I have been a home inspector for over 6 years and am with a company with over 15 years of experience. We are having the worst month in company history. Is the lack of home inspections the same for everyone right now? We are out of Rhode Island and Massachusetts by the way. How is everyone dealing with this issue?
I think for the majority of the country things have been pretty slow when you compare everything to 2020, 2021and part of 2022. For about 30 months we were having record breaking months almost every single month! Many turned their solo business into small multi-inspector firms due to this huge increase in business.
Now, we have seen the market turn into a buyers market from a sellers market. Inventory is at record lows and mortgage rates are at a decade high! We have an entire first time home buyer generation that have never seen rates above 6%! Folks are no longer moving just to sell their home and buy a larger one. Pretty much the ones that are moving now are the ones that need to move, mostly due to job changes or transfers. In our area first time home buyers are also trying to find homes that they can afford, in some areas that is next to impossible unless you go over $300k.
Yes, things are slower and I predict that we will remain like this for the next 8-18 months. Those that grew quickly over the past few years and took on a good amount of overheard will be the first to lay folks off and for some close their doors. I use 2019 for my comparison numbers for my business. All in all we are equal if not up a little over 2019 for the year. This week we are booked solid with two inspectors working M-F, next week we have about 5 openings… We are fairly busy in the Nashville TN market.
As Scott stated, the market is shifting for various reasons. It also depends on your location and what drives that particular market. Urban, suburban, existing or new builds. My area is mostly second homes or retirement homes, resort style areas. Very little new builds except for pre-contracted. We don’t have any large spec subdivisions or many first time buyers, so yes, the brakes were hit pretty hard here. However, I have had more calls this past week than the last 3 months, so it seems to picking up a little.
Very slow in my part of the world. Way down from last year. Still some folks waiving inspections to win the contract and a sigificantly lower inventory of homes for sale. Every realtor is competing for the same listing and every inspector is competing for the business. Hopefully things will soon start looking up.
Yep… it’s slow pretty much everywhere. These ups and downs are an unfortunate part of this business. Housing just has so many facets to and it and is tied to so much of the economy.
My main market (Oregon) is very seasonal and slower in the winter so a slow market at a slow time of year is particularly bad. We are starting to pick up a bit though.
As was I, many moons ago.
That could explain it…
I left there when I returned from lunch with a facility engineer from WANG Computers, discussing a 7 yr upgrade to their facility, there were guys in suits and guys with guns! They were handing out pink slips and escorted to their office by an armed guard to recover their wife’s picture from their desk.
Then I strained a tendon in my shoulder helping an employee hoist a 20 ton compressor to the roof with a crane. When I came to work on Monday, The company found out about it. I was not allowed to drive. I had to file a workmans comp claim. Which I was later denied because there wasn’t someone standing next to me when it happened.
60% if the buildings we maintained were vacant, except for the lady watering the plants.
I was the last non-blood relative to work at that company.
The writing was on the wall.
My neighbor told me he wanted my house if I were ever to leave the area. I banged on his door, he wrote me a check, I was on the road in 5 days…
Keep your ear to the ground and your assets liquid. We are all just waiting for the next election to happen.
December was my slowest month in nearly 20 years, it was worse than any month in the crash of 2008.
I saw an uptick in January and February is on a decent glide path, nothing crazy, but the phone is ringing.
I’m looking for things to get back to somewhat normal this Spring.
Commercial inspection is off the chains in most places and I don’t see an end to it. Everything changed recently. Five years ago, very few commercial property transactions included an inspection. Now it is the norm. It is best to charge thou$ands for an inspection than hundreds. And it is way easier to do a commercial inspection than a home inspection. Commercial property inspections is a management business, not an inspection business. And it is a much easier business to operate as you get older. All management businesses are.
Yep. Same here.
Can you elaborate? I saw somewhere else recently that you manage many of the businesses you inspected, but what kind of management are you talking about? Tenant or maintenance?
Take me for example. I couldn’t inspect a commercial HVAC or electrical system if you held a gun to my head. I run my commercial inspection business like a football coach manages a football team (It’s a management business). I have two of everything except plumbers (because they are usually so busy). I have three plumbers. I also have a guy with 16 commercial ICC certs. Anyway, I just sell the jobs, I discuss with my client what he (Normally a “he”) is most concerned with and what he’ll be using the property for. I create a scope of work for the inspection agreement (Section A of the agreement). I send in the different experts that are most likely to find information that is more valuable to my client than the cost of collecting it (Read that sentence twice, it’s important). I go inspect the property as well. I compile everything (I don’t even retype it anymore, although I used to when I started). I times all my costs by 6 (Yes, that 500% profit) and send it off with my invoice. Commercial inspections is a people, client, owner, expert, and information management business.
Now I’m not a totally blind idiot. I do know a bit about inspecting and so when I go through the property and review the documents I request from the seller, I can spot some things that my client will be interested in knowing about and I can spot some things that I want to send in one of my experts to look it. But my main point is I COULD JUST AS WELL BE A TOTALLY BLIND IDIOT. If you can run your commercial inspection business with a blindfold over your eyes… you’re doing it right. I’m almost 61, so it is the perfect retirement business for me.
Something tells me you’d be okay even without it
I am sorry to hear business is slow. I remember when it was slow here in Florida when Obama was in office. I mowed more lawns than I care to remember. Thankfully we have an awesome Governer now and things have been balls to the walls for the last 6 years. We were traditionally slow from Dec to Feb here but since 2016 we have had to schedule days off.
My wife books my inspections, and she will book me straight through the month 3-6 a day if I do not ask for a day off.
We still have a huge building boom here and people moving in from California, Washington, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
I live in Ottawa, Ontario. I have been in the business for 28 years. I track inspections by type and month. I would do on average 400–500 inspections a year. We got into this crazy multiple offer no conditions purchases around 2017. Covid made it even worse for us in Canada. Our lowest year was around 300 inspections. We finally started to get back into a normal mark, full schedule every day, then the interest rates started to go up. It’s very slow compared to normal years. Our real estate board posted sales were down 75%.
down about 30% YTD here in NY. I have not dug into a multi year tracking because I simply don’t need to. This is the first year that growth has stagnated and reversed. I have never seen a pull back like I have in the last 6-10 months. Lucky for me it is not a major concern because the construction side of my life is insane. There are not enough employees available to keep up with the pace of work and we are quoting at 15-20% higher margins than normal and getting zero push back. The world is quite strange right now. I expect a correction to hit in the near future.
Shhhhh all the Yankees complaining about how slow they are don’t have the brains to connect the dots.
Seems like the blue states might be sending their people to change the color of Florida, lol.
Yeah, we dont need any more inspectors here. We have plenty already. I’m glad I’m already well established here. It may be hard to get started right now
Man I hope not… But I dont think so. I think they are moving here because they are tired of it. Whenever I actually do get into a political discussion with clients from out of state (usually northeast) they are almost always conservative, tired of the crap.
It may actually be making the other states even more blue
Yeah, but it is also turning some red states blue too.