Dear PoP – Reader Recommendations Please

Photo by PoPville flickr user dullshick

“Dear PoP,

Could you please ask your readers who purchased homes recently and uses services of

Home inspectors
Pest inspectors
Structural inspectors

and are very very happy with the service and information they received. This is for Washington DC row house.

I am specially interested on a licensed bonded structural inspector who also does pest inspection.”

20 Comment

  • We used Leslie Ruffin when we bought our house. Knowledgeable, professional guy and local. He can introduce you to other inspectors, contractors, etc. I highly recommend him.

    Leslie Ruffin
    Home Survey Company, Inc.
    Washington, DC 20011
    (202) 291-5136
    Cell: (202) 439-2052

  • The average homeowner who can fix minor things can do their own home inspection with an outlet tester and some gloves. If you are buying a house and expect to do some renovations, don’t bother with an inspection. Just check the brick to see if needs to be repointed and check the roof and look for water damage. Everything else is simple like HVAC, kitchen appliances, and plumbing. Just my opinion based upon the few homes i’ve bought in dc.

  • We were very happy with Daniel Blum from Integrity Home Inspection Services – or 202-829-9099.

    He spent nearly four hours with us going over ever piece of our Columbia Heights row home to give us a realistic idea of what to expect in the future. It was a little daunting at the time, but I think I sleep a little better knowing that we had someone who was thorough, knowledgeable, and willing to take the time to educate his clients.

  • We joined Angie’s list and found 12 different type of contractors so far. It has been well worth the membership fee. I believe it was $68 dollars.

    Good Luck.

  • Just curious- what is the purpose of your question? Maybe you’ll get more useful answers.

    I’ve purchased a few row houses in DC over the years and my real estate agent/bank has handles all this.

    I think American Pest handled the few issues I’ve come across.

  • For home inspection, I used Alan Beal with Mid-Atlantic Inspection Services when buying my rowhouse last year. He’s a former contractor, and was very thorough. Phone is 202-607-4153.

  • Is this for a house that you have recently purchased or for the inspection of a home you are thinking of buying?

    Unless you’re buying a shell with structural elements exposed or you own the home and you can put some holes in the wall, there’s a limited amount of information that a structural engineer can divine from seeing a z crack in masonry, a flattened arch, sloping floors or a bulging foundation.

    For a thorough, professional, standard home inspection by former contractors (not just some dude who got certified to do home inspections w/o professional knowledge in the field) I would highly highly recommend Claxton Walker. Ask for Bill Walker. They are extremely well regarded.

    I bought a 120 year old fixer upper. Obviously we couldn’t poke holes in the wall before I got it. But Bill did a great job of pointing out potential problems and telling me if it was a big deal to fix or a small deal and what to prioritize.

    Now I’m actually doing the restoration of the property, including major structural work, and I still refer back to the fantastic 30 page report that Bill did for me.

    Ehlert Bryan is my structural engineering firm if you have specific and known structural concerns. An independent engineer is good because they aren’t trying to sell you on the work like a contractor might. Then again, they aren’t going to be able to give you a quote either.

    Appraisers are worthless to the consumer in my opinion. They exist mostly for the lenders to confirm that the collateral (your home) is actually worth the money they are lending you. With access to great sites like Redfin and Zillow, you are truly better off looking at comparables yourself.

    • What did this 30 page report cost you?

      • They do it for each one of their inspections. Included in the price, which was comparable to the other 8-9 quotes I got. The report is a big part of what you’re purchasing with a home inspection – some companies acted like I was crazy when I requested a sample report with the quote. Claxton Walker’s was definitely the most impressive.

  • Best house inspector out there for old row homes is Billy Claxton of Claxton Walker.

    Highly recommended and he definitely knows his stuff.

  • You are insane not to get a full, professional home inspector if you are buying a house. Ours came up with a list of over $4,000 in repairs that the seller had to pony up for.

    Use who I used:

    Gil Engler. He’s been doing this for 30 years. He spent four hours going over every square inch of the house, from basement to roof. Structure, wiring, HVAC, pests, drainage, the works.

    [email protected]; 703-850-4937

  • L & N Pest Control is excellent. (301) 324-0397.

  • Any potential buyers: do not take Emil’s advice. Hire a professional. Our guy saved us from an offer we’d made on one place and found issues we would definitely have missed on the house we finally bought.

  • Thank you all so much for your recommendations. I am in the process of buying a row house in Washington DC.

  • Jim Delgado, Home Inspector/Building Analysis
    Delgado & Associates, LLC.

    Phone:(202) 439-3100
    Email:[email protected]

    He used to work for DCRA so he knows his stuff and will check for code violations and make the effort to inspect things that are not visible. Wish we’d known him when we bought our house – went back and looked at the documents from the inspection after talking to Jim. Realized that the inspector we used says that they are not inspecting for a long list of things you’d want, including code violations. Also says that if you discover anything later that the inspector is not responsible or requires mandatory arbitration and homeowner pays all expenses. Jim doesn’t do that type of B.S.

  • houseintherear

    Happens to be my Dad, does a large amount of his business in DC and knows the city and old buildings quite well. Carpenter as a hobby, so he also has quite a bit of knowledge about old woodwork, etc.

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