Are Virtual Inspections in Your Future?
Fast-forward to late March 2020 and the onset of stay-at-home orders in light of the Coronavirus health crisis across most of the country, and that tune changed dramatically.
Keeping Residential Construction on Schedule
Nationwide, nearly 90% of residential construction work has been allowed to continue as an “essential” industry, but delays in getting necessary inspections to maintain progress has been slowed by social distancing and other health-related measures.
Virtual building inspections (VBIs) seemed like a logical solution, but that option was only available to about 4% of builders before the pandemic, according to a recent NAHB survey; since then, another 20% of municipalities have introduced some form of the technology (usually via FaceTime, Zoom, or a similar mobile device app), but that still leaves 75% of the industry waiting for in-person inspections.
had been thinking about offering virtual inspections for a few years and had conducted a couple of test runs of an in-house solution in the months before COVID-19. But when his office was forced by the state to close on March 18
The program uses a mix of relatively low-tech audio-video solutions, such as Microsoft Teams and Google Duo, to allow inspectors to work remotely and communicate effectively with contractors in the field.
Most Common Defects Found in Home Inspections
Nearly 55 percent of homes analyzed across the country had doors that needed adjusting, which could be an indicator of foundation issues, the report showed. More than half—or 54 percent—of the homes lacked exterior caulking and sealant, which could leave the home susceptible to extensive water damage. Furthermore, about 48 percent of homes lacked GFCI protection—this could pose a dangerous electrocution risk to homeowners around water-prone areas like the kitchen or bathroom.
“Home buyers and [real estate professionals] across the country should leverage these insights to better position themselves in the stressful negotiation process,”
for example, buyers may only be given three to five days to complete the inspection period, meaning they may only have 24 hours or less to make a decision. During this period, having clarity and insight into the cost of repairs listed in a home inspection report is critical to avoid leaving money on the table.”
The most expensive home defects—uncovered in 9 to 20 percent of the homes studied—ranged in repair prices from slightly more than $1,000 to less than $10,000.
Transaction Guidance During COVID-19
This is general guidance only. Members should consult their brokers, legal counsel, and government-provided public health information. In addition, check with your MLS for any changes to open house and showing fields, or other temporary rules in place due to local conditions.
In deciding how to address new issues that may come up in your day-to-day business, we urge you to find answers that will ensure first-class services to your clients, while also demonstrating care for the health and well-being of clients, agents, and the greater public welfare in reducing the risk of exposure to and spread of COVID-19.
My seller doesn’t want any showings, what should I do?
A seller generally has control over how their property is shown and has agreed to certain marketing activity in the listing agreement. If the seller desires to prohibit in-person showings, get those instructions in writing and consider an addendum to your listing agreement to extend the listing.
May I limit in-person showings to pre-qualified buyers?
Yes. Both listing and buyer’s agents may ask if a buyer is pre-qualified to purchase and limit showings to qualified buyers. Be sure to ask all buyers for a pre-qualification letter to avoid a potential Fair Housing violation. Keep in mind that it may be difficult for buyers just entering the market to obtain a pre-qualification letter given the current circumstances, as many mortgage companies have been impacted by the pandemic with high volumes of refinancing applications and other operational issues.
May an agent require an individual complete a COVID-19 screening questionnaire before showing an individual a property?
Yes, it is reasonable to screen individuals for COVID-19 prior to showing an individual a property, but be sure to require all individuals to complete the questionnaire to avoid fair housing issues. Keep in mind that self-reporting may provide limited assurance, as some individuals with the virus are asymptomatic or do not realize they have symptoms. Therefore, even where a COVID-19 screening questionnaire is used, agents should be sure to take additional precautions, and continue to follow the CDC’s recommendations, including social distancing (maintaining a distance of 6 feet or more between individuals), requiring guests to wash their hands or to use an alcohol-based sanitizer immediately upon entry, and removing shoes/covering with booties, to avoid exposure to, and spread of, COVID-19.
Coronavirus and Appraisers: Your Questions Answered
In response to the growing concerns about COVID-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus, The Appraisal Foundation is providing this assistance to help Appraisers respond to the coronavirus’s potential impact on the profession. Most important is to stay up to date on developments as they are occurring rapidly. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is providing daily, even hourly updates.
My state has declared a lock down for all non-essential services. Are appraisers in my state defined as an a non-essential service or an essential service?
Your state appraisal regulator is in the best position to answer this question. The Appraisal Subcommittee has contact information for all state regulators on its website
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued guidance that recognizes “Residential and commercial real estate services, including settlement services” as being part of the “Essential Critical Infrastructure” workforce
Will the continuing education cycle be extended and will distance education be expanded?
The Appraiser Qualifications Board and the Appraisal Subcommittee are working together to offer relief wherever possible during this unprecedented national emergency.
Appraisal Standards Board
The ASB provides updated guidance on interior inspections during a national health emergency. In addition, the ASB has issued guidance on completing a desktop or exterior-only appraisal, but reporting the results using a GSE form designed for an appraisal with an interior and exterior inspection.
How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?
How much does a home inspection cost? According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a typical home inspection costs $300 to $500. In most cases, it’s well worth it for buyers to hire a home inspector.
Home inspections, for you first-time home buyers out there, are a way to vet a home before you buy it. Let’s face it: Buying a home is a huge investment—and you can’t exactly read reviews to get a sense of any problems that might crop up after you’ve plunked down your money for the purchase price.
How much does a home inspection cost?
While the average home inspection costs for a single-family home will generally run $300 to $500, just keep in mind that the exact price will depend on the size of your home, where you live, and what you want inspected
An older home may also cost more to inspect. Or a home inspector may need to spend more time on a house with apparent defects, which may cost you more.
What home inspectors look for
A professional home inspector, certified by the NAHI, is trained to use a home inspection checklist to look at over 1,600 features of your home that can fall into disrepair (who knew there were so many?).