You’ll hear it time and time again: the home inspection killed the sale. The seller might not be thrilled to learn that the report contained defects, but the buyer is often grateful. Only one of those two people is your customer, so if the right one is happy you’re doing something right.
Most Complaints Come From Sellers and Their Agents
Certainly, buyers are disappointed to learn about potentially deal-breaking problems with the house they want to buy. Sellers, on the other hand, have more to lose. Buyers can keep shopping, but sellers are rather stuck until another buyer comes along.
Agents are another sticky wicket. When a sale falls through, they lose a commission and you might gain a rocky relationship in the future. Fortunately, many agents know that a bad inspection report is better than a great one that glosses over the truth.
It’s Not Just You: More Home Sales Fail These Days
If you’ve noticed more sales failing and more disgruntled sellers lately, you’re not alone. It has little or nothing to do with your home inspection skills or report writing prowess. The real estate industry is wobbly. According to a Trulia study, more deals fail now than a year ago.
Here’s another interesting tidbit. The least likely sales to fall apart are those for brand new and very old homes. The riskiest segment includes homes built between 1959 and 1969. Trulia explains, “Homes that are 20, 30 or 40 years old are more likely to be running to their first round of expensive necessary upkeep and improvements.” Also, people in the market for old houses may be more shocked by a great inspection than they would by a clean bill of health.
Report Writing Style Affects Buyer Perception
Sometimes, it’s not what you say but rather how you say it. Some inspectors do have a knack for making customers nervous. If you’re concerned about the number of buyers who back out after your inspections, take a look at your past reports to see if there’s a pattern.
Report writing calls for your expert opinions. Just be sure that yours don’t slant to the negative when it’s not warranted. A hole in the roof is a really big deal. A plumbing leak that a repairman could fix with an hour’s work is just an ordinary defect. However, it could be a deal-breaker if it’s presented as a major system malfunction that requires immediate attention from a licensed plumber. If your language is a bit coarse, think about what you’re trying to convey. Facts are one thing, but color commentary has the power change a person’s mind.
The only person you need to please is the customer. The best way to do that is with a thorough inspection and an honest, concise report that doesn’t overtly influence their buying decision. Chances are, you haven’t seen the last sale crumble after one of your inspections. If you’re doing your job right, your work will arm more than a few buyers with the right information to save themselves from a crummy investment or at least negotiate a better deal.
If you haven’t jumped into the industry yet, now is a great time to begin. With ICA School, you could become a certified home inspector by working your own pace. Ready? Enroll now and get started today.