Love it or hate it, real estate agents are your customers too. So it makes sense to listen to their feedback about what they would like from you.
Here are 5 things our real estate agents said they want from home inspectors in a recent focus group we conducted.
1) Answer Calls/Emails
Simple right? If you’re an experienced inspector, you know this is not as easy as it sounds.
Between inspections, writing reports, administrative tasks and trying to grow your business, you simply can’t answer every call or email that comes in.
What you can do is have smart systems & habits in place that set expectations:
- Craft a voicemail that thanks agents/clients for choosing you, that you’re either on an inspection or writing a report, and that you’ll get back to them within XX hours.
- Set up your email to send an auto-replay during your typical inspection time slots. Write the same message as in your voicemail and ask them to leave details about the home if they are booking an inspection.
- Make sure all of your agents have your preferred phone number and email.
- Some inspectors choose to hire an answering service. This has it’s own set of pros and cons that must be evaluated.
Having these systems in place can help you be fully present during inspections, writing reports or working on marketing tasks without worry of losing business.
2) Show Up
Nothing will make an agent stop referring you like a miscommunication that leaves both of your reputations damaged.
Over-communicate to make sure the details like the date, time and location are clear. This should be confirmed multiple times through phone, text and/or email. Even better if your software sends confirmation emails/texts.
You should arrive 5-10 minutes early to every inspection. This not only lets you get a look and feel for the house with no distractions, but it shows the customer and agent that you are prompt.
Approach and greet the agent and buyer when they pull up. This initiative shows them you appreciate their business and the opportunity to help them learn about the home.
3) Be Proactive
Many first-time homebuyers don’t know what to ask. Even seasoned homebuyers might feel like they’re interrupting you from doing your job.
Here are a few key points that will help solidify your standing with agents:
- Proactively show the buyer observations early in the inspection. This signals that you are open to dialogue throughout the inspection.
- Ask if they have any questions throughout the inspection. Learn to get a feel for the cues that they have a question, but aren’t sure how to ask it.
- It’s cliche, but you must put yourself in every buyer’s shoes. What would you want to know about if you were buying the home? Make sure they understand the major systems of the house – HVAC, Electrical, Water Heater, Shut-Offs, etc.
Agents pointed this out as a very important aspect in which home inspectors they would refer over and over again.
You can’t fake this. If you don’t enjoy educating your customers, it will show. It doesn’t come naturally to all inspectors, so even if you’re not a “people person”, the effort is what your agent will observe and appreciate.
4) Quality Reports
Agents are busy and need guidance when it comes to technical language. They mentioned the following in regards to home inspection reports:
- They don’t look through a 60 page report.
- They want a visual report that is easy to navigate.
- They are sometimes looking at your report on a mobile device.
- They want to be able to populate an inspection objection easily.
- They would like inspectors to give ballpark estimates on what repairs will cost.
- They need to know what type of contractor their buyer should contact for detailed quotes.
Home inspection reports need to be informative, concise & up to modern standards that customers and agents see elsewhere online. Make sure your home inspection software accomplishes this, or you are missing out the referrals that come from “wowing” customers and agents.
5) Follow Up
The impact personalized customer service has can’t be overstated. A phone call or personalized email (this can be a template and/or automated, but should have a hand-written detail or two) will go a long way with your agents and clients.
Spectora reports will guide your clients on next steps and who to call, but you still need to be available for follow up questions. The simple act of letting them know you are there if they have questions will make a lasting impact.
- Be attentive to your phone but also have systems in place that set expectations
- Show up early to inspections and initiate greeting the customer/agent
- Initiate the dialogue early in the inspection, especially with first-timers
- Invest in software that is useful and easy to use for agents & buyers
- Be intentional and personal with your offer on follow up questions
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