There are differing schools of thought when it comes to the agent-home inspector relationship.
Some agents view home inspectors as merely a contractor. The one that could deliver news that could “kill the deal”.
Others know home inspectors are a key part of your team that should be utilized to increase the satisfaction of your clients.
When home inspectors aid in the education and service of your client, everyone wins with more referral business.
Referrals Reflect You
It sounds obvious, but have you truly witnessed or examined how your lenders, title company, inspectors, insurance agents, and contractors treat your clients?
Think about all the “touch points” that happen from the moment you meet a client until weeks or months after closing when they are hiring contractors to finish up work.
Oftentimes without knowing it, your buyers and sellers attribute positive (or negative) experiences with professionals that you refer back to you and your business. You are the facilitator of the transaction, so it is your responsibility to ensure they are having their questions answered and needs met at every turn.
The way to ensure this is to do your due diligence with whom you choose to send business to.
Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector
- How is your on-site demeanor with clients?
- Where is your training and certification from?
- Do you make yourself available for follow up questions?
- What do your reports look like? Will they help my clients understand importance, costs, & next steps?
What you want to get a feel for is how they handle clients during the home inspection. Do they seem like they’re excited about educating buyers about their potential new home? Do they sound proactive? Do they sound like they enjoy what they do?
You’ll notice we didn’t mention experience above.
Some tenured inspectors can be complacent and lose sight of great customer service. They’ve forgotten to put themselves in the buyer’s shoes. Experience alone doesn’t equal a great fit.
Some of the best home inspectors may only have a year or two under their belt in home inspection, but have a solid background in construction or home improvement. Some even have a solid understanding of business and customer service which can play a big role in satisfying your clients.
While it’s preferred in some ways to use a home inspector that has many years of experience, it can’t be your only determining factor. Make sure they have a balance of knowledge and customer service skills that leave your client feeling comfortable for the responsibilities ahead.
When your clients come out of the inspection process feeling like they got a fair resolution and understand their home, they will feel great about the experience you provided.
Inspection day is typically the most emotional day of the transaction. You and your home inspector should present a unified front. Unless your buyer is an experienced investor, they will have lots of questions and need guidance from your team.
You and your inspector should arrive early to greet and introduce as your buyer pulls up. This is your opportunity to huddle up and set expectations (ideally you should have already had this conversation with your client) for how the inspection should go.
It’s OK to Ask Questions
Let your client know it’s ok to ask any and all questions as they’re walking through the home, but to also allow the inspector to effectively do their job. Suggest they follow along closely for the major systems like HVAC, Plumbing & Electrical.
Walking through a home for 2 hours with your client and inspector is about keeping a balance. You want to always be within earshot of your client and inspector to answer questions, but not hovering over your inspector’s shoulder.
The inspection should be a smooth flow of conversation with your client, and dialogue with the home inspector. A great home inspector will proactively get the client’s attention when they are on major systems of the home or see a teaching moment.
The Inspection Report
Your inspector’s involvement shouldn’t end with the home inspection report. Oftentimes you and your client will have clarifying questions as you start to populate the inspection objection document (or your applicable state form that requests the seller fix certain items). A great inspector will make themselves available for questions after the inspection.
Your inspector’s report should also include the following elements:
- Clear summary of attention items
- Easy to navigate with filters or table of contents
- Highly visual with supplementary text if needed
- Estimates of repair costs
- Clear next steps for who to call for detailed quotes
It’s a bonus if the report has resources your client can reference after closing when they are making repairs or fixes. A solid home inspector and a solid report should be a resource for your clients after closing, increasing their perception of your real estate team!
The home inspection process, from the scheduling phone call to referencing the report after closing, is a major aspect in your client’s satisfaction.
- Choose inspectors that have the whole package – Knowledge, Service & Modern Reports
- Set clear expectations for interactions on inspection day
- Utilize your inspectors knowledge by facilitating educational dialogue
- Your home inspector and the home inspection report should be a resource for your client post-inspection
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