I have a question for those of you who are primarily making a living as home inspectors.
For those using infrared what percentage of your inspections do you use the infrared camera? Do you think an inspection without a camera is as through? Has having a camera added to the amount of inspections that you get?
For those not using a camera- What is your primary reason for not using or having one? Do you feel is is a big bunch of marketing mumble jumble or that it would be difficult to market it?
Just trying to better understand this end of the business as it grows.
OJ I use the IR on every inspection to CYA as I look back in my history as a HI shudder to think of the moisture problems that were not visible with the naked eye. I have increased my over all pricing structure to compensate for the use of the camera but I also offer IR without a full home inspection. Yes offering the IR with a home inspection does allow me to be chosen above my competiors in my area as I am the only one providing this service. We have just seen the tip of the iceburg in relationship with IR and the building envelop concerning home inspections
Initial investment[FONT=Tahoma][size=2]. Return on investment.[/size][/FONT]
There is a substantial amount of time for education, time away from the job for training, and cost of equipment to get started. There is no immediate apparent return on this investment to most home inspectors.
[/size][/FONT]The greatest problem with thermal imaging marketing is that home buyers are not educated as to what thermal imaging is and does. So, we do not necessarily get more inspections (just for owning a camera) but we do get paid more for the inspections we do. We also are likely to get" bigger inspections" because clientele aware of infrared services have bigger stuff to inspect and a larger operating budget[FONT=Tahoma][size=2].[/size][/FONT]
[/size][/FONT]I do get more inspections concerning thermal imaging from clients that have known problems and have learned that thermal imaging can address those issues. This does not however necessarily increased the total number of home inspection I do per year.
I was wondering that myself. I see that many HIs are using these devices.
For those of you using these cameras, do agents think you are providing a better inspection or are they thinking wtf? when you whip it out?
Do you think any deals were skunked based on IR imaging alone?
Are the majority of clients coming to you from referrals or the internet?
What is the average premium above standard HI fees that a IR scanned HI commands?
Right now it seems increasingly common for people to look for a HI based on fee. Do you users of IR do less inspections but for more profit or more inspections for about the same price because you are getting referrals based on using thermal imaging than you were prior to obtaining the equipment and training?
The IR cameras have dropped dramatically in price. Are prices still falling or have they leveled out?
It’s a tool that can help your client make a fully informed descision about probably the biggest purchase of their life.
If you’re so concerned about what agents think or “skunking” deals, you may also want to re-consider using a moisture meter, outlet tester, gas detector, CO detector, IR thrmometer, screwdriver, flashlight pen or paper, etc.
Also, how do you know what will kill a deal?
What do you do when you see a defect (even without IR) that you know will kill a deal?
If the agents in your area all want soft reports, how can you stay in business and consider yourself ethical?
I’d bet there are agents out there that want the best inspection for the client.
I guess the big question is who do you work for? What do they want?
I believe it is a useful tool, if used properly. I think the part about “the biggest purchase” makes for good marketing fluff.
I do have some general ideas what might skunk a deal.
I have no idea what you thermographers…is that the right term?..are finding, as far as routine usage of the machine for every inspection goes. And of course, I would have no idea what potential deal killing findings those would discover.
Which is why I asked the question and unfortunately you focused on one small part of it. If you use one, I am sure you have good information with regards to the rest of my question.
I did not suggest agents want a soft report so ethics is not a problem.
I bet there are far fewer agents that want the best inspection than there are that do.
To answer your last question…I disagree with the premise that one works for the client or the agent, as if that were the only point of view.
I work for myself. I perform my duties to the best of my ability to represent the client’s best interests and interpret the condition of the house. To suggest I work for the client in the same manner you suggest one might work for a realtor would mean that the client could make unethical demands to tilt the report one way or another. In the end, my loyalty is to the house.
That’s why I don’t see it as working for the buyer, seller, or agent. Ethics are not a problem working for yourself and performing each inspection like the last…maybe even better sometimes. (Assuming of course one is performing a technically competent inspection to begin with).
As far as killing a deal,
I want my reports to contain language that is accurate but not alarming. I try to say something positive about the home during an inspection. I avoid using alarming verbal statements. Just by doing that, I care about the deal. Of course I care about skunking a deal, sure, not because of what I find though, but how I present it. If you understand what I mean.
I hope you see I did not intend to suggest catering the report to any party or a specific agenda that is inconsistent with the actual condition observed. I certainly can understand why that would raise an eyebrow.
As far as deal “skunking”, in this instance, from a practical standpoint, it would be useful to me to know what thermographers are finding for “defects” and how they are being reported. I would anticipate a reaction if I were to use one willy nilly because I could. (Perhaps paranormal detection prior to closing would be a profitable niche). This is why I wonder what extra fee is charged for it’s use, if any.
I have seen someone mention its use as a CYA tool. If one feels this type of CYA is needed, what are they finding that was being missed before they got one. And when defects are found, are they wholly unseen or do they confirm a condition?
Good luck in Q2 and beyond with your new toy…tool I mean.
I have been the only home inspector using Thermal Imaging in my area for the past two years and I find that it is invaluable. While a lot of times it only identifies areas that I normally would have found during the inspection, the customer is easily impressed by seeing the actual problem before having me going and finding problem and taking a picture of it. For instance, pot lights are usually a “red flag” for me, and I can show the client the problem before even entering the attic. Technology is always advancing I personally like being at the cutting edge. Some lead, and some follow