Alto Home Inspection is open for business so that we can support home buyers and real estate agents during the COVID-19 pandemic.  To ensure safety of our clients, agents and homeowners we are taking special precautions.  Read more about how COVID-19 affects home inspections.

Home Inspections & COVID-19

Home Inspections During Covid-19 Pandemic

As of 4/11/2020, Alto Home Inspection is actively providing all home inspection services near Buffalo and Western NY, while taking precautions to protect our clients, real estate agents and sellers.

Changes to Home Inspection Attendance

To help keep Western NY safe, we are making a few adjustments to our home inspection process:

  1. All home inspections will be performed with only the inspector present. Following the guidance on NY Executive Order #2026, our clients, real estate agents and sellers are unable to attend the inspection.
  2. Home inspection reports will continue to be delivered on the same day as the inspection.
  3. Prior to the start of the inspection, we’ll schedule ample time to review the report with you via phone.

Precautions that we are Taking

And we are taking specific precautions in lieu in terms of hygiene and safety:

  • We will wear a face mask for the duration of the inspection
  • Hand hygiene will be taken seriously, by disinfecting hands prior to the inspection, and at multiple times during the inspection
  • Disinfectant wipes will be used to cleanse faucets, toilet handles and other items that we touch

Are Home Inspections Legal in NY?

There’s been confusion and back-and-forth between the state and real estate agents concerning the determination that real estate is “essential business.” According to the Buffalo News, some real estate brokerages expressed frustration that the industry was “shut down”, prompting the state to open its doors, which then caused concern in other agents that their safety may be risk.

As a result, NY state reconsidered and ultimately allowed real estate transactions, including showings, home inspections, appraisals and other related work to continue. But specific guidance was issued by Empire State Development, the agency of the state responsible for communicating these things. In an update, they wrote:

Real estate services shall be conducted remotely for all transactions, including but not limited to title searches, appraisals, permitting, inspections, and the recordation, legal, financial and other services necessary to complete a transfer of real property; provided, however, that any services and parts therein may be conducted in-person only to the extent legally necessary and in accordance with appropriate social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting protocols; and nothing within this provision should be construed to allow brokerage and branch offices to remain open to the general public (i.e. not clients).

The New York State Association of Realtors provided guidance to their members on these rules, essentially stating that home showings must be done in a way that avoids gatherings of people (home inspectors are not part of this association, although Alto Home Inspection, LLC is a member of the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors).

Curbed.com also published an article that presents much of this information in much less stuffy way than these other publications, stating that:

The guidance from ESD still encourages real estate agents to “maintain social distance to the extent possible,” but notes that showings (for both residential and commercial properties), inspections, and appraisals may resume.

The Real Estate Market is on Fire

In the meantime, the spring housing market appears to be opening up, despite concerns over health and the novel coronavirus. We truly hope that there aren’t homeowners selling because of job loss or financial pain caused by this pandemic.

As of 4/11/2020 there are over 1,800 homes for sale in the immediate Western NY Area (from Zillow):

We understand that plans aren’t on hold for everyone just because of this serious worldwide health and safety challenge. But we can work though it, and in the meantime we are ready to assist our real estate agents and home buyers with their Buffalo and WNY home inspection needs.

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About the Author:

Bradley Beck

Bradley is owner of Alto Home Inspection, LLC.  He lives just south of Orchard Park, in Western New York’s Southtowns, and inspects homes throughout the Buffalo area, and is NY Licensed Home Inspector #16000086029, NY Certified Mold Assessor #MA1606.  He also serves as Technical Director of Alto Home Inspection’s Radon Laboratory.

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