New Inspectors Must Not Blow It

Newbie home inspector, don’t blow it!

Published Tue, 14 Aug 2007 12:00:00 GMT
How to build referrals when you have neither experience nor credibility

Barry Stone
Inman News

Dear Barry,
I’m a newly certified home inspector. I am very detail-oriented and am striving to learn as much as possible about my new profession. But I’m concerned as I begin this new career that many real estate agents will be reluctant to refer my services because I’m so new in the industry and have no official inspections under my belt. How should I approach the topic of “field experience” when I network with real estate agents? I want them to know that I am a continual learner, an overachiever, and someone whom they can count on for their clients. --Keith

Dear Keith,
Getting started in the home inspection business is always slow and gradual. Many newcomers to the profession get frustrated during that first year and some finally throw in the towel and return to construction work. Selling your services to agents before you have actual field experience is not easy, but it has been done by nearly everyone who is today an experienced home inspector.

Instead of worrying about your lack of inspection experience, tell people about your related knowledge and experience – such as contracting or whatever it was you did previously. Tell them about your certifications and any other professional credentials that might apply. Tell them about your commitment to do excellent work. But don’t say you are a “continual learner” because that infers that you have not yet sufficiently learned. And don’t tell them you’re an “overachiever” because many agents are afraid of inspectors who might “kill the deal” by being overly zealous. But when someone asks you how many inspections you’ve done, just tell them the truth and let the chips fall as they will. Most people, however, won’t even ask.

Agents are used to new inspectors popping up all the time. At first, you may be dismissed as just another inspector. But gradually, you’ll get inspection orders – a few here, a few there. And if they like your work, they’ll call again. And little by little, you’ll become an experienced home inspector. But know this: while you’re gaining that valuable experience, you’ll be missing property defects that would be discovered by a more experienced inspector. These undisclosed conditions will result in callbacks, monetary claims and possibly a lawsuit. So be sure to carry errors-and-omissions insurance, and do all you can to continually advance your education. The more you know and the more you practice, the more effectively you’ll serve your customers, the more protected you’ll be from liability, and the more often you’ll be recommended to home buyers.

Barry Stone

I have only been asked twice in 3 years “how many inspections have you done?” I have been asked quite a few times “how long you been doing inspections?”

Hey Mark;

We lost some data over at the CMI message board. Check and make sure your recent registration is still active.

Will…

They don’t usually ask how long I’ve done it; if I’m good at it; if I’m full time; if I’m qualified, competent or experienced, etc; the only question is:

How Much? Oh gosh at $300 you’re $50 to $100 higher than your cometitors. I don’t guess we’ll be using your services …

to which i reply “quality has it’s price, price alone has no quality”

Look at the number of new RE Agents that come and go!

Tell them “Cheaper is not better…The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of a low price.” Or another one I use a lot is “Why in the world would you want a cheap home inspection?” My family is worth more than $100 difference.