Home inspectors are an integral part of the real estate industry. Agents, buyers, and sellers rely on the expertise, integrity, and hard work of home inspectors as part of the process of establishing that a home is ready to switch owners.
A home inspector has a special relationship with a realtor. And Adam Bogle of TEN Realty Group, who is known as the Agent in a Kilt, shared with us what a realtor thinks about home inspectors and how he feels about the role of the home inspector in the ultimate selling of a house.
Can you tell us a bit about your journey to where you currently are professionally with TEN Realty Group?
I started in the business officially on January 1, 2004. I spent most of my first 10 years working in a locally-owned Coldwell Banker office. It was a small office that operated in many ways like a boutique office, but with a franchise name and franchise fees.
Starting in 2014, I knew it was time to start something new, and I spent a number of months researching options. I left very few stones unturned. These choices ranged from joining Redfin to becoming a developer in Boise.
The option that worked the best for me was to join eXp Realty and form TEN Realty Group. My work with eXp Realty gives me the flexibility to own my own business, but takes care of the bulk of the back end needs that a brokerage has.
Working with such an innovative company freed me up to start my own brand. The name TEN came from the philosophy of tithing. At TEN, we donate a full 10 percent of our revenue back to local charities, because we believe that real estate is more than just houses – it’s about where we live.
The website refers to you as the Agent in a Kilt. How did that get started?
The kilt actually came before I got into real estate. I started wearing a Utilikilt brand kilt full-time back in 2001. When I decided to embark on my second career as a Realtor, I had the choice to either dress as “normal” people do or use it to my advantage. Obviously I chose the latter, because I did decide to brand myself as the Agent In A Kilt. Since then, I have become the most recognized Realtor in the Universe (Google it).
How is the world of real estate changing?
The most obvious of changes is the way business is different due to emerging technologies. The internet obviously changed the way every business operated. It has challenged every industry within the travel business, virtually making travel agents a close-to-extinct class. It also led to the challenging of taxi cabs and hotels with the development of Uber and AirBnB-type websites.
The question becomes: is this a bad or a good thing? I believe overall one has to recognize technology as a good thing. There are many innovators out there right now dissecting the real estate world, and they’re trying to figure out how to make it better.
With all of the websites and development money that has gone into real estate technology, it has been found that the role of the Realtor is vital to the vast majority of consumers. It is too big of a choice and too important of a life decision to not have a professional who knows the ropes to help you out. Also, good Realtors have a team or trusted partners, such as proven lenders and home inspectors, that can be the difference between a good experience and a bad one.
What is the importance of home inspectors to real estate agents?
The Realtor has a very important role in a transaction, but they are not experts in all fields. The liability that would fall on them if they tried to be the inspector, accountant, attorney, etc … would be huge. So having a selection of trusted home inspectors is a must in any good Realtor’s tool kit. A home inspector should be a third party that the buyer knows is responsible only for determining the soundness of the home and its components.
It is the Realtor’s responsibility to recommend the best inspectors possible. The inspectors need to find the issues, report on them accurately, and explain to the buyer the significance of them.
One of my trusted inspectors tells a story about me to my clients. He recounts a time when an inspection came out that showed significant issues with the house, and the inspection was going to “kill” the deal. I mentioned to my inspector that if he didn’t occasionally “kill” a deal for me, I would probably quit hiring him. I want the inspector to give the potential buyer the real scoop about the house.
That being said, the inspector does not need to be alarmist. The best inspectors recognize that the majority of houses they inspect are pre-owned, and that anyone who has ever owned a house before knows there is work and maintenance that needs to be done regularly. A good inspector can point out what is regular and needed maintenance and “normal wear and tear,” as opposed to what is structural, destructive, or dangerous.
What do you think that those home inspectors should know about home sellers and buyers?
A seller has gotten used to the way things are in the house, and some items an inspector might call out just don’t seem important to the home seller. A good example is the GFCI plugs in the kitchen and bathroom. The seller has not been electrocuted, so it may go unrecognized as a problem at times. That is just one possible example.
Buyers are another matter. Inspectors need to be aware that the buyer is in a super-acutely aware state during the home buying process. Some items are extremely important to them at that time that later will be no big deal. When items are new to a person, the brain takes note of details, like road noise or a particular smell. However, as the brain becomes accustomed to these kind of items, it forgets they exist. That is why the seller can think something is no big deal, while a buyer can feel it is critical.
The inspector should be able to recognize fears that are irrational at the time from critical needs, ask questions and find out what the buyer really is concerned about, and be sure to address those truly critical items.
What do you think are the things most people don’t know about inspecting a home for sale?
The the home inspector is just a “step one” inspector – a general, not specialized, inspector. People expect the inspector to be able to find items that are not readily visible and be slightly psychic. They think they will do things like see what’s behind the wood paneling, or determine if the vinyl siding is covering up wood rot. I believe all home inspectors should highly recommend or even provide some form of home warranty coverage to their clients. After all, items can be missed or water heaters could possibly fail the day after closing.
Please share with us anything that you think has contributed to your success in real estate. What are some of the things that you have learned along the way?
The first contribution to my success in real estate was actually my first career. I worked in the motion pictures production business; it was then that I learned how to relate to all kinds of personalities. I also discovered the importance of getting things done – and getting them done now.
Humor is my number one tool. It is the best way to display intelligence without being seen as a putz. Look at the success that Jon Stewart had with “The Daily Show” for so long. He could say things because of the humor that other “newscasters” could never have gotten away with.
One of the things I have learned is that it really does take putting together the best team possible. With a good team of inspectors, lenders, title officers, cooperating Realtors, etc., the process of home buying and selling can seem very easy to the consumer. However, that is a double-edged sword, because then they tend to wonder what they needed you for in the first place.
Real estate is like many other fields. As long as you do your job right, nobody notices. It’s when things go wrong that you stand out. To counter that, it’s important to get attention in positive ways. That’s one of the brilliant parts of wearing a kilt, or tithing 10 percent of your revenue to charity. It is a way to stand out – without screwing things up.
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