Thermal Imaging Home Inspection Gadget Rankles Real Estate Agents

A portable thermal imaging device that uses an infrared camera to spot temperature differentials around a house is being touted in some real estate circles as the hottest trend in home purchases. But HousingWatch spoke to a variety of real estate professionals who say the devices are costly and not likely to replace more-affordable devices and old-fashioned walk-through inspections any time soon.

That may be reason alone to consider a thermal imaging inspection if you're looking for a legitimate edge in the bargaining process -- especially for a fixer-upper.

Home inspectors reportedly are using thermal imaging devices to accurately detect "hot spots" that identify dangerous wiring, nonworking heat vents and mold not visible to the naked eye. Cold spots reveal areas where air or water from outside the house is leaking in. Would-be homeowners pay from $150 to $300 for a thermal inspection, and use the information they receive to shave thousands off a home's price.

Real estate agents say thermal imaging isn't that useful, but one would expect agents to be skeptical of anything that might reduce their commissions.

See information about determining home values at AOL Real Estate.