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.

2 Ways of Doing a Multifamily Home Inspection Report on the Tap Inspect App

Multi Family Property

After you have been doing inspections for a while, everyone eventually gets called to do some kind of multi family property report. These kinds of reports a really similar to what we do every day but different enough that I get a lot of questions about how to use our system to make these a little easier to generate.

When you first look at a multi family property it can be a bit overwhelming trying to figure out how to build the report. I mean you have all these bathrooms, kitchens, electrical panels … At first glance it is a typical inspection multiplied by the the number of units the property has. But if you look a little closer … it is really much simpler.

The first key to doing a multifamily report is to understand it is really just one building. It has a single site, a single exterior, a single roof, and a single structure. It is really no different than a typical single family home.

I actually use the same sections that are in my Home Inspection template. You may need to add a few more comments but the sections, items and options should be fine help you describe and identify all the common elements of the property.

The second key is to understand that each unit is probably quite similar to all the other units in the property. I create a new section named Unit #1 and try to build a ‘prototype unit’.
What does than mean? Does each unit has it’s own HVAC? Ok. I add a Heating and Cooling subsection. It’s own water heater, electrical panel, laundry? I add those subsections.

Some multi family properties even have a common heating, cooling, laundry, or hot water system just like a single family home. In those cases you can just use the same sections again that are in your Home Inspection template.

Once you determine the basic makeup of a unit you can duplicate that unit over and over in the report as many times as you need.

It is really that simple

  • Treat the building like you would any typical single family home
  • Create a Unit section and duplicate it as many times as you need

What Your Home Inspection Clients Don’t Know…

Part of the challenge of being a home inspector is simply educating current and future clients about what you do. While the American public has a general idea of what home inspectors do, misconceptions abound. Here are the most common myths you may need to dispel for your clients:

What They Think:

A Home Inspection is a One-Stop Shop

According to a 2012 American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) survey of 2,262 adults, the vast majority believe that home inspectors are important but they’re not sure exactly why. 84 percent of survey respondents believe that a proper home inspection is a necessity, but 12 percent of respondents confused a home inspection with an appraisal and a walloping 28 percent “believes the purpose of an inspection is to verify that a home complies with local building codes.”

What They Think: 

A Home Inspection is Comprehensive

When home buyers enlist your services, they may think that they’re getting every inch of their pad inspected. A 2011 ASHI survey of 2,122 adults showed that the many home buyers believe that components such as septic systems, electrical wiring and plumbing behind drywall and swimming pools are always included in their home inspection even though you may not include them in yours.

According to ASHI, a standard inspection report covers home basics including:

“…the condition of the home’s heating system; central air conditioning system (temperature permitting); interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement and structural components. The report will include covered systems and components the home inspector finds that are not functioning properly, significantly deficient, unsafe, or are near the end of their service lives”

What They Think: 

All Home Inspectors are Certified

The thing home buyers seem confused on most is your credentials. 70 percent of buyers believe that home inspectors must be licensed or certified to perform a home inspection in that state. They don’t, meaning that if you do have a license, certification or outstanding credential, it’s worth your while to educate clients on how you’ve gone above and beyond and what that extra education can do for them.

How Home Inspectors Can Rule Social Media

Between Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN, Youtube, Tumblr, blogs, Flickr and the virtually endless barrage of new online tools coming out every day, it’s hard to figure out how you can maximize your online presence without devoting your life to social media. We asked three home inspectors to discuss what social media tools work best for their business and how they use the internet to draw in real-life clients.

Link Up
Peter Walker

Peter Walker, owner of A1 Property Inspections in Orange County, California, knows that when it comes to social media, you’ve got to give to receive. After posting on Facebook did not yield the type of clients he was looking for, Walker turned to LinkedIN and has quickly build a following of 800 to 900 real estate pros. Walker credits his online success (and all the additional business that came from it) to posting his thoughts about the industry on a regular basis and by connecting real estate professionals across the country. “If someone says ‘Hey! I need an inspector in Florida,’ I’ll look at my connections and see if any of them are there,” says Walker. “Once I’ve found someone, I’ll look at their [professional] memberships and look up one of their reports to make sure ‘yes, this guy is quality.'” Walker banks big when it comes time to return the favor. “First you reach out to people and then they’ll refer you,” he says. “Everyone knows someone who’s buying a building.”

Brandon Diggs
The Tweet Life

Brandon Diggs of DHI Home Inspections in the Washington DC area can turn real estate agents into repeat business in 140 characters or less. In addition to regularly tweeting out tips aimed at home buyers, sellers and realtors, Digg saysthat Twitter works because allows him to search local agents, see what they’re talking about and reach out them in a direct, but unobtrusive way. “I also send out cold call e-mails that introduce myself to [area] realtors and I’ll send them my brochure,” Diggs says. “That’s very effective.”

Banking on Blogs
Frank Schulte-Ladbeck

Frank Schulte-Ladbeck, founder of Your Houston Home Inspector, credits his blog for landing both clients and speaking gigs. Starting his blog in 2008, Shulte-Ladbeck gained followers by providing solid articles on this own site and by writing on other sites including Homefinder.com and Houstonrealestate.com. “I also started answering [home and housing-related] questions on sites like Yahoo! Answers and Answers.com,” Schulte-Ladbeck says. “I started to gain a little bit of authority that way.” Of course other social media tools helped too. Every time Frank posted a blog entry or answered a question, he used Facebook and Twitter to promote the post and drive traffic back to his blog. With approximately 6,000 monthly viewers, Schulte-Ladbeck’s blog has not only garnered clients and speaking gigs, but also interviews with national reporters. “If you’re going to be on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIN, you find a niche that works for you and you become known as a person who’s offering a solution. In my case, that’s talking about making a more energy and water efficient home,” he says. “You have to establish yourself as an authority and keep a consistent message.”


This article originally ran in our Tap Inspect newsletter. To start receiving our newsletter, click the “Join Our Mailing List” button on the right side of the screen.