News Home Inspectors Can Use: July

Want to know what’s new in home inspection? We’ve got you covered:

* Now’s the time to sign up for the NAHI National Education Conference. Held September 22-25 in Cincinnati, Ohio, this year’s  home inspection conference will cover topics ranging from protecting yourself and your clients to no cost marketing.

* Where are the cheap homes? Coldwell Banker releases its list of most affordable (and outrageous) housing markets in America. If you don’t want the full list, check out AOL’s summary here.

* Sweet! InterNACHI members get 31%-88% off at OfficeMax.

* With the mass amount of natural devastation that’s occurred across the country this month, it may be time for these. Ladies and gentlemen, tornado resistant homes.

* Mark your calendars-July 21, NAHI offers a webinar on common home defects. Registration is $25 for NAHI members.

* It’s hard to feel good about the current economic climate. That’s why this story on home owners foreclosing on banks brought warmth to our hearts.

This article originally ran in our Tap Inspect company newsletter. To get your monthly dose of the latest and greatest in home inspection, sign up by clicking the “Join Our Mailing List” button on the right.

Inspectors Beat the Economic Slump

No doubt about it, home inspectors have taken a beating these past few years. To get through the housing crisis, inspectors have had to revamp their business models, re-evaluate their expenses, and do what they can to survive. Here’s how three inspectors did it:
Ask For Help Rodan Home InspectionsFrom the home buyer that is. When he became a licensed home inspector in 2005, Stephen La Rosa of Rodan Home Inspections in Great River, New York, became known for creating gigantic reports. “They were 100, 110 pages long,” he says. “If you’re too thorough, realtors won’t even look at you. You become known as a deal breaker.” When the economy tanked, business got even worse. That’s when La Rosa started getting the agent’s perspective. “Always ask the agent, ‘What are you looking for?,'” he says. “If they want all the finer points, I’ll give them that. If they just want the meat and potatoes, I’ll give them that too.” After making that one tiny change, La Rosa says his business doubled in a matter of months.

Be Available

When the economy started it’s downward trajectory, Matt Newberry, partner with Newberry Inspections in Reno, Nevada, stayed afloat by doing what others couldn’t. “We tried to pick up along the edges,” Newberry says. “We tried to find areas where people were being underserved and to increase our level of customer service.” One way Matt did that was by making sure his firm was available when other firms weren’t. That meant laying off staff, but ALWAYS making sure that someone was around to answer the phone. “As things got tough, a lot of inspection firms shrunk down so that inspectors were answering phones while in inspections,” Newberry says. “We wanted our clients to know that we were putting them first.”

Charles Buell InspectionsDevelop an Internet Presence

Like Bob Sisson, profiled in our “Inspect the Inspector” section, Charles Buell of Charles Buell Inspections Inc. in Seattle doesn’t rely on agents to generate business. When the market crashed, Buell began relying more on the internet to generate business leads. “I was surprised,” says Buell. “I had heard that it was possible to get business from the internet, but I was unsure.” Since 2008, Buell has posted more than 1,400 entries on his blog and launched a second one. He currently brings in half of his business from the blog and  maintains a strong Google ranking. Buell’s advice for inspectors looking to rely less on agents is this-“Just get a WordPress site and start blogging about yourself,” he says. “Be transparent and don’t worry if you’re not getting comments. People will find you. You just have to post consistently.”

5 Freebies to Give Your Home Inspection Business a Leg-Up

* Buildfax provides info on the history of a home before buyers take the plunge. Through July 31, they’re giving away home background checks for free. Head here to check it out.

 

* Sure you can ID a crack in a home’s foundation from a mile away, but how good are you at keeping the books? Mint.com will import your business expenses directly from your business account and keep track of where the money is going.

 

* Route calls to multiple phones, save your voicemails online, and get voicemails transcribed and texted to your phone. One of the easiest ways to make a small business look large,Google Voice provides free phone numbers in the area code of your choosing AND clients to call one number and reach your home, cell, and office lines at the same time. A demo video explaining it all is available here.

 

* If you’re looking to add a video component to your online marketing plan, this is the place to do it. Blip.tv allows users to upload videos and podcasts for free.

 

* Find out whether clients are talking about your business online with free alerts sent to your inbox every day. Google Alerts allows you to enter searchable keywords like “John Doe Home Inspections” and monitor who’s talking about it and what they’re saying.