GOING VIRTUAL: WHY MANY ARE BUYING HOMES “BLIND” October 21, 2020 | Business Tips , Inspection Tips | client satisfaction , business growth , inspection industry , news By Adam Kiesel, NPI, Inc.'s Digital Marketing Assistant Over the past year, inspectors have adjusted their processes to help ensure client safety and peace of mind. Wearing personal protective equipment and bringing disinfectants to inspections have become commonplace. In addition to precautions taken throughout the inspection process, social distancing measures may still sometimes prevent many agents and clients from opting for an in-person walkthrough to go over report findings. So what does this mean for the future of inspections and how they’re conducted? Read on to learn more. COVID Has Altered Buying Between 10-20 percent of Americans under 30 have moved or know someone who has since the pandemic began, either as a direct result of it or due to other circumstances. The housing market remains competitive in many regions, with buyers acting quickly to take advantage of low interest rates. This means that the window of time between the inspection and closing has continued to tighten. More and more employees are also moving to a permanent work-from-home setup, giving them location flexibility. Oftentimes, in this situation, buyers are unable to travel long distances to see a home in person, forcing them to buy “blind.” For inspectors, this makes proper photo and video documentation that much more important. Integrating Videos for Inspections Not having the ability to meet with a client in person stresses the necessity of a detailed report. Photos not only highlight issues, they also protect you as an inspector. Pre-recorded videos add another layer of protection by further educating your client on what’s wrong with something like a water heater or air conditioning unit. As a bonus, the more comprehensive visual may help them understand your report better, so that everyone is on the same page. Payoffs for Both You and Your Clients Trying to navigate the buying process is an intimidating and lengthy task, even without being in the midst of a pandemic. Since the majority of Covid relocators are close to the age of a first-time homeowner, a video inspection can put them at ease that they’re making a good investment. Offering a Skype or Zoom call is just one small favor you can do to make the buying process smoother and get higher reviews from customers. You’d be surprised at how grateful clients are that you'll do this for them, and how it can advance your business. Could This be the Standard? While there are many benefits to having the client be present for an inspection, there are just as many with doing a virtual one. It can be more flexible for both you and the client, especially in a world of unknowns. Along with saving time for your client, it also saves them money on travel costs, depending on how far their new home is. More and more buyers are learning of the importance of a home inspection, so being flexible can only help your business. Will Inspections Be 100% Virtual? The short answer to this question is “no.” Technology can do a lot of things, but it can’t take the place of a professional home inspection done by a knowledgeable inspector. While the final walkthrough may be optional these days, an inspection is still key to successfully investing in a home. Though tools like drones and crawlbots help enhance the inspection report and streamline the process, there are hundreds of components only your trained eye can spot. About the Author Adam Kiesel, Digital Marketing Assistant Adam's responsibilities on the NPI, Inc. Marketing Team include content creation for our websites, blogs and social media accounts. He also works on informational items to be sent to current and prospective franchisees. Adam joined the staff at NPI in 2020.