Active Rain March 22, 2009

A Thought on Home Inspectors: or, It’s the Photos, Stupid

This is inspired by Jack Feldmann’s excellent piece on a home inspection he made recently. The posting has photos of some pretty amazing termite mud tubes in a crawlspace. Pretty compelling stuff.

I think most home inspectors are fine but there are still some outfits that issue pretty bad reports- chicken scratch, really.

A few years ago, while on a home inspection in Orange County, about 45 minutes north of my home, I encountered a home inspector who brought with him a laptop, small printer, and digital camera. He was a retired grandfather- no Generation X tekkie. Yet we left the inspection with published reports with color pictures. The deal died because of foundation issues, yet we were at peace with it because there was no argument. The photos were scary.

Westchester County is not Orange County, nor is it Podunk. It is among the nation’s most affluent counties and is the first county north of New York City, bordering the Bronx directly to the south. Yet, I know of very few home inspectors here who take a digital camera with them to document findings. In matters that are in dark corners, attics and other hard to see places like crawlspaces, this reduces inspection reports to a matter of taking an inspector at their word.

Photos save time and energy because they remove doubt. As we enter a world where technology is making life move faster and faster, home inspectors who don’t use photos to their advantage need to catch up. More agents will use them, and they’ll leave the chicken scratch report guys in the dustbin.


  J. Philip Real Estate

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