In today’s post we’re going to jump into an interview I did recently with a real estate sales representative in my area.
Jess Hornung, of justlistwithjess.com, goes into some great detail and shares insights on:
Jess shares some huge insights with us.
This is perfect for new inspectors looking to get into the mind of a Realtor®.
Andrew: Hey Jessica, thank you for taking the time to meet me today. How are you?
Jessica: I’m Good, thanks. How are you?
Andrew: Good! Alright – let’s dive in. As you know, I work with home inspectors and as you also know… they like to market to real estate sales representative. With your area of expertise, I am hoping to get some deeper insights into how the average inspector, or even the new home inspector, can stand out to you as a Realtor.
Andrew: Jumping right in, how often do inspectors drop by your office and present to you?
Jessica: Often. We get several inspectors come in that present to us.
Andrew: What do you think of the presentations?
Jessica: They’re good. I like meeting new inspectors, especially when I need to call someone on short notice for a client. It is very saturated though… there are lots of inspectors in the area.
Andrew: So, it sounds like a quick response time is important to you.
Jessica: Yes, definitely. My problem is that sometimes I need an inspection very fast. Like, can you come tomorrow morning if I call you this afternoon? In a hot market we have 3-5 days to get everything done, and the inspection needs to be done before other things that need to happen in that time frame.
Andrew: What makes a home inspector stand out to you?
Jessica: Responsiveness and flexibility. Again, when my clients are chomping at the bit and the housing market is in a bubble, I need inspectors that are ready to go. This scenario isn’t always the case, but when I know I can count on an inspector they stand out to me.
Andrew: Do you do many pre-purchase inspections?
Jessica: Not in this area, no. I see areas with more money having more inspections like that. More money, more likely… like in Toronto. Buyers book several showings to find their perfect home and don’t want to pay for an inspection if they aren’t even going to get their offer accepted.
Andrew: Do you find you supply your clients with referrals or do they generally have someone they know to inspect their home?
Jessica: Sometimes… if the client doesn’t have one then I will give them options. I never push just one inspectors to maintain my professional and ethical obligations to my clients. Most home buyers ask for my opinion. More savvy people, like experienced buyers or investors usually have their go-to inspector already.
Andrew: What is important to you when referring an inspector?
Jessica: Warranty program or insurance are important from a buyers perspective. It is an added bonus if they go out and get the certifications before they’re forced to by any upcoming bills. Also WETT certified inspectors are great. Especially for old wood burning appliances. It can save time and money by all being done in one go if the insurance company requires it, rather than coming back again just for the WETT inspection.
Andrew: How did you connect with your first inspector?
Jessica: Networking events. When I first started I went to a lot, and still go out sometimes, to networking events in the area. I met an inspector that was starting up at the same time as me that was also attending the events. This inspector also came by and did a presentation for us at Coldwell.
Andrew: What made him stand out to you?
Jessica: He was flexible. Also his availability is amazing. He’s so busy because of it… very well known in the area. He also knows how to present his findings to the client without blowing things out of proportion or terrifying the client. He’ll be straight forward with the client. He’ll say things like “This is an issue that needs attention. It’s not a big fix, but you should be wary of it.” And he may even give a soft estimate sometimes. He helps the client feel comfortable and helps them understand it a bit better.
Like, one time, not this inspector, but this other person scared a client into thinking there was a big issue with the property. The issue was a non GFCI outlet… while very important to address, this isn’t a deal killer and shouldn’t be presented in that way. It’s a cheap fix.
Andrew: Alright, let’s pretend a brand new home inspector opens up shop in your town. What makes you do business with them?
Jessica: Being available on short notice is a good way to stand out and get in front of my client. Like we talked about earlier, in a hot market sometimes we need an inspection the next day. We’ll have 3-5 days generally, and we’ll need to process the mortgage in that time too, so we really have less time than that. The banks all want an inspection before they will approve loans. The faster the inspection, the easier it makes it for me to do my job, which is to get the client their dream home. If we miss deadlines, we can miss out on the deal all together.
Today’s post is aimed at newer inspectors, and is going to mark the first post in our “agent focused” series.
I’ll be honest… we’re not covering anything ground breaking today.
If you’re already running a successful home inspection business, don’t waste your time.
Heck – we’re not even talking from our area of expertise today!
But this stuff is super important. So much that we felt the need to touch on it before diving in.
Our agent marketing series will soon be back inline with our “digital” theme – and we’ll be showing you some pretty cool ways to leverage your website, facebook ads, emails and social media to better connect with agents, build rapport and ultimately – get leads.
We even had one of Coldwell Banker’s Realtors® tell us exactly what makes an inspector stand out to her, how a new inspector can get called from her, why she continues working with inspectors – and even how she chose to work with her first inspector when she was new!
Now, ask yourself…
What would your inspection calendar look like if you had real estate agents calling you on a regular basis needing inspections for their buyers?
It’d probably look a lot more full than it currently looks.
Meaning more revenue for you, and a more successful business.
The sad reality is that after putting in so much time to get in front of agents, most inspectors don’t get a shot, and if they do they don’t get a callback.
Unless your inspection really was sub par, which is unlikely because if you’re reading this website you care about your business, then the agent was likely unhappy with the outcome in some way.
Does that mean you did a “bad” inspection?
Agents can be your best friend, but you need to treat them right.
There are agents out there that will only work with inspectors that consistently deliver overly soft reports.
You don’t want to get caught up with these people. When their ship sinks, you’ll go down with it.
An ethical and high-quality agent wants you to do a good job for their client, just like they want to do a good job for their client.
And let’s be real, they’re not going to get on the roof! They need you!
That doesn’t mean they want you to pick apart the house, and then deliver it in a raw, unrealistic and unflattering manner, and kill their deal.
Unless the house really is worth running away from!
Realtors put a lot of efforts into their job, and if they can’t trust their inspector won’t shoot their deal dead on the spot, they won’t call them.
Simple as that.
Now, I cannot stress enough, this does not mean you need to leave things out of your report. That would put you at risk.
In fact, I’m not telling you how to inspect at all.
You’re the expert!
But remember, unless you’ve partnered with an unethical agent, there’s no reason to think the agent is trying to pull a fast one on their client and run off with the commission money.
Much like the home inspection industry, real estate is also a referral business.
The fix here is simple. It’s a mindset shift.
Don’t come into the inspection with a bias of “All agents are out to rip off their clients, and it is going to be at my expense due to liability issues.” (Be honest, you’ve thought this.)
Come in with an objective mindset, one that is cured from bias, and stays focused on the task at hand: inspecting the property to the benefit of your client, the home buyer (or otherwise.)
Combining this objectivity with a smooth delivery, one that has an intention behind the tone, can mean the agent making the sale, and ultimately, getting your client into the house of their dreams.
I can hear some of you newer inspectors rolling your eyes right now (don’t ask me how.)
I know… doesn’t actually help you get in front of agents to get the damn inspection in the first place.
Or does it?
It actually does.
We can use this information in our marketing.
We can position ourselves as ethical, objective home inspectors, that look to serve their clients at the highest level, and make it strategically known that we only work with other ethical, high quality professionals, such as real estate agents.
The next time you have the ear of an agent, strategically weave these concept into the conversation. (I know, I probably sound like a manipulative bastard right now.)
The next time you have the ear of an office, bring up an example of that time you didn’t kill the deal, even though there was an issue. Because you told your client about it in an objective and personable manner, that didn’t make them feel overwhelmed and scared – if in reality, it really wasn’t a deal killer.
As a new inspector, you also have a huge advantage against more established inspectors. (Sorry more established guys – but it is true!)
You likely have more time to
However, I am going on a tangent now, and much like you, I need to maintain my objectivity. (We’re going to deep dive into some awesome (and easy/low cost) tactics on how to really market yourself to agents by using the internet in the near future.)
Alright, that’s it. I hope I have conveyed the importance of maintain your objectivity while at inspections, and the importance of your tone when delivering the report to your client.
Well… if creating meaningful, profitable and symbiotic relationships with the real estate agents in your area is important to you.
Be sure to check out our new video series and let me know if it was helpful on Facebook (or what I can change.) Always love to connect with new inspectors!