Home Inspection and Commercial Building Inspection Service Provider
Conventional/FHA/VA/USDA/Fannie Mae Mortgage Compliance Specialist
Serving the Lower New York Region (NY)
General Service Areas
Home Inspector, Commercial Building Inspector and Septic Inspection services covering a broad area throughout cities, towns and rural
locations in the Hudson Valley, Catskills, Shawangunk Mountains and Southern regions of New York (NY).
The following New York (NY) Counties are included in the coverage area - Orange County, Sullivan County, Ulster County, Dutchess County,
Putnam County and Rockland County.
Cities and Towns served
Licensed New York (NY) Home Inspector - Igor Smetaniuk of Top To Bottom Inspections performs, but is not limited to, Residential
Home Inspections and Commercial Building Inspections in the following Cities and Towns of New York State:
In Orange County, NY -
Port Jervis, NY 12771; Greenville, NY 12771; Sparrow Bush, NY 12780; Cuddebackville, NY 12729; Huguenot, NY 12746; Otisville, NY 10963;
Middletown, NY 10940, 10941, 10943; Goshen, NY 10924; Warwick, NY 10990; Greenwood Lake, NY 10925; Monroe, NY 10950;
Washingtonville, NY 10992; Campbell Hall, NY 10916; Maybrook, NY 12543; Montgomery, NY 12549; Walden, NY 12586; Pine Bush, NY 12566;
Wallkill, NY 12589; Newburgh, NY 12550, 12551, 12552, 12555; New Windsor, NY 12553; Vails Gate, NY 12584; West Point, NY 10996, 10997;
Tuxedo Park, NY 10987; Westtown, NY 10998; Pine Island, NY 10969; Johnson, NY 10933; Slate Hill, NY 10973; Unionville, NY 10988;
Florida, NY 10921; Chester, NY 10918; Bullville, NY 10915; Circleville, NY 10919; Blooming Grove, NY 10914; Central Valley, NY 10917;
Salisbury Mills, NY; Cornwall on Hudson, NY 12520; Cornwall, NY 12518; Rock Tavern, NY 12575; Howells, NY 10932;
Highland Mills, NY 10930; Harriman, NY 10926; Sterling Forest, NY 10979; Sugar Loaf, NY 10981; New Hampton, NY 10958; Arden, NY 10910;
Mt Lodge, NY; Mountainville, NY; Oxford, NY; Bellvale, NY; Southfields, NY;
In Sullivan County, NY -
Monticello, NY 12701; Liberty, NY 12754; Ferndale, NY 12734; White Sulphur Springs, NY 12787; Neversink, NY 12765; Barryville, NY 12719;
Eldred, NY 12732; Glen Spey, NY 12737; Westbrookville, NY 12785; Highland Lake, NY 12743; Pond Eddy, NY 12770; Forestburgh, NY 12777;
Bethel, NY 12720; Yulan, NY 12792; Lake Huntington, NY 12752; Callicoon, NY 12723, 12724;
Callicoon Center, NY 12724 Jeffersonville, NY 12748; Kenoza Lake, 12750; Rock Hill, NY 12775; Glen Wild, NY 12738;
Mountain Dale, NY 12763; Wurtsboro, NY 12790; Burlingham, NY 12722; Summitville, NY 12781; Phillipsport, NY 12769; Mamakating, NY;
Loch Sheldrake, NY 12759; Livingston Manor, NY 12758; Parksville, NY 12768; Roscoe, NY 12776; Cochecton, NY 12726; Long Eddy, NY 12760;
Cochecton Center, NY 12727; Fremont Center, NY 12736; Hankins, NY 12741; North Branch, NY 12766; Obernburg, NY 12767;
Hortonville, NY 12745; Youngsville, NY 12791; Ellenville, NY 12428; Spring Glen, NY 12483;
In Ulster County, NY -
New Paltz, NY 12561; Mohonk Lake, NY; Accord, NY 12404; Stone Ridge, NY 12484; High Falls, NY 12440; Rosendale, NY 12472;
Marbletown, NY; Walker Valley, NY 12588; Hurley, NY 12443; Wawarsing, NY 12489; Gardiner, NY 12525; Modena, NY 12548;
In Dutchess County, NY -
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601, 12602, 12603, 12604; Arlington, NY; Fishkill, NY 12524; Fishkill Plains, NY; Van Keurens, NY; New Hamburg, NY;
Red Oaks Mill, NY; Glenham, NY 12527; HydePark, NY 12538; Hughsonville, NY 12537; Billings, NY 12510; Chelsea, NY 12512;
Lagrangeville, NY 12540; Wappingers Falls, NY 12590; Hopewell Junction, NY 12533; Pleasant Valley, NY 12569; Holmes, NY 12531;
Stormville, NY 12582; Poughquag, NY 12570; Beacon, NY 12508;
In Putnam County, NY -
Brewster, NY 10509; Mahopac, NY 10541; Mahopac Falls, NY 10542; Lake Carmel, NY; Carmel, NY 10512; Garrison, NY 10524;
Peekskill, NY 10566; Lake Peekskill, NY 10537; Putnam Valley, NY 10579; Cold Spring, NY 10516; Patterson, NY 12563;
Ludingtonville, NY; Farmers Mills, NY; Kent Cliffs, NY; Nelsonville, NY; Jefferson Valley, NY 10535; Mohegan Lake, NY 10547;
Shrub Oak, NY 10588;
In Rockland County, NY -
Sloatsburg, NY 10974; Suffern, NY 10901; Montebello, NY; Airmont, NY; Spring Valley, NY 10977; Nanuet, NY 10954; Nyack, NY 10960;
West Nyack, NY 10994; Blauvelt, NY 10913; New City, NY 10956; Pomona, NY 10970; Haverstaw, NY 10927; West Haverstraw, NY 10993;
Thiells, NY 10984; Valley Cottage, NY 10989; Tomkins Cove, NY 10986; Tallman, NY 10982; Stony Point, NY 10980; Bear Mountain, NY 10911;
Hillburn, NY 10931; Garnerville, NY 10923; Congers, NY 10920;
Home Inspection -
and The Ugly
Home Inspection is one of the most misunderstood and misguided activities in the sale or purchase of a home.
It’s extremely critical to know what to expect and which Home Inspectors are truly qualified to do the job right.
If you aren’t aware of these things, it could negatively affect the value of your home.
Taking time to read the information on my website will help you gain a comprehensive understanding about
a Home Inspection and the selection process of a HIGHLY QUALIFIED Home Inspector. NOTE: It is a fact that most anyone can get Licensed
with minimal effort, generalized textbook knowledge or lack of prior construction experience. Utilize the following information as a
foundation for making the right selection!
Why is it critical to contract a Home Inspection?
Buying a Home is an emotional event. This makes it difficult for Home Buyers to remain completely objective about the property they
desire, which may lead to a poor assessment. Even the most experienced Home Buyer lacks the knowledge of all components and systems
of a building. Real Estate is the largest financial investment in your life; you want to make sure it’s a solid one.
Home Inspections are important and necessary for your own protection and future security. Essentially, they are visual (non-invasive)
examinations of the physical structure and numerous systems in a Home or Building, followed by a comprehensive report.
Expectations during a Home Inspection must be kept in proper perspective by the Buyer. In reality, a Home Inspector does not arrive
with a crystal ball nor do they have X-ray vision to see through walls. Home Inspectors do not perform technical evaluations or
exhaustive testing during a Home Inspection and may report them as further recommendations. Frequently, there are various constraints
which are beyond the control of a Home Inspector, thereby, limiting assessment in certain areas of a home or building. This could be
- Dense vegetation
- Height restrictions
- Visual access only
- Unsafe for access
- Turned off utilities
- Seasonal weather anomalies
Also important, when a Home Inspection is performed at the Seller’s property, the Inspector and the Buyer are guests and shall
respect the property without moving furnishings or performing acts beyond normal assessment and operation of components which could
risk causing damage.
Let's understand that no building is “perfect”. Environmental variables constantly affect building materials from the first
day the structural assembly begins. Regular maintenance and repair due to normal wear and tear is to be expected. The primary objective
is to reveal conditions that may incur large expenses, immediate repairs or safety related concerns. A thorough Home Inspector should also
document the minor defects that may be useful to the Buyer as a ‘punch list’ for upgrades.
The Standards of Practice created by the various Home Inspection Associations are somewhat similar and great guides as to what a Home
Inspectors shall or shall not be required to perform. However, these are only the “minimum” standards and can be
exceeded. You may find these published documents by searching the various Association websites. New York State has developed and published
it’s own specific Standards of Practice which are minimums that Licensed Home Inspectors shall follow. An inspection performed
to this minimum standard is by no means the best of possible inspections.
Keep in mind, a Home Inspection is by no means a Warranty or Insurance policy nor does it refer to construction codes. You should think
of it as an informative guide and educational experience. The report may also be a useful document when attempting to renegotiate any
unknown or undisclosed major findings.
Choosing a Home Inspection Service or specifically a Home Inspector is a difficult process, especially for first time Home Buyers.
I receive calls from prospective clients on a daily basis and too often the initial question asked is “What is your price to
perform a Home Inspection?”
It’s understandable that cost would be someone’s focus, but with a Home purchase being such a major financial investment,
there are other considerations that are more important. At first, your questions should be as follows:
- Do you conduct business Full Time or Part-Time?
- Are you a Franchise or Multi-Inspector company?
- Who will perform the Home Inspection? Owner or Employee?
- What’s your background experience, credentials, years in business and/or membership in related
organizations or associations?
- How long will you spend at the inspection site?
- Do you walk on roof areas?
- Is the Home Inspection report issued on-site?
- Have you had any prior legal encounters?
- What additional services do you provide? Will they all be performed by the Home Inspector or sub-contracted
- Do you actually open a Septic tank or Cesspool prior to or during your assessment or are you performing an
inconclusive blind “Dye Test”?
UNFORTUNATELY, most mistakes are made by booking an inspection on
impulse with the first Home Inspection service you call, instead of
doing careful research. Make it a point to contact 3-4 Home Inspectors
in order to have a good basis for comparison. After diligent questioning,
you should have ample information with a respective range of costs.
At this point, you may begin to arrange your list of respective qualities
and now are close to making an informed choice.
The next section will enhance your knowledge in the numerous
ways one can be skewed into believing they have found the right
individual for professional guidance through their purchase.
This is extremely important for you to know - so please take a
a few more moments to read on and absorb each point made.
and The Ugly...
Unfortunately, the Home Inspection service occupation is targeted frequently by many individuals who retire from a job, lose their job,
or have the misconception of starting their own business with $10 for a flashlight and a screwdriver.
The majority are Novice or Part-Time Home Inspectors, providing CHEAP or DISCOUNT Home Inspections and compromise quality in the process.
Most all of them do not have multi-faceted construction related experience, thereby, lacking the means to identify deficiencies or
concerns in the varying aspects of a building and it’s systems.
Conscientious observation is a trait that one must possess when performimg visual assessments in a forensic manner. Many who
choose to become Home Inspectors do not have this natural ability nor is it something they can ever fully learn to perfect. They will
overlook important elements to a great extent. There are so many distractions while performing an inspection that even a good observer
may miss something of lesser importance on occasion. Others will not observe what is necessary, therefore, decreasing their ability
to provide their Client with a thorough report.
Those who entice Homebuyer’s with lower prices are forced to do inspections in volume in order to be
profitable. I compare these business models to the fast-food chain approach of inspecting real estate. You know you’re hiring one
of these Home Inspectors when their price quotes are much less than others. What they fail to disclose is that
their inspection will be anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours. These services will typically not encourage you to attend the inspection.
You’ll be told “Let us take care of everything for you and you’ll get a report with everything you need to know.”
The truth is they don’t want you to see how little time they invested to conduct what they call an inspection. Is this what you
want when you’re about to spend over $100,000.00?
Generally, with a Home Inspection, you’ll get what you pay for.
Here are some other things to beware:
- ‘Marketing Schemes’ or ‘Coupon Discounts’ as lures to create a smokescreen for
inferior service. These Discounters don't want you to call others and discover they offer alot more
value for a justifiable fee. They will often say something to the effect “We have a special
offer Coupon today if you book an inspection with us immediately“. If you cancel, you may incur a fee.
Any of the true professional Home Inspectors that I know in this area do not offer discounts. There is an
underlying reason if one needs to do so.
- If a Home Inspector boasts having performed a large number of inspections, take immediate note of it. It is
most likely that this Inspector is trying to dazzle you with numbers and hope you won't think it through.
Let’s work this example out and see the outcome: If a Home Inspector claims to have performed 15,000
home inspections in the past 10 years, that’s 1500 per year or approximately 4 inspections per day
for 365 days. Now to accomplish this, the Inspector would have spent only 1.5 hours to inspect each home,
have at least a 1/2 hour drive time available to get to each inspection and then back home to write up 4
reports which would need to be completed by morning because of the upcoming 4 inspections the next day.
This Inspector would appear tired and malnourished as there would be no time to eat or sleep, let alone have
a family to enjoy a Holiday together. I seriously doubt the latter to be the case. What the boasted or
advertised high numbers really mean is that the Inspector does quick and inferior inspections, then goes
back to the office and completes an inferior inspection report with little substance. Wait until you see an
example of another Home Inspector’s report on my ‘Reports’ page. Think about quality and
not quantity. I do not perform more than two Home Inspections in a day so I can devote the valued time for
each Client with utmost energy and focus.
- The touting of meaningless ‘Certification’ is craftily being used by an overwhelming majority of
Home Inspectors lately in mere attempt to create false perceptions. Some Associations even include the word
‘Certified’ in their name as a marketing lure. They provide an un-proctored entrance exam, which
is more of a quiz, through the internet. Most anyone can pass it and become a member without ever performing
a single Home Inspection. This hurts an unsuspecting Home Buyer, while the so-called ‘Certified’
Association boasts thousands of members all the way to bank. My Certifications and Licensing are validated by
State or Accredited Training programs with rigorous requirements and proctored testing.
- Ridiculous titles such as ‘Master Inspector’ have only recently surfaced. In all the years
I’ve been inspecting Real Estate, I can professionally state that this occupation is not a skill which
an individual can perfect. This illusionary title was conjured up by a profiteer through the internet. Each
and every property is unique, requiring a custom approach by a knowledgeable and perceptive individual. Let
us be thankful that we don’t see signs such as ‘Certified Master Doctor’!
- The useless pitch “I use the technology of an Infrared Camera during my inspections”. Most
veteran Home Inspectors can make educated assessments of areas with their invaluable human senses.
Infrared camera technology in the field, labeled as ‘Thermography’, is highly sophisticated and
has special parameters for application. Home Inspections for Real Estate transactions are not the time to
do these. The right conditions must exist for one of these cameras to ‘see’ a latent deficiency.
These conditions are not guaranteed during your inspection, hence, numerous exclusions are sure to be stated
somewhere in the fine print of that inspector’s report. The Home Inspection occupation has unjustifiably
been targeted by IR camera manufacturers to purchase this technical equipment. Quickie ‘Certifications’
followed to further hefty profit margins in promise for high financial rewards to those who purchased the IR
equipment. In the end, the inferior models of camera, which most all Home Inspectors own due to cost, are too
often placed in the wrong hands of inexperience. This marketed tool will only distract your Home Inspector from
doing their job to engage the amazing natural senses of sight, touch and sound along with focus on cause and effect
relationships in Building Science.
- ‘Mold Testing’ - If you are being offered or scared into this service you should hang up and call
the next number on your list. Veteran Home Inspectors call this the ‘MOLD IS GOLD’ syndrome which
is too often used by cheaper priced services to pad their fee higher or by inexperienced inspectors who are
sold on a one day ‘Certification’ course to know everything there is about mold. Think about this
seriously - why are you being sold on Mold Testing if the Home Inspector has not even been to the property to
assess if their is a reason to do so. Your health is not their main concern, but merely a matter of
substantial profit generated from testing. If one does not have a minimum 4-year college degree in the
Science of Microbiology, they should not be testing for mold (fungus). Even when testing for any known
species is performed, it does not provide a definitive action that is outlined in any current day protocol.
You’ll simply have a document which shows many numerical values and categories. A sincere Veteran Home
Inspector will keenly detect concerns for extraordinary mold (fungus) conditions and may recommend further
evaluation or treatment by a qualified professional if necessary.
- The Septic system ‘Dye Test’ is one of the oldest and most inconclusive evaluations you could
waste your money on. If you are being offered this service, which will be 99% of all Home Inspection Services,
you may as well fill out a check for the typical $50.00 and wait until a strong wind comes along to hold it
up high and let go. Without locating, exposing and opening of a Septic tank access lid or Cesspool cover, one
cannot properly test the system. Numerous safety issues and/or marginal function may go unnoticed if not
confirmed by visual assessment. Viewing of an open solids containment area allows a competent inspector to
determine the location of drainfield or overflow to be able to probe those areas for excessive saturation
beneath the surface. ‘Dye testers’ only offer the statement “There were no unusual areas
of moisture observed in the yard”. Of course, because most problems exist beneath the surface and do
not show up with what I call “The Blind Dye Test“. Keep in mind, Septic Systems are an expensive
part of the home and should only be evaluated by a Certified Septic Inspector. A Home is not a “Home
Sweet Home” if the Septic System is not functioning properly.
- Free Homeowner Handbooks or Repair Guides included with your inspection. These are an absolute waste of our
environmental resources. These books are useless in the way of providing generalized explanations about home
repairs and maintenance. With the internet at your finger tips, you can find detailed information about
anything involving your home from true experts while saving paper on useless Handbooks. I can bet you that
all of these books will sit on a shelf until the next millenium or when needed as a starter log in a
Lastly, the failure rate among Home Inspectors in their first year of business is guessed to be about 70%. Of those remaining, 30% will
probably not make their third year. If you retain the services from one of these individuals, you may not have any recourse should
issues arise after their inspection. In addition, you will not have available support for future questions during your homeownership.
As a well-established business professional, I deem it important to convey both positive and negative information as it relates to Home
Inspections. Knowing both vantage points is key to hiring competent Home Inspectors.
“And now, for the rest of the story” (Paul Harvey)
Go To About Me for Company information
Inspector - Igor Smetaniuk for more info (845)856-4102