I don’t think I can stress enough on how important it is to get to know your home inspector before you hire them. There are plenty of people in the building trades, real estate and home inspectors too, who have the training, knowledge, and experience to serve their clients well. But for some reason, some just don’t care enough to put in the effort to do it right.
You can’t tell how much care your inspector will put into inspecting your home unless you take time to find out who they really are. That’s hard to do by reading a website or even a blog post like this one. Marketers are very good at making every company sound perfect and like they are your best friend. It’s best if you can talk directly to your inspector, get to know them, and find out who they really are. With that in mind, I thought I’d write a blog post with a bit of my history and why I’m a home inspector.
I look forward to sharing my story. I hope that you will enjoy getting to know me better. If I don’t answer all your questions, I’d love to talk to you directly. You can call me at (226) 314-2012 or send me an email at Steve@goldeyehi.ca. You can also check out our website at www.goldeyehi.ca. There are links to connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest at the bottom of this page if you’d prefer to connect through social media.
My name is Steve Schroeder and I’m president and chief inspector at GoldEye Home Inspection. My journey started about as far away from home inspection as you could be. Although I was always involved with a renovation of one kind or another, I was never employed in the building trades. I was a lab guy. I worked for many years in federal government labs, most recently at Health Canada.
I guess my shift toward a career in building science started in the lab when we were working on a project studying the kinds of mold found in wet building materials and indoor air quality. At the same time, I was undergoing a major renovation (lifting and replacing the basement) of my own house and coordinating the building trades and city inspections to ensure everything was done right. It was one of those times when the importance of proper construction techniques was reinforced by my work in the lab. I was determined that my new basement would stay dry!
At the time, I probably thought I would be working in labs until I retired. But fate has a way of stepping in and two events coincided to take me out of the lab environment. First, the cancer I was diagnosed with about ten years earlier reared its ugly head and I ended up in the hospital for emergency surgery. That was followed by months of chemo, during which time the building where I worked was closed by the federal government and our jobs were cut. My wife was also diagnosed and started treatment for cancer while I was off work, so we were faced with a lot of choices about our future in a short period of time.
I suppose I could have tried to get on in another department within the government (working with chemicals in a lab was clearly not safe for me anymore) but my time off gave me some time to think about what I really wanted to do. I didn’t feel ready to retire, sick or not. I had just met and started a new life with my (now) wife a few years earlier, and felt more like moving forward than standing still.
So, as I said, I had time to think. I tend to approach most things with an analytical eye, and I broke down what I am good at and what I wanted out of my new direction.
I wanted to use my science background and analytical skills, have opportunities to continuously learn, and I wanted to work more directly with, to help, people. My wife and I were also developing a plan to move from our home in Winnipeg to Southern Ontario, so that figured into the choices as well. The field of Home Inspection seemed to check all the boxes. But I knew that it would take a lot of study and training to get to where I would be comfortable advising people on something as large as a home purchase.
I was also made aware that the field of Home Inspection is, in some places, a bit like the wild west. No regulation, no training requirements, no requirement for mentoring or field training. I certainly didn’t want to get into this like a cowboy who doesn’t know what he’s doing.
So, I looked for the best training program that was available to me (Carson Dunlop Home Inspector Training Program) and slowly, methodically, learned what was needed to be a home inspector. I took extra courses in electrical wiring, Infrared Thermography and Radon Measurement. I followed the qualification process of the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors since we planned to move to Ontario.
I found a Field Training program through Carson Dunlop and learned while doing inspections with a seasoned inspector (who still I look to for advice from time to time) and I practiced. I think every family member and friend I could talk into it had a home inspection. I started the company, GoldEye Home Inspection in 2014 as a sole proprietor in Winnipeg while I was still training, incorporated in 2015 and started performing inspections late in 2015. After a slow start to 2016, we were very pleased to show growth late in the year.
However, we always had a plan to move to southern Ontario. So, we shut our doors in Winnipeg at the end of 2016 and moved to Guelph, starting to perform inspections here in July 2017.
I am still the only inspector and run the entire business. My approach to home inspection is to be very thorough and methodical and to only perform one inspection per day so that I can focus completely on each home, rather than rushing off to do another inspection.
As a one-man company, I am responsible for the booking, performance, and reporting of the inspection, communicating with clients or realtors to arrange access to properties, payment etc. I manage all of our marketing, do a lot of our own social media posting on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. We also have a Pinterest, Instagram and Youtube accounts. We have produced videos, as well as ads for Facebook and LinkedIn. I keep saying I don’t like marketing, but I seem to spend a lot of time doing it.
I am also responsible for making sure that our business and I personally are up to date on qualifications and industry requirements, association memberships and CE/training, Radon measurement and laboratory quality assurance requirements. Finally, there are the regular business demands such as keeping up to date insurance, accounting, and soon in Ontario, there will be licensing requirements (which I welcome).
As an inspector, my typical day depends on whether I have an inspection or not. If I am doing an inspection, I typically review my notes on the property, the MLS listing (if available), and organize my tools, ladders and my vehicle. I try to get to the property at least half an hour prior to the inspection time and also give myself time to drive around the neighborhood a bit to see if there are any significant features that might affect the home in some way (e.g. a nearby river, etc.).
I spend two and a half to three hours on the inspection (plus one hour if Infrared Scan is requested) and if the client has a lot of questions I’m willing to stay longer. I usually take between three hundred to five hundred photos to make sure I don’t miss anything, and I’ll spend a couple of hours after the inspection reviewing them and writing the report.
As the owner of the business, I constantly review the best ways to communicate information from the inspection to clients. Sometimes clients are surprised by the number of issues found and the amount of information they get about the home- even though it could be a very sound home. Being able to explain that many of the issues pointed out are normal and manageable while stressing the importance of maintenance and timely repair, requires an even-handed delivery and careful assessment of the client's response. People also get scared off by big-ticket items and it’s important to stress that these are part of owning a home. All building components have a life-cycle. If you don’t have to pay for them now, you will at some point and should plan accordingly.
To ensure I perform my job well, I need an analytical mind, a systematic and methodical approach as well as attention to detail during the inspection. All of this requires a great deal of patience. Another crucial skill is paying attention to what the client needs or wants in terms of explaining the details and taking the time required to do it. This helps me deliver information in an even-handed, fair, way. I’ve found that realtors have become impressed enough with my approach to recommend me to their clients.
The investigative nature of a home inspection is really enjoyable for me. I believe I’m at my best when something doesn't quite look right, and I can talk through the possibilities with the client. Putting the pieces together and learning while also educating the client.
Aside from work, when we were in Winnipeg, I was very active in sports - hockey and curling in winter, golf in summer. I’m afraid my soccer playing days are probably a thing of the past. Since we've moved to Guelph I have not had a chance to get involved in any of these yet. I have been constantly renovating our own home for the past seven or so years (six in Winnipeg, then the past six months and ongoing in Guelph). My wife and I like to attend the Theatre and are old movie buffs. I like to read a variety of books (especially Canadian literature), but in the past few years, I’ve have had less time for that.
There are several personal causes that I hold dear. My wife and I have both benefited from the excellent care at CancerCare in Manitoba and Ontario. My father and one of my brothers died of cancer and I also have a sister who is a cancer survivor. So, I donate ten percent of all fees we collect to CancerCare Ontario. I have also been a volunteer at the Canadian Red Cross in the past and have donated to several emergency relief programs through the CRC.
Over the years, my wife and I have been devoted to, enjoyed and volunteered at a music festival in Winnipeg - the Winnipeg Folk Festival and are interested in several festivals in Ontario, now that we are here.
As an individual, I believe in constantly learning and helping others to learn; honesty and being honest about when I don't have an answer; fairness and ensuring that the service I provide is worth the money.
I have enjoyed sharing my story about the things which matter to me and how they influence the way I do business. If you or someone you know could benefit from our expertise in home inspection, I invite you to get in touch. Please visit our website at www.goldeyehi.ca or call me at (226) 314-2012 or send me an email at Steve@goldeyehi.ca.
To get in touch with me via social media, please click on the social media site you want to contact me on, and I will be happy to respond to you there.
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