By the time the homebuyer reaches our door, they’ve been on a long journey. They’re almost to the end. They’ve already spent months looking at properties. They’re already working with some of the dozen other players in the home buying process, including the real estate agent, the loan officer, and the seller. When they meet us, the homebuyer is praying that nothing is wrong with the home. If it falls apart now, they have to start the journey all over again.
Home inspectors are in a delicate position. On one hand, we must give cold, hard, and sometimes ugly facts about the home. On the other, the homebuyer is desperate to make this purchase happen.
Our mission is to guide the homebuyer through the inspection and prepare them to confidently request and negotiate repairs. To do that, we will need to understand our client and tailor our services to their home and to their needs.
Understanding our Client
Knowing houses is only part of being a great inspector; knowing our client is the other. Homebuyers are desperate. Many have never bought a home before. Even if they have, they usually don’t know how the home works. They know that they’ve picked a property that appears to fit their needs. They don’t know if a hidden problem will turn their dream home into a nightmare of repairs.
Homebuyers also don’t know the first thing about us or what we do. Many hire a home inspector based on a recommendation from their real estate agent and our availability, but few know how our job works. Homebuyers are laying the biggest purchases they’ll ever make in the hands of a stranger and trusting us to give a clear picture of the health of their home.
Being Kind but Firm
Listen and be patient with the client. Give them good and bad news calmly and directly. Keep in mind that we are not seeing the homebuyer on a typical day in their lives. We meet them when they are stressed out. Stay strong. It is not our job to make the deal easier. It is our job to help them make an informed purchase.
Homebuyers might feel extra pressure from their real estate agent to close the deal. It’s easy to think of the real estate agent as an adversary, but remember, they’ve been the homebuyer’s closest friend through this process. Talk about the real estate agent in a professional and respectful manner. Gently correct the homebuyer if they’ve received inaccurate information from the real estate agent and explain why the information is wrong. This professionalism-first strategy builds client trust and builds business. Real estate agents who feel respected will happily send referrals your way.
The homebuyer needs a guide who can provide reliable, unbiased information about the property and can help them stay calm and make sound decisions. Confident homebuyers will enter the repair request phase armed with a clear idea of what their new home really needs.