Realtor Frequently Asked Questions
When buying or selling a home, you’re juggling a lot of balls coordinating an endless list of things that must be taken care of to ensure a smooth transaction for your client. Often, one of the “dirty” little details of a real estate transaction is having the fireplace, wood stove, gas fireplace, or clothes dryer vent cleaned and inspected. Working with dependable vendors like A to Z Chimney Services will make your life easier, and make you look good in your client’s eyes! We answer our phones with a live office staff Monday through Friday, call the day before to confirm the appointment, and show up on time within a reasonable two-hour window of arrival. By request, we’re happy to call on your cell phone 15-30 minutes prior to arriving so you don’t have to sit around and wait at the property. In order to help ensure everyone’s expectations are met, we’ve prepared this brief list of frequently asked questions specifically geared toward our Realtor Customers.
- Why have the chimney inspected?
- Doesn’t the Home Inspector inspect the chimney? Why isn’t the home inspector’s report good enough?
- What does a chimney or fireplace inspection cover?
- Can I schedule an “inspection only”?
- Can I schedule a “cleaning only” without having an inspection performed?
- Do I need to be present during the appointment?
- Why does electricity need to be turned on at the property?
Why have the chimney inspected?
Just like a roof or pool inspection, a chimney represents an expensive and very critical part of the home: And because improperly maintained chimneys can lead to loss of life and property, a professional chimney inspection is a wise course of action! Your clients look to you as their real estate expert and will often take your advice earnestly. While it is an additional expense, having the chimney inspected by A to Z Chimney Services is cheap fire insurance to protect your clients’ interests, as well as your valuable reputation! You would want the same level of safety for your family, so treat your clients like family and encourage them to have the chimney inspected by A to Z Chimney Services! Don’t allow your customers to purchase their dream home only to have them discover the chimney requires thousands of dollars worth of repairs! It’s an all-too-common scenario… a family just purchased a home a few months ago… winter sets in and they want to use the fireplace, so they do the responsible thing by hiring a chimney sweep to clean and inspect it before use…only to discover it needs extensive repairs! Obviously, they’ll be upset with the home inspector for not reporting the damage, but the home inspector is neither trained nor responsible for a proper chimney inspection! Next, they’ll be upset with YOU, their realtor, for not recommending they have the chimney inspected by a professional. So be the professional realtor they hired…. encourage your customers to have the chimney swept and inspected BEFORE purchasing the home to avoid any unpleasant or awkward surprises down the road!
Doesn’t the Home Inspector inspect the chimney?
Why isn’t the home inspector’s report good enough? In the medical field, family doctors are considered “general practitioners”. In other words, they are generalists who have a broad range of general knowledge about the human body. In addition to family doctors, there are also specialists who concentrate their expertise on a particular part or system within the human body. If you have an illness or injury that goes beyond the scope of a family doctor’s abilities, you’ll likely be referred to a specialist who can give you the best possible care. Like a family doctor, a home inspector is a generalist. A good home inspector has a broad range of knowledge about homes, and can identify many things that would be of concern to a potential buyer, but he is not an expert in the field of fireplaces, wood stoves, gas fireplaces, and chimneys! While a home inspector may know some basic things in this arena, he does not have the type of in-depth knowledge that a good chimney sweep will have regarding these types of residential combustion systems. In addition, a home inspector usually does not possess the specialized equipment needed for many types of chimney inspections (a ChimScan Camera, for example). In order to absolve themselves of any potential liability, most home inspectors will readily defer the chimney inspection to a qualified CSIA-certified chimney sweep. In fact, more home inspectors refer A to Z Chimney Services than any other company in the greater Sacramento area! The Sacramento chapters of both CREIA and ASHI have hired A to Z Chimney Services on several occasions to teach classes at annual conventions, Saturday Toolbox Meetings, and monthly dinners. Trust the opinion of your favorite home inspector by using the company that they most often recommend…. A to Z Chimney Services & Dryer Vent Cleaning!
What does a chimney or fireplace inspection cover?
There are two types of chimney inspections: Level 1 inspections and Level 2 inspections. Level 1 inspections are a basic visual inspection that is included with every chimney sweeping that A to Z Chimney Services’ technicians perform, and includes a hand-written condition report . But when it comes to a real estate transaction where a property is changing hands, the Chimney Safety Institute of America always recommends that a Level 2 inspection be performed. A level 2 inspection is more detailed in scope, covering every inch of the chimney system including parts of the chimney found within the attic and beneath the home (if the home has an accessible raised sub floor). Level 2 inspections also include a 4-8 page type written report with pictures and captions of any areas of interest found during the inspection. This type-written report is very similar to what most home inspectors provide after their inspection, and is an ironclad guarantee that all parties involved will know the chimney’s exact condition.
Can I schedule an “inspection only?”
Absolutely! But a word of warning… it may end up costing you or the client more if you do this!! In the event an “inspection only” appointment is scheduled and our technician arrives to find the chimney’s flue is dirty, our inspection report will reflect the fact that the flue could not be inspected, and therefore the condition of the flue could not be determined. In other words, if the inside surfaces of the chimney’s flue are coated with creosote, the chimney will need to be swept and the creosote removed before an inspection of the flue can be performed. If our technician was only authorized to perform an inspection, he will likely have to return for a second trip to perform the necessary cleaning, which will be an added expense. For this reason, we always recommend you schedule a cleaning and inspection. If the flue is not dirty, we will only charge you for the inspection. If the flue is dirty, we are then authorized to sweep and inspect on the same day, thus saving you and your client time and money!
Can I schedule a “cleaning only” without having an inspection performed?
No. As members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild, our professional code of ethics requires us to fully disclose our inspection findings to all parties: The buyers and their agents, the sellers and their agents, and the occupants if the home is a rental. This full disclosure policy ensures that if there are any potential safety hazards or concerns, use of the chimney can be discontinued until repairs are completed, thus avoiding any accidental catastrophes, and keeping all parties out of harms way. When agents specifically request a “cleaning only”, we often have to assume it is already known that something is wrong with the chimney and/or the agent is afraid a chimney condition report indicating repairs are needed will kill their deal. Rest assured, while A to Z’ Chimney Services’ condition reports are thorough, our technicians are trained to present the facts tactfully so as not to upset the parties involved. Scaremongering or doomsday techniques are not tolerated, and you and your clients will be treated with kindness and respect with a positive and upbeat attitude.
Do I need to be present during the appointment?
No, but it is preferable that you or your buyers/sellers are present during the inspection. We realize you’re busy juggling the endless details involved with buying or selling a home! As such, if nobody can be present for the appointment, our chimney sweep technicians can still do their job as long as they have access to get inside the home (via current occupants or a lock box), and electricity is turned on within the home (our equipment requires electricity). If electricity is not available, we can bring a portable generator for an additional charge, but this must be requested while booking the appointment since our vehicles do not normally have a generator on board. During the inspection, any areas of concern or needed repairs will be photographed, and the condition report can be faxed or emailed to you. If any involved parties were not able to be there during the original inspection, we would be happy to email them pictures, or make a second trip for an additional charge.
Why does electricity need to be turned on at the property for a chimney cleaning and inspection appointment?
Our dust control vacuums and Chim Scan inspection cameras require electricity, so please make sure the electricity is turned on in the home. If electricity is not available, while booking the appointment, you may request that we bring a portable generator. We are happy to provide this service for an additional charge.
We have a group of service providers that you might need as a home owner. Providing connections to these trusted partners is an additional convenience to you from A to Z Chimney Services.
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Dear A to Z,
I just wanted to thank you for your honesty and for a thorough inspection of my chimney. One of the biggest concerns I have when hiring service professionals is being taken advantage when not having first hand knowledge of the various procedures. Last year when I had my chimney swept by one of your competitors, they claimed that I had a chimney fire, and that my flue was now cracked and needed extensive repairs.
This year, I hired A to Z to come out and sweep and inspect the flue because I heard they inspect the chimneys with a Chim Scan camera at no additional charge. The technician who came to my home, assured me I would be able to see any cracks or hazardous conditions along with him as he video scanned my flue. To my utter delight, NO EVIDENCE OF A CHIMNEY FIRE OR DAMAGE IN MY FLUE WAS DETECTED!!! Chris was extremely detailed in his inspection and really took his time educating me so I could feel comfortable. It was obvious that he knew what he was talking about and truly interested in doing the right thing…a far cry from last year’s experience with the other company. If anyone asks for an HONEST, COMPETENT, AND PROFESSIONAL chimney sweep company, I'll be sure to recommend A to Z!
~ Ms. Randi Scott, Lincoln, CA
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