SOME HAVE IT – AND SOME DON’T… OR DO THEY?
What makes a good home inspector? Why do some people hire one home inspector over another? We might be asking ourselves that question – especially if we are new to the home inspection industry.
So what is it that makes a good home inspector – the guy that everyone wants to hire? Is it the tools? Is it their inspection software? Is it how throough their reports are?
To answer this question, let’s look at some of the aspects of a “good home inspector”.
You might not think that your personality would be a trait that helps you in your work, but in reality, it can have a much greater impact than you’d expect. Have you ever wondered what makes it so some home inspectors have lots of rave reviews while other have none? While the work done has a major bearing on the review left, the way that the home inspector interacts with his clients can motivate them to recommend him to others.
Having a friendly disposition, smiling sincerely at your clients, and using positive communication even when they might be a little difficult to deal with will leave a much better impression on them.
BE THERE WHEN YOU SAY YOU’LL BE THERE
Among the reasons that could cause a client to disapprove of the work that you do, not being punctual comes at the top of the list. If the first impression that you make is being late for the inspection, you are going to have to work hard to improve your client’s view of you.
This does not just involve your client either. If you aren’t showing up on time, the seller that made their home available for an inspection could be affected, and if you were recommended by a realtor, they might hesitate to recommend you again.
Besides being at your appointments on time, you should also take care to be timely in your communication, and the quicker your reports end up in the hands of your clients, the happier they will be.
KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT
While no one likes a know-it-all, as a home inspector, you really do need to know it all. Well, close to it at least. The problem is that every home you enter will be unique. There will almost always be a surprise waiting for you when you start inspecting a building. This is why training is essential so that you have knowledge of current as well as past building techniques and the issues that you might find. Associations such as InterNACHI and ASHI can be helpful partners to ensure you get the training you need. It can also be very helpful to have access to forums where you can discuss issues that you haven’t encountered in the past.
A word of warning here. While your clients would like to have an inspector that is knowledgeable, this doesn’t mean that you should make up an answer or guess if they ask you a question that you really don’t know. While you might think that it will hurt their confidence in you if you say you have to look something up, that is nothing compared to the disappointment if they find out that you lied or made something up.
LEARN HOW TO COMMUNICATE WELL
Communication is vital both when it comes to dealing with clients, realtors, and others. The way you communicate with a client should be adjusted to their understanding of the subject. Since you are an expert on how a home is built and functions, it is easy to talk over the head of a client, making it difficult for them to understand you. Of course, you need to be careful not to come across as patronizing, which could happen if you treat them as if they don’t understand anything you speak of. You might find it helpful to get an idea of what level the client has experience with the subject at hand before going in too deep.
Clients will usually appreciate a home inspector that leaves them understanding their home better, not one that makes them feel like they are stupid. Putting aside some time during the inspection to explain things to your client will be some added value that can leave a positive impression.
Something that really helps in your communication is using software that can automate reminders and streamline the process. A program many home inspectors use is Inspector Toolbelt that you can try out for free from www.inspectortoolbelt.com.
STICK TO YOUR PRINCIPLES
Few things will influence a client’s view of you and your business as negatively as unethical behavior. This is why it is a good idea to have a clearly stated code of ethics and then sticking with it. If you can clearly tell your client what you will and won’t do, and they see that you stick with that, they will respect you for it. Keeping yourself to high standards might not always be easy, or as profitable as underhanded business practices can be at times, you will build up a positive reputation.
While it might seem as if home inspectors who cut corners and take advantage of the situation have success, it is usually just a matter of time before their practices will land them in hot water.
PAY ATTENTION TO THE FINER DETAILS
While not everything that raises a flag in your home inspection is just as serious, it is important to give each inspection your best. This means going into the home with eyes that haven’t seen it all before. After thousands of inspections, it is easy to develop the attitude that there isn’t anything out there that you haven’t encountered before. In such cases, your experience can actually hamper you. Instead, treat each bathroom as the first bathroom you’ve ever been in. Look at an attic with the eyes of a first-time inspector. This will let you really see where there are potential issues.
Using all your tools, whether electronic, mechanical, or your own eyes, ears, and nose, you won’t let anything slip by unnoticed.
Whether you are a seasoned home inspector or fairly new to the field, applying these principles to your business will make a difference. Of course, none of us do everything just right all of the time, but having these things in mind, you are much more likely to be the best home inspector you can be.