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July 16th, 2006


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10:22 am - Inspection
On Friday, we had the inspection, by Keystone Building Inspectors. They were excellent, and I highly recommend them. This was an important, but exhausting, experience.
I walked over to the duplex at 8am, and was greeted by my super agent (Elissa Dewey) and three big guys. After introducing myself, the guys scattered, except for the chief inspector. He had been there for a little bit, and so could give me a guided tour of the grounds. After covering the exterior extensively, he went off to huddle with the rest of his crew, and then gave me a highlights tour of the basement... and so on. We got all the way to the difficult to access attic, and to see the "flat" roof.

The inspection took almost 4 hours. We covered everything, I think. And very reasonably priced for that much attention.

The best price was the $50 for the Wood Destroying Insects checks. One of the guys was Joe Vogel of Carnegie Exterminators (Carnegie, PA), of who it was claimed could smell termites. He found them within minutes, amazing considering the 2000 sq ft of dark and cluttered basements. Very subtle, but definitive: they had chewed through one of the garage door frames, and left a tunnel up one of the foundation walls.

We had a radon test performed as well. Radon is a funny business... or as Elissa put it, a funny industry. Except in extreme doses, it would be surprising if it mattered in a building such as ours. However, on sales agreements now, there is a standard check box for required test/pass, with the consequence being that if the structure does have it, the seller is obligated to install a system to eliminate it. This is a $700-1000 expense, and a $50-100 test. It seems like a worthwhile resale investment -- now I know (3.1 picoCurries/Liter, below EPA guidelines of 4.0).

One thing I really liked about Keystone Building Inspectors was their use of technology. They have an expensive software package, with an input interface from a Pocket PC. It also tied in with a digital camera. The result was that we got our full report only 11 hours after the inspection ended. And considering the length of the inspection (3 hours, 45 minutes) -- and the length of the report (42 pages) -- that was impressive.

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