Frequently Asked Questions (and answers!) from Residential Inspector of America

Q: Are you licensed?
Absolutely! Florida law requires home inspectors to hold a home inspection license, and all our inspectors comply with the law. Not only are all RIA professional inspectors Florida licensed, our inspectors are Certified Inspection Experts and/or Certified Master Inspectors, which ensures they are experienced, dedicated to continually building their knowledge through education, have a proven record in the inspection industry, and abide by a strict code of ethics.

Q: Do you have insurance?
Yes, each of our inspectors carry general liability insurance as mandated by their license.

Q: What kind of report will I get?
Your home inspection report is customized to your home and always includes color photos. We will email your home inspection report as a PDF document, most often on the same day as your service appointment, but no later than 24 business hours after your appointment.

Q: Can I pay you at closing?
We do not bill to closing. We do offer PayPal Credit financing, which can extend the payment period to 6 months interest free (same as cash) if approved.

Q: Do you do repair work?
Our focus is on expert and unbiased home inspections. We do not perform any repairs.

Q: How long does a RIA inspection take?
Your Buyers Ultimate Inspection Package by RIA will take several hours, depending on the size, condition, and characteristics of your potential home. Larger homes will require more time, as will older homes. Most appointments with your RIA professional inspector fall into the 2 to 4 hour category, but if your home is older, larger, or more complex, it may take longer. Certain homes may even require the attention of two or more RIA inspectors, for your greatest peace of mind as well as time convenience.

Q: How do you get into the home?
If you are not the homeowner, we can access the home in several ways: you’ll need to arrange for a real estate agent or the home seller to meet our inspector for the appointment, provide us with a non-standard lockbox code so our inspector can let himself inside, or if the home is on NEFAR SupraKey we can let ourselves into the home (we have electronic real estate key access). If you need assistance in coordinating access, we will endeavor to help as much as possible.

Q: Do I have to attend the inspection?
It’s not a requirement, but we strongly recommend that you attend your appointment if at all possible. We want to meet you! The reports generated during your RIA home inspection are only a small piece of the inspection experience; your greatest peace of mind comes from understanding the inspection process, seeing the infrared technology we use, asking questions of your RIA Inspector, and discussing the findings that will be in the final report. This is also the time to express your concerns about things you may have seen in the home. We want your inspection to be an educational process, so you not only understand the home's current condition, but also its future maintenance requirements. If you cannot attend your appointment, we welcome your calls at any time after the appointment to answer your questions.

Q: Is a home inspection required when I buy a home?
In the state of Florida, there is no law requiring you to have a home inspection. A full home inspection is specifically geared to increase your knowledge of the home. Most lenders do not require you to get a home inspection, either. That being said, there may be other types of inspections that your lender or insurance company may require. For instance, your lender/mortgage company may require a WDO inspection report and your insurance company may require a 4 point insurance inspection before they will bind homeowner’s insurance coverage on the home. Your lender will most likely require an appraisal be done on the home as well. Depending on the type of mortgage you’ve applied for, you may also need other services like a water quality test (if there is a well on the property), or even a lead paint test if the home was built before 1978. RIA Inspections can typically provide all your inspection and related services, and if not, we can certainly refer you to quality vendors in our area.

Q: What is the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection?
These are two very different services. An appraisal is an estimate of the value of the property, specifically for purposes of obtaining a mortgage. A home inspection is an unbiased report of the current physical condition of the home. While an appraisal will take into consideration the condition of large obvious features of the home in order to determine the home’s market value (like a roof), the appraisal is not a full assessment of the current condition of the home. RIA does not provide appraisals.

Q: Can the home "fail" a home inspection?
Imagine if your home could talk, what would it say? Your RIA professional inspector simply acts as a spokesperson for the home, and relates unbiased information about the home to you. We will never "pass" or "fail" a home during an inspection; we simply describe the condition of the home and its components at that particular time. Your RIA professional inspector will indicate which items may be in need of immediate or future repair or replacement. Our goal is to educate you about the home so you can make informed decisions that are good for you, your family, and your home.

Q: If the report is favorable, did I really need an inspection?
Definitely! Knowledge is power! Now you can have peace of mind in completing what will probably be the largest financial transaction of your life, your home purchase. You will have also learned a few things from your RIA professional inspector during the process. Your report will become a valuable reference tool, arming you with knowledge for living in your new home and planning for its future care. Finally, you can rest easy knowing that RIA is only a phone call away should you ever need advice about any construction-related or maintenance item in your home. RIA is your home inspection company for life!

Q: The utilities are off at the home I need inspected; can RIA still conduct my inspection?
Absolutely! Having the utilities on for an inspection is always best, but we can still conduct a full inspection without one or all of any utilities, still providing an accurate visual assessment so you can make great purchase decisions.

Q: The seller had a home inspection before listing the home for sale - why can't I just use that inspection to make my decision?
Sellers who care enough to get an inspection before listing their home for sale should be commended (especially if they also had a complete WDO inspection). However, this is not a replacement for your own RIA Buyers Ultimate Inspection Package. The purpose of having your own inspection is to see what items have changed since that previous inspection. The seller may have had repairs done in response to their inspection - you want to be sure that those repairs were completed correctly. Even if no repairs were made, sometimes components and equipment simply change due to age or use - they may decline in effectiveness or give out without warning. You want to be sure that your RIA professional inspector is aware of your concerns in the home, so you can receive unbiased answers and recommendations. Remember, your inspection report is only a small piece of the inspection experience - to receive the full benefit of an inspection, you must see the process, ask questions, and become knowledgeable about the home's future needs. You can only do this if you purchase your own RIA Buyers Ultimate Inspection Package, and then, attend the inspection! When you use your own report in addition to the inspection report provided by the seller to make your buying decision, and you will be the most informed buyer that you can be.

Q: As an astute and knowledgeable person, can't I just conduct my own home inspection?
Even the most knowledgeable home buyer lacks the expertise and experience of RIA's professional home inspectors. RIA has been in business since 1994, and our inspectors have conducted tens of thousands of home inspections right here in the Northeast Florida area. RIA inspectors are experts who are familiar with all the elements of home construction, as well as the proper installation, maintenance, and the inter-relationship of your future home's many systems. But more importantly than any of our expertise, home buyers find it difficult to remain completely objective in evaluating their future home. Thoughts like furniture placement, decorating ideas, and where to hang your new plasma TV cloud the mind and creates complacency! Buyers simply find it difficult to stay unemotional about the home they are considering, and that leads to a poor assessment, missed items, and unreasonable repair requests. Consider also that many sellers may not accept an "inspection" that is not from an objective 3rd party professional. There is simply no replacement for the skill of a RIA professional inspector expertly using infrared technology to completely evaluate your future home. Gain the peace of mind you can only get from a RIA Buyers Ultimate Inspection Package today!

Q: How much does the Buyers Ultimate Inspection Package cost?
After tens of thousands of inspections since 1994, we have finally found an answer to this question that works for everyone. "What's the price for my home inspection?" ANSWER: "All the inspections you need for peace of mind in your home will total approximately about one mortgage payment". Isn't that incredible? All of your inspection needs and desires can be met for approximately ONE mortgage payment! When you’re about to make upwards of 360 payments on a home purchase, suddenly, price is put into proper perspective! We understand budgetary concerns and price sensitivities in today's marketplace, but we feel quality, service, and experience should be the highest priority, NOT price. Only a RIA professional inspector performing a Buyers Ultimate Inspection Package can give you the peace of mind you need - and isn't that worth one mortgage payment?

Q: Why are you more expensive than other companies I’ve called?
We’re so glad you asked that question! When you compare the background, education, and experience of our inspectors, the longevity of our company (over 24 years), the reputation of our company President Wally Conway, the sophisticated equipment that we use (that most others either don’t have, or charge extra for), and our commitment to customer service, you’ll find that our pricing is very reasonable. Our goal is to educate you about the inspection process, and provide you the right service to fit your needs. When you break down our service packages, you’ll see that they are an incredible value, providing everything that you typically need for peace of mind in your home – and when we bundle these services we discount them deeply for really the best pricing around.

Q: Do you inspect (walk on) the roof during the inspection?
Your RIA professional inspector will walk on the roof as long as the roof is accessible with a 13 foot ladder, there’s no risk of causing damage to the roof, and there’s no risk of personal harm. If he cannot walk on the roof, he will inspect from it from the edge at multiple locations with his ladder, plus use binoculars and an aerial drone (unless weather or air space restrictions exist). However, we can often tell MUCH more about your roof from inside the attic space, which our inspector will also investigate if accessible. For instance, we can’t always “see” roof leaks from on top the roof – leaks are most often more visible from inside the attic space.

Q: Will you inspect the crawlspace?
Yes, our inspector will inspect the crawlspace during your inspection, as long as there is an accessible hatch/opening, the space is readily accessible with an adequate opening and clearance, there’s no risk of causing damage to any item, and there’s no risk of harm to our inspector.

Q: Do you inspect the pool?
Yes, as part of the home inspection process your RIA professional inspector will inspect the general condition of the pool equipment, pool decking, and safety elements. We also look for signs of leakage and/or problems in the accessible electrical connections. We don’t do any water testing, and the evaluation of the pool structure (under the water) is limited to what we can see – our inspectors won’t dive in! (even though they might want to on the hottest of days…) Due to the long cycles of cleaning and/or heating systems, we cannot comment on the operational effectiveness of this equipment.

Q. Do you inspect the chimney?
Yes, as part of the home inspection process we will visually assess the chimney and fireplace as accessible. We’re predominately looking for signs of moisture issues from the bottom at the firebox, from the top of the chimney, and around the chimney from inside the attic/crawlspace (see FAQs regarding roof and crawlspace areas above).

Q: Is HVAC efficiency, power, and balance checked?
HVAC efficiency in its simplest form is called a SEER rating. That data is generally on the label of the system. The more important factors in actual efficiency, which translates to power bills and comfort, are the condition of the duct work and cleanliness of the system. These are easily and readily checked during our inspection process. For a complete HVAC efficiency and balance check, you should consider a full energy audit – we can recommend a quality company for this service, simply contact us.

Q: Are the various electrical circuits checked for over-loading?
The primary indicator of an overloaded circuit is heat. By using the infrared camera to spot-check for heat variances, the inspector will be able to detect over heated breakers, outlets, fixtures, appliances and in some cases, overheated wires behind walls. However, specific load calculations will not be performed.

Q: Do you inspect solar panels?
Yes, as part of the home inspection process your RIA professional inspector will check the condition of the panels themselves, plus check surrounding elements such as corroded/damaged points of connection and accessible electrical components. To be clear, we cannot directly check the functionality of the solar panels themselves. These systems are usually much more complex than meets the eye – batteries for energy storage, backup connected to direct electric, inverters that convert the solar energy to usable energy (AC current vs. DC current type stuff), etc. Very specialized! Most solar panels are for heating water, typically pool heaters or house water heaters… and given all the batteries, backups, etc., even testing water temperature is not a definitive way to “test” the functionality of the solar panel system. For a more in depth assessment of your solar system, we recommend contacting the installer, or contact us for a referral to a trusted company.

Q: Do you inspect water softeners?
Yes, as part of the home inspection process we will inspect the condition of the connections as well as the state of the brine tank (dirty/clean) of any on site water treatment equipment. We also look for signs of leakage and/or problems in the accessible electrical connections. Water quality testing is not included in the inspection process, and due to the long cycles of water treatment systems, we cannot comment on the operational effectiveness of any water treatment equipment. For more information about your water softening system, we recommend contacting the installer, or contact us for a referral to a trusted company.

Q: Is water pressure checked during the home inspection?
Actually, pressure is not the primary determinate in delivering sufficient water to a fixture. What matters most is actually flow! To measure the flow or pressure at each location is not generally useful. The real test is to turn on every fixture simultaneously to see and feel the performance. If there is a significant drop in flow when all fixtures are operated, that will be included in the report.

Q: Do you inspect my well?
Yes, as part of the home inspection process your RIA professional inspector will operate most of the faucets inside and outside the structure, as well as flush toilets, etc. This process effectively tests the functionality of your well equipment. In addition, we’ll evaluate the general condition of the well equipment, looking for signs of leakage and/or problems in the accessible electrical connections. If you would like the quality of the water tested, we can do that for an additional fee.

Q: Why should I have my new home inspected during construction?
The process of watching your home being built is like watching your own surgery - it's scary, and you generally have little idea of what's going on! RIA acts as a competent third party, representing your interests, to assure you that your builder is using sound construction practices, quality materials, and performing acceptable workmanship. We can also help educate you about the building process, and reassure you when things aren't really as scary as they might seem.

Q: How often should I have the construction process inspected?
This will be a function of your budget and your expectations. The best results are obtained by performing all 4 phase inspections: Pre-Slab Inspection, Pre-Drywall Inspection (Framing and Mechanicals), Final Inspection, and Warranty Inspection. Our customer care specialists can explain the services available, just call (904) 590-1306 or use our convenient online form to submit your quote request.

Q: Do you deal directly with my builder?
Most of our contact with the builder centers on receiving approval to step foot on the property to conduct your inspection service. Beyond that, most builders don't want to talk to us! We’ll provide you with a written report after each inspection so that you can review items of concern with your builder. Unfortunately, we have no power to enforce any of our findings - that power rests totally with you, the purchaser/owner, as you are the one under contract with the builder. All that being said, should your builder wish to speak with us regarding our findings, we are more than happy to do so!

Q: Who are the "best" builders in this area of Florida?
This cannot be answered unless one knows who is overseeing the on-site work. Quality construction is a function of supervision and not necessarily of building price. Superintendents that are knowledgeable, confident, and customer-oriented welcome inspections by a RIA professional inspector, viewing us as another pair of eyes critiquing their work for improvement of their product. Unfortunately, most superintendents are builder-oriented with production deadlines, and cost-cutting their primary driving force.

Q: I've heard that I need a home inspection every year - is this true?
Leaky plumbing, damaged roofing, or other common household problems are not always obvious. Many defects accumulate for long periods of time, sometimes years, causing thousands of dollars in damage before they become noticeable. Because you live in the home, items will often escape your attention because you are so familiar with your surroundings. That faucet that needs to be turned a certain way so it won't drip; an electrical switch that must be wiggled "just right" to come on; that crack in the floor that becomes larger with each passing year (when did it start to crack, and how long was it last year?). A yearly inspection from RIA can detect issues before they become huge problems! With your continued understanding of your home's most current condition and needs, you will also be better prepared in the event of improvement or renovation in your home. As you keep these "logs" of your home's condition over time, you will be in a fabulous position to sell faster and at closer to asking price when you do decide to sell your home. So yes, we recommend a yearly inspection of your home (or at least every other year).

American Society of Home Inspectors
International Code Council
American Home Inspection Training
Moisture Free Warranty