The best home inspectors are the ones who treat every home like a crime scene, approaching like Sherlock Holmes… patiently collecting evidence without falling victim to premature conclusions. The only way to accomplish this is to make sure the inspector operates like a general practitioner doctor who you would see for regular check-ups. If they only find a few minor things then they will usually address those directly and you’ll be on your way until the next check-up or issue you might have. But sometimes the general practitioner finds something that makes them believe that you should be seen by a specialist for further evaluation. Which is why most times the best advice an inspector can give is to simply recommend finding a specialist to further inspect and repair as necessary.
The important role of a general practitioner for a home is to methodically inspect each system the same way every time. I love to scuba dive and my passion for diving has proven to be a fantastic precursor to becoming a thorough home inspector. Because every time I dive, as with every home inspection I perform, there is a plan and procedure that I follow every time… no exceptions. There should be an order of operations that you follow with every inspection to ensure that you never miss anything that could prove to be a major liability for your customer. And when you’ve got a procedure that you follow every time, you can rely on that when you get distracted by agents or buyers or other bystanders that may have an opinion or question. I like to keep distractions to a minimum, but when I have to stop my procedure to deal with a distraction, I can leave my flashlight, or my hat where I last was so that when I’ve completed answering the question or distraction, I know exactly where I left off and because I have a procedure, I know exactly how to proceed. Believe me when I say that without a sound procedure to fall back on, it’s so easy to become distracted from what you were inspecting last and you’ll miss something that ordinarily you wouldn’t have.
Your pictures are everything. Frame your pictures properly so that you know what you’re looking at later on. Even if you are populating pictures in your report as you inspect, there should always be more pictures than what ends up in the report. Those additional pictures should easily tell the story of your inspection and if you follow the same procedure each time, your picture libraries will begin to resemble each other. All the more reason to make sure when you get ready to take a picture, you understand the purpose of the picture and if that picture is a close view, make sure you have an accompanying wider/further view so that you understand what and from where you were looking at in the close-up picture.
Finally, reach out to contractors in your area that your customers can utilize for further review or repair. Most contractors will appreciate you calling to learn more about their services so that you can recommend them. And while you are telling them about how you will advertise for them, ask what they typically find while working behind other home inspectors. You’ll be amazed and educated by the stories they’ll tell you and they will appreciate your interest in not becoming another home inspector that they tell stories about because they missed something they shouldn’t’ve. Be Kind, Respectful, and Mindful of the fact that we, as home inspectors, are imposters in someone’s home. When you make a mistake, which you will… take responsibility immediately and fix it.
Have Fun and Love what you Do!