May, 2011
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Editor's Note: Postcards


It seems that every time I mention the ASHI Reporter to someone familiar with it, they say, "I love Postcards from the Field."

I'm guessing Postcards might be one of the first things you turn to when you receive a new issue of the Reporter. Am I right?

As the graphic designer of the magazine (I'm sitting in for the editor for this month's column), I'm the person who receives most of the Postcards and puts them together in the magazine. It's fun to see them all and laugh on a regular basis at the photos and creative captions you send in.

Most are funny. Some are funny-scary and some are just plain scary (more on that later). I don't think anything illustrates the variety of conditions that home inspectors encounter on a day-to-day basis quite like the Postcards. They offer quick, visual, mostly funny slices of life that only home inspectors see. It's a quirky glimpse into the world of inspection.

And it's not just home inspectors who enjoy Postcards. Anyone who comes across the Reporter seems to inevitably gravitate toward them. I've had numerous people tell me that their wife or husband or boss or someone loves Postcards from the Field. And the ASHI staff enjoys them, too.

Because of their broad appeal and because it's a way to get ASHI's name out there and spread the word about home inspection in a more light-hearted way, we share them. This Old House online features them in their popular "Home Inspection Nightmares" photo galleries. We also share them with AOL's Real Estate blog and on ASHI's Facebook and Twitter pages.

Now, back to that funny-scary issue. Occasionally, I'm shocked at the conditions shown in Postcards. I'm not talking about an unsafe vent or problematically placed outlet, but about houses in deplorable condition. Foreclosed properties that have been empty for months or years without utilities are a new issue. Mold and filth are seen on a regular basis, and who knows what may be lurking amongst the extreme clutter of some houses? It looks positively booby trapped out there! And that's only what I can see in the photos. Heat can't be easily photographed, nor can airborne dangers. From the glimpse into the world of inspecting that Postcards provides, it makes a lot of sense to me to keep discussing safety. This month, we're featuring an article on heat safety (see Page 12), just in time for summer. 

Please keep your Postcards coming! Send them to Let your fellow inspectors, and the public, have a glimpse into your world.