Master Home Inspectors Understand the Homebuyer’s Journey

Happy Homebuyers

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.

Home Inspectors are Only One of the Homebuyer’s Dozen

The home inspector is just one of about a dozen people that our client will deal with throughout the homebuyers journey. We play a very unique part. The home inspector is the only person who can provide impartial information about what the homebuyer is truly getting into. We are the only player in the deal who knows the house from the inside-out. Master home inspectors know the major players that their client deals with before and after they reach our door. Here is a breakdown of the homebuyer’s dozen.

Player 1: The Loan Officer

Buying a home starts with financing. Before contacting us, a loan officer helps the homebuyer figure out how much they can afford. Before they look at homes, the homebuyer gets pre-approved for a loan so that they have a price range in mind.

Player 2: The Real Estate Agent

The real estate agent is the homebuyer’s life raft. Master home inspectors understand just how important and special the relationship between the homebuyer and the real estate agent is. Real estate agents go from house to house helping the homebuyer figure out what they really need in a home. They answer endless questions. They take panicked phone calls when the homebuyer feels overwhelmed. Many real estate agents spend nights and weekends showing properties that the homebuyer will ultimately reject.

Homebuyers rely on the real estate agent for guidance finding a home and assembling other players in the purchasing process. Real estate agents want the purchase to go through. They are not always easy for home inspectors to deal with, but they can provide valuable client referrals to you for years to come.

Players 3 and 4: The Seller and Seller’s Agent

Once they find the dream home, the homebuyer and real estate agent make an offer. If the seller and the seller’s agent agree, the clock begins ticking. The homebuyer has about 10 days to figure out the home’s true condition.

Player 5: The Home Inspector

By now, the homebuyer is exhausted and eager to complete this transaction. Here we come to do the home inspection and deliver news that could make or break the deal. We inspect the home, write our report, and prepare the homebuyer to make repair requests. Our job happens in the blink of an eye compared to the rest of the homebuyer’s journey. The homebuyer, seller, and their agents now start negotiating repairs and a final price.

Player 6: The Appraiser

Unless we report something devastating, an appraiser estimates the home’s value. The finish line is just around the corner!

Player 7: The Loan Underwriter

The loan underwriter digs into the homebuyer’s employment background, debt, assets, and credit history to hammer out the specifics of the loan. Once there’s final loan approval, closing is in sight!

Players 8 and 9: The Title Officer and Home Insurance Agent

Closing brings in new players and a small mountain of paperwork. The title officer verifies that the seller truly owns the property and that there are no outstanding liens, debts, or other restrictions. The home insurance agent writes the homeowners insurance policy.

Players 10 and 11: The Closing Attorney and Escrow Agent

Legal details are the only things left to iron out now. The attorney and escrow agent guide the homebuyer and seller through the legalities of the transaction and both parties sign the necessary paperwork. The homebuyer grabs their new keys; the seller receives escrow funds. The homebuyer becomes the homeowner.

Player 12: The Mover

The big day is here and the homebuyer’s journey is finally over. Movers haul in furniture and the new homeowner starts making the house their own.

Become a Home Inspection Hero in 10 Days or Less

home inspector with clients

When a home buyer gets a contract on their dream home panic usually sets in. It’s pretty understandable. Imagine spending months looking at dozens of homes with your real estate agent. You could have even made a few offer on homes that didn’t get accepted. It has been a long journey.

Now the clock is ticking and it is crunch time. There are usually only 10 days before the inspection contingency window closes and they have to make one of the biggest decisions of their lives. Walk away or close on the home.

Buyers Can Feel Lost or Abandoned

Once its time for inspections most Realtors take a hands off approach. They may offer a list of recommendations with a few home inspectors but that is usually all. It’s up to the buyer to contact, choose, hire, and meet up with their home inspector. If you know the history of home inspections it’s simple to understand why.

Most home buyers have no idea how to deal with the inspection process. They spend the next ten days feeling panicked, lost, and overwhelmed. They hurry to book the right appointments and assemble all the right parts. All while the clock is ticking.

That time crunch and panic is why buyers frequently don’t choose the best home inspector. They go with the first one who is available and can keep the home buying process moving along.

How a Master Home Inspector Saves the Day

Most buyers need more than just the fact about the home inspection. They also need guidance from their home inspector. It is easy to forget that this is all brand new to most buyers.

The home buying process is not something that they do a lot in their lives. We deal with the process everyday and providing guidance can make all the difference.

That guidance starts with the very first time we make contact with our client. When that first call or email comes in take your time. Give them a chance to share their fears and concerns about the process and the home.

Once they are ready carefully explain how we can help, what we do, our role in the home buying process, and what they can expect working with a home inspector.

It’s also helpful to tell them the limits of your job. Remember, they are overwhelmed. For example, buyers often don’t know that home inspectors won’t solicit contractors or that specialty systems like wells and septic systems might require a separate inspection.

Take the time to reassure them that someone is there to help them navigate this step in the process. Leave them with confidence about the home inspection process. If a problem comes up later you will be the hero who helps them. Not the villain to blame.

Going the extra mile to be the hero is not just a feel good idea. It is solid business advice. A master home inspector knows you will have easier clients to work with at the time of inspection and they will remember and reward you by telling their friends and family.