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Make Yourself Essential

Kevin 5/17/20 7:22 AM

Any industry fears obscurity.

Home inspectors feel this as evidenced by everyday in forums or on Facebook.

We’re an insecure industry. And rightfully so.

Home inspections are still seen as “optional”.

Automation and the rise of DIY culture makes some inspectors feel dispensable.

The response should not be to ignore trends or shun new ways of thinking. It should be, “how do I make myself essential”? Indispensable to the real estate transaction.

Some of you may already feel like you are. Because of the way you educate your clients and agents and give actionable guidance. But that’s not most of you. Let’s be honest - we are a largely fear-based group. Liability-conscious. We are 1 lawsuit away from “losing it all”. While I couldn’t find hard numbers to illustrate that:

1. Lawsuits against inspectors are rare, and
2. When they do happen, they are rarely debilitating

This causes inspectors to trying to be the very thing they fear - being indispensable.

If you took away the fear of being sued and asked yourself “how could I be most helpful to a homeowner and agent”? What would the answers be? As a homeowner and ex-realtor, here are the things that come to mind:

  • Clear and concise communication at the time of inspection on the condition of the home
  • Deliver a clean, concise report that helps the buyer understand major items
  • Understand the estimated future cost of the medium severity issues
  • Soft guidance/reassurance on the minor/maintenance fixes that they might do on their own
  • Give them some trusted recommendations of who to call for what once they move in
  • Check in on them in 3-6 months to see if they have any questions or need help with anything

Wouldn’t these things make an agent or buyer say “WOW, you do all of that”? I need you. I’m scared to not hire you and have you in my corner. What stops us from providing this level of value/service? Why is the bar so low?Getting sued - Yes it's scary. But how many home inspectors do you know that got sued and lost it all?

How about carefully reviewed disclaimers? Multiple delivery methods and holding/highlighting to make sure customers see it? What about good ole fashioned communication and conflict resolution?

I talk to inspectors all the time that have never been close to being sued. The common denominators are communication and expectation setting. “It’s not my job” - This is an incentives problem.

This is an “employee mindset”. This is what I said when I worked at Charles Schwab and had no vested interest in if clients were satisfied or not.

You guys have a vested interest in clients being happy. You make more money the happier clients and agents are. I don’t understand this line of thought and it’s lazy.

You will have happier customers and agents if this is done with diligence and integrity. You protect yourself and might even be able to make more money.

What does that world look like where you make more money by doing right by your clients and agents? I don’t know.

But I know it’s possible.

We have to be ready for the opportunity to elevate the status of home inspectors. To make you indispensable.

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