Michael Zegarra, Home Inspector

BUSINESS BASICS

Started in the home inspection industry in: 2010

Specialization: Servicing home buyers in residential detached, condo and townhouse inspections. Future expansion to service commercial and strata clientle.

One-piece of advice for your clients: I recommend taking the time to find the right home inspector. Ask questions before you hire, but hold back from asking “How much do you charge?” Price isn’t the gauge to compare inspectors. Ask questions related to the inspectors background, qualifications, what research they include, and how they report their findings (checklist, narrative, illustration). Find out about their reporting style. Ask if they allow you to shadow during the inspection and if they encourage you, the buyer, to be in on the debrief. Also, inquire on post-service offerings, such as a lifetime review on the property.

Do you have a typical client? Market segment focused on young professionals, under the age of 40 and looking to start a family.

How do you stay educated?  I work with other inspector colleagues. We meet and chat about scenarios in the field and share our experiences. I also attend our industry’s association, CAHPI’s (Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors), quarterly meetings and Annual General Meeting. In addition, attend seminars with various accredited building and construction associations.

Michael was one of inspectors recommended by our realtor and we are so thankful to (have) chosen him for our home inspection. Michael provided an excellent and thorough inspection, complete with a detailed report with pictures so we know exactly what is wrong, how to fix and also how to maintain the house. Highly recommended!
– Shu, Client

Q & A

1. What differentiates you from the 500 Home Inspectors in Metro Vancouver?
I cater to my clients. I provide a high-touch service and offer extras that others don’t. Many clients appreciate the life-time consultation that’s included with every home inspection. It’s common in our industry for inspectors to limit their services to the minimum requirements and to speak far to technical to their clients.

I concentrate on building relationships with my clients so I understand my audience and share the information for them to be able to comprehend. I present my findings in a clearly and concise presentation and encourage my clients to be part of the inspection and debrief. I also offer services beyond the normal standards; I read through any strata documents for an inspector’s interpretation and I will inspect the common areas of apartments buildings including the roof, hallways and boiler room.

2. What was your favourite success story?
I had the pleasure in working with a young family purchasing a 1960’s house in Coquitlam. During the home inspection process, I’ve uncovered various deficiencies that required attention. In particular was the risk that the house was heated with oil at one point in time prior to converting to natural gas. During the inspection of the exterior of the building I was looking for evidence of a possible buried oil tank. Behind “strategically placed” potted plant I uncovered a cutoff metal pipe protruding from the ground. This pipe could possibly have been a fill pipe for the oil tank. I encouraged my clients to enlist an oil tank specialist to scan the property for confirmation.

Next day, the oil tank scan came back negative and they surprisingly did not see the cutoff metal pipe. My client pointed it out them and with the extra effort, the scan uncovered not one but two buried oil tanks on the property.

Buried oil tanks that leak contaminating surrounding soils can become an expensive task to remediate and have significant environmental impact. Containing contaminating soils can be as extreme as $80,000.

My client’s Realtor was in a dual agency role which she also represented her seller. Often these cases become complicated to clearly know who’s best interest the agent is representing. Needless to say, the Realtor and the Seller were ambiguous with many issues uncovered during the home inspection. My client had many questions during and after the home inspection. We communicated through email, text message and phone days leading to the date of subject removal. I made myself available for guidance right to the last hour towards subject removal to help with his concerns. They decided to back out of the purchase. I had the pleasure in helping this family with their second home inspection of at another house. I followed up with them for an update. They were so appreciative with my services and found it invaluable in the completion of their home purchase. The success for me, my client’s rely on my expertise in making an informed investment.

3. What was your most interesting story?
I had an inspection in East Vancouver with a rental unit. It was an old property, originally an orphanage before being converted into apartments. The tenant’s son came home at lunch hour while I was debriefing with my client. There was an area of the home that I required access. The tenant’s son positioned himself at this spot impeding access. He refused to move and started verbally threaten the Realtor to the point the agent had to call the police. It became an awkward and unsafe situation for all parties. Soon enough, the police and immediate family arrived. We continued the remainder of the home inspection. A first, and hopefully last experience of this kind.

4. What inspired you to be an inspector?
As a home renovations contractor for seven years and I crossed paths with a Home Inspector. I realized the inspection industry is considered still a young, growing industry. My contracting skills are a valuable asset to my clients; they help to give a different eye to the job.

The Inspectors job is to always look at the “why” things were done. Nothing is what you see. When I apply my inspector skills with my contracting trade, I can identify why things were done more clearly. I feel my senses are heightened when I’m doing a walk through, allowing for more insight to my clients.

5. How do clients describe you and what’s your best feature?
My clients have said I’m professional, thorough, kind, good to deal with, and I put them at ease. My best feature is my ability to understand my client and their needs and how I communicate with them.

6. What do you love most about your job?
Diversity. Every day is a different scenario. I’m meeting new home buyers that are full of emotions and I can help give them some valuable perspective on their potential purchase.

7. What is the hardest part of your job?
I like to build relationships with my client, often can be challenging with the limited time I have with my clients. Secondly, it’s getting everything across to them in that short timeframe and explaining things so they are not alarmed when the home has minor deficiencies.

PERSONAL SNAP SHOT

About: Michael has an 8-year old daughter Chloe and they like doing fun things around Richmond. Chloe is Michael’s main focus, but his business and clients are incredibly important to him too.

Michael enjoys it most when he is able to spend time on a house and present his finding to his client’s in simple, easy-to-understand terms. Ultimately, he works hard to build trust with his clients, so they have the confidence in calling on him again if they decide not to purchase, or are buying again in the future. Michael’s priority is to provide his clients with exceptional client service and value while also serving you with integrity

Likes (If you had more time, what would you do more of: Mountain biking, travel, dining out

Loves (can’t live without): coffee and being connected through social media

Contact Michael and view his blog here

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