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Professional Home Inspections Turn 40 This Month: What's changed since 1979?

Byline: Staff Report

HouseMaster, the first national brand in the home inspection industry, is celebrating its 40th anniversary. While appreciating the many customers and partners who have helped the company grow over the past four decades, HouseMaster reflects on the evolution of the home inspection business and an industry its founder jumpstarted.

The Story Behind Home Inspections

In the early 1970s, the lateKen Austin, HouseMaster's founder, met a builder who was trying to get the concept of home inspections off the ground. Austin was looking to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams and thought the concept had merit, and the two became fast friends and partners. By 1979, he was ready to launch the first home inspection franchise and mainstream the concept. Forty years later, his original concept HouseMaster has over 322 locations in the U.S. andCanada, led by President and CEOKathleen Kuhn, Austin's daughter.

Carrying on the Legacy

"We are very proud of achieving this milestone during National Home Inspection Month," Kuhn said. "For 40 years, we have committed ourselves to helping consumers make informed real estate decisions. We have evolved and seen the industry come into being. Today, we are committed to helping consumers use the information we provide to better navigate the sales process and help them as they transition from home buyers to homeowners."

Kuhn shared that when her father launched the company, only about 2 percent of all home purchases received an inspection prior to sale. In general, the information provided to consumers was limited. Today, inspection reports, such as those prepared by HouseMaster, are considered an essential part of home buying. Post-inspection reports provide highly detailed information, and HouseMaster's include instant repair estimates.

Adding More Value for the Consumer

"As our service expands, consumers now use the information and tools we provide to not only make a smart purchase decision, but also save money on major purchases, connect their utilities and maintain their homes," Kuhn said. "All of this comes in a digital format -- in our home inspection platform."

A standard home inspection often includes an evaluation of all the accessible major elements according to local standards, such as the heating and cooling system, plumbing, electrical, foundation and roof, among others. It often takes between two and three hours to complete. After that, the inspector generates a written report summarizing the conditions.

The Digitization of Home Inspection Reports

Completed inspection reports today often come in a convenient digital format. In the case of HouseMaster, reports go into a special HouseMaster Cloud Account. This allows customers to simply view their inspection reports in the cloud and create a list of repairs to ask the seller to fix. With the click of a button, this information goes to the seller or their advisors.

"So much has changed over the past 40 years," Kuhn added. "We're grateful to celebrate April as National Home Inspection Month and our place as the first company to franchise the concept."

Then and Now: What Services are Now Available from Home Inspectors

Here is a list of unique services that are now available from many leading home inspection companies that weren't available 40 years ago:

Appliance recall information and ongoing alerts

Home management platforms to help manage home maintenance

Savings on key services and products commonly needed by a home buyer

Repair list generation tools to help buyers document their repair requests for the seller

Inspection guarantees to give home buyers peace of mind

Repair estimates that let consumers generate localized cost estimates to help them either negotiate the repairs or budget for them

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Publication:The Mecklenburg Times (Charlotte, NC)
Date:May 21, 2019
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