Inspector Shortage?

Chapel Street, New Haven

When a buyer purchases a home, they have the right to have certain inspections performed within a specified timeframe after the contract is signed. In our market, the window to have inspections conducted is typically anywhere from 7-14 days. Buyers want their right to understand any issues with the house and sellers want the review conducted as soon as possible so that they know the contract is continuing forward towards closing.

Often my buyers look to me for home inspector recommendations. When asked, part of my job is to provide a list of competent professionals that I know will look out for my buyer’s rights and do a thorough and professional job. Over the years, I’ve found some top notch inspectors that I greatly respect. They take their continuing education seriously and know the latest about changing building and mechanical system standards, safety, and environmental issues. They thoroughly inspect each home from top to bottom, whether it’s hauling themselves into tiny, sweaty attic crawl spaces looking for roof leaks and adequate ventilation or dragging themselves under decks to check for structural stability and evidence of insect infestation.

One of the trends I’ve recently noticed is that all of the inspectors that I normally recommend are scheduling about a week in advance. Previously my buyers could arrange to have their inspections conducted within 2-3 days of a contract being signed. Not now. They’re all booking well in advance and have been for weeks. Most have been doing their 2 inspections a day, 6 days a week and don’t see a let up any time soon. They all notice that the trend this year has been smaller, first time buyer starter homes, rather than the larger move-up houses.

So what does this mean for my buyers? Once they’re under contract I suggest they start calling inspectors as soon as possible to arrange for their inspections. We only have a limited time to get them completed and then submit requests for repairs to the sellers.

Meanwhile, I’m in the process of finding more inspectors to recommend, which is easier said than done. My expectations are very high, as there is a lot riding on these home inspections for my buyer clients. If something isn’t found during their inspection it can become a major surprise for them down the road, when they’re living in the house or when they need to resell. No one likes surprises when it comes to houses.

So I continue my search to expand my list of true professionals that I feel comfortable recommending. Hopefully the situation won’t get any worse because we’re already cutting it a little too close for my taste…

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