RUTLAND — Nine months ago, Jonathan Glinski, 33, launched a professional home and commercial property inspection business. Based in Rutland, Fairview Services is an independently owned and operated franchise of National Property Inspections of Nebraska.
Although he grew up in southern New England, Glinski is not a newcomer to Vermont. The family regularly came to ski at Killington, and he attended Castleton State College in 2003-2004, returning to Connecticut to finish college and begin a career in the lumber and building materials industry.
Then a “head-hunter” located an opening with R.K. Miles lumber and hardware company at its Manchester location, and Glinski moved back to Vermont in 2011 to take the job. The company quickly offered him a position in Middlebury that became permanent. “It turned out to be a great working environment,” he said.
But as much as he enjoyed the workplace and his co-workers in Middlebury, staying behind a counter all day was monotonous, he said.
In March 2017, Glinski hung out his shingle as a professional property inspector for both residential and commercial properties. “It has not been the easiest thing going into business for myself,” he admitted. “It’s a lot more self-discipline than I thought and I never knew that I had.”
While it’s easy to get a business license in Vermont, since 2016 would-be home inspectors in Vermont must take an 80-hour prelicensing course, which Glinski completed in Nebraska with the franchise company. There is also a rigorous, monitored test.
“There is no way to cheat,” he said with a laugh.
National Property Inspections has 210 franchises throughout the country. The Omaha-based company has been in business about 30 years. Glinski is its first franchisee in Vermont. He appreciates the opportunity. The owner interviews potential franchisees carefully and “doesn’t give his business away to just anybody,” he said. “Being independent is wonderful, but I have the network behind me.”
Glinski hopes to clear up some misconceptions about property inspections. “We’re not going into the home to validate code,” he said. “I’m just going into the home to make sure there’s nothing that will cause harm to the occupants. The homes of the ’50s and ’60s were built to the code of the day. There is no way for me to go and say that this house has to be brought up to code. We can also help the buyer realize that yes, you’re getting a 115-, 120-year-old home, there’s a lot of things that are different than a house that was built 20 years ago.”
At the same time, certain things must be done to qualify for homeowners’ insurance, such as installing handrails and replacing outdated wiring. FHA and VA underwriters are more thorough.
Asbestos and lead can be concerns. “Any home prior to 1978, you always have the chance of asbestos,” he said. “If it’s maintained properly it’s not a hazard. The major issues with lead and asbestos are when they start to deteriorate.” Asbestos can be present in roofing, ceiling tiles and flooring, and insulation. If exposed or damaged, material containing asbestos must be remediated or removed by a certified contractor. “If it’s in good condition, I’ll document it and move on,” he said.
As for the many instances of do-it-yourself remodeling and electrical work in Vermont, Glinski said, “Backwoods engineering is a great thing, it solves a problem immediately. A repair that somebody does in the home can last a lifetime even if it’s done improperly. It’s the insurance companies that are pushing for these corrections to be made.”
Glinski said he has a strong mechanical aptitude, picked up from his grandfather, and a knack for explaining his findings to property owners and buyers who hire him.
“There’s a lot of new, young homebuyers in Vermont and a lot of people from out of state that just aren’t familiar with how this state runs. A lot of young people don’t understand what they’re getting into. I’m helping them understand the functions of all the components of a house. A home inspection is not necessary, but it does give people peace of mind.
“What we have here in Vermont is a lot of craftsmen and artisans that have done a lot of beautiful work to some of these homes. Houses here take a beating,” he said, but “if the core of the house is still there, the house still has heart.”
Glinski’s enthusiasm is infectious, and he views his job almost like a public service. He finds gratification in helping people reach their goals. As for his new venture, speaking from experience, he said, “It’s one thing to come to Vermont and take a job. It’s another thing to come to Vermont and become a member of the community and start a business.”