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An Open Letter from Jim Salmon to All Potential Home Inspection Clients

Hi Folks,

My name is Jim Salmon and I am a New York State licensed home inspector. I have also been the host of the Home Repair Clinic Radio Programs on WHAM 1180 for the last twenty-five years in Rochester, NY. The purpose of this letter is to inform you about several aspects of the home inspection process and about me as a home inspector.

First of all, there is no question you can find a less expensive home inspection. My basic home inspection costs $340 for a home less than 2000 square feet in Monroe County. Many other home inspection companies charge less.

Second, I am absolutely the least popular home inspector in Rochester, NY with the real estate sales folks. I have been threatened, lied to and about, black-listed, and some other things I don’t care to discuss. The reason for that: I represent you, my client. My goal is to give you the most thorough home inspection, not to make sure your deal goes through with the real estate agent. It is not my concern whether you buy a particular home or not as long as you understand about that home.

I represent your best interest, always. You are my client and my responsibility is to you. My home inspections reflect the truth about a home: nothing more, nothing less. It is what it is. I do not minimize home repair issues and will not allow that to happen during my inspections. A toilet which is loose on the floor is just as important to me as a bowed and cracked foundation wall. There is a tremendous amount of information I need to transfer from me to you as my client in a relatively short period of time. I promise you that I will always represent you every single time.

If I had to rely on referrals from real estate folks I don’t know what I would be doing for a living, but it wouldn’t be home inspections. Fortunately, I have a unique and fun way to advertise my home inspection business. The Home Repair Clinic Radio Programs on WHAM 1180 AM are among the most popular shows in the country. The home improvement talk show airs each Saturday morning from 6:00 to 10:00am with Co-Hosts John Carr and Mike Whittemore and on Sunday’s from 9:00 to 11:00am with a variety of co-hosts.

I am one of the busiest home inspectors in the Rochester, NY area and have been for 17 years. In the spring of 2006, I was appointed by then Governor George Pataki to the first New York State Home Inspector Advisory Council, a position I still hold today. The Advisory Council is responsible for developing a Code of Ethics and a Standard of Practice for home inspectors, while advising the New York Secretary of State on all matters relating to the licensing of home inspectors in New York.

I would truly love to do your home inspection and greatly thank you for trusting me with your home inspection. Please call my office at 585-589-5650 at your convenience with any questions you may have or to set up an appointment.

Thank You,

Jim Salmon

Another approach for home inspections!
Jim received this email from Kevin;
"Most people think of home inspections when they are buying a house. But periodic home inspections are good anytime! I had a grading problem around the back of my house and didn't know about it until I had water problems in my basement. I didn't have a storm door on my back door and didn't know that was going to be a problem until I learned water had leaked in and rotted the floor.

How often are you supposed to proactively change a hot water tank?
Is my attic getting good ventilation?
When do I worry about my roof? (don't want to wait until it leaks)
What is that black stuff on the ceiling of my garage?
Why does the wind blow straight through my builder grade windows?"

The best way to get these questions answered is to have a home inspection on your house!

Jim Salmon, Home Inspector, provides these services basically in two ways;
You can have a full home inspection where Jim will inspect everything in the home, roof, chimney, gutters, drainage, plumbing, heating, electrical, exterior and interior walls, windows, doors, etc. and you will have a written report noting any issues along with estimates of work that may need done. The report helps you prioritize what repairs to make, the ones that need attention immediately or those that can wait.

The second option is a "partial" inspection in which Jim will spend approximately an hour and perform a visual of a particular issue at your house. This is a verbal opinion from Jim to determine the problem and the fix.

Depending on which you choose the pricing varies. We determine our rate by county and square footage for the full inspection. For example, a 1500' home in Monroe County the rate would be $340. For a partial at that home, $140. (Rates are different for other counties & square footage)

Jim has the experience and knowledge to give you a very thorough inspection, he has 'seen it all' and can certainly help you know what's going on with your house. It could save you thousands in repairs later on!

Just call the office at 585-589-5650 and get on the schedule!

What Exactly is a Home Inspection,
and Why Would I Need One?

A home inspection is a visible inspection of the home you are about to purchase from top to bottom. The primary purpose is to discover major defects prior to closing.

The inspection includes all or more of the following: Structure and foundation, insulation, ventilation, heating, cooling, electrical, roofing, gutters, walls, floors, windows, ceilings, basement, attic, chimneys, appliances, washer, dryer, drainage and grading, and the quality, condition and life expectancy of all systems.

Jim Salmon is duly licensed under NY State Law to perform Home Inspections.

Click the picture for a larger view of Jim's License.


Is it important that the home inspector be licensed?
Yes. It is New York State law that every home inspector be licensed to perform home inspections.

Jim will address safety issues.
You will be given a 15-20 page inspection report at the end of the home inspection. Included in this report are maintenance tips and cost estimates for needed home repairs. The home inspection can take anywhere from 2-3 hours and Jim Salmon will go over the whole report with you at the end.

It is extremely beneficial for our client to attend the inspection.
Any questions can be addressed at that time. The report will be given that day.

Inspections are available 7 days a week and evenings.

Jim Salmon is this Rochester’s most recognized Home Inspector.
When you call to schedule your home inspection you will be speaking with an actual person, not a call center.

We provide service to all of Rochester and Western New York including: Monroe, Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston, Ontario, Wayne, Niagara, Erie, Allegany, Seneca, Steuben and Yates County. Some prices may be subject to additional county charges.

Inspection Prices

**ALL prices subject to additional county charges - Prices quoted are for properties within Monroe (including Rochester), Genesee & Orleans County**
call our office for details 585-589-5650
0 to 2000 square feet
2001 to 3000 square feet
3001 to 4000 square feet
4001 to 5000 square feet
For Multi-Family homes add $50 per unit to the basic square foot rate

**Prices subject to additional county charges - Prices quoted are for properties within Monroe, Genesee & Orleans County **
call our office for details 585-589-5650
Radon Tests
$175 w/ Inspection
$199 w/o Inspection
Septic Testing
$59 w/ Inspection
Barns and Outbuildings
$50 w/ Inspection
Partial Home Inspections
(single item)
i.e.roof, basement, etc.
Water Testing
Click for Pricing
Court Testimony
Call for pricing
Workmanship Investigations
Call for pricing
Large Commercial Buildings and Apartments
Call for pricing
Mold Testing
Click for Pricing

Please see our home repair library for further information regarding radon, OR enter "Radon" in the search box below.

Some Testimonials

Below is an excerpt from a recent letter we received, (some information is left out for the privacy of our client)

"Jim Salmon,
You recently inspected our home on *** Road. We know so little about remodeling it is reassuring to have someone like you to rely on for guidance. Your advice to write down in detail what we want and give it to contractors was very much appreciated. We have given thought to your suggestions to increase ventilation and it sounds like a great idea to solve the moisture problems.
We listen to the Home Repair Clinic, Saturday mornings. It is packed with information and very entertaining. You don't "look" at all like you do over the radio.
Thank you for your evaluation of our project.

Another letter:
"Thank you. We enjoyed talking with you & finding out how we can make our home more energy efficient and comfortable." Dick & Judy

Mr. Salmon, I wanted to take a moment to thank you again for the very thorough and professional inspection you performed at #640 C...... Your insights and recommendations are greatly appreciated, and I especially valued the extra time you took to point out concern, provide clear explanations, and provide me with suggestions.
Thank you very much for an excellent job and you can be sure that I will recommend you and your company to anyone interested in a home inspection., Sincerely, David G.

The Truth About Home Inspector Referrals

What's Wrong With A Real Estate Agent Recommending A Particular Home Inspector To A Prospective Home Buyer?
Most real estate agencies work on an average commission of 6% paid by the seller of the property. On a house selling for $350,000 there is a potential commission of $21,000. Sometimes a selling agent will recommend particular home inspectors to a prospective buyer; sometimes a list of three home inspection services is given. Who are these recommended inspectors? How did they "qualify" to get on the "approved" list of the agent? Is the agent recommending a thorough, non-biased inspection service or is the agent recommending someone who will help protect the potential $21,000 commission? Unfortunately, some real estate agents view a thorough and non-biased home inspection as a threat to their sales commission.

Shouldn't a prospective homebuyer have the right to use an inspector of their own choosing?
If a real estate agent tells you that you cannot use an inspector of your choosing, or insists that you use one of their "recommended" or "approved" inspectors, you should contact your attorney. (You should also wonder why they don't want you using an independent inspector of your choosing.) A real estate broker or sales agent who tries to get you to use a home inspection service of the agent's choice is trying to control the home inspector selection process. Prospective home buyers must keep in mind that real estate agents who receive a commission from the property seller are working in the best interest of their client (the seller). As the prospective home buyer, shouldn't the home inspector you're paying for be working in your best interest?

What Is A "Deal Killer?”
The derogatory phrase "deal killer" is often used by real estate agents to describe independent home inspectors who give buyers objective information in a home inspection report, which may lead the buyer to renegotiate or to look at other properties. Many real estate agents view independent home inspectors as a challenge to their ability to generate income. They view these "deal killers" as foes and will use a number of tactics to control the inspector selection process to make sure that the prospective buyers do not retain independent home inspectors.

How Does A Real Estate Agent Control The Inspector Selection Process?
There are many tactics used, some subtle and some not so subtle. The agent may discourage the potential buyer from using a certain inspector by making comments like: "That inspector is a deal killer", or "that inspector takes too long" or "we've had trouble with that inspector" or "we don't allow that inspector to inspect any of our listed properties" or "that inspector is too expensive." A twist on the fee tactic is to advise the prospective buyer that they should expect a home inspector to charge around $150 or $200. By advising homebuyers to expect these low (unrealistic) fees, agents are trying to steer homebuyers to certain inspection services because the prospective homebuyers might limit their search to the arbitrary price range set by the real estate agent.

The tactics used to encourage a prospective buyer to use a particular inspector include: "We've had good luck with this inspector" or "this inspector has the lowest fee" or "we use this inspector all the time" or "this inspector can schedule an inspection on a day's notice" or "this inspector only takes an hour and he gives you a report right on the spot." For instance, in the first stage of discussion about having the home inspected, the real estate agent may recommend to the buyer a "good" home inspector with whom they have worked with for several years. Some agents may have a list of three inspectors who have been carefully screened not to be deal killers. The list, however, will be long enough to protect the agent from any referral liability should the buyer want to blame the agent for any inspection mistakes. This gives the agent the perfect combination of: A) No liability for the referral; B) The buyer "chooses" an inspector the agent prefers; and C) The buyer's choice is limited to home inspectors who will not hurt the sale.

If There Is A Potential Conflict Of Interest With Sales Agents Recommending Home Inspectors, Why Doesn't The Government Do Something About It?
A home inspector licensing law has been passed in Massachusetts and became effective May, 2001. This law, to some degree, does address the potential conflict of interest of real estate agents referring home inspectors. The new law amends Chapter 112 section 87YY of the MA Real Estate Broker and Salesperson Licensing Law. It prohibits real estate brokers and salespersons from directly recommending a specific home inspection company or home inspector. Instead, upon request, the agents must provide a complete list of licensed home inspectors prepared by the Board of Home Inspectors. (So far, MA is the only state which has this provision. New York NY has not passed this provision). The prohibition does not apply if there is a written agreement between the buyer and real estate broker that the broker is acting exclusively for the buyer as a buyer's broker. Potential buyers must still be aware that regardless of who the real estate agent claims to be working for, his or her commission is still coming from the successful closing of the sales transaction.

Why Don't I Read About This Conflict Of Interest Situation In The Newspaper?
Very simple answer: money! Look at the real estate section of any local or regional newspaper: lots of houses being advertised by real estate agents. Those newspapers don't run those ads for free. How many home inspector advertisements do you see in the newspapers? Almost none. Do you think a newspaper is going to bite the hand that helps feed it?

Why Don't Home Inspectors Organize And Change The Current Control Real Estate Agents Have Over The Inspector Selection Process?
You would think inspectors would want consumers to have a free choice when it comes to selecting a home inspector. Unfortunately, many inspectors rely upon real estate agents to steer clients their way. This is especially true for large inspection firms with multiple inspectors. There are some home inspector web sites that have over 3,000 inspectors listed. As you can see from the number of Independent Inspectors listed on this site, less than 2% of all home inspectors claim that they do not solicit real estate agents for client leads. In a free marketplace, companies that offer a poor product or provide a poor service eventually go out of business. In the world of home inspection, there is an artificial marketplace controlled by real estate agents. This allows some "agent friendly" inspectors to stay in business, regardless of their inspection abilities.

What About Inspectors Who Claim To Be Independent, But Don't Belong To IHINA?
Many inspectors who claim to be independent are not willing to sign theIHINA pledge. An inspector who claims to have no real estate agent affiliations doesn't necessarily mean they do not solicit real estate agents for client leads. The best way to qualify the relationship is to ask the inspector whether he or she solicits real estate agents for client leads. If you find that the inspector or inspection company maintains brochures in real estate offices or if the inspector or inspection company is on the real estate agent's "recommended" list given out to prospective buyers, it should tell you something.

Why Doesn't The American Society Of Home Inspectors (ASHI) Code Of Ethics Prohibit ASHI Inspectors From Soliciting Real Estate Agents For Client Leads?
Good Question! This question has been raised and discussed with ASHI National. The response has been that ASHI does not want to dictate to its members how they should obtain their client leads. However, ASHI embarked on a "branding" campaign spending millions of membership dollars to educate real estate agents that they should refer only ASHI inspectors. This is unfortunate for the home buying consumer. The following paragraph has been taken directly from the ASHI web site: "ASHI is your professional partner for home inspections. Your customers rely on you for your advice on which service professionals to use in the buying or selling process. You can trust that ASHI inspectors will deliver exceptional service and expert knowledge, enabling smart decisions and peace of mind to your customers, thus helping you in your role as a trusted resource." Do you want an inspector who "helps" the real estate agent earn a commission or do you want an inspector who is going to fully disclose the condition of the house?

What Can Be Done To Prevent This Potential Conflict Of Interest?
Contact the Representatives and Senators of your own state. Send them e-mail with a link to the: Independent Home Inspectors of North America website. Do not ask the real estate agent for the name of an inspector. Do not accept any short list or recommendations from the agent. If the state you're buying in requires home inspectors to be licensed, obtain the list of licensed inspectors. Do a little research and choose your own inspector. The best source for referrals will come from people who do not have a vested interest in the sale. This includes your attorney and past clients of the inspector. Remember, it's your money and your potential future home. Choose your home inspector wisely!

"How Unreliable Home Inspections can cost you"

Snow Covered Roof Policy
Jim Salmon Home Inspectors

Please be advised: If I have written on your home inspection the following, "Snow covered roof=NV, (Not Visible), call for re-inspection when snow melts" That means I cannot see or comment on the roof. I cannot tell the age, amount of layers, or overall condition or life expectancy of the roof. I cannot see through ice and snow cover. Please understand that a snow covered roof is beyond my control. Returning to inspect a previously snow covered roof is not part of a standard home inspection. It is not something that I am obligated to do. It is a courtesy that I may offer you as long as it can be at my convenience.

I will come back and re-inspect the roof at no charge as long as it can be at my convenience, if you call my office when the roof is clear. At my convenience means, when I am in that area again, between home inspections. It usually takes me months to return to all the 200 or more roofs I have to re-inspect. I may not return to inspect your roof until well into the summer. You may already be living in the home. Please do not ask me to return by a certain date, or before closing, my schedule does not allow me to do that. Please do not ask me when I will return to inspect your roof, I cannot predict that.

If you need me to return and inspect a roof prior to closing and have called my office and made an appointment, the cost is $75, (in Monroe County), Additional charges apply to other counties.

Thank you,
Jim Salmon

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