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Thread: Hello, all...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    5

    Default Hello, all...

    I stumbled upon this forum after searching for "Zinsco panels" with my browser after seeing a picture in the ASHI Reporter so I joined.

    I've been a state licensed home inspector and an ASHI Associate member for 6 years. 22 years before that I was in the Information Technology business - I think I have the Customer Service thing down, but I'm always trying to learn more about all things home inspector related to try to be the best inspector I can. The name of my company is "Best 1 Home Inspection". I didn't name it that because I think I'm the best HI. I did so due to the constant realtor claims that their offices "won't let them directly refer an HI" because they are scared of potential lawsuits. I decided I would name my company what I did so that whenever the realtor gives their buyer a list of HI's to choose from, and that inevitable question comes to them from the buyer ("Which one should I choose??"), they can simply say "I'd just choose the best one".

    I had a realtor tell me yesterday that it is ILLEGAL for her to refer an HI. She called ME, because I had met her husband at a networking group meeting, and said she was putting my company and 2 others on her "list" to give to the buyer. I know my fee was lower than at least one other, but I didn't get the call from the buyer. I work in Alabama and to my knowledge there is no such law, and I have found that most realtors who say things like this work for the big, franchise realty company offices. I can't tell you how frustrated I get - how am I supposed to develop a business relationship with a realtor if they can't refer me?!?!

    Now, I realize this revelation about myself might simply be causing you to say "Dumb cluck - he doesn't even realize they don't want to use him". But I've been in so many situations where my work and reporting and customer service have been confirmed by the buyer as "excellent", that I can't believe it is said for that reason. I've actually seen many "handouts" where 3 HI's were listed and these are giving to every buyer that uses that realtor/realty office and that's it. Sometimes my name is in the #1 spot, sometimes not, but this is actually how they "refer" HI's to their buyers! Anyone want to give it to me straight and tell me if this happens to you or if you've ever heard of it, or if they are trying to politely tell me something? I've found other ways to get referrals and increase business, but this does drive me crazy when I hear it. Hope everyone had a great weekend and that you have much business success this week! -rp-

    Inspection Referral

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Posts
    885

    Default Re: Hello, all...

    Live by the Real Estate agent - die by the agent.
    You are a newbie! They aren't going to risk their buyers or their pockets to an unknown factor. Yes, the 3-on-a-list is a SOP. It lets the agent get around the liability and conflict of interest issues. You are on a list, you don't get called, so you wonder why? Not ever having the opportunity to bug a real estate office, I can't say for sure. I SUSPECT that that sometimes the buyer says they don't want to have to worry about that and either go eeny-meeny-mo on the list or just tell the agent to pick one they don't care. Another possibility is how the agent MAY talk up a certain inspector. A lot of people buying houses are bewildered little lost lambs and will blindly go along with whatever the agent says. The agent has had time to buddy-up and be a pal to them. You trust your good bud don't you? It's just a fact of the business.

    A LOT of people over the past 4-5 years thought they would jump into home inspection to make their fortune in life. I guess less than 10% lasted more than a year and less than 1% for more than 2 years. NO BODY is go to beat down your door with fists full of cash and beg you to inspect for them. That may happen from time to time after a number of years of experience over a thousand inspections, REAL meaningful certifications, (and licensing where required), education, and good people and communication skills.

    That's my 2.5 cents worth

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Hello, all...

    Excellent thoughts, Stuart. I agree with everything you say. I found out just last month that the largest realty company I do business with had printed out the inspector list before I even started my new company, which was giving my old company and email! They simply just ran the inspector list over 18 months ago and put copies in a file from which each realtor pulled the list - very shocking and I never thought I'd have to manage a realty company to keep business flowing my way. I contacted the manager of the realty company and had to tell her what was going one.

    I've performed over a thousand inspections (around 1,500) and have been a licensed inspector for 6 years so I guess you could say I'm a newbie compared to older inspectors I am in competition with - I'm 49 and so many inspectors are older than I am here - in regards to your mentioning meaningful certifications, the one thing that bothers me is that I have to pay ASHI to belong to their group, have to pay for CUE's, just to satisfy the state license rule. And if I ever mention ASHI, not a single buyer has ever heard of it. I wouldn't care if I didn't list my membership if it wasn't required by the state and it would surely lower my business costs. But I know I have to do it so I do.

    I do think despite the obstacles I've faced and still face, I still believe that the longer I am a home inspector the more I'll become known and the more business I will get on a steady basis. Although I continue to be amazed that I can't develop a good any realty company because they have their rules to avoid liability. But when you look at that, you see that they don't follow the same rules in regards to their business with title companies, closing attorneys, mortgage professionals business relationship. That is frustrating. As for my characteristics, I give superior customer service and the 2 compliments I get most often is that I am thorough, explain everything carefully, and at least 2 realtors say that I do have a good personality and communication skills. I am frustrated also by the housing market, which I believe is the MAIN reason I don't have as much business as I want. Until the market gets better, I feel I'll have a slow time of it, because all I can do right now is try to get more of the market share in a limited amount of inspections and a large number of inspectors "trying to make their fortunes" as you said. Thank you for responding to my post and I wish you and all inspectors the best in your business efforts.

    Russell Poe
    Best 1 Home Inspection


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Posts
    885

    Default Re: Hello, all...

    Russell, Yes, the housing market has a LOT to do with it.

    I've not marketed directly to real estate agents other than dropping off a few pamphlets and cards. I never knew what I was supposed to do and I wasn't going around touting how great I was and how much better my inspections are. I started at the beginning of the housing collapse and my business has come from my web site and client referrals. I have a few referrals through agents from time to time but nothing to count upon.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Hello, all...

    It appears I'm at polar opposites from your marketing plan. I have several realtors that will refer me to their buyers mostly from smaller realty offices that don't have the stringent rule about not referring HI's.

    However, I was told that realtors don't want you to sell to them, so I don't. I've found that sometimes all it takes is to touch base with them and ask them how's business and almost immediately I'll get an inspection from them - this just happened 3 days ago and I have her referred inspection on for tomorrow.

    I was also advised to attend as many meetings, places, etc. that realtors attend and I found out that they get HI's to teach realtor's about home inspections before they get their certification - that would be a big step.

    I've found that if I can only get the inspection, the realtor will often come back to me. But trust me, I don't tout how good I am, I just try to give them killer customer service and treat the buyer's like I would if I were doing an inspection for my Mama. Seems to work.

    Thanks for the insight into your business management - it will certainly benefit me as I take all the info I can get and boil it down into the proper direction.

    Russell


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