Mike's Home Inspector Blog
Michael Burfitt, CPI
Mike's Home Inspector Blog
Michael Burfitt, CPI
I remember one Sunday morning I took my then two-year-old son to the playground bright and early before my softball game when suddenly someone approached me noticing my Inside Edge Home Inspections vehicle and giant logoed T-shirt. He then proceeded to tell me that he was new to the area and was looking for a home inspector. The next thing he said caught me off guard: he asked me “so.... why should I pick Inside Edge?” I might be a great home inspector but coming up with an elevator speech on the spot is not my greatest skill. I gave a general answer about how I'm an independent, experienced inspector with a large amount of education. In hindsight, while it was a good answer, I didn't really give a clear, definitive reason why I am the best choice for a home inspector.
While playing my game later that day I thought about a better answer I could have given and then I thought about the sport I was playing. Setting aside the debate over the new pitch clock in Major League Baseball, one major difference between baseball and most other sports is the lack of a game clock. While you may have a general idea of when a baseball game will usually end (the average this season is 2 hours and 38 minutes), the bottom line is you need to make 27 outs to secure victory.
Getting back to home inspections, I could talk all day about my extensive education and my natural abilities as a home inspector, but I think my edge (pun intended) can be summed up in one sentence:
I don't look at a clock during a home inspection.
During my first year I always asked people how they found my company and I received a few answers: prior positive referrals from satisfied clients, my listing on Google, my website, and my pictures. However, one person mentioned how they used to use an inspector for many years and recently decided to change because they felt the inspector was more interested in rushing to the next job than giving a quality home inspection.
It sounds like a cliche but it's true that your home is the most expensive investment you will ever make in your life, and I don't need to explain that houses are expensive. As such, it's always been our company mission to provide the highest quality inspections possible. One way I do this is make sure we never schedule back-to-back inspections and while the average inspection is not far off the length of an MLB game (usually a bit over 2 hours), and like a major sporting event I generally only do one inspection a day. Of course, the home inspection industry ebbs and flows throughout the year so if I do schedule two in a day (and never more than two) I always leave time to accommodate the unexpected, like an NHL playoff game that goes into triple overtime.
Funny personal anecdote: I attended the 2016 University Cup and the first game went into quadruple overtime. Since there was no buffer between the two games, the second game didn't end until 12:45am! Yes, I attended both of them and took these pictures and while memorable, the lack of planning for this contingency (there was only an hour scheduled between games) made for a very long evening. Guess what happened the very next afternoon? Yes, that's a 6 under the period column, meaning this one went to triple overtime and the second game was over 90 minutes late starting.
In the home inspection industry, like a sports team, it's important to focus on what you are good at. In my case giving clients high quality inspections and treating every client with the respect and care they deserve is my calling card. While we have outstanding value we never have and never will be the cheapest in town because we take the time to give a quality inspection that will make you feel you made the right choice in putting your trust in Inside Edge Home Inspections.
I remember back in my University days there was a website where you could enter the name of a person or organization and it would instantly spit out a convincing sounding essay about how bad that person or organization was, using lots of impressive sounding words. In reality, it was just a bunch of generic statements and the essay was always the same aside from the name.
There has been a lot of buzz about an Artificial Intelligence (AI) program called ChatGPT. For those not familiar with it, ChatGPT is impressive to put it mildly. It can instantly provide answers to complicated questions in many different ways on just about any subject you can think of. For example, I asked it to write a blog post for a home inspector in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which is the place we call home. On the surface this sounds like a great answer that makes this blog potentially obsolete but let’s take a closer look:
On the surface, this sounds like a great answer but it highlights why a Chatbot is not a substitute for a blog written 100% by yours truly, an experienced and Certified Professional Inspector and most importantly someone who is an actual living, breathing human being! I have noticed much of what we see on the internet lately is written by bots (home inspection related content being no exception), with the goal of getting to the top of search engine rankings (called SEO or search engine optimization) instead of sharing quality content.
The most obvious problem with this ChatGPT response is that you could plug in "Moncton", "New York City" or "Toronto" and it would not change anything. There are some things that are incorrect or half truths in this "blog post" so allow me to point out just a few of them:
Overall, this AI created blog post is mostly true and grammatically correct but it is definitely a shallow representation of why it is important to hire a home inspector. I tried asking for a few blog posts on the same subjects I have previously written about with the same result: it's a great starting point but it is in no way comparable to the knowledge an experienced home inspector has.
Contrary to my critical tone, overall I have a strong belief in the power of AI programs such as ChatGPT to assist homeowners and provide a wealth of complex knowledge in an easy to understand format. However, being a home inspector, like many other specialized fields, requires far too much subjective judgement and detailed knowledge to be replaced by automated response bot.