Claims against home inspectors can and do happen. Therefore it is important to protect yourself with proper home inspection pictures. Taking photos is the most direct way of capturing evidence in response to a claim made against your home inspection work. Additionally, you can use these photos in your inspection report as references to point out findings from your inspection and help buyers and sellers make informed decisions. Taking home inspection photos may sound simple, but there is a lot to consider before you start clicking away.
How to take Home Inspection Pictures
To start off, make sure you have a camera with a good quality resolution. Thankfully, most smartphones come equipped with decent-quality cameras. Take pictures that show the entire exterior of the home, including any external structures such as gazebos. These overview shots should give a full image of what the house looks like from the outside, from all angles. Overhead shots are now easier to get, as drones can be fitted with cameras to do so.
Go on to the interior, take pictures of each room, and identify problem areas as you do. Be generous with the number of photos taken, so that you can have a larger selection to pick the best of them from. This also means that you should try as many angles to find the right one, especially when photographing (potential) problem areas. As the home inspector, it may be easy for you to identify problem areas from inspection photos, but that may not be the same for those viewing them. It is important to use arrows (to point at) and circles to exactly identify any housing faults in the home inspection photos taken.
What is The Power of Home Inspection Photos?
Home inspection photos are first and foremost for your client to help communicate the takeaways of the inspection and give them confidence to negotiate. Inspection photos can also insulate you from false claims made years in the future. Listen to Joe Denneler discuss the importance of inspection photos on Inspector Claim Talk.
What Photos Should you Take During a Home Inspection?
The type of home inspection photos you should take fall mainly into five categories:
- Full Room Photos: These are establishment photos showing a room’s entire layout. Try and fit as much of the whole room as possible in a single shot. Since you can’t move the seller’s things, this serves as a reminder of how the room was staged and any areas that you were prevented from inspecting because of obstructions.
- Areas with Defects: This is a core part of the home inspection exercise. Identify regions and areas with faults (remember to use arrows and circles to highlight) that could have any impacts -small or large.
- Inaccessible Areas: If there are any, such as boarded/walled-off sections in a basement, make sure to take note of them in their current state, as well as how that information was obtained, e.g., architectural blueprints.
- Areas that are Concealed: These inspection photos point out areas in the home that are not easily identifiable.
- Areas without Defects: These inspection pictures can not only be used as evidence against a fault or damage claim, but also to showcase the state of the house.
How Many Photos Should an Inspector Take During a Home Inspection?
You can never take too many photos during a home inspection. There is no magic number, but that one photo might make the difference in a claim or lawsuit against you. There are no state requirements to take photos during your inspection or to include them in the inspection report. However, it is helpful to the client as well as for risk management purposes to take as many photos as possible during a home inspection.
Should You Add Photos to the Inspection Report?
Absolutely! The inspection report is an official, objective document drafted by a professional home inspector after evaluating a house. It captures cumulative information about the condition of the house, outlining any and all issues with its structure and systems. Attaching home inspection photos to the descriptions given in the report is highly recommended, as any interested party will have a visual representation of any item or scenario being described.
The Future of Home Inspection – Video
With the perpetual advancement of technology, it has become much easier to send large amounts of information in shorter and shorter times. By embracing this, home inspection pictures may be transformed into home inspection videos. The inspector will have a video recording device on their person as they carry out the inspection, giving any viewer a much more immersive experience than any picture could. Common video technology that inspectors can take advantage of today are 360 degree cameras, drones, and body cameras. Simply set up the 360 camera in a room and continue with your inspection while it is recording. Using a drone to fly over the roof provides a visual of inaccessible areas for the inspector. The simplicity and convenience this introduces to both parties makes this a very viable possibility for what the future of home inspection could be.
For more information about how to take home inspection photos to dispute false claims, contact our risk management department. As the only insurance carrier and provider dedicated to home inspectors, EliteMGA is committed to offering specialized insurance to meet the unique needs of home inspectors. Get a competitive quote today!