I am the owner of the Pillar to Post Home Inspection franchise here in Central Virginia (Richmond Metro area). I've been in business going on five years and have completed close to 1300 home inspections to date.
My background is in IT having a BS in Computer Science from the University of Maryland (Go Terps!) and spent 24 years in the field. I was a consultant for a small company the last 10 years of my IT career that specialized in a software package that was used by large corporations for HR/Payroll/Benefits. I traveled a lot and after 9/11 traveling very got old. When my last assignment here in Richmond was ending in early 2004 it was time to find a new gig rather than hit the road again. I worked construction in college and have been an avid "do-it-yourselfer" for years. Home inspection caught my eye and having done the research I decided to purchase a Pillar to Post franchise. I decided to purchase a franchise for multiple reasons with the biggest being the training and support a franchise would provide. Here in Virginia, home inspection is pretty much completely unregulated. There is no state licensing, State certification is voluntary and all you really need to become a home inspector is a pad of paper and a pen. That is kind of scary and the horror stories I've heard about other inspectors bears that out. Having been a consultant for so long I was always supposed to have all the answers for my clients. Why should it be any different when becoming a home inspector? My clients base a large part of the largest purchase they will ever make on input from me and it is not a responsibility I take lightly. Buying a Pillar to Post franchise prepared me well to give my clients the inspection they deserve.
I enjoy inspecting older houses very much and work with several realtors that specialize in older properties. I enjoy the challenges older homes present and just love to see how things were done "way back then". It's really interesting to see the modifications that were made over the years. To date the oldest home I've inspected was built in the 1740's and has had multiple additions over the years. There's that old saying that "they don't build them like they used to". In some ways that is good but other ways... maybe not.
Knowing when a house is built always should send up potential red flags of things to look for that were prevalent during that construction period. Be it lead or galvanized piping, knob and tube or aluminum wiring. There are multiple periods where the construction technology or materials of the day can pose serious problems now. I have to know and find this issues should they be there.
My clients seem to appreciate the knowledge and information I pass on to them during the inspections. My role is not simply to pick a house apart but to educate the client about the home they're purchasing. This is particularly important for the first time homebuyer. I encourage them to be there, follow me around and ask as many questions as they can. Even though I have my set method of doing an inspection the clients are never a bother or in the way. It's their moment of truth and I am there for them! I even carry an extra pair of coveralls in case they would like to follow me into the crawl space. I don't get many takers but at least I try!