Kevin Mathers realized he had made the right choice in picking American Home Inspectors Training Institute the day he took his state licensing test. He was a little nervous when he was told the Illinois State Home Inspectors Exam would take four hours to complete, but it turned out he had nothing to worry about.
“The test was actually easier than the certification test that they gave us in class [at AHIT],” Mathers said. “They prepared us extremely well for the test. That’s one of the biggest things I preach: for people to go to AHIT.”
Mathers, who started his south suburban Chicago-based home inspection business, KGM Home Inspection, in 2012, has practiced what he preaches by bringing on two subcontractors, Jared Lonie and Bill Sujka — both of whom are AHIT graduates — as his business has taken off in the past two years.
Kevin Mathers (left) and Jared Lonie, of KGM Home Inspection, are both AHIT graduates.
Mathers recently talked to AHIT about his business and why it has been so successful.
AHIT: What about your business makes you most proud?
Mathers: Probably the support I’ve gotten from a lot of real estate agents who trusted me with their clients, and they’re still using me. And my wife for putting up with [me starting a business]. It’s crazy…it’s not 9 to 5. I started this business in a 10-by-12[-foot] bedroom at home, and I’ve recently moved into an 1,800-square-foot suite. I’ve just been very blessed.
“We are able to talk people in off of the window ledge, so to speak.” — Kevin Mathers
AHIT: What about your business helps you stand out from other home inspection services?
Mathers: My inspectors are required to go above and beyond. That’s not to go above and beyond and get into areas of inspection they’re not qualified to get into, but more so from a customer service standpoint: always being available for a phone call or text that needs to be returned within 24 hours or less. Reports are required to be distributed within 24 hours, if not the same day, to the customer.
Kevin Mathers: Granted, when it first came out it was rough…but they made some major upgrades to it. It’s a really easy software to work with. The biggest compliments I get from my customers is that it’s very easy to read.
I’ve seen some of the competitors’ reports and they’re very thorough and they’re very good reports – maybe for another home inspector – but ‘Joe Homeowner’ [doesn’t want to have to] read a novel of ‘War and Peace.’ They don’t want to have to call somebody to interpret for them. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still some technical language in there for law and liability, but it’s not hard to figure out.”
AHIT: What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned since you started your business that can’t be taught in the classroom?
Mathers: Probably the ability to communicate, not only to the customer but to the agents.
A home inspection is probably one of the most nerve-wracking things out there. We take the drama out of the home inspection. We are able to talk people in off of the window ledge, so to speak. We’re like, ‘Hey, it’s a house. There isn’t anything here you can’t fix or repair. It just depends on where your line in the sand is.’
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Kristin is the Marketing Director at AHIT. She has authored content for numerous real estate brands, and managed corporate communications for a public real estate company. She is passionate about the home inspection and real estate industries, and loves digging into research to provide insights that empower home inspectors and real estate agents in their businesses.