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.

Deliver the Home Inspection Report Your Clients Really Want

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.

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!

How to Get Your Home Inspection Customer to Refer You

goldfishPeople can bring you business if you play your cards right. Every potential client of your home inspection business, can be the beginning relationship with a new client.  One of the best ways to achieve expansion and create a good business reputation is to create lasting relationships with the people you service. Here’s 7 tips on how to get your customers to refer you:

 

1. Create a good impression on your customer: If you want your customers to spread quality recommendations about your home inspection business, you need to be sure to set and maintain a good impression. Things like being on time at the job, following up with services and having a professional attitude are important.  Customers remember this. And they value it.

2. Distribute business cards to your customers: Business cards are not old-fashioned. In fact, when most people are sharing your business with someone else,  their doing so with your business card in hand. Always prepare to leave a few business cards after completing a service in the field.

3. Remember your customers names and needs: Studies show that most people are impressed when a home inspector remembers their name and needs. “Oh, Good to see you today Mr. Adams! How’s that roof treating you this spring?” Customers like to hear things like that that shows they are better acquainted with someone who is responsible for the maintenance and inspection of their homes. This is a great way to get a customer to refer you.

4. Offer Deals: For longtime customers,  offer 15% off of a job just to give your customers a break. This gesture shows appreciation to your customer and can potentially bring more business.

5. Be prepared on the job: Your customers are always watching you on the job. After all, they are investing in you and expect quality service.  So with that in mind, remember to always come prepared.  You having all the precise tools and materials makes you look on top of the game. Customers mention things like this while referring you to family and friends. No good customer referral includes bad-mouthing the service.

6. Follow up with customers: After completing a job,  continue to show your customer respect by calling and following up. This will definitely leave a lasting impression on your customer and generate bragging rights where you are the subject of the bragging!

7. Promote yourself! There is nothing wrong with developing relationships with your home inspection customers and actually asking then to refer you. Remember to be polite while requesting them to refer you and it’s always good to mention details of the services you provide.

Creating a better home inspection business among your customers is key. A great way to expand your business is to remember that your customers make your business. If your service is quality, they will be eager to refer you.