If you’re looking to purchase a new property, it’s vital to get a home inspection organized before you put pen to paper. A home inspector will soon let you know if a building is up to scratch by assessing the structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing aspects, using various inspection tools.
However, some inspection tools that are becoming quite commonplace in our industry may be more “Show than Tell.” The use of Compu Levels or the more common brand name Zip Levels, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, better known as Drones, are becoming common in the industry today.
The big question to ask is if these tools help perform better inspections, or are they just a marketing ploy by inspection companies to compete in a highly competitive industry?
Zip Levels not up the mark
The use of Zip levels in a home inspection has become extensive. There are even some realtors/clients who will only use an inspection company that utilizes Zip levels in their home inspections.
The Zip level’s primary function is to determine the actual level of a foundation at the time of the inspection. However, is it essential to know the exact level of the foundation during a home inspection?
The two main things we ask during a foundation inspection is how well the foundation is serving its intended purpose, and if the foundation is stable. I can confidently say that a Zip Level cannot answer either one of these two questions more accurately than an experienced inspector, who uses just their eyes.
Also, does one need to know the actual level of the foundation during a home inspection to know whether or not the foundation is performing its intended purpose or is stable? The short answer is NO.
Zip levels will determine the level of the foundation at the time of the inspection, but without a baseline Zip level reading of the foundation, there is no other reading for comparison.
Drone and groan
Drones are another tool used more and more today in the home inspection industry. However, I do not believe there is a camera that can observe the condition of the roof better than actually physically getting a closer look with the naked eye.
Yes, a drone can help get a general idea of the overall condition of a roof if climbing on the roof is impossible. My only concern with the use of drones for home inspections is that a home inspector might rely on the use of the drone more as a crutch instead of getting on top of the roof to get a more detailed assessment.
The average consumer may readily perceive the inspection company which uses a drone to perform a quality home inspection, but the truth is that it’s not always the case.
Advantages vs. disadvantages
The advantage of these trends is that these tools are providing information about the current state of both the foundation and the roof which we can all agree are two of the most critical parts of a home inspection.
On the other hand, the information given by the use of these tools cannot replace or give more importance than that of a knowledgeable home inspector.
A proper home inspection takes just three to four hours, even without the use of such tools, and there are a number of things to consider during a single home inspection.
So it’s worth weighing up if the time it takes to utilize these tools the best use of the home inspector’s time? Alternatively, does the time it takes to use these tools detract from being as detailed in other vital areas of a home inspection?
In my opinion, the use of these tools does have a place in the home inspection industry. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that if a home inspector uses these tools, then they are performing a better inspection than an inspector that does not rely on such devices.
With over thirty years of experience, B & J Real Estate Inspection offers exceptional, thorough, detailed, and personalized real estate inspections. Our services include full turnkey home inspections, besides pool inspections, termite inspections, thermal imaging, and build one-year warranty inspections.
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