Home Inspectors are Only One of the Homebuyer’s Dozen

The home inspector is just one of about a dozen people that our client will deal with throughout the homebuyers journey. We play a very unique part. The home inspector is the only person who can provide impartial information about what the homebuyer is truly getting into. We are the only player in the deal who knows the house from the inside-out. Master home inspectors know the major players that their client deals with before and after they reach our door. Here is a breakdown of the homebuyer’s dozen.

Player 1: The Loan Officer

Buying a home starts with financing. Before contacting us, a loan officer helps the homebuyer figure out how much they can afford. Before they look at homes, the homebuyer gets pre-approved for a loan so that they have a price range in mind.

Player 2: The Real Estate Agent

The real estate agent is the homebuyer’s life raft. Master home inspectors understand just how important and special the relationship between the homebuyer and the real estate agent is. Real estate agents go from house to house helping the homebuyer figure out what they really need in a home. They answer endless questions. They take panicked phone calls when the homebuyer feels overwhelmed. Many real estate agents spend nights and weekends showing properties that the homebuyer will ultimately reject.

Homebuyers rely on the real estate agent for guidance finding a home and assembling other players in the purchasing process. Real estate agents want the purchase to go through. They are not always easy for home inspectors to deal with, but they can provide valuable client referrals to you for years to come.

Players 3 and 4: The Seller and Seller’s Agent

Once they find the dream home, the homebuyer and real estate agent make an offer. If the seller and the seller’s agent agree, the clock begins ticking. The homebuyer has about 10 days to figure out the home’s true condition.

Player 5: The Home Inspector

By now, the homebuyer is exhausted and eager to complete this transaction. Here we come to do the home inspection and deliver news that could make or break the deal. We inspect the home, write our report, and prepare the homebuyer to make repair requests. Our job happens in the blink of an eye compared to the rest of the homebuyer’s journey. The homebuyer, seller, and their agents now start negotiating repairs and a final price.

Player 6: The Appraiser

Unless we report something devastating, an appraiser estimates the home’s value. The finish line is just around the corner!

Player 7: The Loan Underwriter

The loan underwriter digs into the homebuyer’s employment background, debt, assets, and credit history to hammer out the specifics of the loan. Once there’s final loan approval, closing is in sight!

Players 8 and 9: The Title Officer and Home Insurance Agent

Closing brings in new players and a small mountain of paperwork. The title officer verifies that the seller truly owns the property and that there are no outstanding liens, debts, or other restrictions. The home insurance agent writes the homeowners insurance policy.

Players 10 and 11: The Closing Attorney and Escrow Agent

Legal details are the only things left to iron out now. The attorney and escrow agent guide the homebuyer and seller through the legalities of the transaction and both parties sign the necessary paperwork. The homebuyer grabs their new keys; the seller receives escrow funds. The homebuyer becomes the homeowner.

Player 12: The Mover

The big day is here and the homebuyer’s journey is finally over. Movers haul in furniture and the new homeowner starts making the house their own.

Become a Home Inspection Hero in 10 Days or Less

home inspector with clients

When a home buyer gets a contract on their dream home panic usually sets in. It’s pretty understandable. Imagine spending months looking at dozens of homes with your real estate agent. You could have even made a few offer on homes that didn’t get accepted. It has been a long journey.

Now the clock is ticking and it is crunch time. There are usually only 10 days before the inspection contingency window closes and they have to make one of the biggest decisions of their lives. Walk away or close on the home.

Buyers Can Feel Lost or Abandoned

Once its time for inspections most Realtors take a hands off approach. They may offer a list of recommendations with a few home inspectors but that is usually all. It’s up to the buyer to contact, choose, hire, and meet up with their home inspector. If you know the history of home inspections it’s simple to understand why.

Most home buyers have no idea how to deal with the inspection process. They spend the next ten days feeling panicked, lost, and overwhelmed. They hurry to book the right appointments and assemble all the right parts. All while the clock is ticking.

That time crunch and panic is why buyers frequently don’t choose the best home inspector. They go with the first one who is available and can keep the home buying process moving along.

How a Master Home Inspector Saves the Day

Most buyers need more than just the fact about the home inspection. They also need guidance from their home inspector. It is easy to forget that this is all brand new to most buyers.

The home buying process is not something that they do a lot in their lives. We deal with the process everyday and providing guidance can make all the difference.

That guidance starts with the very first time we make contact with our client. When that first call or email comes in take your time. Give them a chance to share their fears and concerns about the process and the home.

Once they are ready carefully explain how we can help, what we do, our role in the home buying process, and what they can expect working with a home inspector.

It’s also helpful to tell them the limits of your job. Remember, they are overwhelmed. For example, buyers often don’t know that home inspectors won’t solicit contractors or that specialty systems like wells and septic systems might require a separate inspection.

Take the time to reassure them that someone is there to help them navigate this step in the process. Leave them with confidence about the home inspection process. If a problem comes up later you will be the hero who helps them. Not the villain to blame.

Going the extra mile to be the hero is not just a feel good idea. It is solid business advice. A master home inspector knows you will have easier clients to work with at the time of inspection and they will remember and reward you by telling their friends and family. 

What Happens After the Home Inspection?

Congratulations! The home inspection is complete! We write the report and move on to the next job, but it isn’t over for our client. They will now use our report to negotiate repairs with the seller. How we write and present the report to the homebuyer deeply affects the repairs request and negotiation process plays out. Here’s what we can do to prepare the homebuyer for the negotiation process. 

Keep Things in Perspective

We know that home inside-out after inspecting it. We spot every problem, from huge structural issues to tiny cosmetic blemishes, and we know which ones to worry about. Our client doesn’t have this frame of reference. To them, an inspection report can feel like an overwhelming list of problems they have no idea how to prioritize.

Give the homebuyer perspective. Emphasize what issues really need addressing now, and which are less important. It’s tempting to write up every minor flaw, but an overly long report reads like a textbook. A typical homebuyer can’t digest the important information in time. Ask the client what is important to them, and address those points in detail. Tailor the report to cover the most relevant issues to that client and include an executive summary that places important information front and center.

Speak the Client’s Language

Our client shouldn’t need a dictionary to read their home inspection report. Technical language is second nature to us, but discussions about roof flashings and water heater anodes will lose readers. If our inspection report reads like a software manual, homebuyers won’t pay attention and may miss something important. Simple is always better. People respond to straightforward, uncomplicated language. Define complex systems and components so the homebuyer doesn’t have to ask, and encourage the client to ask questions even if they sound silly.

Give Your Client a Roadmap Through Repairs

Our home inspection reports serve two functions: notifying our clients of problems and giving ways to address those problems. The best reports offer concrete, actionable steps the homebuyer can take to address major issues before they move in. When writing up a significant problem, step into the client’s shoes. They have an issue. How big of an issue is it? What do they do? And when?

Write with action in mind. Don’t just say that a furnace is unsafe; tell the homebuyer to get an HVAC inspection before closing. We don’t need to provide cost estimates or recommendations for HVAC inspectors, but we do need to recommend next steps. Maybe the homebuyer decides to take those next steps before closing, maybe they don’t. The important thing is that they’re ready to make informed decisions.

Follow Up After the Inspection

Your home inspection report is fresh on their minds. Now, show them that you appreciate their business. Shoot the homeowner a thank you note three days (or less) after the inspection is done. Within a month, send another note that welcomes them to their new home and offers a timeline for maintenance tasks, like cleaning the gutters.

Homeowners are excited when they get the keys to their new place. They can move in and turn the house into a home. After a few months, small annoyances and problems surface. Send another note 90 days after the inspection to check on the homeowner and another at the four to five-month mark. Remind your client that it’s time to do seasonal maintenance, like checking the sump pump in winter or the HVAC system before summer.

Follow-up notes show that you’re a diligent, careful home inspector who cares about your clients. Investing in that relationship builds your business and minimizes complaints and lawsuits.

Using the ISN Repair Request List with Tap Inspect

Repair Request List Tool
The ISN Repair Request List (RRL) tool lets your agents build a repair request without having to copy and paste from the report PDF into another document.

It uses your Tap Inspect Report Summary to build a list of the biggest issues found during the home inspection. The agent can then choose which items to add to the repair request and how to request the repair is done.

The Repair Request List tool is part of the ISN Real Estate Dashboard that is provided to every ISN user. Tap Inspect is one of the only 3rd party reporting system that has the ability to utilize the RRL.

If you are looking for ways to add more value to your home inspections or looking for a way to stand out this article is for you. We will go over how to set up the RRL and how to use the Tap Inspect integration.

Setting up the Integration

Once you have set up your Tap Inspect <> ISN integration is there is nothing left to do from the Tap Inspect side. There are a few steps that may need to be done in your ISN. Take a look at the ISN Repair Request List help document for some links to help you along.

Using the Integration

The Repair Request List tool is just another part of the Tap Inspect <> ISN Integration. There is nothing else you need to do to use it. Just publish your report to ISN and the Report Summary data will be there.

If you make any changes to a report its no problem. Just re-publish the report and make sure you send it to ISN again. The Report Summary data will be updated for you.

There are a few big things to remember while using the tool. Only reports going forward will have the Repair Request List available. If you published reports to ISN before we added this to our ISN integration they may not have the Report Summary data. Just republish any old reports and it will get generated.

The other thing to remember is that agents will not be able to use the Repair Request List tool until the order has been COMPLETED. It also looks like that if you have turned on the the PAID or SIGNED requirements to view a report the agent will also not be able to use the Repair Request List.

Watch My Webinar on the Repair Request List

Cheré Bossard, the Lead Trainer from ISN joined me for a webinar where we talked about ISN and the Repair Request List. I really enjoyed the conversation and think there are lots of great ideas.

How to Archive Home Inspection Reports with Google Drive

Some of the most valuable business information home inspectors have are our reports and the photos we use to create them. The risk of losing that data is something that keeps many home inspectors up at night.

Tap Inspect archives all your reports and photos for you as part of your Tap Inspect account. We use cloud services and lots of safeguards. Some people want even more control and more options. That is why we built the Tap Inspect Google Drive Integration.

There are all kinds of ways and methods to backup and archive home inspection reports. Each have their pros and cons. If you have been manually saving your home inspection reports to a home computer or even to a portable hard drive this article is for you.

It takes time to manually archive your data. If you have ever had a hard drive crash you know how risky it can be to save it in just one place. You will not only save time using the Tap Inspect Google Drive Integration but your data will also be more secure and safer.

Setup the Integration

Google Drive is cloud based storage. Just like a big hard drive. It is part of the free services you get along with every Gmail account. Gmail is the free email service from Google. If you already have a gmail.com email address you already have Google Drive.

It is also included as part of the GSuite service for companies.  We use GSuite for my home inspection company’s email services so we all have the same .com addresses instead of gmail.com. We also use Drive to share all of our company information from a single place.

Setting up the integration is as simple as turning it on in your Tap Inspect user account and then connecting to your Google account by signing in with your Google email address and password.

Using the Integration

Like most of what you see with Tap Inspect we have made it simple to use. Once you set up your Google Drive Integration it just runs. Set it and forget it.

When you first turn on the Google Drive Integration you can start the backup of all your existing inspection data from your Tap Inspect account. It will continue to run in the background until every report and photo in your Tap Inspect account has been backed up to your Drive account.

Each report is given its own directory using the date and the address of the inspection. The PDF report and all the photos are saved in that directory. This makes it simple to search your Drive using the address or data to find a particular report. 

Every time you publish a report we push the final PDF report and all the photos to your Google Drive. If you make changes to the report, just Re-Publish and we will push it all again.