Is this thing on?
How many home inspectors perform inspections and have almost no communication with the customer at all? Some send an email or a quick phone call, and some might communicate more with the real estate agent than the client. You might be surprised by how common the practice is. But good communication benefits both the customer and the inspector.
So how are your communication skills? Do phones make you uncomfortable and emails seem like a bother? If so, you’re not alone. But that’s also a good thing. That means you can polish up those skills and stand out a little more than some of the competition.
Even if they’re in a hurry, insist that clients read before they sign anything.
Communication Before the Inspection Protects You and the Client
They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Where your work is concerned, that means good information can avoid a lot of confusion on the customer’s part. And that can help prevent misunderstandings about what your work entails and ultimately protect you.
Some customers don’t really know what an inspection is supposed to cover. They know that it’s a good idea to have one. And the inspection might be required by either the lender or the policies where the property is located. But there are so many details in trying to make it to the closing table in one piece, the details can be a bit blurry. That’s why communication before the inspection matters so much.
Your pre-inspection agreement is your chance to clarify what the inspection does and doesn’t cover. That way, you’ve got protection in case an outlet that was hidden behind a cabinet doesn’t work or the HVAC unit gives out two months after the sale is final. Take a little time to go over the agreement and ensure clients know what they’re getting into. That serves you and them very well.
Communication During the Inspection Clears Murky Waters
Your report will probably be clear and concise. That’s especially true if you use software such as Home Inspection Report, which lets you choose pre-written descriptions for common defects or write in your own. But what’s clear to you might be hazy to your clients. And where a problem exists, they’ll surely want to know how bad it is and where they might look for help with repairs.
If they can participate on-site during an inspection, you’ll have an advantage. So will they, since you can spot a defect, point it out and give them your reasoning about why it’s defective while everything is fresh in your mind. A broken window doesn’t need an explanation. But what about a problem with the electrical service entrance?
If clients can’t be on-site, you could offer a time to go over the inspection report with them. This is where clear photos become communication tools. The point is to prepare a thorough report and then go the extra mile to ensure they understand what it all means.
A Word About Emails
Miscommunication via email is so common that it’s almost a joke. Almost. It’s easy to type out a few lines and feel like the task is off your plate. But it’s difficult to interpret tone in an email. That means it’s easy to send the wrong message even when you use all of the right words.
Emails are fine. But if they’re your preferred method of communication, think about offering a time slot for a phone call, too.
Remember that every client is different. Some of them know exactly what they need and what your job covers. They only want the facts and don’t have time to spend on lengthy conversations or wordy messages. But some find assurance in communication. Buying a house is a very stressful time. And this is your opportunity to do a good deed while fostering goodwill.
Home inspecting is one of the most solitary jobs that you could have. But there is a growing trend toward client participation. Rudy Platzer, a retired home inspector, writes for ASHI Reporter that there’s really no substitute for seeing an inspection in person. You can stop misunderstandings in their tracks and offer context, which is sometimes missing when all that clients see is a report.
However you prefer to approach communication, the important thing is to actually approach and not avoid it. The product that you sell is information. And only you can ensure the information is received in the spirit that it was intended.
Are you still on the fence about home inspection training? It’s a worthwhile career that makes a difference for your individual clients as well as the whole community. And it can all begin with ICA School training and certification. Enroll now and get started on your new path right away.