The Evolution of Property Inspections & Inspection Software

April 8, 2024


Steven Salisbury

Person with magnifying glass suggesting that they're doing property inspections

There’s no denying that property inspections, and property inspection techniques and technologies, have come a long way. Like all industries, real estate has grown and adapted many times throughout the years.

With current technological advancements at our disposal, it’s hard to imagine the industry progressing even further than it already has. Yet, we feel that the best is yet to come.

But before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s backtrack.

Let’s first go back to the nineties, when MC Hammer still couldn’t be touched and any song that Whitney sang became a classic… and the rest of us went unit to unit with a carbon copy inspection paper and pen in hand.

Ah, the nineties. Such fond memories with so much color and spandex, and a lot of real estate challenges that went along with it. For those in real estate—whether they were selling or owning it—the early nineties were rough.

For property managers, the decade was spent with pen and paper in hand, conducting manual inspections with carbon copies that were distributed to landlords and tenants. There was limited reliance on any form of technology and more manual labor than can be quantified.

With purely paper-based data, secure data storage was a significant challenge. As the nineties ended, we started to see the integration of digital cameras, which provided improved image quality and documentation. The amount of manual paperwork did reduce, but not by a significant margin.

As we moved into the 2000s, we started to see the emergence of basic digital inspection software and a transition from paper-based to digital functions. Along with this shift came an improvement in data entry and storage.

Then came the game-changer for the world as a whole—the mobile phone. With mobile connectivity enabling real-time data transfer, enhanced efficiencies, and quicker reporting, property inspections became more efficient. The Property Management industry was excited—we were connected! And it was just the beginning.

2010 is when digital tech started to hit its stride.

As the world began to understand the potential of new technologies, entrepreneurs were coming up with new ideas and tech every day.

The 2010s saw the implementation of another significant game-changer: the shift towards cloud-based property inspection software. At this stage, people were still wary of “the cloud,” approaching it rather skeptically because they didn’t yet grasp what it was. It had a mountain to climb in terms of proven efficacy, yet it prevailed.

With the adoption of this technology, cloud-based inspection software was born, allowing real-time collaboration and accessibility, as well as centralized data storage and remote access for agents, landlords and tenants from anywhere in the world. Just 20 short years earlier, no one could have conceived that we could send property inspection reports from a cabana sipping cocktails, right?

As we navigate through the 2020s – it’s all about leveling up. Technologies improve daily, and expectations are high as we adapt to the nonstop stream of new and brilliant releases.

Property managers prefer choice when it comes to user-friendly mobile apps to conduct inspections, with each more user-friendly than the last. These days, a property inspection app seamlessly integrating with other apps is not merely a benefit, but an expectation.

And paper… what paper? Paperless condition reports are now the norm, and not the exception (and the trees thank us for it).

This year, the latest and hottest thing on the market is 360° inspections and virtual tours. This feature will be written about in the property management history books.

Virtual Tours enable clear and detailed virtual, 360° inspections of properties within minutes, allowing property managers to provide the highest level of service, transparency, and accountability for every property, improving efficiency and drastically reducing time-consuming inspections and reporting.

Portable Virtual Tours equipment can be set up to conduct virtual, 360° inspections in half the time and provide landlords, tenants, and directors with the highest quality inspection footage. Maintenance reporting is a breeze with minimized quoting delays and the ability to direct virtual footage to trades for immediate quoting.

With it comes sustainability, energy efficiency, reduced costs, improved decision-making, and smart building technologies that are paving the way for a brighter future—all to the delight of property managers across the country and globe.

Let’s see what the 2030s will bring!

About Inspection Express

Inspection Express is a leading property inspection solution that’s fully integrated with Rent Manager, giving property managers back their time. Landlords love the comprehensive reports, tenants enjoy the user-friendly experience at the time of move-in, and property managers are cutting their inspection times in half without jeopardizing quality or attention to detail.

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