Avoid Becoming a ‘Bad’ Inspector

Inspector + water heater5As you know, may know many people will ask friends and family members to recommend a business or an individual for a job they need done. Some individuals will search online for reviews and advice from others. For these reasons, it is crucial for home inspectors to maintain professionalism, provide great customer service and adhere to industry ethics standards. Once you become labeled a “bad” inspector, your business could be doomed.

Home-buying and -selling expert Elizabeth Weintraub wrote that it can be difficult to distinguish a bad home inspector from a good one. Home inspectors could potentially create a conflict of interest by performing repairs themselves or even by suggesting a specific contractor. In these cases, some home buyers may be afraid that an inspector would dishonestly inspect a home in order to gain additional income by performing repairs themselves or receiving kickbacks from a contractor.

Instead, if a home buyer asks for recommendations for repairs, the home inspector should politely suggest Angie’s List or another home services directory. It is also acceptable to give clients the names of at least three companies you would recommend — but make it clear that you have no ties to the companies.

Poor customer service can also make a home inspector untrustworthy in the eyes of real estate agents and clients. Customer service is imperative to any successful business — after all, your clients and their referrals are ultimately who pay you. Home inspectors should answer questions asked by buyers and Realtors honestly, accurately and knowledgeably. Return calls, answer emails or leave voicemails in a timely manner to satisfy your customer. Home buyers are excited about the purchase they are about to make. They want information as soon as they can get it so they can take the next necessary step in the home-buying process. Great customer service will also win over real estate agents — keep in mind that your client’s Realtor will need a home inspector again soon. By offering top-notch customer service, you could win that business.

Some Realtors refer to home inspectors as “Deal Killers.” Usually, though, it’s not the inspector’s fault; he’s just reporting what he sees. Home inspectors should never avoid reporting complete and accurate information, but they should be skilled in how they deliver that information to home buyers. Every problem in a house can be fixed, and the inspector should be sure to let home buyers know this. It’s a serious mistake for a home inspector to be an alarmist or advise a home buyer on whether to buy the house. The inspector’s job is to accurately report the condition of the house at the time of inspection and to inform the home buyer of problems and possible fixes.

Home inspectors must choose their words wisely and carefully when describing and addressing problems in the inspection report. An overzealous inspector can put himself or herself in an unfavorable position regarding legal liabilities. Home inspectors should avoid both overstating and minimizing problems. Just report detailed, honest and accurate information to the intended audience. Home sellers or Realtors may still try to blame the home inspector, but as long as the inspector is reporting and acting ethically, it’s ultimately the buyer’s decision on whether to purchase the house.

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