Will Home Inspections Ever be Virtual?

From college classes to business meetings, it seems as though everything is going virtual these days. Even some home buyers choose to look at potential homes remotely without ever stepping inside. You may wonder if a virtual home inspection is a possibility, too. While many services can be performed remotely, it’s very unlikely, if not impossible, that virtual inspections will become the norm. There are many reasons why virtual or digital home inspections can’t happen, so read on to learn more about why doing them in person is so important. 

Why virtual home inspections can’t happen

For a home inspector to do their job, they need to take a hands-on approach. Trying to perform a virtual home inspection would make it nearly impossible to get a true picture as to the condition of a property. Home inspections require a close look at the home’s foundation, roof, plumbing, and electrical systems, just to name a few. This kind of information can never be relayed accurately if it were to be done virtually. Buying a home is a very emotional experience. If a buyer purchases a home with many expensive issues that need to be repaired, it can take the joy right out of the exciting part of new homeownership. Without a real-life inspection taking place, buyers could be on the hook for hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of repairs. You also won’t get the chance to ask questions or attend the inspection if it’s done virtually. This means you could be missing out on crucial information about the home. While the idea of virtual inspections is appealing to some, it simply isn’t a sustainable or viable way to create an accurate report. 

Why are digital home inspections becoming popular

The idea of digital home inspections is still something that many buyers are considering. The popularity of doing virtual inspections is due to the increase of almost everything else starting to go this way. New technological developments are making it easier to do everything from attending a class to working all from the comfort of your own home. Thanks to the busy lifestyles and conflicting schedules of modern life, more people prefer the idea of getting a virtual home inspection to save time.  Fortunately, there are some things that home inspectors can do to provide this option to buyers and sellers. 

What aspects of a home inspection can be virtual or digital?

There are a few aspects or methods that you can use to perform a virtual or digital home inspection. Here are some ways you can provide this option to customers:

  • Using apps like Skype or Facetime allows you to walk through the home and perform your inspection while talking to the buyer remotely.
  • Drones can be used to record videos of a home’s roof, landscaping, and exterior.
  • Home inspection reports can be scanned and emailed, or uploaded to a website where buyers can view them from anywhere.

What do people mean when saying a virtual inspection?

The process to perform an accurate home inspection hasn’t changed. Inspectors must continue to physically be present and look for the same things they always have. However, the term virtual home inspection really comes down to how the actual report is delivered. Rather than meeting buyers in person and handing off a printed report, many inspectors choose to send the reports via text, web upload, or email. Using home inspection software with mobile access makes the whole thing easier. This software allows inspectors to access inspection information for any address from a tablet or smartphone. Customers can even sign their reports virtually with their fingers on a touchscreen from their homes to confirm receipt. It also gives home inspectors more freedom and flexibility, especially if the buyer doesn’t want or need to be present during the inspection. 

What should I do if a home inspection says they can do a virtual home inspection?

Most states require home inspectors to follow specific guidelines, including performing their inspections in person. If an inspector says they won’t do virtual inspections, you can ask if they’d be willing to include a video of the process or find out if they can do the inspection via live stream. Ask the inspector to include additional photos or to add notes to video snippets so it’s easier to interpret their findings. You can also find out how they will deliver the report to you. Even if the home inspector doesn’t use the latest software or uploads their reports online, they should be able to scan the report and send it to you via email. It’s important to note that you won’t get the same accurate picture of a home virtually as you would in person. Make sure you draft a list of questions for your inspector to confirm that you haven’t missed anything. 

How is technology improving the home inspection industry?

Although it’s highly unlikely that virtual inspections will become the norm, new technology developments have improved the process. For example, home inspection software that includes online scheduling tools makes it easier for customers to book an inspection. Inspectors can automate processes like sending confirmation emails and customer service follow-up surveys. Customers can view their home inspection report virtually through an online portal or via an email attachment. New software programs also make it easier for inspectors to write their reports using a tablet or a smartphone in real-time. As for the inspection itself, high-definition digital cameras take clear pictures, while HD video recording allows buyers to get a better idea of the condition of a property. Some inspectors use drones with a camera to record areas like the roof, garage, or backyard with a bird’s eye view. While none of these things will ever replace the actual act of doing a home inspection, they can improve the experience for both the inspector and the customer overall. 

Bottom Line 

Even if a virtual home inspection isn’t possible, technology can be used to streamline the process. With the right software, high-quality recordings, and better communication, customers can get the same thorough home inspection report that they always have. If you’re a home inspector and need quality software, visit Inspection Support Network today to learn more about our software features or sign up for your free trial