• Bonnie

Why I started a home inspection company


Picture of Bonnie Earleywine. They are the owner and inspector at Honeybee Home Inspection LLC
Bonnie Earleywine is the owner and inspector at Honeybee Home Inspection LLC

Not all that wander are lost, they say; however, my career path was a meandering one until I found home inspection: plant nursery manager, self-storage facility manager, tour guide, surveyor, high-end cookware shop worker, biologist/hydrologist, environmental educator, and just about everything in between. All of these life experiences frankensteined together a unique background rooted in customer service, curiosity, and communication. If you've ever wondered how a person stumbles into home inspection, I can offer you my "why" (and also considerations when looking for an inspector).


Becoming a homeowner is probably the single experience that sent me down the path toward becoming a home inspector. I jumped into the process fairly clueless, and honestly there's still some confusing parts to me #escrowwhat. I had no idea what a home inspection was at the time, and I don't remember how my agent talked me into getting one, but I remember the spiel of "you can choose 'the deal-breaker' for his thoroughness, the moderate one, and" blah blah blah. I knew the house wasn't perfect, but I felt I could decipher idealistic versus important repairs so I opted for the highly detailed inspector. It was this decision that became my "why."


The report had no pictures which made the jargon and vague wording confusing. Without a legend, I could only assume "sat." meant satisfactory but didn't know what kind of range of acceptability that meant. I had hoped for a ranking system so I knew how to concentrate my efforts. I was also really banking on a thorough report to explain things because I basically just smiled and nodded to avoid appearing as clueless as I was. The inspector mostly talked to my agent (AKA male chaperone since we were obviously in 1910) so the overall experience left me feeling confused and like I needed yet another man to translate it for me. It was insult to injury when I had to call service workers to schedule said repairs and couldn't explain what I needed repaired.


For me, the most confusing part of the home-buying process was understanding the inspection report, and it was THE thing that caused more doubt than anything during the whole experience. Since the creation of Honeybee, I've tried my best to keep simple, accessible language a priority as well as photos. So. Many. Photos. I even put arrows pointing to the exact location on the photo and enter a caption so there will be no mistaking what I'm identifying in my reports. I hope the measures I take for my clients will ease their minds and cultivate a more informative and helpful experience than I had.




 

Other ways that Honeybee stands apart from other home inspectors in Central Arkansas:


  • Only one inspection per day

This ensures fresh eyes for each inspection and no time restrictions pulling me away from a home before I'm done.


  • Photo and video in inspection reports

A picture says a thousand words, but a video doesn't leave things open for interpretation. Videos are especially beneficial for highlighting issues when the clients can't see things first-hand (on roofs, in crawlspaces, or if they are not able to attend the inspection).


  • Tiny inspector

This may not seem important until you see a home with a crawlspace access the size of a shoebox. I don't look like the general population of home inspectors, which is an advantage when it comes to attics with small hatches, too. Inspecting the attic space is an important component to inspecting the underside of the roof just like the other half of plumbing is inspected in the crawlspace. An inspector needs to access these areas to complete the home assessment; otherwise, it leaves a big question mark.


  • Prioritized ranking for any necessary repairs

I use a color-coding system in my reports. Orange is for "things to consider," and red is for "safety hazard or important repair." This helps clients prepare a list of things to address first or to try to negotiate with the seller during closing.


  • Communication

My experiences as a tour guide and an educator mean I am skilled at explaining complex concepts to people with a variety of knowledge bases AND keeping their attention. There are no dumb questions, and I approach things as a learning experience about your new house.


  • Available for post-inspection discussion

Because Honeybee only chooses to perform one inspection per day, clients have greater access to the inspector for additional questions. I have done zoom sessions with out-of-state buyers to go through the inspection report item-by-item. I also understand that your questions don't stop 12 hours after reading the report. Clients are welcome to text, email, or call any time.

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