3 Tips to Help Home Inspectors Grow Their Business

Get a Website

The internet plays a major role in our everyday lives and home inspectors must have an online presence. When today’s consumers need something done, they go straight to Google and look at the first few results. Being in this business without a web site is like going to an inspection without a flash light. You’re missing something crucial! Buying a domain name and creating a simple website is easier than you think. Hosting companies such as GoDaddy, Network Solutions, and HostGator all offer domains and easy to customize templates that make building a website simple. It is almost as easy as typing a Word document. With GoDaddy for example, you can buy a domain name for just $12 and then pay a small monthly fee of $5 for them to host it. If an inspector is too busy or not comfortable with computers, there are many companies that specialize in creating websites for businesses.

Every website should have contact information, information about the inspector, the services they provide, a sample inspection report, and any relevant information about the business. It is important to have a quality website with good content so that the site will have a good ranking with search engines. To do this, inspectors should take time to add quality content to their site. Writing informative articles about home inspections, as well as including photos and videos is a great place to start. A home inspector should also use search engine optimization (SEO) tools to increase the visibility of the website with search engines. It is important to focus on keywords and phrases, such as your city and home inspection or home inspector. The term “home inspection” is so broad, an inspector is better off focusing their efforts on ranking high for the city or area where they conduct home inspections. For example, a home inspector in Cincinnati would have more success ranking higher for the term “Cincinnati home inspection” or a smaller town within Cincinnati such as Fairfield of Finneytown then they would “home inspection”.

Get Involved With Social Media

There are many social media outlets, but the main sites are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. These sites are great for personal use, but also provide an incredible opportunity to connect with current and future clients. Many well-known companies are using social media today because they see the value in it. It provides them with the ability to be in constant contact with their clients. Social media is becoming so popular, that businesses can no longer afford not to be involved. If they don’t jump on board, they are going to be left behind by their competition. The best thing about all of the sites mentioned here is that they are all free to join.

Create Professional Reports

Professional looking reports created with home inspection software can separate a home inspector from their competition and lead to new referrals. Home inspection reports are passed around by potential home buyers, realtors, and past customers with each report having the inspector’s name and company right on the cover. It is important that the report leaves a great impression on whoever sees it because that can lead to a referral for the inspector. A year or two after the home inspection, the report itself may be all the client has or remembers from the inspection. This is why a professional looking report is so valuable to a home inspector.

The above three suggestions are a great way for a home inspector to grow their business. A company website that provides quality content is crucial in today’s world and a must for any business. Once the website is up and running, inspectors need to join the social media phenomenon. Social media provides a great opportunity to connect with customers for free. Lastly, an inspector should not underestimate the importance of a professional looking report. An inspection report is a direct reflection of the inspector and can be a great tool to gain referrals. If a home inspector takes advantage of these opportunities, they will put themselves in a position to grow their business and ultimately making more money.

How to Hire the Right Home Inspector

25 years ago, a home inspection was a rare thing, and professional home inspectors were few and far between. Now, nearly every buyer knows that they should get an inspection, and there is a seemingly endless supply of inspectors, all claiming some ‘certification’ or credentials that sound impressive. But how do you know which is the right inspector for you?

Well, here are a few simple thoughts from someone inside the business (some of which, many inspectors will be upset with me for revealing, and will hope you won’t read them). Interview them personally. Don’t just take someone’s advice that “this guy is good.” Talk to them.

  • Ask them about what they do (and don’t do – many don’t walk roofs, some don’t give repair cost estimates).
  • Ask them about their reports (simple checklist, or descriptive narrative?)
  • Do they provide repair cost estimates?
  • Are they licensed (if necessary in your sate)?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • What is their background and/or training?
  • Are they members of the BBB or Angie’s List or other consumer oriented groups?
  • Most importantly, do they treat you with respect and listen to what your needs are?

You will quickly find that there is a world of difference in Inspectors and how they view YOU, the client, as part of the inspection. Some see you as a necessary evil, or an interruption of “their” inspection. You will know you have hired one of these inspectors if they hand you a measuring tape to keep you busy measuring rooms while they inspect.

Often on inspector chat boards they talk about “controlling” their inspection, as if the client is a bother. Never forget: The inspection is (and SHOULD be) all about YOUR education, and making YOU comfortable with your new home.

E & O Insurance.

Ask your inspector if they are insured. Many inspectors treat this question as if you have just asked them for their Debit Card and PIN, but it is a legitimate and VERY intelligent question for clients to ask. You wouldn’t let an uninsured plumber work on your pipes, would you? So why allow an uninsured inspector advise you on the entire home and all of its systems and components? E&O (Errors and Omissions) Insurance is your protection that if the inspector misses something significant, that you won’t be left paying for that mistake.

Experience.

My dad always said: “There is no substitute in life for experience.” (He also said, “Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.”) This is also true when it comes to inspectors. While some may have read it in the best books available, you simply have to learn some things by doing them. (Like, for example, never test the door to a room by closing it from the inside of the room. The reason why will be instantly clear when the knob falls off in your hand and you are stuck on the interior.)

You will know just by talking to an inspector and asking them the questions listed above whether you are talking to a raw “newbie” or a seasoned pro. Some pride themselves on “writing up” lots of defects, but often, many of these items are actually quite common and relatively minor (the kinds of things most sellers won’t address or compensate for). Some inspectors also pride themselves on being disliked by Realtors. This simply mystifies me since most Realtors I know honestly care about putting their client in a good home, and respect the opinion of the inspector. Most times, this indicates to me an inspector who is a little full of himself, and may be out to prove how much he knows, or wants to make a major deal out of a minor issue.

Certifications are a dime a dozen in the inspection industry. Every day, my email inbox is jammed with people selling more quick and easy “certifications” of this and that. In fact, one place will certify you (yes, you) as a “master” inspector if you take several free online courses and send them a check for $375 – without ever performing a single inspection! As you can see, certifications are highly suspect. Professionally, the ones that are truly significant are offered by the International Code Council (ICC) and certify that the inspector has a detailed understanding of current building code (particularly helpful if you are purchasing new construction).

In general, I would recommend an inspector who has performed at least 1,000 inspections, and has at least 3 years experience – but even among these, you must ask the other questions to get the best fit for your needs.

Choices.

Does the inspector offer choices to accommodate you? All buyers are not the same. All homes are not the same. So why do most inspectors offer the same inspection to all clients? Ask if they offer choices in prices, level of detail, and services offered. An investor seeking an opinion on the basic components (structure, roof, electrical, plumbing, HVAC) of a home they intend to renovate may not need the meticulous detail required by a nervous First Time Buyer. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you really need, even if it seems to be more (or less) than what the inspector typically offers. If the inspector you speak to can’t offer the service you need, keep searching, you will find one that does.

Price.

Which brings us to the last point, and the first question most people ask: “How much does an inspection cost?” The answer is – it depends (mostly on your area of the country, and the size of your home). Most inspectors base the price on square feet (the larger the home, the longer it takes to inspect). Be cautious of those who use price or zip code as a determining factor (buying a more expensive home in a more affluent neighborhood can dramatically increase your price with these inspectors who believe you must have more money to spend). Shop prices around. You CAN and WILL find a reasonably priced inspector who is every bit as good or better than the highest priced inspectors.

A good clue is: If someone doesn’t post their prices on their website, they are higher than is typical. Again, many inspectors will react rudely with some variation of “you get what you pay for.” Ask that inspector if they buy Premium Unleaded at the most expensive gas station in town, and then look through the grocery store circulars to find the highest priced items available – after all, they must be the best if they are the most expensive!

Learn the Contribution of Home Inspector Schools to Certified Ones

Every year, there are just about millions of Americans who apply for Federal Housing Administration or FHA loan. These realtors, mortgage brokers and home buyers know the importance of home inspection. The primary task of the inspector is to evaluate the overall condition of a home. Spotting the structural damages, detection of leaks and plumbing corrosions are all learned from school. Home inspector schools are the foundation on how to become a certified inspector. Education is the initial key of acquiring knowledge.

Being a regular inspector is not enough with the current demand in today’s market. Getting a license, certification and membership to some associations are all important in order to become an in-demand in home inspection market. Every year, the real estate market fluctuates. Many people buy and sell their homes. The demand for house inspection is always present. If one is stuck on being a traditional inspector, the career ends there. The situation today is learning more to gain more. Learning must be continuous. Get license and be certified to be a completely professional inspector.

Training and Education- Taking up training courses to inspector schools is a good step. This will definitely take one to become a certified home inspector. American Home Inspector Training Institute and American Society of Home Inspectors offers online and classroom training courses. Inspectors will learn some tips through discussion and some school introduce software to provide more information.

Experience- Finding local inspectors to get professional mentoring is important to gain actual knowledge. Aspiring certified inspectors would get a feeling of the real inspection process and can get answers from questions with the whole activity. It provides a good exposure to one’s skills. This can also win connections from different certified inspectors, future clients and companies that can help anyone to be an intern or trainee. Everyone successful in this field started from nothing. The experiences gain should be worked hard and earned.

Certification- Get certified by meeting the certification requirements. Being certified by a known and respected regulatory body like American Society of Home Inspectors or ASHI is necessary to be truly a qualified inspector. A completion of home inspection licensing courses is needed for a license. The completion of certain education and experience are required in addition to proper training and field work. Still, everything depends on each State’s regulation.

Business- A licensed home inspector can choose whether to practice the profession as individual provider or put up a business. Home inspection is a high-paying job especially if the business has gained its clients trust. Owning a home inspection business brings a good future.

One of the requirements to become home inspector is the knowledge of construction practices in every building trade. Going to inspector schools, getting trained and acquiring license comes with a cost in order to achieve each step. But, money is incomparable to the experience and bright future the profession brings to any individual. Home inspection services are always needed. Buying and selling a house always require a home inspector. It is important in real estate industry to always purchase this kind of service. The birth of consumer awareness has helped home inspection industry gain its demand. Still, today, the demand for home inspector is increasingly unstoppable.