For the most part, the home inspection industry stays relatively the same. You learn the process of inspecting real estate, and if a system changes later, you learn how to inspect that and add it to your repertoire. The Standards of Practice that govern the industry for association members follows the same guidelines as it has for years. But new ideas and procedures do come along, and here are a few to keep your eye on.
Ethics Get Renewed Attention
Ethics have always been important to the industry. Every home inspection association stresses a strong code of ethics that all members must adhere to. But there’s a renewed focus on ethics, according to Don Lovering for ASHI Reporter, and it’s something that most inspections take seriously.
Lovering breaks down ethics in a set of guidelines that all home inspectors should follow:
- Personal competence
- Self awareness
- Self confidence
- Knowledge of personal strengths and weaknesses
- Emotional awareness
- Self control
- Achievement and drive
- Regulating oneself
That’s a steep list of ethics elements, and you can read more about each one in depth at ASHI Reporter. But the short of it is that home inspectors should always do the right thing, even when nobody is around to know otherwise. That’s good advice for anyone.
New Attention on Smoke and CO2 Detectors
Most new houses have smoke detectors installed per local code. And many of them have a CO2 feature, or the home might have separate CO2 detectors. But in older homes, both smoke and CO2 detectors have gotten a bit overlooked, and Rick Bunzel of Working RE magazine says that things should change.
Some older homes have subpar or nonworking detectors, and some don’t have enough of them. Some homes have no smoke or CO2 detector at all, even though a 2014 NFPA report stated that 3,275 civilian fire deaths might have been prevented if the home had adequate smoke detectors. Although these detectors technically fall outside the Standards of Practice, inspectors are being challenged to do their part for safety’s sake and test inspectors, as well as note when the home needs more.
More Inspectors Keep Mold Inspections for Themselves
For the most part, mold inspections are a separate endeavor that the customer hires another inspector to perform. What a waste of a perfectly good opportunity! That’s what a lot of inspectors think, and that’s why more of them are keeping those inspections for themselves, says Edward Sobek, Ph.D. for Working RE.
Some inspectors approach mold inspections as an add-on or supplemental inspection that can be performed at the time of the primary home inspection. And others, because mold inspections can be rather lucrative, are shifting to a business model where mold inspections are the primary focus. Mold inspecting requires additional training, but ICA School has instructional materials that can help.
Home Inspection Software Gets More Sophisticated
Some of the earliest versions of home inspection software were little more than a rewritable inspection report form to be printed out. The process took nearly as much time as a handwritten report, but they looked more professional. There were no bells or whistles, though.
Now, bells and whistles are growing by leaps and bounds. Some of the more sophisticated software works across desktops, tablets and mobile phones, so you cause it anywhere. This advancement also means that you can use a mobile device on the job for everything from quoting, and scheduling to taking and adding photos to the report. You can send the report to the customer from the same device, too. And with cloud storage, all of your data is a lot safer. Check out some NAHI-recommended software here.
The more home inspecting changes, the more it stays the same. The primary goal in every home inspection has always been to provide the most accurate and helpful report possible for the customer. The changes that are brewing in the industry now only serve to support that goal and expand on it.
The Standards of Practice that you follow might not see significant change, at least not any time soon. That’s because they were written to allow for change within the industry around them. But where you spot an opportunity to do your job better, chances are it’s a good idea to take it.
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