Why is Home Inspection Important?
April 30, 2013 | Comments: 0
Most real estate agents have been trained to develop a business plan because otherwise they are really "planning to fail." But many real estate business plans are doomed to failure either because they lack strategic vision or because they aren't really living documents. They are so complicated and detailed to be inflexible or there is no structure and thought behind them.
Like real estate agents needing to drum up business, home inspectors have to market effectively or fold up shop. I've had several business plans that simply didn't generate enough leads. But I decided to learn from what didn't work and to make adjustments. We all have a choice. Either we can give up, blaming ourselves (or the cosmos) when goals don't materialize, or we can instead fault the execution of our plan and act to fix it. If at first you don't succeed....
Home Inspection on "Change Your Real Estate Business Plan into a Plan of Action"
March 29, 2013 | Comments: 0
Real estate agents and home inspectors are both in a referral business, requiring marketing efforts to drum up clients, especially when starting out. Like selling real estate, selling home inspection services is primarily a matter of selling oneself. Something I have learned the hard way is the importance of following up with prospects to prove one's capabilities and to demonstrate a commitment to helping them.
Usually the real estate agent is my true client even though I enter into a contract with the home seller or buyer. I have to find that sweet spot where I don't badger realtors and yet make some degree of contact at least to establish name recognition. In turn, realtors have to find that same sweet spot in their relationships with past, current, and prospective clients.
Home Inspection on "Three Follow-up Mistakes Real Estate Agents Should Avoid"
February 28, 2013 | Comments: 0
When a real estate broker competes for a prospective home listing, the process can be demanding, exhilarating, and frustrating. The real estate agent has to perform some degree of market analysis and prepare a presentation, knowing full well that all that effort may be for naught. Competing on a level playing field is one thing, but what do you do when a competing agent offers to reduce his or her commission to win the listing?
At least marketing real estate services has a commonly recognized standard for setting commissions. But pricing home inspection services has no such guideline, forcing one to intuit "the going rate." Plus, we home inspectors adjust our quotes based on the age and size of the property. There is always the prospect of being undersold by Cheap Charlie, and even some real estate brokers pressure us to lower our rate to what they lead their client to expect or budget.
Home Inspection on "Counteract Underselling Real Estate Listing Agents"
January 30, 2013 | Comments: 0
The real estate agent and the home inspector both develop their businesses by building lasting relationships. Selling and inspecting real estate come about primarily through referrals from friends, family, other professionals, and past associations. This last item, especially associations with past clients, can be a goldmine, even more for the agent than for the inspector.
The real estate agent's secret weapon in this regard is the Annual Client Review (ACR), and I want to acknowledge Denise Lones, a very successful agent, as the principal source for this blog post. Her practice has been to maintain contact with former buyers she represented using this simple but effective tool. Let's see how it works.
Home Inspection on "Leveraging the Real Estate Agent Annual Client Review"
December 28, 2012 | Comments: 0
As a home inspector, I have to ensure that a house's electrical system is safe. Accordingly, home inspector Standards of Practice require me to scrutinize the main electrical panel (with the cover off), looking for wiring or other defects that would compromise safety. I also have to make sure certain other items are copacetic, such as the presence of grounding electrodes and bonding systems.
What the home inspector learns about the electrical system is good knowledge for every homeowner to possess. Some of this knowledge is already commonly known, such as always shutting off power before working on electrical circuits or junction boxes, and exercising much more severe caution around 240 volts than around 120 volts.
Home Inspection on "Home Inspector Electrical Safety Guidelines"
November 30, 2012 | Comments: 0
My home inspector practice has yet to turn up a dangerously unsafe deck, but I personally know other inspectors who have found such, and there are lots of well-documented examples of deck failures in the broader trade literature. The importance a home inspector places on the careful inspection of decks is thus a good indicator of the quality of his overall work. This blog will illustrate how I approach the determination of deck safety.
The home inspector has to take deck safety very seriously for a few reasons. One, safety (in general) is a primary concern. Two, inadvertent omission of a structural problem can result in avoidable damage to person and property (as well as to inspector reputation). Third, decks are sometimes add-on projects of homeowners and are not always built to code or through the permitting process. Fourth, decks are exposed to the elements and thus can degrade more rapidly than the house.
Home Inspection on "Home Inspector Deck Safety Practices"
October 30, 2012 | Comments: 0
The home inspector is trained to recognize safety defects and to call them out, particularly circumstances that endanger children. As a home inspector, I see accidents waiting to happen all the time, some major, some nearly insignificant, but rarely realized by the homeowner as a problem. The purpose of this blog is to heighten the awareness of owners and buyers by presenting some child safety tips.
These home inspector tips are not difficult to follow or implement, but they could end up making a tremendous difference. This is true whether children of your own live in the house or other children visit on occasion. Potential dangers you could prevent range from electrical shock to falling to being trapped, crushed, or burned. Use this guide to formulate your own inspection checklist and put your mind at ease.
Home Inspection on "Home Inspector Child Safety Tips"
September 28, 2012 | Comments: 0
The home warranty used to be a common aspect of real estate transactions and it was considered worthwhile by both buyers and sellers. Now, getting a home warranty is seldom mentioned, let alone recommended, when putting together an offer. Perhaps agents think that the house inspection has supplanted warranties and/or rendered them obsolete. But in my mind there is good reason to bring them back, particularly for transactions involving foreclosures and short sales, quite prevalent today, in that surprises not apparent at the snapshot time of an inspection are more likely to crop up in the coming months.
A home warranty is not a substitute for a house inspection and should not be thought of as such. It is not really a form of insurance either, but a service contract to perform repairs and replacements. Policies are available not just for single-family homes but also for all kinds of property. Coverage varies somewhat from policy to policy, but essentially extends to main systems and components, including appliances.
Home Inspection on "Home Warranty Value for Buyer and Seller"
August 30, 2012 | Comments: 0
Many real estate agents view home inspectors with suspicion or as a necessary evil, afraid that they are going to kill their deal. But real estate transactions actually shouldn't be entered into unless both parties are fully informed. Buyers' agents who try to pull something over on their clients just to make a closing aren't apt to last long. Nor are overzealous and alarmist home inspectors. Both should solicit to what is best for their mutual clients. In this blog I want to show how a home inspector with proper motivation can not only be the agent's friend but even help the agent boost his business.
Here I'm addressing real estate listing agents primarily, to show how I can be of service. If, through some candid education and with no strings attached, I can help them to be more successful, then I will be more successful. This is what I ask them: How many home sellers are unrealistic about house value and market price? How many of them conveniently overlook the need to make repairs? How often do you walk a tightrope, struggling to persuade the seller to be realistic without jeopardizing the acquisition of their listing? If you do win their listing, how confident are you that their property will move? In other words, this is an indirect way of asking, "Why should you as a real estate agent put yourself in the position of losing money (advertising costs) on a listing that will stagnate and expire in 60-90 days?" Then I demonstrate a way for them to turn the situation around.
Home Inspection on "Helping Real Estate Listing Agents Close the Deal"
July 29, 2012 | Comments: 0
Like the economy, real estate markets and planning continue to struggle with a severe drag of uncertainty. People wish the real estate bubble-bursting trauma would fade into oblivion already and allow things to get back to normal. However, optimism alone is not yet enough to outweigh the negative effects of stubbornly high unemployment, political shenanigans, European troubles, and the still bloated supply of foreclosed dwellings. We see positive signs for one quarter followed by pullbacks the next, making long-term, realistic planning extremely frustrating and difficult.
However, real estate trends and statistics are useful and helpful provided we get a broad perspective that takes into account all important factors. We start by looking at the local conditions of income, realty pricing changes, and inventory. We examine trends and expectations, but also take into consideration ramifications of national policies and financial constraints on the realistic potential for certain property transactions occurring.
Home Inspection on "Mid-2012 Real Estate Trends in Whatcom County"