The Top 10 Traits of a Great Home Inspector
Wanna Know How to Be a Great Home Inspector?
You already know that your part of the home buying process is a critical one. You’re in charge of making sure a home is safe to live in and prepare buyers for any problems that may arise in the future. A home is a long-term investment, so a buyer needs to work with the best of the best to inspect it. So, how do you stand out, build connections, and offer the best inspection services on the market?
Here are the top ten traits of great home inspectors, and why they’ll make you stand out, every time.
A good inspection is a thorough inspection. Sometimes, new inspectors think that the best inspector is the fastest inspector. This just isn’t true. The best inspector is the one who knows their stuff, takes their time, and provides a thorough service for their client.
One of the best ways to connect with your clients and build a positive rapport is to let them in on your process, and build authentic relationships with them. Though you’ll be writing a report for them to take after the inspection (which we cover below), clients might also want to observe the inspection in real time. This is a great opportunity to explain what you are looking for, point out red flags, and show your client opportunities for improvements in the home. This helps your client understand their home while also making the inspection process a positive experience for them. A double win!
The home inspection report is the culmination of your work and a physical reflection of your expertise. But the report goes beyond just reporting your findings and creating a long, detailed write-up. This report should be as user-friendly as possible. That means you should take care in how you deliver your findings to your clients: include pictures, summaries, and format your information in ways that are easy to read. Consider what your client knows about the inspection process — in other words, now is not the time to show off your fancy lingo. How can you help them understand the problems in this house? Remember, an important part of your job is to make these problems manageable. This should be reflected in the way you write your report.
You might be thorough, friendly, experienced, capable of writing a solid report, and have every other skill in the book. But how do you look on paper? Solid credentials, such as being licensed in your state, should be the first thing you have under your belt as an inspector. Prospective homebuyers and real estate agents alike look for inspectors who are professionally trained and licensed. And it doesn’t hurt to belong to a national organization, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). These are simple boxes to check to show that you’re the real deal.
Everyone wants to work with an experienced professional. If you’re a new or prospective inspector, this can feel like an intimidating hurdle to jump, but don’t worry. The training we offer allows you to gain hands-on experience with our instructors, who are professional inspectors themselves. Even if you opt for online courses, AHIT prepares you to face any kind of inspection and provides the connections you need to guarantee success. This is all you need to gain necessary experience, and to show up in the field ready to tackle anything.
Excellent Customer Service
Just like when you write your reports, you should also be prepared to answer questions that come up from your client. Being a home inspector means, in many cases, being your own boss. You run the show here, and the key to running a good one is being able to offer feedback and answers to questions in friendly and understandable ways.
Home inspections can be scary. A lot of people might even see it as a “make or break” moment in the sale. But this just isn’t the case. And this is where your customer service skills will be extra handy. A home will always have issues, so keep your clients’ interests in mind and help them see that these issues are manageable, not intimidating.
Good reviews are the cornerstone of a strong business. While building connections with real estate agents is a great way to grow your network and advertise to new clients, positive reviews from previous clients can be even more persuasive for potential clients. If you have a website, you can build a page to show reviews from people you have worked for in the past. This is a great way to advertise your reliability, your expertise, and your services.
Insurance sounds like a hassle, but it’s something you gotta have as an inspector. If you miss something on an inspection, for example, you can be sued for negligence. And if you happen to be injured on the job, without insurance, the homeowner may be sued. These are just a couple of reasons why you should have insurance, but most states require inspectors to carry it anyway.
ASHI and InterNACHI recommend inspectors have Errors and Omissions (E&O) and General Liability insurance. Luckily, AHIT students get exclusive discounts on their insurance plans through EliteMGA. As always, if you are an inspector and you’re currently uninsured, check out your state requirements to see what you need.
What’s a professional without professional equipment? Well, short-handed for one. Inspectors should have a tool kit with modern equipment like electrical circuit analyzers, carbon monoxide and fuel gas analyzers, digital moisture meters, and a digital camera, to name just a few.
Having the right tools is half the job. After all, home inspectors are pretty great, but they’re not quite made of magic.
Last, but definitely not least, you have to be honest. Not only is honesty important for building credibility, but it’s important to know your limits and be able to refer your client to another professional where they are needed. A good inspector can get the job done with the skills they have, but a great inspector knows when more feedback is needed. For example, there are no standards of practice that require home inspectors to go onto a roof to inspect it. This is dangerous, and can cause damage if done improperly. If you can’t access high areas of a home with a 17’ ladder, you’re gonna need to call a roofing company to do a thorough look themselves.
In a case like this, you can document in your report what you were able to find and recommend a professional if more information is necessary. And no, this doesn’t make you look like an inadequate inspector. It makes you a trustworthy professional, who cares about safety and getting the job done right.
What other traits and assets can you think of that make a home inspector great? Let us know in the comments.
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