You need referrals. Real estate agents need a good job and professional inspection report for their clients. It sounds like an easy way to get more work. So it might surprise you to know that a lot of inspectors fumble the ball.
There’s no mysterious key to developing a good relationship with real estate agents. Communicate, educate, be honest and do a good job. That’s all agents and their clients – also your customers – really want.
#1: Communicate with the Buyer and Agent
One of the biggest paint point agents have with inspectors is a lack of communication. It can happen in a lot of different ways. Home inspecting is about sharing information. So without effective communication, everyone gets frustrated and customers aren’t as informed as they could be.
Coldwell Banker agent, Linda Reilly, tells ASHI Reporter that “buyers need a lot of handholding.” They’re nervous, and they might know nothing about the house. A home inspector worth keeping goes the extra mile to communicate with buyers and the agent. A good experience makes agents want to recommend you time and again.
#2: Invite Buyers to Attend their Inspection
Some inspectors like to work alone. But if you invite customers to attend the inspection, your work will have more value. Information is the commodity. It conveys more easily in person, where customers can see defects and hear your comments in real time.
When customers attend the inspection, it can ease nerves and put everything into perspective. Reilly explains that what seems like a small issue to you might sound scary and huge to buyers. But seeing it in person eliminates unnecessary phone calls, sleepless nights and helps the transaction run more smoothly.
#3: Don’t Worry About Being a Deal Killer
There’s a longstanding stereotype in the real estate industry. Inspectors and agents work so closely together, both sides tend to “gloss over” defects to keep from losing a sale. Unfortunately, that’s true for some unscrupulous agents and inspectors. But that’s not the way to build a business that grows.
Home inspector Bruce Fisher tells ASHI Reporter that the concerns are valid. If they really want to help each other, agents and inspectors always tell the truth. Real estate broker Dick Greenberg explains for Working RE magazine that ethics rule above all. Sometimes being a deal killer is a good thing. Playing down defects encourages buyers to make a bad investment. And once they move in, the secret will be out of the bag.
#4: Make the Report Useful and Timely
The more you work in home inspecting, the more you’ll develop mental shortcuts. But if the report doesn’t make sense to customers, isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Use the same level of care when filling out every home inspection report. Your customers will thank you, and so will the agents you work with.
When you find a defect, explain where it is and why it’s defective. Reilly says she’s seen reports with “against code” as the only defect description, and no photos to back it up. It all ties back into information. It’s your job to find it and convey it accurately so customers can understand. If they had your level of skill and knowledge, they wouldn’t need your help.
Most home inspectors develop a good rapport with at least a few real estate agents. In time, you may have a network of agents you work with frequently. They can send a lot of referrals your way. So it’s a good idea to make it worth their while.
Are you still on the fence about enrolling in a home inspection training program? Get a free course demo from ICA School and learn what it’s all about before taking the next step.