Let’s walk down memory lane for a moment and see the evolution of the home inspection industry since it started in the early 70’s. Before the home inspector there were three categories of people that would inspect parts of homes as part of a real estate transaction.
The first was “inspect by committee”. Buyers would have to coordinate with a few contractors to come in to review the system that they were concerned with to review what they knew. Sometimes this was helpful because they could give quotes right away. Many times, the contractor would lean towards whatever would make them money or get them a job. In later years, contractors started charging for giving quotes as it took much of their time to keep driving to different sites to do inspections on plumbing, heating, roofing etc. This also left the buyer with expenses for the areas the contractors did not inspect.
The next in this category were builders and engineers who knew project management, codes, or had skills with light framing. Keep in mind, there were no classes on how to inspect homes for engineers or builders although we put them on a pedestal thinking they knew all about homes. The function of a builder (this in no way is to diminishes the hard work they do) is to assemble a group of good contractors and follow the plans to construct what’s on the drawings. With the engineer, understanding codes and directions for installations of components hardly made you qualified to inspect systems that could be hundreds of years old.
The last of this nostalgic grouping is our Uncle or family relative. People would bring in a relative who did, what appeared to be, good work on their own home or helped others. This works for the relative’s areas of expertise, but typically this person was biased to the family. Thus, the home inspector was born. There was a need for someone who could learn about all the systems in a home, be unbiased to the transaction, understand homes of different ages and could translate the information to the buyer. From there, the industry has grown to creating a customer experience and now provides more value to the client not just during the purchase but also throughout home ownership. To not only help with the basics of the home condition but with its ongoing care, wood destroying insects, environmental concerns in the air and water of the home, energy efficiency, and building sciences. It has become a massive industry to assist people in their home ownership and care. Inspection companies are now on a race to provide the best customer satisfaction, ongoing support, and best realtor support to ease this part of the transaction.
How can your inspector provide better experience during this transaction? Let them know! The good ones will step up to the challenge and changing of the times.