Ask any home inspector and we almost always say the same thing: ‘My clients hire me because of my report’. After looking at hundreds of home inspection reports and talking with hundreds of home inspectors I just can not understand how this is the case. If clients love the 20 page, 3 part form checklist report just as much as the 175 page report with 5 photos of every room I must be missing something.
How do you deliver the home inspection report your clients really want? First thing to do is ask them. So that is what I did and this is what my clients told me.
Show Me What You are Talking About
A few sentences and a photo or two can explain way more than a page of text. Using photos makes much more sense and makes reports easier to read and to understand. Modern home inspection reports are all about the photos.
Don’t get tempted to just add a big block of Report Photos at the end of your reports though. Your clients will have to flip back and forth trying to understand where which photo goes with which statement. What a pain to read and to try to understand.
Give Me a Report I Can Actually Read
My times than not I have heard, “How do they expect me to read this thing! It’s over 100 pages long!’. If you have not heard this about your or one of your competitors reports you have not been listening.
Most of us became home inspectors to help teach people about their homes and to help them learn. That does not mean that our reports need to be a text book. Our clients want a report they can read and understand. If they want or need more information they will ask or more likely Google or You Tube the information.
Tell Me Why It’s Important and What to Do Next
After looking at homes every day and going to classes with other home inspectors it gets really easy to lose sight of what our clients know. We became home inspectors to help people and share our knowledge and experience. Is it fair to just tell our clients that something is wrong without going on to tell them why and where to go next.
I know we have been warned over and over about liability. You may not be comfortable telling your clients how soon something should be done or some ballpark of the costs. But we have a responsibility to help our clients. Take some time and ask them yourselves what they need from you.
Give Me a Summary I Can Understand
By far the biggest demand was for a summary of the home inspection. Not just a list of deficiencies, or several lists broken down by safety or maintenance. The clients I spoke with wanted a summary, an executive summary, of the home written in a way they could understand it.
This really makes sense. Most home inspection reports I’ve seen are written in a way that other home inspectors, most realtors, and even some home buyers can understand. But the average home buyer may not. After spending several hours with a home inspector looking at things they will not see again for years can get overwhelming. It was made pretty clear, they wanted a summary they they could understand.