you do last-minute inspections?

A.  Yes. We have done many last-minute inspections.

Q. Do you do inspections on weekends? Holidays?

A.  Yes. Call us! We have 6 inspectors who are waiting for your order.

Q. Do you have a key to the property?

A.  Yes if the house is in the Multiple Listing Service.

Q. Are there any guarantees?

A.  Yes! 200% Guarantee!  We guarantee, if within 14 days, that you are not happy, we will refund your money and pay another licensed inspector to do the inspection.

Q. Do you do radon, pool, pest, sprinklers, septic, and mold tests?

A. Yes. We do all of these inspections with a home inspection.

Q. Who answers the phone when we call?

A.  Our office staff answers the phones; however, if they are out of the office, we have an answering service that can help you schedule an appointment or take a message. You can schedule on-line at https://www.alhomedoc.com/schedule/.

Q. Are you licensed and insured?

A.  Yes. We have Worker’s Compensation, as well as Liability/Errors & Omissions Insurance.

Q. Do you do any of the repairs?

A.  No. Although we are state licensed contractors, don’t do any of the repairs. This would be a conflict of interest.

Q. Can you do estimates for repairs?

A.  Yes. As a state licensed contractor and a 203k FHA Consultant, we have the credentials to do so.  If requested, we can give ballpark estimates to assist you.

Q. Are there any discounts?

A.  Yes. We give previous customer, realtor, and military discounts. If the sale falls through, the next inspection is half- price.

Q. What kind of training do you have?

A.  All inspectors are trained personally by Guinn Laxson who has been doing home inspections for 25 years. Each inspector has completed home inspector training courses to be licensed by the State of Alabama.

Q. Do you do continuing education?

A.  Yes, through the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).

Q. Who have you worked for in the past?

A.  Century 21, Keller Williams, Remax, Caldwell Banker, Legend, and Dream Key, and countless others

Buyer’s Home Inspection

Why an inspection?

  • To protect yourself in an important investment decision.

  • To be an informed buyer, knowing if there are any defects present, if those defects are serious, and the potential cost to repair them.

  • To be an educated home owner, having seen your home through the eyes of an unbiased professional.

When possible, our inspections include walking on the roof, crawling in the attic, and entering crawl spaces.

Top things that we look for…

  • Safety concerns

  • Financial considerations

  • Maintenance issues

Who should attend?

You, as the client, are welcome to include anyone you desire in the inspection. Along with you and any family members you may also decide to include your Realtor and the listing Realtor.

Why should you choose The Home Doctor?

Give us a call to schedule your inspectioN!

Realtor’s Home Inspection

Here at The Home Doctor we understand that every aspect of the real estate transaction requires hard work, dedication, and concentration on every detail from everyone involved. A home inspection is a crucial part of the home buying process. Our home inspection company has a proven record of prompt response and reliable service. This is one of several reasons we are one of the most referred inspection firms in the area.

Our inspectors arrive on time, are professionally dressed and concentrate on absolute customer satisfaction. We understand you are working hard to build a relationship with your client and our goal is to make that process a little easier for you. Working with professionals, such as yourself, is one of the things that makes our job easier and we want you to be able to say the same thing after you experience our inspection service.

Your clients will receive a printed inspection report along with photographs of our thorough examination of the home at the time of the inspection. Our inspectors will go through every aspect of the report in a non-alarming manner to make you and your clients more informed regarding their home purchase and make the home buyers feel safe, comfortable, protected and glad they worked with you.

Give us a call to schedule your inspection or click here to schedule online now!

Seller’s Home Inspection

As a current homeowner you are aware of the importance that an inspection plays on the purchasing process. Buyers in the market that may be interested in your home will no doubt share that perspective.

Reasons to have your home inspected before trying to sell:

Offering a home inspection shows potential buyers that you have made a sincere effort to present you home’s condition fairly and accurately. This makes it more marketable and attractive to prospects.

You can understand issues that may be present prior to the buyer discovering problems that may take you of guard and destroy the sale on your home. You gain a stronger negotiating position by knowing first hand the condition of the property.

You can practically eliminate legal liability for not disclosing potential issues to prospective buyers.

Why purchase an inspection?

  • To fully prepare your home to go on the market

  • To gain a marketing advantage

  • To be aware of issues from a professional so you can answer buyer’s questions

  • To correct problems that may hinder the sales process

  • To make sure your home is the right house to buy

Why should you use The Home Doctor? Click Here.

Give us a call to schedule your inspection or click here to schedule online now!