If you will give me a moment of your time, I would like to share a few things with you considering recent events. As many of you know, RHI opened our doors in October of 2010. At the time, I was a Construction and Engineering teacher at a local Evansville high school. Just before deciding to become a home inspector, I purchased my first home. Naturally, I had that home inspected by a local inspection company. What I saw that day sent me on a completely different trajectory in life.
First of all, it was scary purchasing a home at a time when the market had stalled in 2008. Especially for two teachers fresh out of college who were trying to build a new life together. So, like any first-time home buyer, I wanted to feel like I was seeing the value out of my inspection. I am also a curious person by nature, so it was a given that I was going to follow the inspector around for a bit during my first home inspection experience. After having my fill, I went off on my own to view the house while he was doing his thing. Once the inspector completed the inspection, he went out to his truck and put his report together. When he finished, he came back inside to give us the “driveway talk” over his findings. Once he was done, I still had questions.
I took the inspector to three areas in the house and pointed out the items that he never mentioned in his report that I deemed vital. Those three items were the biggest items that needed to be corrected in my opinion and they were looked over by my inspector. They were also going to end up costing me the most to fix. So, I was concerned and confused about why they were not top items on his report. After this conversation, he went back to his truck and added them to his report only to return like nothing had happened. And then I had to hand him a pretty big check. After that experience, I decided to become a home inspector because I honestly felt people deserved better.
Being a home inspector is a very interesting profession. In most transactions, there are four people who have opinions about the outcome of our report. One person pays us (the client), one person refers us (buyer’s agent), and the other two will definitely have an opinion of our findings (seller and listing agent). Our main referral source is the person who stands to gain the most from what we do. The real estate agent is the main person in a transaction and of course has many referral partners. So, who should we make happy? This has become a challenging question over the years but looking back at my first experience with our home inspector, I know it’s the client every time. At the end of the day, clients are the most important people in every transaction.
It’s no secret that realtors want deals to go through. That is completely understandable because it is their livelihood. Having a deal fail after all the hard work would be heartbreaking and every agent has a story. But there is another side to that story too. And that story usually ends with everyone from the realtor to the home inspector being sued. If that becomes your story, don’t you want the right people on your side? Shouldn’t clients be encouraged to use an inspection company that has the proper tools and the knowledge to give them the peace of mind they deserve? As a realtor, don’t you deserve that too? It is hard for an inspection company when many agents call you when they want their personal properties inspected, but it’s pretty much crickets the rest of the year. We think that says a lot and it does not go unnoticed.
With all these shifts happening in the market, everyone in this industry needs to understand how to pivot. I feel like more deals are lost because some agents have not learned that yet. There are agents that just flat out nail the delivery on how to prepare a buyer for a home inspection and then there are agents that just fall very short. The realtors who understand how to manage emotions are the ones that excel. Prepping your buyer about the full inspection process is key. Especially what the report will look like, what will be in it, and what you can and cannot ask for during negotiations. Clients need to be educated on the contract and what items can be asked for during an inspection. What can be asked for and what is included in a report are absolutely different. Inspectors are there to highlight all items that may need attention in the home. That doesn’t mean all of those items can be asked for.
More importantly, I have noticed over the years that the agents who go to the inspections and coach their buyers through the most stressful part have a much higher percentage of getting to close. When an inspection happens, most of the time the client will bring other family members that haven’t seen the home. I can’t tell you the number of times mom or dad absolutely hated the home, and they were already online trying to look for other options before we were in the second hour of the inspection. Then of course comes the famous “I need out of this so find everything you can so I can get out of this deal.” And the agent is nowhere to be found. We are seeing more and more where our reports are not being used for their intended purpose and we are left with the fallout.
This market we are in now has shifted. Buyer’s remorse is at an all-time high right now. Almost weekly, we have at least one client tell us upfront that they are only doing the inspection to get their earnest money back. Personally, I think it’s very wrong, but it is their report. What are we supposed to do? I hate that a buyer can’t just contact a seller and say that they are unable to afford the house once all the final numbers are viewed. But when an inspection costs $400 and clients stand to lose $1,500, it is understandable that they are getting creative. For inspectors, there are usually signs from clients that show this is the path they are considering. These are the buyers that don’t come to the inspection and never ask a single question after. Our inspectors even reach out to every buyer and their agent during an
inspection only to hear nothing back if this is the case.
RHI is an inspection company built on the foundation of education and the vision to make people’s lives better. That is who we were yesterday, today, and who we will be tomorrow. Deals falling through do nothing to help us either. We want transactions to go smoothly, we want money to be made, and new chapters of life to start. It’s what makes our business successful. This market is hard on everyone, and hard times can bring out the worst in people. But we believe this is the time to build deeper relationships and forge stronger connections. That’s what we chose to do. We’ll be happy to greet those who are choosing to do that with us on the other side with open arms and embrace the opportunities that will be in front of us. Until then, we are partners in this with you.
All my best,