Printed on: November 26, 2013

Giving peace of mind

Veteran home inspector views some 300 homes each year

By NATE SUNDERLAND
nsunderland@postregister.com

Veteran home inspector Ron Rhead draws upon a vast skill set of trades to review homes for buyers.

During his decadeslong career, the 65-year-old earned technical certifications in electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, wood stoves, fireplaces and others.

Local Realtors say Rhead has the knowledge, skills and hands-on experience to walk into a home and pinpoint potential problems in any area of the house.

"He is among the best home inspectors in the valley, because of his knowledge of plumbing and electrical, and he has a great knowledge of the structure of a home and if it is sound," said Kevin Taggart, a Realtor with Century 21 High Desert in Idaho Falls. He has relied on Rhead's services for 19 years.

But Rhead doesn't consider the job a showcase of his technical skills -- he says his role is much simpler.

"The main thing people want is peace of mind -- someone more professional than they are to go through a home and verify to them that it is in proper working order," Rhead said.

Rhead doesn't pass or fail homes. Unlike a municipal, state or federal code inspector, Rhead has no authority to rate building code compliance or mandate changes to a home. Instead, he identifies problems potential homeowners may face, without giving them" buy" or "don't buy" recommendation.

"I tell them what I would look for if I was buying this home,'" Rhead said. "My job is to educated the buyer about the condition of the home, (but) the decision to have it repaired or to walk away has to be their decision -- the worst thing I can do is talk them out of a house."

By the time homebuyers need inspections, Rhead said they've usually made up their mind and just need assurance. As a result, Taggart says Rhead's inspection sometimes closes the sale of a home, but it can also prevent sales, which Taggart calls a good thing.

"Ron's extremely efficient at helping (potential) homeowners understand what the real problems are and what the small problems are -- he does a great job protecting homeowners," Taggart said. "I would rather have people buy a good house than one they will have problems with and affect them down the road."

Despite Rhead's formidable skills set, he never set out to be a home inspector. Initially, he ran several regional fireplace stores and later a pickup camper manufacturing plant -- all of which required technical skills.

"The state required that we have a licensed plumber, electrician, HVAC and gas man in the plant while we were running," Rhead said. "Well, those guys are hard to find, so I went through the years of apprenticeships and I got all three licenses."

He also had experience buying and selling homes, which was why Realtors first came to him to inspect houses. After several informal inspections, he creating Rhead Inspection Services Inc. first in Idaho Falls, but now located in Rigby.

The business inspects some 300 homes annually across eastern Idaho. Rhead gets the vast majority of his business through local Realtors. Rhead has previously employed multiple inspectors, but now it is just him.

"I've got too much gray hair to worry about employees now," he said.

The business offers basic home inspections, including a review of roofing, plumbing, electrical, HVAC and structural deficiencies such as leaks, water or foundation damage. It also offers advanced services such as radon detection, potable water testing and wood stove inspection. Rhead also has state authorization to inspect compliance for the certified family home program for the physically disabled.

Rhead Inspection Services

Rhead Inspection Services Inc. is located at 480 N. 4154 East in Rigby. Contact owner Ron Rhead at 745-0141 or 339-0300.