Should Your Home Inspector Use a Drone?

There are lots of great questions you should ask a home inspector before hiring them to inspect what might just be the biggest purchase of your life.  (You can find some of our favorites here.) 

But as with anything else in life, new technologies are constantly evolving for the home inspection industry too!  One of the latest and most beneficial to you as a buyer is the use of drone technology to complete your roof inspection.

Did you know that ASHI and InterNACHI inspection standards do not require that inspectors physically walk on the roof?  There are a host of reasons why it’s not required but safety for the inspector lies at the heart.  So guess what?  Most inspectors choose to view the roof from a ladder instead of being on it.

As you might imagine, it’s pretty challenging (if not impossible!) to find areas of damage, excessive wear and even active leaks when preforming inspections without physically being on the roof. 

Below are 5 potential benefits from hiring a home inspector that uses drone technology:

  1. In depth inspection with close up images and video provide much greater information and consequently peace of mind for buyers.
  2. No damage caused by inspector walking on roof. Yes, inspectors can actually cause damage during the inspection.  The use of drone technology removes this possibility completely!
  3. Today’s roof designs often include unique features, multiple valley/dormer conditions and steep slopes. While they make for great aesthetic features both inside and out, they also make through roof inspections challenging if not impossible to complete.
  4. Inspections are completed easier, faster and safer. While this might seem like a benefit to the inspector, trust me as the buyer you benefit too! The reality is that inspectors allocate a certain amount of time for the total inspection process.  When the roof inspection is completed quickly, it allows them more time on the other important elements of the home.
  5. Aerial photo of your new home! While not all inspectors offer this cool perk, at Miller Building Inspections, we’re proud to offer our clients a completely free aerial digital image of their home as our way of saying thanks for choosing us.  These types of photos often cost $200-300 alone!

So do you want to hire a home inspector that uses drone technology for their roof inspections? 

The choice is yours, but to us at Miller Building Inspections, the answer is clear!  Our goal is to provide our clients the most complete information possible and using a drone for roof inspections does just that.

PS-If you decide it’s important to you too, make sure to ask the home inspector you choose to see their Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pilot certificate.  This certificate is your assurance that they have completed the challenging coursework and passed the federal exam.  Without this important piece of paper, they could be exposing you to unnecessary risk and headaches! 

Do you want the BARE MINIMUM or More?

I think it’s a safe bet you want more….and here’s why!

Most reputable home inspectors work by ASHI (American Society of Home Inspector) or InterNACHI standards.  These guidelines are meant to protect consumers like you and ensure a quality home inspection.

But when you’re making the biggest purchase of your life, here’s the thing you should know.  They may not be “enough.”  When you’re interviewing potential home inspectors (and yes you should do that!), here are some areas where you might want more than the bare minimum:

  • Window Operation: Inspectors are only required to open one window in each room.  Wouldn’t you like to be sure that on the first spring day that every window actually opens and operates correctly?
  • Electrical Outlets: Again these guidelines require only one electrical outlet in each room be checked. The “theory” is that if one functions properly, they all do.  Electrical problems can be expensive to repair and jeopardize the safety of your family.  Is that a risk you want to take? 
  • Attics & Crawl Spaces: The standards require that an inspector “look in them.” They are not required to actually “enter them.”  When an inspector physically gets into the attic they gain the opportunity to identify things like roof leaks and mold issues.  Again, things you’d likely want to know about before finalizing the purchase.
  • Roof Inspection: Inspectors are not required to physically “walk” on the roof. This can be a pretty important component of the inspection to identify shingle life and flashing issues. In some cases, it’s not physically safe for the inspector to do so but in others, it can be an easy excuse to skip this critical part.  (Note: Many of the best quality inspectors are now using drones to complete roof inspections for challenging conditions so be sure to ask if they have a drone when you’re interviewing them).

Bottom line:  these industry standards are a great starting point for a home inspection.  Inspectors using these guidelines can give buyers a pretty good feel about the overall condition of the home.  But if you really want to know the details on what you’re buying, find an inspector who cares more about doing the right thing for you than one who does the bare minimum so they can move on to the next job. 

You may need to look a little harder and ask some good questions, but I assure you they’re out there!

And if you’re in the Central Illinois area, check us out at


6 Things To Do Before You Carve the Turkey

With the holidays fast approaching, the topics of our conversations have changed like the seasons.  Instead of talking about summer vacations and BBQ’s, our thoughts are swiftly transitioning to holiday plans and gift giving ideas. 

While at Miller Building Inspections we love the holidays as much as you do, there are some other important things to do before losing your mind to the holiday madness.  And they involve taking care of what is likely the largest asset of your life….your home!

  1. Change Furnace Filters.  While it’s not as exciting as the hunt for the perfect gift for Aunt Susie, changing your furnace filter is a quick and inexpensive maintenance item that pays big rewards.  Furnace filters are designed to catch dust and pollen from the air.  When they aren’t changed on a regular basis, the efficiency of your furnace (not to mention your air quality) is drastically reduced. 
  2. Drain Hose Bibs. I don’t have to look far to find an example of a homeowner who got caught up in the frenzy of life and forgot to drain and shut off an outside hose bib. My son-in-law made that same mistake just last year.  When the first days of spring hit, they were blessed with a waterfall of water in their basement.
  3. Sump pump. If you have a sump pump with outside drainage, make sure it falls away from the house to prevent freeze ups during the winter months. 
  4. Ceiling Fans. An often forgotten winter maintenance item involves changing the direction of ceiling fans.  During the summer months they should be set to push the cooler air down but in the winter you want to reverse them to push the warm air up.
  5. Furnace Humidifiers. Many of the new high efficiency furnaces have an in-line humidifier to put moisture into the air.  While these units drastically improve the comfort of your home, they do add maintenance.  The humidifier elements should have been shut down during the summer months to prevent the A Coil from freezing up.  Now that winter is here, it’s time to turn the humidifier element back on so you gain the benefit.
  6. Christmas lights. In Central Illinois, putting up outdoor lights can be a “chilling” experience.  And while I know you’re ready to get back inside and get warm, take time to inspect all outdoor power cords before using.  While they might have been fine when you put them away, things change.  Over time the outside casing can become brittle and begin to break.  Depending on where they were stored, it’s even possible mice may have found them interesting to nibble on.  If you notice any cracks along the cord and specifically at the plug connection, it’s time to retire that cord and buy a new one.

Before the official holiday bustle starts, do yourself a favor and handle these quick home maintenance items. 

And if you or someone you know is looking to find a new home before the holidays, you might also appreciate our blog highlighting the “Top Questions to ask a Home Inspector!”

Is A Money Back Guarantee Enough?

We’ve all tried a product or service that didn’t meet our expectations.  When we’re buying things that can be returned, it’s easy.  We simply return the product and get a refund.  But for some purchases we make, it’s a little more challenging.  Take home inspections for example. 

Let’s assume for a minute that the company you hire disappoints you during the inspection.  Maybe they are late (or just never show up at all!)  Or perhaps they never send you the inspection report they promised.  In those cases, you could request your money back and maybe that would be good enough.

But what happens when you’re disappointed with their services after you close on your new “dream” home?  The reality is you hired a #homeinspector for some peace of mind about your purchase.  But when they miss big ticket items and you proceed to purchase, it can be a completely different story.  Sure they can offer you a $300-500 refund, but really what good is that when their poor effort encouraged you to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on what is a nightmare instead of a dream? 

Bottom line:  Don’t be fooled into thinking that a home inspector with a money back guarantee is your best bet.  Instead do you research, read reviews and ask your realtor for advice.  While you might only hire a home inspector once or twice in your life, your realtor works with inspectors daily.  So, they know the level of service and expertise in your town better than anyone!

Interested in learning more?  Check out our recent blog, “Is Now the Right Time to Buy a Home?”

Does Your Home Inspector Have E & O?

We get it-you have a lot on your mind!  Undoubtedly buying a new home can push the limits on an already busy lifestyle.  But if you’re reading this blog (and learning about #homeinspectors), chances are good that you’ve finally found the perfect home and the search is over…Congrats!

Now it’s time to find a third party home inspector to make sure that perfect house isn’t a nightmare in disguise.  There are lots of great reputable companies out there, but it’s important to do your homework. 

Did you know that in the State of Illinois, a licensed home inspector isn’t required to carry Errors & Omissions insurance?  Commonly called E & O Insurance, this coverage offers you protection in the event the inspector misses a critical detail while inspecting the biggest purchase of your life.  Sure, mistakes shouldn’t happen.  But the reality is they do….. to good people all the time.

For example, let’s say the home inspector you hired fails to notice a low spot in the roof on your new home.  You proceed to closing with no idea of the major issues lurking just around the corner.  About six months later, you notice the ceiling in one of the upper bedrooms is sagging and you’ve got some water coming in.  A call to a local roofing company results with the great news that you get to buy a completely new roof.  A roof that you could have made the seller pay for…if only you’d known.  That’s every new homeowners dream right?!?

Unfortunately, if your home inspector didn’t have E & O insurance, you’ve got a rocky road ahead.  If you’re lucky, a call to them might result in the return of the original inspection fee.  While it’s something, it certainly doesn’t touch the cost of your new roof.  Instead most homeowners result to filing a law suit against the home inspector.  And while you may/may not be successful in our court system, along the way you’ll have to cover attorney fees, court costs and endure headache upon headache.

Compare the same scenario with an inspector that carries E & O insurance and the result is completely different.  Instead of calling an attorney, you simply contact the inspector.  He contacts his insurance agent and the situation is well on the way to being resolved.

At Miller Building Inspections, we try hard every day to surpass your expectations.  And that includes taking the high road to protect you by carrying E & O insurance.  The reality is that we’ve never had an E & O claim.  But there’s simply no way we would leave you exposed to a mistake we “might” make.

We’d love to inspect your new forever home.  If you don’t choose us, that’s ok.  But please make sure you protect yourself and that new big investment you’ve made by working with a home inspector that carries E & O insurance.  It’s a simple question that can save you a ton of money and grief.

Interested in reading more?  Check out our blog, “Are Home Inspections Worth the Money?”  

Is Now the Right Time to Buy a Home?

Admittedly there’s a lot going on in the world right now.  Between hurricanes, earthquakes and several political hotbeds, it can feel like things are spinning dangerously out of control.

In fact, the general lack of confidence in both the economy and mankind affects decisions that each of us makes every day.  Sometimes our conservative approach in times like these plays out well for us but in other cases, we may have been better served by simply putting one foot in front of the other and carrying on with the confidence we always have.

Take the housing market for example.  With talk of rising interest rates and limited inventory, some buyers have decided to table their searches until next year.  While none of us has a crystal ball,  a recent article in the Chicago Tribune entitled, “Should you buy a home in 2017? Here’s what 3 experts say” offers some interesting perspective.  In the article, “a financial planner, a broker and a professor — say if you’re financially stable, it’s best to strike before the year is out.”

The article goes on to share some of the wrong reasons people wait to pull the trigger on a new home and also offers some updated advice for those in the market.  Ultimately only you can decide the best approach for you, but if buying your first home or up-sizing to something for a growing family is on your radar, I think you’ll find this article a good read at the very least!

And if you decide to take the experts advice and jump into the housing market, don’t forget to consider an independent third party home inspection before you close on the property.  Still on the fence about a home inspection? You might also enjoy our earlier post, “Are Home Inspections Worth the Money?”

What Questions Should I Ask My Home Inspector?

If you’ve decided to get a third party home inspection, kudos to you!

Yes the inspection will cost you a few hundred dollars, but as you’ve already decided your exposure to possible safety and maintenance problems pales in comparison to the small inspection fee.

Now that you’ve made the decision to invest in a home inspection, the question becomes how to get the biggest bang for your buck.  One of the best ways to do that is to be an active participant in your inspection and ask the right questions!

It’s important to understand that quality home inspectors welcome and appreciate questions from the home owner.  Let’s face it-we love the business of homes and helping you make great memories.  So working with an engaged (not to mention educated!) client makes it a home run for both you and us.

Not sure what types of questions you should ask?  Check out these articles from some names you’ll recognize.  And be sure to check out #3 in the Business Insider article.  It’s one of our personal favorites!

Once you’ve read the articles and picked out your best questions, call Robert @ 309-825-4362 so he can get the process moving for you!

Are Home Inspections Worth the Money?

If you’ve landed on our site, there’s a good chance you’re buying a home.  Whether it’s your first home or you’re downsizing for retirement, we know it’s an exciting time for you!  It’s also a time filled with decisions on everything from master suites to kitchen layouts and schools.

If you’re like many buyers, as you finalize details covering everything from the sale price to closing dates, you’re hoping that the flood of decisions starts to slow up….just a bit.

However, you’ll soon realize that the decisions don’t end.  The topics merely shift.  And one of the first questions in that process involves the topic of a third party home inspection.

While the vast majority of home buyers opt in for a professional home inspection, for others (perhaps like you), the decision isn’t a slam dunk and one they want to investigate before making.

At Miller Building Inspections, we believe that knowledge is power and applaud you for doing some research before committing to a home inspection.  With that said, we also believe in our ability to protect your financial and emotional investment.

Give these articles a quick read and if you decide you want the protection a third party home inspection offers, call Robert @ 309-825-4362 to get the process started.