Hilton Head Island & Bluffton Area Realtors - Horizon Home Inspectors wants to hire your favorite inspector

Horizon Home Inspectors is looking for licensed, qualified candidates to join our growing home inspector staff. We want to meet your favorite, local  inspector and invite them to join our growing team.

  1. Share with us the name, phone and email address of your favorite, trusted inspector or,
  1. Share our request with your favorite inspector and encourage him/her to reach out to us.

Why would an independent inspector would want to join our team? Horizon Home Inspectors provides

  • A team-based environment,
  • Flexible scheduling (work when you want),
  • Competitive commissions,
  • Employer-paid IRA contributions,


  • Worker’s compensation,
  • Employee benefits insurance,
  • General liability insurance and
  • Errors & Omissions insurance

all at no cost to the inspector.

Help us gear up to better serve you!

Real Estate Agents and the Peril of Editing the Home Inspection Report

Recently a real estate agent told me her broker recommended editing the home inspector’s report by selecting the reported defects that she, the agent (and her client), thought was most appropriate for the repair request before sending it to the seller’s representative.

A similarly dangerous issue I have experienced in the past is agents paraphrasing comments made in the inspection report, creating their own “summary” of the documented defects, and forwarding that version of the report to the seller’s agent.

What happens when these well-intentioned agents choose wrong or omit a critical detail?

The home inspection is a complicated document describing hundreds of intricate details and defects. While some issues are cosmetic others are visible symptoms of serious problems which, when edited, paraphrased or manipulated, undermine the depth and scope of the inspection. Change the report and you change its meaning.

The real estate agent should never be put in the position of determining which issues are important and which are merely cosmetic. The home inspector was hired because of their unique expertise so editing their report completely undermines their professional opinion. The home inspector has the training, experience and insurance to determine the deficient from the cosmetic – the real estate agent does not.

The real estate contract describes the difference between a cosmetic defect and a structural or mechanical defect. The home inspector should also know the difference and should be able to issue a report that clearly distinguishes between the two. If the agent thinks they know better than the inspector, then it’s time to choose a better inspector.

Every agent should have a short list of qualified, competent, experienced and insured home inspectors and trust them to provide their service without editting and furthermore, expect that inspector to stand by their work and be able to defend their opinions to the client and the seller or their representatives.

Regardless of their knowledge or experience, the real estate agent should never assume the risk of altering a document as comprehensive as a home inspection report.

Brad Tholen Home Inspectors offers FREE HomeBinder

As a part of our service, Brad Tholen Home Inspectors will be sending each of our clients a free lifetime subscription to HomeBinder ($120 value).

HomeBinder allows our clients to organize and save all related home information in a convenient online application.  From storing paint colors, to getting maintenance reminders, HomeBinder will ensure you have all the details you need in the future right at your fingertips.  

Soon after the inspection our clients get an email from HomeBinder with a link to access their personalized binder.  All you need to do is pick a password and you’ll have private access to that binder going forward.  If you need or want, you can share the binder with your spouse or family member.

We’ll include a maintenance schedule and through which our clients get emailed maintenance reminders about key home tasks and they will always have access to their inspection report.  when its time to sell the home HomeBinder will help with buyers, your accountant and the appraiser.  

Learn more at www.homebinder.com.

Brad Tholen Home Inspectors in CB2 Magazine Real Estate Issue

How important is getting a home inspection? In the April 2016 issue of  CB2 Magazine, Kitty Bartell examines the process and importance of the home inspection in today's real estate transaction. I had the privilege of spending some time with Kitty in preparation for her article. Look for the article, and our add on pages 100 and 101 in the April Real Estate issue of CB2.


Is Your Inspector Licensed and Insured?

Always use a licensed and insured inspector or contractor. It’s important that the people you are entrusting with your home and safety are qualified to be doing the work in the first place. A license is not a guarantee that you will have a great experience however it is a tool to ensure that you can have recourse in the event something goes wrong.

Jack-of-all-tradesmen are everywhere and just because they have a sign on their truck and a business card does not mean they are licensed.  A recent sting operation in South Carolina shows just how prevalent unlicensed workers are; a recent release from the SC State department of Labor, licensing and Regulation described a sting resulted in uncovering 70 non-licensed contractors:

Six investigators from the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation’s Office of Investigations and Enforcement and three staff members reviewed internet listings and physically monitored home improvement store parking lots across the state to look for people who were advertising plumbing, electrical, carpentry, HVAC, roofing, home inspecting and other building services requiring licensure by LLR.

Residential Builders Administrator Janet Baumberger said. “This is the second time we have participated in the sting, and each time we have discovered at least 70 cases. We look forward to participating again to further protect consumers.”

The Residential Builders Commission licenses all residential builders and home inspectors and licenses/registers all specialty contractors in the state. The Commission investigates complaints from homeowners having problems with builders or licensed/registered specialty contractors and, if necessary, takes disciplinary action against them.

Brad Tholen Home Inspectors adds Tom Azevedo

Brad Tholen Home Inspectors welcomes the newest member of the inspection team, Thomas Azevedo.

Tom came to the low country from California by way of New York. A previous residency in South Carolina was all he needed to encourage him to return from New York in 2014. 

Tom served our country proudly in the US Coast Guard and was honorably discharged in 1985. He made his way to New York where he became a proud member of the New York City Fire Department, retiring with the rank of Lieutenant in 2004. In addition to his service Tom is a proud member of the New York City carpenters union, Local 902.

Tom completed his extensive inspector training with Brad Tholen and is an experienced, state licensed home inspector as well as a member in good standing of the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI).

Tom and his bride Kelly, along with their sons Erik and Luke, now call Bluffton home after leaving the cold of New York behind.

SC Home Inspectors Using ASHI Standards of Practice

At the beginning of 2015 the South Carolina Builders Commission announced they were adopting the Standards of Practice from the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). The news came as a great surprise to all licensed home inspectors in the state as well as ASHI. At a recent inspectors conference in Columbia, state and regional directors of ASHI were as surprised as anyone the commission had finally moved on ASHI's request to update the state standards.

All inspectors in South Carolina, regardless of their relationship with ASHI, are now obliged to use the ASHI standards as the foundation for all their home inspection reports. 

While not startling different, the ASHI standards clarify many items that were considered "fuzzy" in the original state standards written by the builders commission in the 1990's. The most significant change from the old standard is the type of reporting that is now required; according to Bruce Baker, past chairman of the the ASHI Standards Committee, the ASHI standard is a "negative" standard which in effect means inspectors are no longer required to document many of the common elements of a property such as interior or exterior components of a structure like roof type, wall type, the presence of decks porches and patios; the presence or type of garage; the presence of GFCI protection and smoke detectors; doors, windows, flooring, etc.. ASHI standards require notations be made when there is a negative issue regarding any item in the property, i.e. problems, damage or deficiency.

Confused? So were we. The recent conference in Columbia hosted by ASHI and lead by Bruce Baker himself was attended by fewer than 40 of the nearly 1000 licensed inspectors in the state - only 3 inspectors from the Hilton Head/Bluffton/Beaufort market were in attendance, including your's truly. Hearing the changes directly from the man who wrote the standards was very helpful in understanding the purpose for the change and the impact the change will have on inspectors and their clients.

To read the 2014 ASHI standards of practice visit the SERVICES page of our web site.

The Home Inspector and the Real Estate Client - Communication

Every real estate professional who has ever scheduled a home inspection for one of their clients understands that the home inspector can be a blessing to their client or can have the impact of a land mine.

The home inspector's communication skills are as important as their inspecting skills. The inspecting part of the home inspection is only one element in the equation.  How the inspector articulates their findings, and not necessarily just what they find, has a tremendous impact on the client and thereby the entire transaction.

The reason so many franchise home inspection companies are popping up all over the market is that, given the tools, almost anyone can learn to inspect real property even with limited knowledge. For the most part the process of inspecting is formulaic – follow a system or checklist, apply diligence, patience and (hopefully) some experience (where the knowledge come in) then compile the findings in a readable format.

The first part of the art of the inspection process is placing the appropriate emphasis on the findings and drawing the proper conclusions based on the observations made in the inspection. Whether it’s highlighting issues of genuine concern or even de-emphasizing issues which are less important, the real art of the inspection is, knowing the difference between the two and communicating that accordingly to the client.

Communicating with the client is the next vital skill-set. How the inspector presents his findings to the client has huge implications. Even the smallest findings in a home inspection report appears frightening when put into text therefore the follow-up conversation (live or on the phone) between the inspector and the client can help clarify the difference between the structural and the trivial but with the wrong words or tone, even the trivial can become structural in the mind of the client when speaking with an inspector with an agenda.

Before making your next referral, take this challenge - speak with the inspector on the phone to get a feel for how you think they communicate their message to you; visit the inspector's web site - what does it tell you about them and their organizational or presentation skills? If they do not communicate their message clearly will they communicate clearly with your client?

Something to think about.

Brad Tholen Home Inspectors - A Time for Change

Thank you for visiting our web site and our blog.

Over the last 12 months, my wife Lynda and I realized that, for us to fulfill our dreams it would be necessary that we embrace the most dramatic new course in our 28 years together. And so, on September 23, 2013, Brad Tholen Home Inspectors was born. 

Our objectives are to continue to provide the same high-level of professional and personal service to our clients and our referral partners and to reach out to those agents with whom we have yet to establish a working relationship to be an experienced, professional resource for them and their clients as well.

We understand that in today’s real estate market every potential sale is precious and every client is a blessing. Over the past 13 years we have built a reputation upon being extremely thorough in our work. We pride ourselves in providing this level of detail for the benefit of our clients while remaining fair and balanced toward all parties in the transaction. I plan to expand on this thought in a future blog.

In preparation for my next blog I would love to hear from you – anyone who has been affected by the results of a home inspection, mine or any other. Let’s explore a positive way forward for us both. I encourage your calls or emails or simply respond through our web site on the Contact Us page.

Lynda and I are grateful to those of you who have already extended your congratulations and well wishes. We have been truly humbled by your response. We dedicate our efforts to earning and keeping your respect every day, in every inspection, with every client.

Brad & Lynda Tholen

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