What makes an ideal home inspector?
As our company has grown, we have often discussed that we would like to replicate the best habits of inspectors to make the best inspector possible. Ideally, we would clone somebody. But humans aren’t sheep, so we had to find a different way to select the best inspectors.
After exhaustive research, we have determined that there are certain attributes that make a great home inspector. OK, we had some help with our friends at Bergflow. https://www.bergflow.com/
The good things
We have found that a great inspector has the following qualities:
- A great inspector has a balance between being decisive and taking charge. They are also process oriented and have a helpful attitude. We are often asked to provide solutions for the problems that we find. While inspectors are not architects or engineers (or even contractors), they should be able to offer suggestions about what may need to be done, or who to call for further advice.
- A great inspector must be able to work alone or in groups. This sounds strange, but we have found that there is a lot of alone time for inspectors, even when we send 2,3, or 4 inspectors to a large property. Clearly, they need to be able to work with each other, as well as with clients who have questions.
- A great inspector should be a bit extroverted and very persuasive. They need to keep things positive and upbeat and be able to explain their findings so that there is no doubt about what they are talking or writing about.
- A great inspector is patient, tolerant and methodical. An impatient home inspector is “off putting” and seems hurried. Conversely, a tolerant and methodical inspector is not easily distracted, but can also take time to answer questions, de-escalate tense situations, and take the time to ensure that everyone understands what they are looking at.
- A great inspector needs to be a good listener. Homebuyers have concerns, the inspector needs to listen and address those concerns.
- A great inspector is also a good communicator. Verbal and written skills are a must for a top inspector.
- Surprisingly, our observation is that a home inspector cannot be a perfectionist. With the large variety of homes and ages of homes and buildings that we inspect, we will never find a “perfect” home. Inspectors can easily be caught up in a microscopic view of systems in a home and forget to step back and look at the “big picture”.
Let’s face it: home inspectors are called on most frequently to find defects with a home. Afterall, in most cases, the purchaser has already made up their mind that they want to purchase the property. They are simply wanting to know what big issues they may need to deal with after they complete the purchase. In some cases, there are ulterior motives (see “Working Over” the Other Guy – Dunsing Inspections). One topic that comes up often with our inspectors is that sometimes the most important thing we can tell people is when something is NOT a problem. The small crack in the basement floor? Not a problem. The lack of a GFCI outlet in the garage? A minor issue. The bowing foundation wall in the basement? Could be a big problem.
The bad things
There are so many bad things to list that we will only address a few items:
- A know-it-all. Home inspectors are not know-it-alls and should not act like one. There are many things that we need to research or investigate further after our inspections. An inspector who professes to know everything about a home is doing a disservice to their client and to the profession.
- They don’t know enough. Too often, new inspectors turn mole hills into mountains. With a little more experience they would know that rust stains in the attic are not deadly mold.
- An alarmist. One of the things that we have found is that the home inspector training schools are teaching home inspectors to recommend a structural engineer whenever there is the slightest concern about a minor problem. See comment above about explaining when something is NOT a problem.
- Not a team player. In our business, we work together as a team. This includes our office staff, marketing staff and field staff. It also extends out to our clients and other allied services. When we send a team to an inspection, everyone expects that we are all working towards the same goal. A rogue inspector can upset that balance and make everything more difficult.
We have built “Frankenspector”!
So, the big news is that we have invested millions of dollars and have been able to make the ideal home inspector. We hope that you think it was worth the wait! What qualities does your ideal home inspector have?
Jamie Dunsing, professional home inspector