THE TOOLS THAT MAKE A PROPERTY INSPECTOR March 14, 2023 | Inspection Tips | inspection industry Outside of a few mainstays, property inspectors tend to have a very diverse array of tools from professional to professional, depending on their regions and the unique demands of their homes and commercial properties. While states and Standards of Practice may make only a small set of tools necessary to complete the job, property inspectors have a great opportunity to add value to their inspections, cut down on time spent, and keep themselves safer by expanding their tool kit. As an inspector, your tools will change with time. Today, let’s discuss some of the basic tools to help you get started, then move on to the tools that could take your inspections to the next level. The Inspector’s Basic Tool Kit A property inspector has an important job - one that could not be completed without a few basic tools. First, the inspector will need a way to record any defects that they encounter during an inspection. A basic digital camera with a flash is all that an inspector needs to get started documenting each job. Many inspectors will even opt to use a phone, since basic smartphone cameras have come a long way in increasing their clarity. Either way, inspectors should have plenty of memory and a solid way to save and store the pictures that they gather during their jobs. Flashlights and screwdrivers are the next must-haves every inspector will need. While cost-effective flashlights can do the trick at first, inspectors may want to invest in higher quality, shock resistant options that should last longer and provide more power when working in attics and maneuvering through crawl spaces. It may also be worth keeping a backup on hand - no one wants to be stuck in a dark or restrictive space after their flashlight fails. Some of the last tools that should be on every inspectors required list are receptacle testers, water gauges, and ladders for roof inspections. Again, depending on the demands in your area, there may be other necessary tools you’ll need, but these should at least get you started. Tools That Will Add Value Some tools are necessary to complete the job, but others can expand what you offer in your inspections. Moisture meters are fantastic tools that can help you confirm elevated moisture levels that you might suspect during an initial run through. Set your moisture meter to “search” when locating excess moisture, and then set it to “measure” to collect a reliable measurement. While standard cameras can work for a good portion of a property inspection, inspectors can upgrade this tool to expand their capabilities. Infrared cameras capture temperature anomalies within an area by clearly dividing readings into blues for cooler temperatures and reds for warmer temperatures. Commercial thermography might also be a valuable addition to a commercial property inspection! There are so many new technologies entering the industry that can add ease to an inspection and allow for opportunities to improve a report (Did you know drones can be operated with infrared cameras, too?). Inspectors that are looking to remain competitive should do what they can to stay updated on each new innovation. Tools That Can Save Time Another way to add value to your service (and to just make your life easier) is to add tools that cut down on time costs. Screwdrivers are great, but power tools can remove screws that are stripped or too tightly secured. Ladders are a necessity too, but telescoping ladders are easier to maneuver and can provide extra flexibility when attempting to access a roof. A more basic addition that inspectors should look at early on is either a tool vest or another type of carrying case to store their tools. Many tools are only used in niche situations and can be stored in a truck, but carrier cases attached to your uniform will mean that you can carry more of your basic tools that you want to keep on hand. Quicker access will also translate to a more fluid process overall. Tools That Will Keep You Safe Finally, these tools might also be considered necessities if you want to be safe in the field. At the very top of the list for safety tools, respirators are the best way to protect an inspector from hazardous particulates that they are sure to come across (such as asbestos, radon, and other carcinogens). Full mask respirators will also protect from particulates that can even enter through the eyes. Use of a respirator is highly recommended in crawl spaces and attics. In addition, inspectors would be wise to invest in gloves, safety glasses, and voltage testers to check whether any wires are live. While inspectors may be interested in saving money where they can when starting out, safety is not an area that should ever be overlooked. An inspector’s tool kit says a lot about what they value in an inspection. What do your tools say about you? If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of joining a nationwide network of property inspection professionals, learn more with our free franchise info packet!