The wild ride that caused a home buying and selling spree became a bit of a noticeable issue in the home inspection industry around the third quarter of 2021. It became more apparent in the fourth quarter of that year and by the first and second quarter of 2022, it was a full-blown dilemma of sorts.
With a deficit of 4 million available homes, during a low-interest mortgage period, and with a pandemic sending families on a search for more space to work from home and home school their children, home inspections as we knew them changed dramatically.
It was an out-of-control period that caused bidding wars all over North America for the homes that were available. Sellers looking to down-size found an ideal match in families looking for more space. It was a challenging time not only for home inspectors but for real estate professionals, as well.
Waiving contingencies, including the home inspection
Realtors wanted to close deals, of course, but they definitely wanted to do what was best for their buyers or sellers. No one wanted contingencies waived on contracts but at some point, it became clear that if 10 bids were coming in for a home on the same day, the top bid with the best terms, usually cash deals, quick close offers, and waiving of home inspections began to creep into the process.
It wasn’t long before the horror stories of buying without a home inspection began to appear in various media outlets like this recent article from the Toronto Star. We are all breathing a sigh of relief that things are getting back to normal.
Our mantra is “never skip your home inspection,” of course, or any other important contingencies to which your buyer or seller is entitled.
Trends in home inspection
Trends show “contactless” home inspections are becoming the norm. What does that mean? It’s a virtual, 360-degree visual inspection summary that brings the inspection report to life and includes every room and a home’s exterior. It can be accessed anywhere, anytime from any device and shared with family or contractors.
Also, a program that provides a cost estimate for inspection summary items based on zip code is a new technology. This is extremely useful for sellers who do a pre-listing inspection, letting them learn what recommended repairs will cost based on prices charged in their area.
Now, a program that provides an accurate floor plan of the entire home is available. It can be used to determine furniture fit and placement, and also provide exact dimensions to contractors for estimating purposes. Another service provides a digital owner’s manual for a home, letting users download manuals/warranty information, find safety recalls on appliances, learn the age and useful remaining life of systems and much more.
If we have learned one thing from the past two years, evolving your services is key to not only maintaining, but thriving.
Dan Steward is President and CEO of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors.
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