Marketing to Real Estate Agents

1)How many of you out there belong to your local board of realtors?
2) How often do you make the rounds to real estate offices?
3)What would you say gives you the best bang for the buck in marketing.

   I am looking for marketing tips in general, and would appreciate any input.

  1. NO
  2. Never
  3. Website, word of mouth, offer something your competition can’t or won’t, don’t wait around here on the bb looking for advice. Go talk to someone who has grown a business and been successful. Go take a course in marketing at the local jr college. Read books and articles on marketing. Don’t waste your money on yellowbook / phonebook ads. If someone calls you and offers to make you show up on page one of Google, hang up on them.

Even though I have several real estate professionals who regularly refer me to their clients because they trust me to do a good job, I still have to answer this question “No. It is generally in your best interest to avoid using home inspectors referred to by your real estate salesman.”

First, there are many real estate salesmen and brokers who solicit home inspectors to pay them to appear on lists that they provide their clients. These lists are often called “preferred vendors” or “preferred providers of services”. In these cases, as your own common sense will tell you, a home inspector who has invested money with a real estate salesman to have himself referred to you is highly unlikely to throw away his investment by putting anything in your inspection report that might make you walk away from a deal or otherwise offend the referring salesman. He is likely to “soften” his report to ensure that you buy the house.

Additionally, real estate agents have a duty to their clients’ “best financial interests” and should, when they recommend a vendor, be recommending them on their levels of skill and experience and not simply by their willingness to pay a fee.

Even when inspectors do not pay to be referred, home buyers are still better served when their real estate salesman…who only gets paid if the buyer closes on the house…has no part in choosing the inspector who will write the report.

Many home inspectors, it is sad to say, have built their businesses to be totally dependent upon real estate salespeople to refer them. In these cases, they advertise themselves as being “non-alarmists” so that real estate salesmen know that they are safe to recommend to their clients. Most buyers, however, are counting upon being told of “alarming” defects in a home they are about to buy…and should avoid these inspectors for that reason.

Especially in very large Missouri cities where the real estate sales market it highly competitive with thousands of agents competing against each other…a good home inspector who will write a complete, thorough and unbiased report is NOT always appreciated the most by agents and is likely to be left off of a few “lists” of those the agent “prefers” to recommend.

Play it safe in the bigger cities and find an inspector from out of town…one who is not connected to the local real estate sales professionals in any way.

Be certain that you can count on your home inspector to work for you and to provide you with a complete, accurate and unbiased description of the home you are wanting to buy.

So, what you are saying is that a St. Louis inspector should be doing home inspections in Springfield, Springfield inspectors should be doing inspections in KC, and KC inspectors should be marketing and performing inspections in St. Louis?:roll::roll::roll:

I joined two Realtor associations during my first couple of years. I never really felt it helped. In 8 years I have done maybe 5 Realtor presations which really never helped. I did get discounts on print ads and I ran them for several years each month. Everyone would say I saw you in that magazine. Then I got ripped off a couple of times and I never ran another ad.

But out of all I have ever done the best bang for the buck has been chatting on line and that my friend is free.

I’m saying that the new market will have smarter buyers who have been paying attention to the news. They will be prudent to select the inspector least likely to have anything at stake.

The top 25 real estate companies here in KC sold over 35,000 homes around KC, eastern Missouri and western Kansas. I bet that not even 10% of those homes got inspected in any way. It is all about what the RE’s are telling the buyers. Perhaps I complain too much, explain the reality of the licensing situtation, that is causing me to have no business. When I squeek, the business goes to the weak.

I totally agree.

  1. Yes
  2. Never
  3. HomeHints

Not sure if this will help but the old 80/20 business rule is more like 95/5 when it comes to real estate salespeople, the vast majority only have 2 or 3 sales a year and the overall national average is something like six sales transactions per year per agent.

If I were going to market to real estate agents though I would see if there were any EBA’s (Exclusive Buyer Agents - They never take listings) in my area and start with them.

They tend to hate “Traditional” agents and 99% of them absolutely love home inspectors. They also often have several times as many (buyer/purchase) transactions as the average agent so they could be a potential source of leads.

You might be able to check and see if there are any EBA’s in your area to market to.

As far as the AOR’s go, having direct MLS access could be potentially H U G E for one’s marketing but you have to be careful as part of the REALTOR’s Code of Ethics and most MLS rules prohibit using MLS data (aka “The Compilation”) for “marketing purposes.”

This rule was intended for agents stealing other agent’s (seller) clients originally though so if you are low key you might be able to use the MLS dataset to your advantage.

Or at least get a friendly local REALTOR to set you up on their prospecting feed so you can get certain access to stuff there emailed to you automatically.

Back in CT I used to send my oil guy recently closed sales that had oil heat so he could market to them, for example.

Hope this helps :slight_smile:

Al (still a RE Broker) in TN

1 - No
2 - No
3 - ActiveRain, then Referral Rewards Program

  1. yes mostly for a Supra Key the local real estate news is interesting also
  2. NO,
  3. Web page, referrals. home hints

1)Yes - No help really
2) Never
3)On the job marketing.

I was recently told by a couple Realtors that most Realtors are not encouraging inspections at all. There’s misinformation going around here that because the home is bank owned/as is, there’s no need for an inspection.

Having said that I do receive a good mix of referrals with some of those coming from Realtors.

The best marketing is providing thorough honest home inspections. You will attract good Realtors and receive plenty of past client referrals.

>>>I was recently told by a couple Realtors that most Realtors are not encouraging inspections at all.>>>

As a (former) real estate broker, hearing something like this amazes me. Any chance this is just a local deal? Back home in central CT the vast majority of sales with agents involved have home inspections.

Shoot, even when the market was crazy hot and I had bidding wars on my listings I would always return the winning bid with a home inspection clause added in if it was lacking, explaining to my seller clients that we actually wanted the buyer to have an inspection as it reduced future liability to the seller, and that part of my job representing them was to try to keep them out of Court later on over silly misunderstandings that would have been taken care through the home inspection process so we would insist on the buyer having an inspection.

Better to spend a few bucks now taking care of a buyer’s inspection requests, than mega dollars later on attorneys IMHO.

Promoting a train of thought something along those lines to agents (and maybe to sellers directly) might be a good marketing tactic for a HI in areas where inspections are not as commonplace perhaps?

What say youse guys?

Al in TN

Much of this stems from the Realtors being afraid the HI might actually do his or her job and find some discrepancies that would cause the buyer to walk away. Far too many people live in their homes for years and never do a blamed thing to keep them in good repair, they almost never have the HVAC system, the most costly pieces of equipment in the home, even serviced regularly. If they do anything, often times they attempt to do it themselves and they don’t **** from shoe polish about how to do the work to any degree of quality. Then when they can’t stand to live there anymore they put it on the market and expect someone else to find and correct the problems they are too cheap or lazy to take care of. Some of the blame, not most, but some falls on the Realtors who are doing the listings. If they would be honest and tell the sellers, “Your house is NOT ready to be put on the market, due to…” go ahead and have a pre-listing inspection done so they can identify all the MAJOR issues, get them corrected before they put it on the MLS.
I typically see the same discrepancies over and over and over. The same degree of installations, poor quality or the wrong materials used. Lazy, incompetent tradesmen. I have heard with my own ears contractors of various trades make the comment, “You can’t see it from my house.”
Everyone is trying to get out as cheap as they can with as little effort and concern as possible, not realizing they can actually make more money by doing the major repairs when they can take their time, chose their contractors without having to try and jump through their grommet to get it repaired in time for closing date. It is what I can crisis management and it is a piss poor way to conduct business. I just got off the phone with a seller who has her handyman wanting to know what “I” want fixed on a home I inspected. Where the is the buyer’s realtor in all this? They should be telling the seller what the buyers wants fixed. I tried to explain several times, I personally don’t care if they fix anything. I don’t have a dog in this fight

In short, the Realtor today do not want anything to interfere with the sale, so many are in fact telling buyers they don’t need to get a HI. Just buy a homeowners warranty and get to closing as fast as you can. Now, that been said, some home inspectors feel they have to put down every penny ante thing they can to impress the buyers. 85 page reports with photos, with nonsense like loose door knobs, scratch on drywall, oven is dirty. I know one guy who tries to tell the buyers how to arrange their furniture once they get into the house.

>>>In short, the Realtor today do not want anything to interfere with the sale, so many are in fact telling buyers they don’t need to get a HI.>>>

That agent shouldn’t be in the business then IMHO. Insisting on having a Home Inspection is probably the best thing an agent could do for their seller (and/or buyer) client in the arena of Risk Reduction.

It reduces the agent’s exposure as well and is just a smart thing to do in one’s real estate practice.

I went to a Home Show here recently to get a general lay of the land since I’ve lived here all of two months. Stopping at a local real estate company’s booth we got to talking shop when (of course) the subject of home inspections came up and a mortgage officer piped in bragging on how “most home inspections aren’t really needed.”

I explained my Risk Reduction philosophy for clients (and agents AND mortgage reps who discourage inspections) to him and you could see the light bulbs go off in that booth over everybody’s heads as I spoke.

They need to be told things like this, for many it has never come up as a subject I’m really starting to believe. Inspections are good for everyone involved in the transaction…especially since written state mandated Seller Disclosures are pretty much useless in my experience.

On a related note, and this applies to all business whether pizza makers, real estate salespeople, auto repair shops or home inspectors – The best marketing in the world is useless if your actual business offerings are bad or weak, all the marketing will do is put you out of business faster than if your marketing efforts were poor and your offerings were good.

In other words; if your inspections (or pizzas) suck then spending a million dollars a week marketing will put you out of business real fast since word will travel super quickly.

Improving one’s wares, techniques, education/product knowledge could well be the best marketing tool available to any small business person.

Simple I know but many who open small businesses don’t seem to understand this cardinal rule of marketing so I figure it is worth mentioning…One still needs to market their business though just the same…

Al in TN

What about Mickie D’s the millions they spend help a great deal in peddling the crap they call food.:shock:

  1. No
  2. Not any more, they have my card. A few want discounts as much as 50% on the fee.
  3. No to phone books. Yes to talking to Loan officers. I agree with the note that the agents are holding off inspections until the buyers demand it, by then the report is due in 24 hours. Trying to figure out other ways without spending a fortune in my area. I think the key to this is the balance of everything and if it feels right, do it; if it doesn’t, don’t.