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  1. #1
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    Default 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    The title of this thread says it all for me. While this is still a slower time of the year, I really begin to wonder when the market will show any life. I haven't been this slow since 2003.

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    Inspection Referral

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    Yup, it's pretty quiet out there.

    I am TRYING to take this opportunity to clean out my tool bag.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    For a moment there, I thought you might have been reduced to $9.00 inspections.

    ------------

    At the moment we are living mostly on my wife's income, for the first time I don't have enough in the business account at the end of Jan to prepay the year's E&O / GL insurance. I've got around 3 months projects at our rental properties, then I'm gonna' be really fustrated.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 01-29-2009 at 08:58 AM.
    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    It's the slowest I've ever seen it in 10 years. Between the time of year and the economic woes we're in a tough spot. It should tick up a bit as we head towards spring.

    And, if the powers that be would stop promising gold laced stimuli just around the corner maybe some people would jump off the sidelines. I've talked to several people who are generally in the market but are waiting to see what happens.

    First it was wait for the election, next wait for the holidays to pass, then the inauguration, now wait to see what kind of goodies you'll get.

    The good news, if there is any, is that we should all do much better coming out of this slump than going in. Once prices start to bottom out and people feel like it's the right time they'll jump in. Also, the slow time should have weeded out a lot of our competition. And, the HUGE unemployment will ultimately result in folks relocating and moving around for new jobs which is good for us.

    I'd like to think longterm we aren't looking too bad.... at least that's what I keep repeating to myself as I sit here are stare at my phone


  5. #5
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    I was once told, "Anybody can manage a business in good times, it's the tough times that make good businesses".

    We have to hustle to make our businesses stronger. We have to make opportunities and then prudently evaluate those opportunities. We have to look at different business models with improved services and/or different services or products. We must look into different markets. We must market our strengths of experience, knowledge and "extra mile" customer service.

    The company that prospers in these tough times will be powerful when the good times come around again. The successful companies that are decades and centuries old, did their growing in good times and bad. That's what we have to do, or be part timers.

    I don't have time to clean out my tool bag or sit around waiting for the phone to ring. I carry the phone with me while I am working on making my business better. I can do it and you can do it.

    Take charge and good hunting,

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES


  6. #6
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    The number of buyers have definately slowed up but the number of sellers have risen in our area. So now I go and contact the sellers and explain why they should do an inspection before the sale. We all know the reasons. I've been able to book at least 1 everyday sometimes 2.

    You must not forget this is a market many HI's don't even consider.

    If you get your foot in the door, it can turn into 2 inspection. Their home they are selling and the one they are buying.

    Just a thought.

    rick


  7. #7
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    Rick,

    Are you willing to say more about how you are identifying/contacting them.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    Yeah, its pretty plain and simple.

    I have an area in my hometown here that I farm for business on a regular basis. When I see a FOR SALE go up, I personally knock on the door and introduce myself and leave some information about the home inspection process and the importance of a presale inspection.

    Having access to the MLS also makes it a bit easier to find these new listings.

    Explaining that many of the things that I find now and that they can fix makes a much easier transaction to the buyer. I explain that many sellers are not aware of defects and safety items that the buyers inspector is going to find and that many of those defects can be corrected ahead of time.

    Basically, I'm explaining that the fewer things that are documented on the buyers inspection report, the more easier the negoiating will be and usually they don't lose a buyer. Most deals are simply lost because the buyer is overwhelmed with the number of the defects and think the home has been poor maintained and then decide to look elsewhere for that perfect home which we all know is not out there.

    You'd be surprised at how many of these I do pick up and then do the inspection on the home this seller is buying elsewhere.

    You got to work it! Sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring is not going to put money in your pocket.

    Rick


  9. #9
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    It's worth pointing out that the two guys on the thread scolding the other two for 'sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring' are in Texas.

    Your pending/closed sales are down around 20% from 06. In Oregon we're down in the 40-50% range and I've read the NE (where the OP is from) is similar. I've heard numerous news reports that point out Texas specifically as one of the better (if there is such a thing) areas in the current crisis.

    So, while your marketing tips are good, your market is in a lot better shape than most. Be glad you live where you do. It's a whole lot uglier in other places.

    I do plenty of marketing and it pays off.... slowly, but it does pay off. I'm gaining market share every month but I don't care how many doors you knock on you're not going to overcome losing half of your potential business.

    And the 'watching the phone' thing is really just a sarcastic remark. Trust me, I answer it about 18 hours a day when it rings.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Yeah, its pretty plain and simple.

    I have an area in my hometown here that I farm for business on a regular basis. When I see a FOR SALE go up, I personally knock on the door and introduce myself and leave some information about the home inspection process and the importance of a presale inspection.

    Having access to the MLS also makes it a bit easier to find these new listings.

    Explaining that many of the things that I find now and that they can fix makes a much easier transaction to the buyer. I explain that many sellers are not aware of defects and safety items that the buyers inspector is going to find and that many of those defects can be corrected ahead of time.

    Basically, I'm explaining that the fewer things that are documented on the buyers inspection report, the more easier the negoiating will be and usually they don't lose a buyer. Most deals are simply lost because the buyer is overwhelmed with the number of the defects and think the home has been poor maintained and then decide to look elsewhere for that perfect home which we all know is not out there.

    You'd be surprised at how many of these I do pick up and then do the inspection on the home this seller is buying elsewhere.

    You got to work it! Sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring is not going to put money in your pocket.

    Rick
    Good info Rick, Thanks

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

  11. #11
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    ...And the 'watching the phone' thing is really just a sarcastic remark...
    I don't watch the phone anyway. I have a scheduling service.

    My post about cleaning my tool bag was mainly an excuse to post a funny (to me) photo.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    Matt,
    In my post, I was not trying to "scold". I thought I was careful to avoid that tone, but if it was there, it was unintentional.

    The bulk of my business has been new construction phased inspections. Even in Texas, that's been hard hit. That portion of my business is down 40% over last year. However, the total revenue for the business is stable, even growing slightly. The intended message is not "I'm great" because I'm not; it is "you can do it".

    However, since the market environments we operate in are clearly changing, our businesses must adapt to the needs of the new environment. The old models will not work well. The reduction in new construction business has given me time to implement rewarding new opportunities, which will only make my business stronger in the long run.

    My intent was to encourage, not to scold.

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES


  13. #13
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    John and I both have websites that rank very high on Google (mostly 1st page and some 2nd page listings each). Website presence is widely considered the most important way to market your company. And I still have had three straight months of miniscule work loads. The market just is not great up in our area at this time. And I have always gotten the impression from the posts of the Texas guys that things aren't as bad there. Not saying that you guys aren't working to get yourselves more business. It's just that it sounds like your region of the country is in much better shape than the rest of us.

    Last edited by Nick Ostrowski; 01-30-2009 at 08:25 AM. Reason: typo

  14. #14
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    I think everyone has forgotten what slow is like. Back in the late 1990's and early 2000 we were always slow during the winter months. The winter slowdown would start in November and end in March every year.

    Before the boom it was very normal for most solo inspectors to average 1-2 inspections a week during the slow months. This would then pick up as it began to warm.

    We need to realize that the inspection business is not going to recover to what many thought was the norm. Us "experianced" inspectors remember how it use to be 7+ years ago. I think we will see the number of buyers increase over the next year to 18 months. Then we will be back to the way it was back in the mid to late 1990's.

    Also keep in mind that every part of the country is going to be different. My area has slowed but folks are still buying. The funny thing is that they are buying the higher priced homes and the lower priced homes (under $250K) are the ones that are not selling as fast.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    Yes, and yet, Exxon Mobile has posted it's biggest profit ever!
    That means our past Pres Bush and his rag headed partners over in Saudi Arabia have just cashed in BIG.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    It's worth pointing out that the two guys on the thread scolding the other two for 'sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring' are in Texas.
    Matt,

    My comment you took completely wrong. It was just a general statement and not directed at no one.

    If someone took it that way, I apologize to them.

    rick


  17. #17
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    Thanks for the reply, Rick.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  18. #18
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    A couple of comments on Rick's strategy.
    I used to market and do a fair amount of pre-sale inspections. My sales pitch was very similar to Ricks. It worked pretty well, especially with educated sellers.
    From my experience,
    - realtors hate pre-sale inspections and don't want to know anything about if one occurred or what the results were. They don't want to get caught in any disclosure trickbag
    - pay attention to the demographic you pitch pre-sales to; I found the more educated and stable sellers are far more apt to do a pre-sale for many reasons. Hard-up sellers not only couldn't afford the pre-sale but the cost of probable repairs.
    - consider also selling the (swear word coming be aware) 're-inspection' of corrective measures taken from your report. Since most of my work is referral, I hear things. 'We hired him for the pre-sale and fixed stuff that the report said and it didn't do any good, we still had to fix/negotiate things in the report'.
    Duh! You mean that duct tape repair on the electrical I told you to fix didn't fly with the buyers inspector?
    Sell the importance of not only fixing it, but fixing it properly.
    As far as regular HI insp, not much happening.
    Little bit of consulting coming in. My commercial account is bringing in work though, 6 reports this week.
    Good luck, guys

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  19. #19
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    Interesting, Marcus, that you should mention those demographics, as I've been sitting here this morning doing my taxes I've been thinking about Rick's marketing strategy, and about the demographics of my own business.

    1) By far my favorite source of business are referrals from affluent, well-educated clients - when I get these calls I'm almost never asked what the inspection will cost, the caller is been pre-sold by the previous client on the value of my services.

    2) However... it's also the case that new clients in this demographic (those not obtained by referral, for example, off my website) are - at least initially - the ones most likely to regard inspectors as "the blue-collar help"; it's often only once they meet you at the inspection and you begin as you explain what you are finding that they begin to appreciate the potential value of your services. (This is one of the reasons that I like to arrange to get to the inspection half-hour early and do the visual exterior evaluation before the client arrives - once the contract is signed we tour the outside to discuss what I found, and as I've already performed this part of the inspection I can immediately start the process of demonstrating to my clients the value of my services).

    3) This brings up the question of exactly how to market to sellers in such demographics: people in Kenilworth or Lake forest do not like to have "tradesmen" knocking at their doors trying to sell them something.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by wayne soper View Post
    ...his rag headed partners....
    I hate GWB as much as the next guy, or more, but "rag headed" is a bigoted statement.

    How do you know there aren't any home inspectors on this board who wear turbans, who would be highly offended? They could be Muslim, Sikh, or Hindu.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    John and I both have websites that rank very high on Google (mostly 1st page and some 2nd page listings each). Website presence is widely considered the most important way to market your company. And I still have had three straight months of miniscule work loads.
    First page of google is good, but first position is where to be. Most people that search click the first 2 or maybe 3 listings that come up. Page 2 - maybe, if they're trying to be super diligent.

    Get up to #1. Not a magic bullet, by any means, but will help.

    I agree with those who say to get out and market, be creative and diversify. Even if you don't see immediate results, if you are persistent and consistent about your efforts, your company should be the first one out of someone's mouth when they think "Home Inspection"

    my .02


  22. #22
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    I hate GWB as much as the next guy, or more, but "rag headed" is a bigoted statement.

    How do you know there aren't any home inspectors on this board who wear turbans, who would be highly offended? They could be Muslim, Sikh, or Hindu.
    John that is a very good point.


    I think I have even see His Obamaniss wearing a turban. Everyone just needs to leave their hate at the home. Life is way too short to hate anyone.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  23. #23
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    John that is a very good point.


    I think I have even see His Obamaniss wearing a turban. Everyone just needs to leave their hate at the home. Life is way too short to hate anyone.

    That is all well and good but I am sitting home more often than not lately so I guees I have to eat myself up with hate and then tomorrow I can be happy again when I do my inspection in the morning

    In typing this I got 2 calls and booked 2. I guess that is a whole lot better than getting 10 calls and everyone going with the lowest price or financing falling thru.

    Oh my. The sky is falling. What am I going to do lining up 2 inspections in 10 minutes.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    Michael, per #3
    You try that and 5 0 will body slam your a** into that well manicured lawn before you hit house #3.

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  25. #25
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    I got the same deal as you Ted. I scheduled two inspections this morning. It seems when I start one of these "woe-is-me" threads, my phone rings and I get work. It seems to be one of my proven tricks to get work. If I complain, my phone rings. I only pull this tactic out when my other ones fail (going to the bathroom, taking a nap, stuffing my mouth full of food). Those are normally sure fire ways to get the phone to ring.


  26. #26
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    I got the same deal as you Ted. I scheduled two inspections this morning. It seems when I start one of these "woe-is-me" threads, my phone rings and I get work. It seems to be one of my proven tricks to get work. If I complain, my phone rings. I only pull this tactic out when my other ones fail (going to the bathroom, taking a nap, stuffing my mouth full of food). Those are normally sure fire ways to get the phone to ring.

    Oh well. I knew something would happen. The one for tomorrow already put things on hold. He has not even won the bid yet

    I guess it is time for somemore whoe is me so the phone will ring some more.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    As an inspector here in Texas, for some reason they mail me this magazine called Texas Realtor. Inside this month issue, there is a great article explaining to realtors on getting sellers to get a pre-inspection and all of the beneifts of it.

    I'll try sometime this weekend to type it up on here so you use the information when contacting sellers.

    Back to the grind,

    rick


  28. #28
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    TexasRealtors.com - Texas Association of REALTORS. Looks like the January issue is not on-line yet, though.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  29. #29
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    Sorry guys... I didn't mean to get my panties in a wad.... it's just been really slow.

    My metro areas pending/solds hit an all-time low in November at around 1100. Then, we did around 700 for December and I can't imagine January being much better. During the 'boom' we were around 3500 most months and never dipped below about 1800 over the winter.

    There must be something in the air, though. I've scheduled 4 today for next week.... which brings me to a total of..... 4 for next week


  30. #30
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    My week was pretty bad too. I told my wife to even schedule Saturday if any calls came in. When I left this morning at 8:30am I had just a morning job and nothing for tomorrow, so I was planning on doing projects around the house.

    At 11am I got a walk around inspection for an investor for this afternoon. BY noon, I had a job for tomorrow morning, and at 8pm I got one for the afternoon.

    So I will end up this week with a pretty much average January schedule, and the month with, well, still pretty much sucky.


  31. #31
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    "5 0" ...

    When a neighbor called the police because "someone was trying to break in to the house next door with a ladder" an inspector I know was ordered to back down the lader with his hands in the air and then nearly arrested in one such suburb 'cause the officer thought his pin type meter was some kind of Taser.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
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  32. #32
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    My market is basically the "North Shore" of Chicago. As inspections have slowed down I am driving further then I usually do.
    Yes the market is soft.
    Yes the number of Inspectors who have renewed their license in Illinois is down about 50%.
    Yes without my wife working things would be much worse.
    YES,I LOVE THE HOME INSPECTION PROFESSION AND CANNOT SEE MYSELF
    DOING ANYTHING ELSE.

    We are not retreating,we are attacking in another direction.


  33. #33
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    Here's a copy of the article from the recent Texas Realtor Magazine I had mentioned earlier in this thread. Keep in mind that this article is directed to Realtors, but I believe as an Inspector that this information could be used in a direct marketing program from us as inspectors to sellers and to agents you may work with.

    I have personally typed this article. No spell check was performed.

    Hopefully this may be of help to some of you. If not, forgetaboutit.

    Rick

    ASK SELLER TO BE INTOSPECTIVE
    How your sellers--and you--benefit from
    a Home Inspection
    by- George Potter

    Most buyers recognize the value of property inspections. That's why a home inspeciton has become a common occurence during the option period of a residential contract. But the benefit's of a home inspection aren't exclusive to the buyer's side fo the transaction. I often wonder why more sellers and their agents don't use inspections to their advantages as well.
    Think about it. The results fo a home inspection affect all manner of contract negotiations and influence how comfortable potential buyers feel about a property. What other part of the transaction can have such a profound affect on intangibles like a buyer's emotions.
    All sellers should get an inspection for their home before it goes on the market. And you, as their agent, can help them see the wisdom in doing so. Here's how to promote the idea to your clients.

    Price. The cost an an inspection is usually less than the first price reduction asked for by the buyers. Also, a home with a clean bill of health can support a higher sales price.

    No surprises. You'll dramatically lessen the chance that a buyer's inspection will reveal surprises about needed repairs and maintenance.

    Stand out. Performing a seller's inspection differentiates a home from others on the the market.

    Minimizes concessions. During negotiations, small items found during a buyer's inspection sometimes escalate into demands for larger fixes. Procatively correcting small things helps avoid discussions of repairs.

    Comforts buyers. A home in documented good shape or even one with disclosed conditions offers a comfortable certainity for buyers. Instead of loving a home and wondering about added costs from unknown problems, buyers can focus on closing the deal. Such an open marketing approach can attract buyers and keep them interested.

    Fewer terminations. WIth more information at their disposal before they make an offer, potential buyers are less likely to use ther termination option in the contract. This saves time and money that may have been spent on a deal that dies.

    Whats good for your clients is also good for you. As a listing agent, you'll have a better picture of the house's condition that enables you to price and market the property more effectively. If you recommend a inspection to all you sellers, it can also differentiate you as an agent--especially if your listings sell fast and for close to the asking price. You could even cover the cost of the inspection as a value-added service to your clients.

    A seller's inspection places the home well for selling and avoids surprises that compromise many transactions. I believe they help ensure a smoother faster closing. Who doesn't want that?

    Note about the author: George Potter is owner of Bent Creek Home Inspection in Roanoke TX and is a Texas licensed real estate inspector. He is a member of the Texas Association of Real Inspectors and the Texas Association of Realtors.


  34. #34
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    License number 10086. He just walked out the door of taking his TREC exam and is already heavy into the marketing. Proud of the man. Already in the monthly Realtor magazine. At least his advertised bottom line is 250. At least he is not coming out the door with 150 and 200 dollar inspections. I know there are a lot of folks out there around 200


  35. #35
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    Most inspectors are not business people. The average inspector does not know his break even point per inspection or to gross revenue.Most do not understand fixed and variable expenses or what direct overhead is to each inspection done. In these trying times more inspectors are dropping E & O insurance. People who do low cost inspections (less then $300)will not be in business for long or will raise their prices.

    Learning curves are shortened when $ is involved.


  36. #36
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    Default Re: 3 Straight Months of Single Digit Inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by JORY LANNES View Post
    Most inspectors are not business people. The average inspector does not know his break even point per inspection or to gross revenue.Most do not understand fixed and variable expenses or what direct overhead is to each inspection done. In these trying times more inspectors are dropping E & O insurance. People who do low cost inspections (less then $300)will not be in business for long or will raise their prices.

    Learning curves are shortened when $ is involved.

    Brian has a good program to determine what your costs really are (so I've heard from many, I never used it as I was afraid I might have to lower my inspection prices just to make Brian's program accept them ). That said, there have been many here who have used his program and said it was very good, ... so if anyone needs to know 'how much they are really losing' on those $150 inspections' , you will find out.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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