Home Inspections – What’s Changed in the Last 3 Decades?
As a follow-up to a previous blog post of mine, here some things I feel have changed with the inspection process in the past 30 years.
by Jamie Dunsing, owner
Length of Inspection
I remember when I started inspecting, my father, Jim Dunsing, was my mentor/trainer/boss. He told me that I needed to concentrate on spending less than 2 hours in the home, including the time spent writing the report (which at that time, was a 2 part carbonless form). Obviously, this limited the amount of time that could be spent inspecting, as the report writing time often took 1/3 to ½ of that 2 hour period. I discovered quickly that 2 hours was not a realistic amount of time to spend at a home, and we slowly changed to a computerized report that was written off site and delivered via email to our clients. In 2019, a home inspection often takes 2-3 hours (and sometimes more) for just the inspecting portion, which is followed by anywhere from 1-3 hours of report writing. Incidentally, we still get 2-3 people each year who prefer that we send a written report to them via US Postal, as they “don’t do email”. I’m so jealous of those rare individuals!
Level of Detail
Some other items that have changed are the scope of the inspection. While the basic scope of an inspection hasn’t changed much, the level of detail and documentation certainly has. We often do research or cite specific technical information for our clients to follow up on. In addition, most inspection reports include a photo of each defect. Some inspectors have gone so far as to provide video of certain components in the inspection report. I would say that photographic documentation of defects is probably the single most helpful tool we use in our inspection reports. We have future plans to have each of our inspectors use body cameras when inspecting. The idea would be to both record the inspection process and conditions, as well as to have another set of eyes (albeit electronically) at the inspection site. If a reader has ideas about this technology, I’m all ears. Seriously, call me to discuss.
…if you’re spending your life savings on a home, it may be worthwhile spending a few extra dollars on the front end to ensure that you don’t have huge expenditures after you move in.
Scope of Inspection
When I started inspecting homes, the only additional service that our company offered was radon testing. The offerings that home purchasers have available to choose from is surprisingly large. In addition to radon testing, chimney scans, sewer scans, pest inspections, mold testing, cost estimating, drone inspections, product recall researching, thermal imaging, asbestos and lead testing are some of the more common items that we often see done at an inspection. As you can imagine, each of these services raises the price of the home inspection- some significantly. But, if you’re spending your life savings on a home, it may be worthwhile spending a few extra dollars on the front end to ensure that you don’t have huge expenditures after you move in.
In conclusion, remember what a home inspection is intended to do. In a limited amount of time, your inspector will give you a general overview of the condition of the home. However, there may be some additional items that you should consider having tested. Call us so that we help guide you through the process.