We recently caught up with KC Bartley of Professional Home Inspections, a top home inspector in the Kingsport and Johnson City, Tennessee area to talk home inspections, homeowners and his business.
We chose to feature KC because he is an extremely humble, and hard-working home inspector. We are lucky to be able to partner with an inspector of his caliber and character.
Professional Home Inspections boasts 49 5-star Google Reviews and a perfect 5 star rating.
I'll try and not make this into a long story...I started in remodeling and construction working for my stepfather when I was 19 years old and immediately fell in love with it. After three years I purchased my own truck, tools, and insurance, and started subcontracting for several contractors in my area.
Nine years later I took the next step and obtained my Home Improvements Contractors License and opened a "storefront" where I sold and installed replacement windows, vinyl siding, pre-fab sunrooms, room additions, decks, etc. After being in business for a few years the stress of management took a toll and I was not happy and I closed the business.
I actually bounced around jobs for the next several months doing everything from being a Sales Rep for a window company to an Account Executive for a technology company. Once again I was unhappy, mostly about having a boss for the first time in over 17 years, so as I was driving home one day on my daughters birthday, I prayed and asked God to guide me and to help me find something I loved, where I could provide a nice living for my family.
Out of nowhere "Home Inspections" popped into my mind, as soon as I arrived at home I Googled the requirements.
Fast forward 60 days later and I was certified and licensed and am blessed to say I haven't looked back since. I typically turn away more inspections than I can do.
This one is simple...it's helping people, this is such a rewarding career. It's the husband and wife in their early 20's following me through the inspection with a baby in their arms, and I can tell they have saved their money to be able to afford the down payment on their first home. Either giving them the confirmation that they found the "one", and that this will be a good home for them.
Or on the other hand, going over items with them that will eventually be a major expense for them that they had no idea about; such as an aged HVAC system, old cast iron waste pipes, outdated electrical, etc. You know a family like this is just starting out, has little to no savings, and isn't prepared for a major expense.
Making sure they understand the condition of the home and what they need to be prepared for financially in the future is a part of my job. I couldn't imagine not telling them about something, then that item fail, and they have to spend everything they have to repair or replace it. That could ruin their vacation plans, their Christmas, etc.
I actually love every part of my job, but the least favorite is definitely getting into a Tennessee attic in July, when it's 93 degrees outside with 85% relative humidity. I'm thankful that Degree makes a good deodorant product on those days :)
Has to be: "How much would that cost?" And I will give clients a range, off the record, but not in the report. And the reason why is easily explained.
You have two companies, "Company A" and "Company B".
Company A is licensed by the State, insured and bonded, has great reviews online, and is a sole proprietor who works out of his/her home and truck. Company A has very little overhead and could do the job for let's say 2000.00.
Company B is licensed by the State, insured and bonded, has great reviews online, and has 12 employees with pension plans; life, health, and short term disability insurance. The owner has a weekend lake home, a 2017 Mercedes, and is currently in Barbuda. And they run TV, radio, and newspaper ads daily. To cover that overhead, their price is 5500.00.
Just being with my wife and daughters, family is very important to me and they're the reason I do what I do every day, I love to watch my young daughters faces as we go on vacations and they're seeing something for the first time. I'm also a technology and Apple nut who has to have the newest tech out there, so I'm always reading blogs and reviews about tech. I also have a saltwater aquarium that is practically a part time job to maintain.
Lastly, studying inspection related materials, it amazes me just how deep this industry can go. After being in the construction and inspection industries for coming up on 21 years, you would think you would know most of it. But I learn something new every day, see something new every day. It is literally endless, much more than I'm sure it appears from the outside looking in.
Maintenance...without a doubt. I'm sure most inspectors will attest to the cause for most major deficiencies came from either an improper installation or a lack of maintenance and neglect. EVERYTHING on a home will require some type of periodic maintenance, neglecting this maintenance can create troublesome and expensive problems.
I'm a big proponent for annual maintenance inspections, have an inspector come by annually or at least every two years and do a maintenance inspection, they're much cheaper than a typical home inspection and also quicker.