One of the most important things that can help your inspections go smoother is to have a good relationship with your home inspectors. This not only benefits you as the REALTOR® but also benefits your client. An excellent REALTOR® and an excellent inspector is a fabulous combination to help create a better experience for buyers. Today’s guest, Scott Frederick, joins Monica on the show to talk about how we can foster better relationships between REALTORS® and inspectors, including what to look for in an inspector and communication skills.
The U.S. is about 50-50 between states that require home inspectors to have a license and those that don’t. Inspectors should be a member of ASHI or NACHI, especially in states that do not require a license. ASHI is the American Society of Home Inspectors, and InterNACHI is the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. ASHI tends to be more credible, simply because of the guidelines and requirements it takes to become certified. When looking for a home inspector, you should look for at least one of those certifications.
Training for home inspectors involves a technical instruction background, but almost as importantly, good communication skills, good grammar, punctuality, and time management are key to becoming a good home inspector. There is usually a mentor/shadow period, where you train with an experienced inspector. As an agent, it’s important to do your due diligence to find an inspector to help with the real estate transaction.
The most important part of Scott’s job is to build the relationship between the client, the buyer, and the REALTOR®. He talks about some of the customer service standards they use on their team, starting from the first call to the systematic inspection of the house. During the inspection, they set up shop, go over what the client ordered in terms of the inspection, and get the expectations of the buyer upfront. Get an unbiased opinion from the beginning so the inspection can be thorough and honest.
The way you present yourself from the beginning of the inspection and instill confidence in yourself and your ability will put the client at ease. The inspection is also an opportunity for the client to do their own walk-through and identify anything they are concerned about.
Communication is key between inspectors and REALTORS®. Agents need to learn how to be facilitators of information between inspectors and buyers. To be a good communicator, you have to be able to give and receive. As a REALTOR® or an inspector, try to create a good dynamic between you and the other people, so collaborating is productive and easy. As REALTORS® and home inspectors work together over the course of their careers, it creates a camaraderie that leads to good questions and open communication.
If there is an issue with the house that comes up during the inspection, it’s important to engage the conversation so that the buyer can hear all the information from the inspector themselves. It is all about how you phrase the problem verbally as well as in your report. Scott’s team addresses issues in three tiers: 1. Safety 2. Structural Defects 3. Cosmetic Defects. When presenting issues, make sure to offer solutions as well.
Whether the agent is at the inspection or not, they are the ones who will be negotiating with the broker. It is important that the inspector leaves thorough comments about any necessary repairs so that the agent can effectively negotiate these. One of the worst habits an inspector can get into is deferring everything to another expert. Agents can help with this by providing feedback to inspectors on what they would like to see. A REALTOR® is just as important in creating a good inspector as an inspector’s time in the field.
Sometimes it may be a good idea for the inspector to come back after any repairs are made to ensure that they were actually done as the receipt says. Scott does this as a courtesy, but if the relationship is there between the REALTOR® and the inspector, hopefully, something can be arranged at a fair price to provide a level of comfort.
When it comes to older homes and inspections, you want to make sure you find an inspector who is knowledgeable about old homes. As a REALTOR®, you can ask questions to make sure you are going to hire a qualified inspector for the home in question. Cosmetic issues are going to differ between old and new homes, and that’s something to keep in mind during inspections.
When it comes to cosmetics, it comes down to dollars and cents. Depending on cost, cosmetic issues could become larger or more important issues. Scott brings awareness to cosmetic issues but differentiates based on the cost of repair. From there, it is up to the REALTOR® to negotiate the price.
The final thing Scott reiterates for REALTORS® is the importance of building relationships with inspectors. The more that you know each other and what you want from each other, the better the work relationship is, which ultimately provides the buyer with the best customer experience. Developing open lines of communication is key; it is all a collaborative effort.
Some additional courses for more information on this topic:
- ABR Designation
- SRS Designation
- New Home Construction Course
About Scott Frederick
Scott Frederick is a Pillar to Post franchise owner in Kirkwood, MO, in the Greater St. Louis area. He's been a franchise owner since 2013, and works as a home inspector. He is a retired St. Louis city firefighter and former owner of Frederick Renovations. Scott is ASHI and InterNACHI certified, and is a continuing education teacher. He is married with two children, and he enjoys fishing, boating, and spending time with his family.