Daniel Brooks is in the business of providing peace of mind. He owns and operates C.A.L.M. Management Residential Inspections, an acronym created from the first initials of his children's middle names -- Charles, Allen, Lynn and Michael.
His background is in refurbishing rundown homes and building homes on speculation and selling them. Brooks served as his own general contractor. He has owned and operated C.A.L.M. since late 2002.
"I'm on my own, have no payroll headaches," he said of his reasons for the change in work.
The job takes him all over the state and the real estate boom has kept him very busy.
"I've even had to turn down business," he said.
While home inspections aren't required by law, inspectors have a stringent certification process.
"You have to have 80 hours in the classroom and go on 30 parallel inspections," he said. A parallel inspection is done with someone already in the business.
"Not many home inspectors want to do it because you will be their competition and it's a very competitive business," Brooks said. However, there is currently a shortage of qualified inspectors in Arizona.
The homes Brooks inspects have ranged from one built in 2005 to one built in 1935.
"The one from 1935 was built better," he said.
Among the common problems he sees in more modern homes:
- Stucco cracked because of the extremes in temperatures;
- Broken tiles or damaged roofing due to monsoon storms;
- Earth to wood construction; and
- Faulty grades, where the flow of the property is toward the building instead of away from it.
"The rules for inspections are very general," he said. "You can have five different inspectors look at the same house and get five different reports. The rules are set by the state."
Brooks recommends home inspections be done by the seller when they are considering putting their house on the market and by buyers of new homes prior to expiration of the warranty on the construction.
"Dan has been extremely responsive and very knowledgeable, dedicated and most agreeable to work with," said Butch Joyner of Windermere Majestic Rim Properties, whose clients have made use of Brooks' service.
Brooks said when a home inspector is hired, the customer needs to make sure there is adequate insurance, the state only requires a $25,000 bond. The inspector should also provide references and the home should be ready for inspection.
"For instance, if a light bulb has burned out, replace it before the inspection," Brooks said. "If I come in and see a burned out light, I have to write it up. I don't know if it's just the bulb, the fixture or the wiring."
Once an inspection is done, clients should read the entire report. When he does a verbal review of his findings with customers, Brooks talks about the problems that will be costly to repair, but he doesn't go over everything in the document.
Brooks came to Arizona from California in 2002 and he and his family moved to the Payson area about six months ago.