Leads are the bread and butter of the home inspection industry, but they’re not always easy to find, and some sources can disappear quickly. Locating leads can be particularly difficult for inspectors who are just starting out in the home inspection business. Finding leads before they’re snagged by competitors means getting creative in your search. Leads can be found in unexpected places, and some of the best ones can be right under your nose, provided you know where to look.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) conducted a joint study of realtors and homebuyers to get their opinions on the importance of home inspections in residential real estate transactions. Ninety-two percent of realtors surveyed indicated they always recommend clients have the properties they’re considering buying to be professionally inspected. Among homebuyers who participated in the study, 77% reported their houses were professionally inspected before the purchases were completed. Ninety-seven percent of these homebuyers felt the inspections were worth the price.
Attend Real Estate Open Houses
Successful real estate agents always attend real estate open houses. Schedules permitting, home inspectors should consider doing the same. Although some real estate agents might stop by only out of curiosity, many of them are there on behalf of clients who are looking for a home to buy. Many of these prospective homebuyers will hire a certified home inspector before committing to a purchase.
As you walk through the home, find the kitchen and chances are you’ll see several business cards on the countertop, which is where they’re traditionally left by visiting real estate agents. Although it may be tempting, taking the cards would be wrong, since they’ve been left for the seller’s agent. Jot down the names and the agencies they represent and/or take pictures of the cards. Before you leave, introduce yourself and let the agent hosting the open house know that you’re a professional home inspector. With their permission, leave some cards for visiting agents who may be interested in home inspection services for their clients—and always follow up with a thank you note.
After you get back to the office, you’ll have the names, phone numbers and email addresses for prospective clients. Be sure to act quickly, since many of these agents will have clients who’ll need a home inspector soon. Some of the real estate agents might represent several clients, which potentially could all become your home inspection customers.
Gain Prospects by Offering Valuable Information
If you have a website for your home inspection business (which you should), think about offering free downloadable ebooks and other materials. Prospective customers who visit your site are looking for information on home inspection services in your area, and probably have already or will visit other home inspectors’ websites. Offering visitors something of value at no cost is a good way to grab their attention. By doing this, you can gather information that will let you convert a site visitor into a red-hot home inspection lead.
As an example, an ebook or pamphlet about the role of home inspections in the world of residential real estate is a topic that’s informative, timely and useful. Because it’s free, there’s a good chance many of the site’s visitors will download the book.
Realistically, there is no such thing as something for nothing. As a condition of providing the ebook, ask for a few details, such as name and email address. Each time your ebook is downloaded, you’ll have access to a new home inspection lead that could result in an assignment.
Join Professional Organizations
Joining professional associations such as the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, or InterNACHI, is a great way to receive marketing tips from home inspection experts. It’s also a good way to learn about the latest marketing trends and techniques in the home inspection industry. Members are allowed to use the InterNACHI logo, which is an impressive credential to add to your business cards and other marketing materials. Home inspectors who received their certification through International Certification Associates’ online training are entitled to a free, one-year InterNACHI membership.
Being listed in a home inspection directory is another good way to generate leads. One of the top home inspection directories is Hire An Inspector, which brings together local real estate agents, lenders, homebuyers and others seeking home inspection services. Although a listing in the Hire an Inspector directory normally costs $200 per year, ICA graduates receive free lifetime listings.
Home inspection leads can emerge from virtually anywhere. Referrals by previous clients who were pleased with your services often result in new customers. A chance meeting at a home improvement store could turn into a new customer. A business card you once gave out might be passed around until it lands in the hands of just the right person.
Lead generation is an ongoing project, but hot leads are always available for aggressive home inspectors. Always attend open houses. Take advantage of your website’s marketing capabilities. Join professional associations. The more people you interact with who are on the verge of buying a house, the better your chances of supplementing your usual marketing strategies.
ICA online training is about more than just learning to be a home inspector. We’ll teach you proven methods of marketing your home inspection business and growing a steady stream of new leads. If you’re ready to begin an exciting and rewarding new career, enroll now and you’ll soon be on your way!