Reuben Saltzman

COVID-19 and Home Inspections 03-31-20

Home inspectors in Minnesota received some great news on Sunday evening; we’re essential. Minnesota received a stay-at-home order on 3/25 that took effect at midnight on 3/27, but home inspectors weren’t specifically listed as an essential service. My assumption was that this included home inspectors, and I recorded a video on 3/27 sharing my thoughts on the matter, but there was still some uncertainty in the home inspection community. I received numerous phone calls, text messages, emails, and FB messages from other Minnesota home inspectors asking for advice last week.

To help get home inspectors in Minnesota onto the same page and to answer a lot of these questions, I reached out to a couple of my finest colleagues here in the Twin Cities, Jeff Blixt at Inspecta-Homes® and Vicki Hoeppner at Heartland Inspections. We hosted a Zoom meeting for other home inspectors on Friday evening, and we invited as many home inspectors as we could reach. It was a good meeting. We live-streamed it via the Structure Tech Facebook page, and I also posted that recording to YouTube. If you’re a home inspector, Realtor®, home seller, home buyer, or a service provider who enters other people’s homes, this discussion might be helpful to you.

But back to my point, the state notified us on Sunday evening that we do indeed qualify for a Critical Sector worker exemption. So that’s that.

Business is weird

Business is anything but normal at this time. We’ve seen a major drop in business this week, as showings continue to drop in the real estate market.

ShowingTime showings graph

Our schedule is typically booked to capacity about one week out at this time of the year, but that’s not the case today. The good news (said with a huge fake salesman smile) is that we have plenty of same-day or next-day openings in our schedule! Operators are standing by!

But seriously, we’re no longer allowing anyone at the home inspection other than our inspector(s). We’re offering phone consultations with our clients after delivering the inspection report. Our inspectors typically spend about 20 – 60 minutes on the phone with our clients going over the reports to help make sure that everything is properly understood and put into the right context.

To comply with the Governor’s order, we’re also no longer offering any type of inspections that aren’t related to real estate. No more home maintenance inspections, annual property reviews, single-item inspections, etc.

We lost one job on Sunday because we don’t offer live video streaming during our inspections. We’ve tried doing that in the past, but walking around streaming the inspection via mobile phone proved to be too distracting. Also, the constantly moving image leads to a severely pixelated video… but we’re reconsidering other methods. We might end up using a GoPro mounted to our head to stream the inspection live. I’ll probably have an update on that next week.

Sorry for journaling

I’m sorry for turning my home inspection blog into a newsreel update or online journal on the status of home inspections in Minnesota, but that seems to be what people care about right now. My Zoom usage has skyrocketed, and I’ve been spending more time hanging out with my family than ever before. My kids and I are even building a treehouse. We’re making the best of this, and I hope you are too.

Author: Reuben SaltzmanStructure Tech Home Inspections

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