Real estate agents and home inspectors work closely together, and oftentimes form friendships and working relationships that last for many years.
Forming a working relationship with agents is vital for home inspectors, because agents are typically the ones who refer clients to specific home inspectors.
However, many inspectors aren’t sure how to make these partnerships with agents, or don’t realize how important it is.
While home inspectors are realizing that marketing themselves online can create business opportunities for them, the real estate and inspection world is still largely dependent on word of mouth.
Home buyers trust the opinions and recommendations of their agent, and will typically use a home inspector that their agent suggests.
Inspectors need to create trust & build rapport with agents in their area in order to gain these highly-coveted recommendations.
We have talked to 3 top agents in the industry to get their opinions & advice on what they look for in an inspector relationship that leads to recommending them to their clients.
Like any interpersonal relationship, agents are looking for a few things in a home inspector when deciding to work with them or not. Professionalism is one of the most important qualities, and one that all three agents we spoke with mentioned.
Agents are always working to find new clients, and they spend a lot of time building a brand for themselves that will attract new clients, and encourage previous ones to recommend them to their friends and family. Therefore, they want to work with inspectors who have the same ideals in mind.
“We are dealing with the largest purchase of many of our clients' lives,” said Ryan Martin of Colorado Home Realty. “We owe it to them to be on time, look good, do our job well and take the inspection seriously.”
The job that the inspector does and the way that they present themselves during the inspection process is a direct reflection on the agent who referred them. If the inspector doesn’t show up on time, doesn’t dress professionally, or speaks unprofessionally to the client, they will relay this to the agent - and the agent will make a note to not work with that inspector again.
Agents work hard to make a sale on a home, and they don’t want any problems with the inspector to influence that work. That being said, competency is another major quality that agents won’t bend on when looking for an inspector.
Being an inspector who puts time and attention into every job is not only key to making lasting agent relationships, but to being a successful inspector in general.
Doing your job - and doing it well - is the best way to make an impression and come out on top.
“The worst possible outcome is one where a client purchases a property, and a few weeks after moving in discovers a significant problem that should have been found in the inspection,” said Martin. “It puts everyone in a very tough situation.”
In regards to competency, agents also want inspectors who are a one-stop-shop. Meaning that the inspector can provide more than one service. If the buyer wants to have a radon inspection in addition to the regular home inspection, the agent will want to refer them to someone who can do both.
Look up common defects in your area, and take note of things that other inspectors are finding. If you live somewhere that mold is frequently found, become a certified mold inspector.
Not only will this provide you with more ways to drive revenue, but it will also show agents that you are knowledgeable about a variety of defects & will be able to provide a complete inspection service.
Knowing how to talk to clients seems like an obvious requirement, but there are specific ways that agents want inspectors to relay information to clients.
“I have had inspectors present so much information that it can become overwhelming for the buyers,” said Martin. “I have had clients that are astounded with how many problems are found with their ‘dream’ home.”
Home inspections are meant to inform the buyer of the condition of the home and help them make a decision about purchasing a home from the findings. However, having a home inspection is also nerve wracking for a lot of people, and sometimes they aren’t as informed about what certain defects really mean.
Being able to explain defects and put them into perspective of how important they are is a huge asset for agents, because they don’t want an inspector to scare clients off of a sale by making defects sound worse than they are.
“I had an inspector scare a client out of a house over a dry seal on a dishwasher,” said Liz Poladsky of RealView Residential. “He ran the dishwasher and it had not been run in a long time so the seal had dried and there was a massive leak...instead of understanding and explaining the issue, he scared the client off completely.”
While there are of course many cases where an inspection finding is worth losing a deal over - agents don’t want issues to be concealed from the buyer - there are also problems that can be repaired easily and don’t need to be a point of contention.
Agents simply want a home inspector who will support the buyer and give them information that will help them make a decision.