6 Costly Mistakes Home Inspection Clients Make

We do our best to help our home inspection clients understand the home they are buying. Sometimes we just can not protect them from themselves. Here are the most costly mistakes I have seen made and how to avoid them.

Mistake 1: Hiring on Price

It is understandable to get a little price conscious once it gets time to schedule the home inspection but this is not the time to go with the cheapest price. The reality is that the lower the price of the home inspection, the less the home inspector values their time and usually the less experience they have.

The home inspector that charges $300 needs to do 3 inspections to earn the same as a home inspector that charges $450 for 2 inspections. The $300 inspector depends on volume and speed. The $450 home inspector has likely done hundreds of inspections, will actually take less time because of experience, and make fewer errors.

Mistake 2: Not Attending the Inspection

Most buyers make their offer after only a few minutes in the house. The home inspection is their chance to spend a few hours really looking at the place and spending time in their new home. Why would anyone pass that up?

I tell all my clients to follow me around so I can show them what I am looking at and they can ask any questions. By the end of the inspection they know as much as I know about the house they are buying.

If you can’t be there for the whole inspection, make sure you are least there at the end. Can’t be there at the end? At least send someone you trust. Not being there at all could be a costly mistake

Mistake 3: Not Reading the Whole Report

The home inspection report is much more than a summary. It has descriptions, suggestions, information, and explanations. Take the time to read it all. There is tons of information.

Hopefully the home inspector is a great better communicator that can describe your home in a readable report less than 35-40 pages. If the report is over 100 pages it can be a nightmare and read like a text book but give it a try and stick with it. If you were not at the inspection, the report will be everything you have to go on.

Mistake 4: Missing the Big Picture

It can get easy to freak out after listening to a list of 20 electrical issues in your new home. Relax and look at the big picture. It’s probably not like the home needs to be rewired. Get the issues fixed and move on.

All home inspections have a ‘lead story’. Keep your eyes on the big picture and the little stuff will not cloud your judgement or distract you. This can lead to making costly mistakes.

Mistake 5: Asking Sellers For Wrong Things

Once you can see the big picture from your home inspection you know what to ask the sellers to do. Remember that you will be maintaining this home for years to come and have different tastes in finishes and quality.

It can be a costly mistake to ask the sellers to replace the deck railing when you have no control over what it will look like or how it is done. Sure, the railing was replaced but not the way you would do it.

Mistake 6: Not Asking the Seller to Fix the Right Things

I have personally inspected the same home over and over with the same issues that has never been fixed. This could be unique but it has happened in more than one home. How could that be?

Too many home buyers think they will fix the problem once they move in but life gets in the way. You get busy with packing, moving, changing addresses, and all the other stuff that goes with buying and even selling your home. It just slips through the cracks until the next home inspection gets done.

It can be tempting thinking especially if you are handy. Don’t make this costly mistake and just get it fixed before you move in.

How I Use Tap Inspect with HomeBinder

I have been using HomeBinder in my home inspection business. My clients have really liked the idea and seem to appreciate the free lifetime subscription I give them.

Since getting started, I have picked up a few best practices that I wanted to pass along. They should make it incredibly easy to use Tap Inspect along with HomeBinder. You can provide a little extra value to your clients without it taking any more time or effort.

What is HomeBinder?

HomeBinder gives homeowners a place to manage their home maintenance needs. They also provide a few other features like recall checks of appliances and equipment. HomeBinder will also send maintenance reminders that you can pre-setup.

Once you create a HomeBinder account as a home inspector, you can setup a template with all the reminders you want your clients to get. You can even add a list of contractors you trust and provide documents like a flyer or maintenance guide.

Create a HomeBinder from Tap Inspect

We tried to make getting set up as simple as possible. After you set up the HomeBinder integration, it shows up in the app just like the client or agents. When you publish your report, it gets published to HomeBinder too.

We put together a guide to help you get set up.

Update your Invitation Email

At the end of my inspections I have been telling my clients about HomeBinder. Then I say to keep an eye out for an email from them in a few days. It seemed a lot simpler to update my invitation email with the same info.

Invite Email
I think this has worked pretty well. It reminds my client what to expect and also lets them get a little more information before the binder arrives. I also like the idea that their agent sees the same invitation so they know about the gift.

Auto Transfer Your Binders

My goal is to get the HomeBinder into my client’s hands while they are still thinking about the home inspection. I think they are more likely to engage if they are still thinking about the inspection. HomeBinder has a setting to let you do it automatically.

There are two important things to keep in mind. First, once you transfer a binder you can not edit it again. Second, once you publish your Tap Inspect report to HomeBinder, you have to manually update HomeBinder with the new PDF if you re-publish the report.

The default HomeBinder Binder Transfer/Share Delay (in hours) setting is 5 hours. I changed it to 72 hours, or 3 days. That gives me plenty of time to update the report PDF if I needed to make any changes.

Remind Your Client to Enter Appliance Info

I am not a fan of typing or long checklists. That includes recording any serial or model numbers in my home inspection reports. Why not ask the client to enter them? In my HomeBinder template I have added a Maintenance Item to remind them 60 days after the binder gets created.


My thinking is that not everyone will find value in the recall checks and notifications. If my client does see the value they will not mind entering the information. By entering the information, they will use HomeBinder and hopefully explore a little more.

6 Things Every Home Inspection Client Should Know

Your New Home Will Have Problems

I usually start my home inspections by telling my client, “Homes are like people. We are all a little messed up.” My point is to prepare them that there will be a list of issues and that is OK.

I like to go on and tell my clients that my wife still loves me even though I have my issues and that a home is no different. Embrace it.

Almost Anything Can Be Fixed

There are a few things that terrify a client when they hear them: mold, asbestos, safety. Yes they can be scary but no scarier than a furnace that needs replacing or windows that need repairs and painting.

Let us, your humble home inspector, point you in the right direction. Almost everything can be fixed and just because it was here, does not make it a ‘bad house’.

Not Everything Will Get Fixed

Right after I tell my clients that my wife still loves me, even with my issues, I qualify that by saying, “Some things will never change and thank goodness she understands.”

No home is perfect and not everything will be fixed. Even my own home has repairs that need to be done and systems that are ready to be updated. It is just part of owning a home. Relax!

We Can not Predict the Future

I really wish we could tell you how long the roof will last or when the furnace will need to be replaced. It’s just not possible. We can give you an idea how long they normally last and what kind of condition they are in now. But no one can predict the future.

We Will Not Find Everything Wrong in The Home

We are here to find the big stuff. Things of consequence like water, safety, structure. We will not find or report on everything wrong in the home. That is just not what we are here for.

Owning and maintaining a home is a continuous process. Every year I find, and sometimes fix, things in my home that have been there since it was built.

Get Your Heart and Head in Check

It can be incredibly tough to step back from your love of the home to see it as an investment. Once you see our list of repairs and observations, it can be a bit overwhelming. Take a deep breath.

Our report may include a few things that need to be done now. But it will mostly be a to do list while you own the home. Not everything needs to be done right away and a good inspector will help you understand that.

Takes things one at a time and don’t let a long list affect your love of the home.

5 Ways to Stand Out From the Home Inspection Crowd

These days most consumers are familiar with the idea of what a home inspection is and why they need to do one when buying their house. Consumers are also pretty familiar with what makes up a home inspection thanks to the TV shows and all the information on the internet.

How we, as home inspectors, do our job is pretty similar where ever you go. We all follow similar standards of practice and are governed by similar licensing or registration. The consumer has a reasonable expectation to get the same type of service from a home inspection in Washington or in New Hampshire. While I think this is a good thing it does make standing out a little tougher.

So how do you stand out from the crowd when the only difference many consumers see is price?

Be a One Stop Shop

Sometimes it is hard to remember but a home inspection is just another step in the long process of purchasing a home. By the time your potential client rings your phone they have been looking and working on this for possibly months. Now they have to learn a whole new vocabulary about what to inspect, then find all the qualified people, and finally coordinate everyone to get into the home before their time to inspect runs out.

Wow your potential clients by being a one stop shop and take care of it all for them. Ask if they want you to schedule a termite inspection, radon test, water quality, or whatever other types of services that are usually done in your area. Take it off their shoulders and be the professional that guides them through with your experience and network of contacts.

You can end up charging a little more and providing the best customer service. You help take what was a stressful step into the type of service people remember for years.

Add Value for Your Client

A sure fire way to stand out is to provide additional value that others may not. These types of things do not really generate revenue but rather add to the value of your services above just doing the inspection.

You could provide your clients with services like HomeBinder that give them a place to store all their home’s documents online. They will also notify your client for recalls on their appliances and equipment and let you send maintenance reminders.

Deliver Your Reports Quickly

It seems to be a general consensus in the home inspection industry that a report needs to be delivered within 24 hours. That is absolutely nuts in this day and age of mobile devices and cameras on our phones! Waiting for our home inspection report holds up the entire transaction for everyone.

When a prospective client calls they are under a time limit to get the home inspection scheduled, performed and to respond. Once I tell them they will have the report at the end of the inspection I hear them sigh with relief.

Back in the days where you had to go back to the office, download your photos from a digital camera and then build your report on you PC … Maybe, but not anymore.

There are plenty of apps out there to help you do it. I am quite partial to Tap Inspect and I use it to do my inspections.

Provide Easy to Read Reports

Have you ever actually read a 100 page home inspection report. I mean read it all the way through. It is a chore and pretty tough. Almost like reading a textbook. We expect out clients to do it every time we deliver one.

Our clients are stressed, in a time constraint, and may or may not understand anything about homes or construction. If you want to stand, provide a report they want to read and can easily understand.

I often think we end up writing the reports that WE want to read and that other inspectors will admire. Good or bad, our clients are not always like us. They just need to know what to do so they can move forward.

Be Yourself

When you get a group of home inspectors together you see all kinds of personalities. There are teachers, negotiators, enforcers, counselors, all kinds of people and personalities. It ends up being tough at times to find agreement as a group but that is what tends to make us good at what we do.

Each of our personalities give us strengths that other may not have and lets us help and connect with our clients in unique ways. Over the years most of my business come from people that value the way I handle myself and how I deal with my clients. I know other home inspectors that have built their business by being no nonsense/this is the way is has to be done kind of inspector.

No one is like you and no one is like me. The best way to stand out is to be yourself.

5 Tips for Dealing with Difficult Home Inspection Clients

Let’s face it, some home inspection clients can be hard to handle. However,  in an effort to remain professional and maintain inspection business,  it’s important to remember the classic business slogan that states “The customer is always right”. Well, not really, but we still have to know how to deal with the ones that are difficult! Here are 5 tips to help you deal with difficult clients.

1. Make compromises: If a client is giving you a rough time, try to meet them half way. For example, if a situation occurs where your particular home inspection client makes an outrageous request, try your best to strike a compromise to meet in the middle as a way to satisfy the customer and maintain your business integrity.

2. Never neglect your professionalism: Regardless of whether or not a client is acting difficult, keep in mind that you need to remain professional. Never make an attempt to shout back, say inappropriate things or neglect the requested service of any client. Even though a client may act difficult, it’s extremely important to reassure that client of one thing: you are a professional there to do a job!

3. Offer opportunities to continually promote business: Despite a difficult client, keep in mind the importance of their business. Try to offer promotions and discounts to clients that give you a hard time. Doing this shows a gesture of respect for your client, despite their behavior. It also gives you the opportunity to promote your business and help that not-so-easy client to see that overall, your mind is on keeping them satisfied. Like the wise saying goes, “Kill them with kindness”.

4. Respectfully receive negative feedback: If a home inspection client is being difficult and dishing out negative feedback,  take it! Bad reviews need to be taken seriously in business. Difficult clients may not always act satisfied and give nice feedback. However, take those comments as ways to improve yourself and your business. Don’t take it personal.

5. Keep a straight face: Ever heard the old saying “Don’t wear your emotions on your sleeve”? Well this is so true in business. As a client gives you a hard time, it’s important not to allow your personal emotions to respond to that client. It is never acceptable to deal with a difficult client by being more difficult. Put your game face on and do the job!

So overall, understand that your priorities are to maintain business by keeping and building clientele. Even your difficult clients need your home inspection service. Learn how to handle them, your business counts on it!