Detailed Home Inspections

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Chris Berg specializes in islandwide residential and property inspections. Amanda C. Gregg photo

Chris Berg
Owner, Southshore Home Service LLC

Tell us about your business. Southshore Home Service LLC is a professional home-inspection firm. I specialize in islandwide residential property inspections. A home inspection is generally used during the home-buying process. When an agreement between buyer and seller is reached and proper documents are signed, the buyer has a right to due diligence. The timeframe is typically less than 14 days. This period is used to do research on the home’s physical condition, legal status and neighborhood issues. The report I create includes general information on the home’s condition and a detailed list of defects and associated pictures. The report gives the buyer a description of the overall condition of the home. The inspection report can then be used as a possible tool for negotiation to address any issues that were discovered.

How did you get started in this business and how long has it been going? I have been in the construction industry for most of my life. My father built a sailboat when I was a small child, and I was able to observe and assist as best I could. I began using power tools around 10 years old. I always was amazed at what my father could build in any given day. This led me to an “I can build anything” mentality. In high school, I took extra credits in every woodworking class offered. I then started doing handy-man projects for anyone who would ask. Soon after school I was employed full time in the construction industry.

I later took an intensive certification program and started Southshore Home Service LLC, and it’s now been 11 years and more than 1,000 inspections that I have completed on Kaua’i.

Where are you from originally, and if not Kaua’i, why and when did you move here? I was raised in the Pacific Northwest. After a stint fishing in the Bering Sea, I was lucky to assist some friends on a sailboat from Seattle to Hawaii. We landed in Waikiki after a long crossing. The sun and sand fit me perfectly. Unfortunately, the wages did not. It was too expensive to stay at that time, so I returned to the Mainland. Two years later, I was clearing snow off roofs in Seattle just so I could re-roof them. Dreaming of sunnier climates, I went on a vacation to Maui and realized I had to move back to Hawaii. This was right after Hurricane ‘Iniki hit. I knew a local contractor on Kaua’i and gave him a call. The island was the most beautiful place I had ever visited, even after the hurricane devastation, so I returned to Seattle, quit my job, packed my bags and made Kaua’i my home.

What sets your business apart? I think my personal attention to detail in reporting and the customer service I provide to my clients and Realtors make my business successful. I am always available to my clients. I understand that the home inspection is the first step after negotiating the home-buying transaction, so I pride myself on a quick turnaround on scheduling and completing home inspections. I’ve been known to do inspections on major holidays. My reports are always ready on the same day as the inspection is completed. After the inspection, I like to meet my clients for a customary walk-through of the property to discuss any issues that were identified.

I also use the most current reporting software to generate inspection reports and update my continuing education as often as possible.

Why do you do what you do? I think I have a slight case of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). For instance, I love to search for things like sunrise shell pieces when I’m at the beach, or fish in the ocean. So I love to have a job that allows me to look for the “needle in the haystack.” I also enjoy the surprise each home has to give, whether it is a fantastic view, great floor plan, quality craftsmanship by the builder, or defect I can report on. Some defects go hand-in-hand with bigger issues. My eyes and mind are always asking, “Why?” I also enjoy hearing from clients who are satisfied and thankful of my thorough inspection style and timely reporting. The best complement is a referral from a client.

What motivates you to get up and go to work every day? I like the challenges of the day. I have been lucky enough to stay in the building industry from the start of Southshore Home Service LLC. I have been building homes from the ground up with Olson Homes LLC. We have built 20 custom homes over the past 17 years. It is nice to be in the building industry to accompany the inspection business. It is a full-time job to run a small business, so I generally start working as soon as I get up in the morning. There is always some paperwork to prepare or property inspection to complete. I love the feeling when I’ve had a busy day and can rest knowing that I have completed my report and the accompanying paperwork.

Do you have a business motto or philosophy for doing business? More and more I am disappointed in basic customer service across the board from most all facets of commerce. I want my customers to know they have my full attention and I want their business. I pride myself in providing my clients with an in-depth inspection report in a timely fashion. I would like for my clients to feel secure in decisions made on the home purchase from my findings and accompanying report.

What is your business plan for the future? I would like to do some marketing of my services. From the start, I have relied on referrals from Realtors who have used my service and were pleased enough to pass along my contact information to other clients or Realtors. I made a minor mistake in the beginning calling my business “Southshore Home Service,” as I do inspections island-wide and I think most Eastside and North Shore Realtors do not think to call because of my geographic name. I thought about changing the name years ago, but I wondered if I would have adverse effects to my current clients. Ultimately, though, I will continue to provide the same quality of service that my clients have become accustomed to expect.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? During my early teens on a family sailing vacation in Mexico with my parents, we met an old boat captain who was in charge of the largest production sailboat of the time. I have a captain’s license, and I always keep the idea in my head to be a paid personal captain. For some reason I haven’t gotten the call yet. But most likely I would be building houses here on Kaua’i.

Where can people learn more? My website is southshorehomeservice.com. I can be reached via voice or text at 635-5082 and via email at Chris@southshorehomeservice.com.

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