Beauty and The Beast
Using a play on words of course, recently I have had many thoughts about serving clients and our interactions with Realtors and what their expectations are relative to home inspectors. I get it – in some cases we make the deals harder. Not intentionally, we do not go looking for problems that create more questions than answers. In fact, those cases end up being costly time sucking interactions for both the Realtor and Inspector. Sometimes, they are needed though. So, I have spent the last couple weeks researching and saw some interesting Facebook posts in local groups. So, I believe I have developed my thoughts enough on this that I am willing to share.
One of the articles I found in searching is above. We work for the Client. Will we answer questions and provide stellar support? Of course, we will! However, if this Realtor were to see a deposition along side one of the Inspectors on his “list” they are both going to find themselves with an uphill climb.
The “Vendors List”
Another thing I would like to mention is this “list”. Everyone has a vendor list, and we are blessed to be on many. Did you know I have called and asked to be taken off the list? Why? Because around a year ago a close friend was buying a home. They instructed their Realtor, whose list we were on, to use us for the inspections. The Transaction Coordinator then spent two days trying to talk them out of it before calling to set up the inspection. During this time, my friend called and asked why the Realtor did not want to use us? I told him some agents just have their preference. Please use whom you would like, whether it is us or another we will still be friends. We ended up doing the inspection.
Afterwards, I called that Realtor and asked them to please take us off their list. Much to their dismay they asked why and of course I shared this story and that this young family were personal friends and had shared with me what had happened, at least from the Buyer’s perspective. I told the Realtor my opinion was Pro-Tech is better being off their list than having things said steering folks away from us or having bad things being said about us. Which in the end is what happened – the Realtor had told my friend that we were too thorough and sometimes homes we inspect are harder to close. That comment alone was what cemented my friend’s decision to insist on using us.
Well you are on “the list”…
For a long time, I would reach out to Realtors who had not used us in a while. I stopped. Seems counterintuitive right? I always got the same answer if any answer at all. Well you are on my list; my buyers have just been choosing someone else.
Ok, so let us see we did 3 to 5, or 8, or even 25 inspections for you in the last several months and suddenly ALL of your clients started choosing someone else? I have never said that though until now. When you read it or hear it out loud hopefully it gives you the same thoughts it gives me. While we may be on the list, we are not at the front of your list and for some reason you are whether intentionally or unintentionally sending most of the business to some one else. That is ok – there is plenty of work.
However, for me, someone who cares deeply about how we serve folks, those who refer us and has the drive to be the best – it is a letdown. It tells me you either are not prepared to have that conversation, are avoiding that conversation, or that I was never important enough to you to earn the opportunity to know what we did wrong – because obviously there was a disconnect somewhere. I want to know! It matters – it is important to all of us! We as a team cannot grow and be better at serving you and our mutual Clients without that type of objective feedback from the outside. As many inspections as we do, its inevitable we will have and even create opportunities to improve. Share them! It is in the best interest of your Client. Tell us what we can improve upon or tell us what we did to cause the heartburn and give us the chance to make it right. I believe the sacrifices and efforts we make to serve many of whom have earned the right for us to ask this of you.
My daughter/son is buying a house…
“Hey, we haven’t talked in a while, how are you? Well, my daughter/son is buying a home and we’d love for you to inspect it!” After 20 inspections in 2018, none in 2019, now you call us is my thought, and I am immediately curious why. So, I will ask how has business been? To which I get the reply that “well I’ve been slow, or I’ve had mostly Sellers”. Zillow is a powerful tool. So, while we are on the phone, I am looking it up and see in the last 12 months you have worked with 12 Buyer deals that closed and we have not heard from you. Note to self: Other inspectors were getting the work – and again that is fine. We cannot do them all no matter how much I would want to. But again, it tells me something happened, and we lost you for a bit. I want to know why – because now I am assuming our thoroughness and approach is perfect for your daughter/son’s home but not for every other client?
May or Could cause…
The beauty and take away from this is simple. If we suggest may or could cause problems, it is because our experience and training tell us this problem is either not yet visible or is coming soon. It is our duty to you and the Client to share that experience and educate. We are not your partner. We will not partner with you to close deals. We are however, delighted to provide an unbiased third-party view of the home at that date and time based upon visible conditions.
For me it is like church. When the Pastor stands up on Sunday and is delivering the message and it makes you uncomfortable in your seat, then likely it applies to you. Are you the person that finds another church? Or, in other words, do you just find another inspector? I see it as an opportunity to grow and to serve, to be better at we all do.
Beauty and The Beast Explained
In my case especially, the Realtor is most often the Beauty and I am the Beast. So that explains the pun intended. Yet, the real beauty of the real estate inspection is a solid inspector who provides a thorough and complete report. That protects the Client, the Realtor, and the Inspector. The beast is the Realtor who does not care for the Client enough to seek out the Inspector they determine to be the best for fear of losing a deal. Because that hurts not just those parties to that deal, but our professions loose trust and confidence from the consumer.
Just be honest, tell me what we did wrong. Give us a chance to regain that trust. It is the ethical and right thing to do for us all. Truth over harmony…
Lastly, this turn this around another way. I have fired Realtors and ask them not to call us ever again. Why? Because I want to make sure we are the standard for ethical behavior and that what we tell you we stand behind and you can trust. Simply stated, we will not change reports. That is another beastly act that is most asked when the going gets a little tough and the Realtor or the Inspector is not up to the task of doing the right thing. Instead they seek the easy way out. That Realtor and Inspector will be a flash in the pan and may have great short-term success – but in the end, we will still be chugging along while they have moved on to the next “big” thing.