February, 2003
Feature
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Does Your Report Say "Wow"?

BOB MULLOY

When you complete a home inspection and issue your client a written report, the format may include a checklist, a checklist with written comments or a narrative. Perhaps you prepare your report on-site, or deliver it to your client by e-mail or regular mail. Regardless of the format and delivery method, when a client picks up your report, he or she is looking at a representation of your professionalism. That’s why the report should shout, “ASHI® inspectors are the greatest!”

If the purpose of the report is to simply document what was said and done at the time of inspection, you are missing out on the opportunity to advertise the quality of your service. The person who picks up your report should instantly recognize it as a product of value, a possession well worth the investment. Like a home, the cover page of your report benefits from “curb appeal.” It should catch and hold the eye with a little “glitz,” such as an interesting graphic, hologram or photograph of the home. In my opinion, a professional report is accurate, informative, and in compliance with the Standards of Practice; plus it is impressive from the introduction through the conclusion. If placed in a bookstore, your report should be the one that the consumer pulls from the shelf, glances through and walks to the cash register to purchase.

Imagine seeing a home inspection report advertised on television, complete with data that describes the workings of the home in layman’s terms. The television screen changes. A commentator is turning each page, using words, graphics and pictures to clearly describe the condition of the home. Home deficiencies are diagnosed complete with the facts needed for decision making. How would your report fare under similar circumstances?  

Or imagine you are driving down the road and spot your report prominently displayed on a billboard as an advertisement for your services. Would that billboard be effective, or would you drive past not sensing any curb appeal?

Do you own a car, computer, suit or dress that says “wow” to you? Why did you buy it?  Did you do a little window shopping to compare and contrast product and dollar value before you bought it? As our clients become well-informed home inspection consumers, more of them will recognize what makes ASHI® inspectors a cut above the rest. When homebuyers pick up your final report, they should be captivated with your documentation and presentation of the facts. There should be no difficulty with comprehension, deciphering check boxes, terms or illegible handwriting. Your report should say, “Wow! Boy-o-boy, did I hire the best home inspector!” The client should realize the full value for the expenditure, and should experience a true sense of satisfaction with your services.

That’s how an inspection report can advertise the quality of your service. Satisfied clients will show your report to others and will confidently recommend you to friends and relatives. Ask yourself, “When a client shows my report to someone, will it reflect my level of professionalism? Does the appearance of my report match the level of my technical skills?”

Put yourself in a consumer’s shoes. Hold your report in front of a mirror along side the report of a competitor. Which report is more likely to make the consumer say, “Wow, am I glad I chose an ASHI inspector?”