How Past Clients Can Boost Your Home Inspection Recovery

The current real estate slowdown has been different from anything I have experienced in my 20+ years as a home inspector. The two questions on everyone’s mind are: ‘When will the recovery start?’ and ‘How fast will business ramp up to the usual seasonal busy time?’.

The recovery has already started. We are seeing an uptick in the number of home inspections going through Tap Inspect.  If you are waiting for the phone to ring you are still not too late. Now is the time to be marketing and putting your name and yourself out there.

Reach Out to Your Past Clients

A master home inspector focuses on building and maintaining their client relationship since the inspection was first booked. There is great value in that relationship. They know an ongoing relationship with their client will limit complaints and prevent claims. It also builds their referral network providing more and more home inspections.

If you have ignored your relationship with your home inspection client since you delivered their report you have been losing out on a valuable resource. It is not too late but I do have a few words of caution.

Trying to reconnect with past clients that you have ignored can be a double edged sword. If you did a great job they will be happy to hear from you. But if you remind an unhappy client about a bad experience you could be in for a harsh response or two. Take the risk and start reaping the rewards.

Client marketing takes a lot more than sending a calendar or fridge magnet once a year. It is not about just getting your name in front of them. You need to provide some type of value. Here are three ideas to get you started.

Seasonal Maintenance Checklist

Most people are working or staying at home. They are looking for projects. Home maintenance projects are some of the easiest and simplest to do. Send them a spring maintenance checklist to give them some direction.

Not a graphic designer? Not a problem. Spend $20 by going to Fiverr or another online service to get it done for you. It does not have to be anything fancy. Just a list of tasks with your logo and contact information. 

Home Maintenance Inspection

Usually at this time of year we are busy doing retail priced inspections. That is not the case during the current slowdown.

Some of our home inspection clients may be a bit overwhelmed with spring maintenance checklist or maybe just don’t have the time. By offering a low priced maintenance inspection you can bring in a few dollars and has very little liability. 

You could even offer to connect them with contractors to do the work or to provide estimates by using a service like Repair Pricer.

Ask Your Home Inspector

Almost everyone knows how to use Facetime, Zoom, or Skype by now. Most home inspectors are already using them to Provide a Personal Touch During Social Distancing.

As our clients are spending more and more time at home they have questions. They will notice things they have never noticed before. Leverage the technology to be your home inspection clients ‘go to’ when they have a question.

Be the home inspection hero they hired and you will have a referral source for the lifetime of your business.

Homes Don’t Have a Check Engine Light

Check Engine on Home

Home inspection clients have changed. One of the biggest changes has been that they have not been educated about how to take care of their home by their parents. Why don’t homes have a check engine light to tell us when to do maintenance like our cars?

Most people contract their maintenance or don’t do it at all

I think we can trace this back to kids raised by “soccer moms” that constantly shuttled them through activities. Even historically standard tasks like mowing the lawn didn’t happen as there wasn’t time, so it was outsourced to a lawn care service.

Besides being busy, a primary dynamic at work here is that the amount of disposable income increased substantially from 1990s through 2010 for many suburban families. This enabled parents to outsource home maintenance instead of doing it themselves and in-turn, they didn’t educate their kids about what to do, an how to do it. As stated above, because the kids were living such structured and busy lives there wasn’t much additional time to ask them to, or get them involved around the home. For parents that didn’t outsource, they had to cram some marginal home maintenance is to a few free minutes here and there. The idea of dad “tinkering around in the garage” didn’t happen as much with the most recent generation of families.

Anecdotally (and many home inspectors can probably tell better stories), today’s buyer may not even realize that there is a filter that needs to be changed for their central air system. Certainly most don’t understand heating systems whether it be the fuel source or how the heat is distributed.

How to help your client maintain their home

I’m fond of saying “homes don’t have ‘check engine lights'” and despite advancing of the smart home technology we are at least a decade away from that impacting a majority of homeowners. Without a critical eye to evaluate things that might be heading south, I can see a number trends:

  1. Owners will need help in identification and prioritization of home tasks/projects
  2. Home maintenance will be even more reactive than pro-active
  3. Owners will outsource even more about the home
  4. Inspectors will likely see more deferred maintenance than ever before

Inspectors that embrace the mindset of today’s buyers by using technology and helping their customers in ways they may not have before, will lead the pack. Whether it is helping the new owner find qualified home pros after the inspection is complete, or returning to offer services to the homeowner a year later, the skills and network of the inspector need not stop after the transaction is complete. There are important ethical lines that all inspectors need to heed, but ultimately, if the interests of the homebuyer are the number-one priority above all else, the inspector will have served their client well.

About the Author

Although not an inspector, Jack Huntress has been working with inspectors for the last 7 years, first with EDR ( developing the Neighborhood Environmental Report and in the last 4 years with his own business, HomeBinder ( He lives outside of Boston, MA with his wife and two boys. Connect with Jack at