Originally Posted By: jhagarty
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From the building trades to home inspector
By SUSAN RICHARDS
Sporting a pair of heavy-duty work boots and armed with flashlights, state-of-the-art electrical meter readers and a mirror ? not the compact kind ? Carla Horne of Meredith starts out her work day.
Horne owns and operates Grand View Home Inspections, a firm she started after having worked 22 years in the building trades during which time she covered all phases of construction.
She started out as a finishing carpenter and wood worker. For the last eight years, she?s been self-employed.
"I jumped right into it," Horne said. One of the projects she worked on was the renovation of a former school house which was converted into an art museum ? basically an entire facelift ? in Rhode Island. The project was featured in Architectural Digest magazine. Horne was in charge of the interior remodeling.
Horne?s interest in the building industry was sparked while attending an architectural school in Florida. She then returned to her Meredith hometown and started building. Most people learned about her through word of mouth.
Her focus now is entirely on the home inspection portion of the industry, in part because, she said, "I?m just getting too old to handle the physical labor."
Horne is certified by the American Home Inspectors Training Institute whose headquarters are in Wisconsin. The classes were conducted in the distance learning format, whereby the student corresponds via computer with the learning institution.
"It took me a couple of years to complete, working part-time on the studies," Horne said. Horne said that as homebuyers become aware of issues such as radon and carbon monoxide, the demand for home inspectors has increased. There are several throughout central New Hampshire.
Being a woman working in a non-traditional field, she said she?s been received in two different ways.
"Some will ask, ?what made you, (like being a woman and all) want to get into this?? and others will say ?that?s great! Women tend to be more detailed and focused.?"
Horne also maintains a second home inspector certification from the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI).
"They have a strict code of ethics and practice, and to be a member, you are required to respect and uphold those standards," Horne explained.
To become a member of NACHI, you first have to be a candidate. Once you complete 200 home inspections and pass the NACHI exam, then you?re qualified.
"Only 52 percent of the people who take the exam pass it," Horne said, "and I scored in the top 10 percent," she said, adding that her strategy was not to "study, study, study and get all stressed out," but just simply took the test in her relaxed frame of mind.
An additional requirement to maintain membership status with NACHI is to annually complete 14 hours of continuing education.
Horne is also an active affiliate member of the Lakes Region Board of Realtors, and is the vice chair of the active affiliate committee for that organization.
"Its members are lenders, title people ... basically everyone involved in the realty business," Horne explained.
"We support them and help them raise funds for their scholarships," Horne added.
Horne is also a member of the Laconia Area Community Land Trust.
"Jane MacDonald, (the trust?s home ownership director) is the one who got me involved," Horne said. "She asked me to be a volunteer speaker for the new home buyers seminars that are held in the Lakes Region."
"It makes me feel good to see the young people, especially, become excited about buying their first home. They know certain people they can trust, and that makes me feel good, to help them along the way," Horne said.
The home inspection is not based on a pass/fail format, Horne explained.
"The inspector outlines items that should be tended to," she said. "It?s more of a diagnostic sort of exercise, and home inspections should not be confused with property appraisals ? they are two distinctive things."
Most lenders require a home inspection, and among them, FHA/VA and HUD have no exceptions.
According to Horne, approximately 90 percent of all homes bought or sold today have been through a home inspection.
"Some people don?t know how important home inspections are; purchasing a home is one of the largest investments people make in their lifetimes, and it?s reassuring to know that everything is as it should be," she said.
There is a standard list of checks that are a part of every home inspection, and there are also options available, such as testing for radon and things of that nature.
A funny incident Horne recalled was the time she was visiting with a Realtor at an elderly gentleman?s home that he wanted to sell.
"I went to check the stove, and for the life of me, I couldn?t figure out how to get the 23-year-old thing open," Horne said. "I fiddled with that locking handle they used to have, checked it all over, and just couldn?t find out how to open the darn thing. Finally, I spotted a little button on the stove top, pushed it, and the door opened. I couldn?t believe what I saw. The inside of the oven was in brand-new condition, although it was 23 years old."
Horne said the Realtor asked the gentleman what appliances he wanted to include in the sale of the home.
"All of ?em, except that stove," the fellow said. The Realtor asked why he wasn?t going to include the stove and he said it never worked ... that during the 23 years he owned the home, he couldn?t never figure out how to get it open.
The Realtor told him that Horne had been able to get it open, and with that, Horne showed him where the button was.
"I?ll be darned. I?ve never been able to figure the thing out," the gentleman chuckled, and then turning to Horne he said, " Since you were able to get it open, how about you stay and fix me dinner." Horne said the three of them had one hearty laugh over the whole matter.
"My favorite part about the home inspection business is the people," Horne said. "An inspection is serious stuff, but it can be funny.
"After more than 20 years in the building trades, it?s always been the people I?ve enjoyed most."
Horne said that although she focuses on her inspection business and makes herself available 24/7 to accommodate people?s schedules, she once in a while dabbles in the building part of things. She made a hickory entertainment center for a friend this winter and continues to provide building services to several of her long-time clients.
"My focus is the home inspection. It keeps me very busy, and I love it. I?ve definitely found my niche."
To learn more about home inspection services, call Grand View Home Inspections in Meredith at 279-8619.
Susan Richards can be reached by calling 524-3800, ext. 5915 or by e-mail at email@example.com
HouseMaster / Main Line, PA
Fax : 610-399-9865
HouseMaster. Home inspections. Done right.