Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQ

What is ClearHouse?
We are the first independent home inspection facilitator. Our purpose is to remove the obscurity and inefficiencies of the existing home inspection process, by placing the home inspection where it should be: at the beginning of a real-estate transaction. Also, we remove the conflicts of interest that inspectors are faced with in performing their job.

What services does ClearHouse provide?
We specialize in coordinating PRE-SALE home inspections. The home inspection report is the only document detailing the product being sold, and we feel this information should be available at the BEGINNING of a real estate transaction, before any papers are signed or deposit money changes hands.

Does ClearHouse actually perform inspections?
No, we pre-screen all existing home inspectors in each city, and establish a pool of only the most experienced and knowledgeable (top 10% approximately). From this qualified pool, we contract an inspector for you, coordinate the appointment, and publish the results alongside the fixes the home seller has made. The government licensing and certification of home inspectors is shockingly un-regulated, and unfortunately the consumer bears this burden.

What makes ClearHouse “independent”?
Since the inspection is purchased by the home seller, the only way a home buyer can trust the results is if the inspector was selected by an independent party with no financial interest in the results of the inspection. There are many unethical inspectors out there who get repeat business because they don’t “kill deals” with rigorous inspections. ClearHouse does not use these inspectors, and we only receive a flat fee. This means we have NO FINANCIAL INTEREST in the inspection results, and the inspector is free to do his or her job properly.

What is the advantage of using ClearHouse?
For buyers: You get to see the condition of a home BEFORE you make an offer to buy.
For sellers: You get to know the condition of your home BEFORE the buyer tells you during the contract phase. This gives you the opportunity to fix problems or adjust the asking price before your home ever goes on the market. This helps to ensure a smooth transaction and gives buyers no reason to back out of the deal. A pre-sale inspection facilitated by an independent 3rd party also provides an excellent marketing tool which distinguishes your home from others, and gives potential buyers much greater bidding confidence.

How much does it cost?
For Sellers: the cost of a standard home inspection (based on sqft, etc). See details.
For Buyers: Nothing.

Where are ClearHouse services offered?
We operate in most major metropolitan areas nationwide.

How do I get started with ClearHouse?
Simply click on the applicable link below:
Home Buyers
Home Sellers
Inspectors
Realtors

How do I contact ClearHouse?
We are available via telephone and email. Please see the contact page for details.

Buyer FAQ

How does this benefit me?
You have the direct benefit of seeing the specific details of a house you’re interested in BEFORE you make an offer. Normally you would pay for an inspection once you’ve already made an offer and paid a deposit. Then you would negotiate with the seller to have the problems fixed or reduce the sale price. With ClearHouse, all of this is taken care of before the house ever goes on the market.

How is free
The home inspection is purchased by the home seller, making it free for you. This gives them time to fix the problems or reduce the asking price. The original inspection report is what you see on this website, and the seller can list what they have fixed and what they have not. All fixes are confirmed by the original inspector on a return visit, and the seller is instructed to make the receipts available to the home buyer as proof of work completed.

What makes ClearHouse “independent”?
Since the inspection is purchased by the home seller, the only way a home buyer can trust the results is if the inspector was selected by an independent party with no financial interest in the results of the inspection. There are many unethical inspectors out there who get repeat business because they don’t “kill deals” with rigorous inspections. ClearHouse does not use these inspectors, and we only receive a flat fee. This means we have NO FINANCIAL INTEREST in the inspection results, and the inspector is free to do his or her job properly.

How are the inspectors selected?
We pre-screen all existing home inspectors and establish a pool of only the most experienced and knowledgeable (top 10% approximately). From this qualified pool, we contract an inspector for you and coordinate the appointment. There is shockingly little government regulation or certification of home inspectors, and unfortunately the consumer bears this burden. The question below addresses the strict criteria that must be met by inspectors in ClearHouse network.

Why should I trust an inspector I didn’t select?
There are only a few specific ways to objectively gauge the quality and experience of a home inspector, and we pre-screen all the inspectors to ensure they meet the following criteria:

  • Licensed at the highest level achievable in states that have licensing. In states without licensing, inspectors must be certified at the highest level achievable by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or an equivalent state association. Achieving these qualifications requires completion of hundreds of hours of continuing education and thousands of inspections.
  • International Code Council (ICC) Certification, or other Professional Registrations (Registered Professional Engineer, etc)
  • Proof of Error and Omission (E & O) Insurance

Surprisingly few inspectors meet these stringent criteria, which are a prerequisite to be in ClearHouse network of inspectors.

Do I need to get my own inspection also?
Because ClearHouse is an indpendent third party you can trust the pre-sale inspection and there is no need for you to pay for an additional inspection. However, it never hurts to get a second opinion. We recommend it. Just make sure the quality and experience of your inspector meets the criteria listed above.

What if the inspector misses something?
Even the best inspectors sometimes miss things, which is why most carry “Error and Omission” insurance. The resolution process in the case of a negligent inspector is completely unaffected by using ClearHouse as a facilitator. The individual home inspector still holds exactly the same liability as they would if you hired them directly. In fact, one benefit of using a Clear House inspector is the guarantee that the inspector is insured.

Seller FAQ

How does this benefit me?
You will know the condition of your home before the buyer tells you.
In a standard transaction, deficiencies with your home will surface when the buyer gets an inspection. You are then blind-sided with a list of problems that you’re required to fix, or the buyer has the right to back out of the deal. Many deals are killed at this point, and the seller has wasted the precious “new-listing” period in which homes are most attractive to buyers. By getting a pre-sale inspection, you will know exactly what needs to be fixed before your home ever goes on the market. You will be fully armed with knowledge and time to either fix the problems or adjust the initial asking price, BOTH of which directly benefit you.

What is the benefit of fixing the problems before listing the house for sale?
A smooth transaction. If your home is in good condition when you list it for sale, there will be no surprises, and the buyer will have no reason to back out of the deal. In a standard transaction, the seller is at a disadvantage after the inspection. The house will already be listed as “under contract” (basically “off the market”), so the pool of buyers will be looking at other houses. This puts pressure on the seller to do anything necessary to keep the current buyer interested, since the initial marketing period has already been lost.

What if I choose not to fix the problems and list the house anyway?
The problems with your home will still surface during the buyer’s inspection and you will have to negotiate a lower sale price. BUT, if you know the problems before hand, you can list the house at a lower price and open up a whole new pool of buyers with a lower price ceiling.

Will a pre-sale inspection help to market my house?
Yes! By showing potential buyers all of the specific details of the house, including what you have fixed, you are removing any fear a buyer may have in making an offer. The condition of other houses on the market will still be a mystery while yours is perfectly clear.

Why will buyers trust the inspection results?
By having ClearHouse select your inspector, the conflict of interest is removed. The buyer cannot claim that you hired a friend or an unqualified inspector; especially because we only use the best inspectors available. (Also see Why should I trust an inspector I didn’t select?)

What is the benefit of publishing the inspection results online?
Most buyers today use online resources when looking for a home. By making the inspection results available to serious buyers, you increase their confidence in making a fair bid on your house.

Will my privacy be maintained?
Yes. All personal information will remain private. Only the property address will be shown (which you will already have made public by listing your house for sale).

How much does this cost?
Most home inspections are in the $350 to $500 range, depending on the size of the house. By using ClearHouse, you are guaranteed a highly qualified pre-screened inspector, and a medium to advertise the independence of the inspection and everything you’ve fixed or updated.

Why should I pay for an inspection when the buyer normally would?
To reiterate the reasons listed above: a smooth home sale transaction, much greater marketability, and greater buyer confidence. Please keep in mind that homes cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and sale price negotiations usually move in increments of $1,000 to $5,000 dollars. The cost of a pre-sale inspection is small, relative to the advantages you’ll have once your home is listed. Also, you will not have to pay for an inspection on the next house you purchase if it has had a Clear House inspection.

How are the inspectors selected?
We pre-screen all existing home inspectors and establish a pool of only the most experienced and knowledgeable (top 10% approximately). From this qualified pool, we contract an inspector for you and coordinate the appointment. There is shockingly little government regulation or certification of home inspectors, and unfortunately the consumer bears this burden. The question below addresses the strict criteria that must be met by inspectors in ClearHouse network.

Why should I trust an inspector I didn’t select?
There are only a few specific ways to objectively gauge the quality and experience of a home inspector, and we pre-screen all of the inspectors to ensure they meet the following criteria:

  • Licensed at the highest level achievable in states that have licensing. In states without licensing, inspectors must be certified at the highest level achievable by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or an equivalent state association. Achieving these qualifications requires completion of hundreds of hours of continuing education and thousands of inspections.
  • International Code Council (ICC) Certification, or other Professional Registrations (Registered Professional Engineer, etc)
  • Proof of Error and Omission (E & O) Insurance

Surprisingly few inspectors meet these stringent criteria, which are a prerequisite to be in ClearHouse network of inspectors.

Inspector FAQ

Is ClearHouse an inspection company?
No. We are an independent home inspection facilitator. Our purpose is to remove the obscurity and inefficiencies of the existing home inspection process, by placing the home inspection where it should be: at the beginning of a real-estate transaction. Also, we remove the conflicts of interest that inspectors are faced with in performing their job.

Why should I join ClearHouse Network?
ClearHouse could become one of your primary sources of business. Real estate agents who recommend ClearHouse and a “pre-listing” inspection to their home selling clients will benefit from a smooth transaction. This means most of their business will be routed through us. Also, you will be free to inspect a house properly, without worrying about “killing a deal” and losing an agent as a referral source.

What qualifications do I need?
You will need to provide proof of ALL of the following:

  • Licensed at the highest level achievable in states that have licensing. In states without licensing, inspectors must be certified at the highest level achievable by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or an equivalent state association. Achieving these qualifications requires completion of hundreds of hours of continuing education and thousands of inspections.
  • Proof of Error and Omission (E & O) Insurance

Who is my “customer”?
ClearHouse is your customer. You will receive payment from ClearHouse, and we are the owners of the inspection report. We hold the rights to the report, and will make the results available online to serious home buyers.

Can ClearHouse clients ask me questions about my findings?
Yes. You will still be required to field questions from the home seller for the specific inspection you completed, just like you do currently.

How much does it cost to join?
Nothing. All you have to do is meet the criteria listed above, and we will begin sending business your way.

Are my inspection reports still “confidential”?
The home seller will be using your inspection report as a selling tool, and must be allowed to show it to potential buyers. ClearHouse is your customer, and we will be listing the inspection report online. You will be required to field questions from the home seller, but NOT all of the prospective home buyers.

Do I hold any additional liability for my inspections?
No. Your liability will be identical to what you currently have. It will however, pass directly through ClearHouse to the home seller (our customer).

Is there a Clear House contract I must sign?
Yes. To request a copy of this contract for review, please contact us.

Do I need internet access and email?
Yes. Virtually all of the communication will be done electronically, and you must be able to upload your inspection reports (in .pdf format) to our website.

Do I need specific home inspection software?
No. You will simply need to upload a .pdf version of your own report.