April, 2019
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Enhancements Just in Time for the Busy Inspection Season


New work from DOE and ID Energy brings better services to homebuyers and home inspectors alike.

Closing the Loop on Home Energy Improvements
The Home Energy Score has always stood on two firm legs in terms of what it offers homebuyers:

  • an accurate snapshot of a home’s current energy performance, including expected utility costs
  • a customized list of the most cost-effective improvements that a new homeowner can make to improve their home’s energy efficiency in the smartest way possible 

Although those features have proven to be valuable to homebuyers across the country and profitable for home inspectors to deliver, the homebuyer has always been left with the daunting tasks of finding the right contractor to make those improvements and making sure that the improvements are done according to the industry’s best practices.

As most inspectors know all too well, there’s a big difference between a contractor who is committed to doing the best possible job for their client, and one who just wants to do the job and move on. The results of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) studies show that when it comes to energy-related projects like new HVAC or insulation jobs, that difference is especially stark.

As a means of steering homeowners toward the all-star contractors, the DOE has introduced a series of guides that can be included with the Home Energy Score Report. These guides for homeowners explain the following:

  • how to plan home energy improvement projects
  • why it’s important that these projects are done in a certain way by a certain type of contractor
  • which details about the project are the most important

The DOE sees these “Home Improvement Expert Factsheets” as an important third leg to fulfill the full potential of the Home Energy Score Report. These highly anticipated documents will prove meaningful to home inspectors who are fully aware of the pitfalls of choosing the wrong contractor but are understandably reluctant to invite the liability associated with providing referrals for specific contractors on home improvement projects.

Inspectors can deliver these factsheets to match the project recommendations included in the HES report and when they have particular expertise about the project in question or the contractor pool in their market, they can guide homebuyers toward specific items on the checklist to focus on, ensuring that their clients will have successful projects and a high degree of satisfaction with the inspection process overall. 

ID Energy’s New Inspector Success Packages Mean Better Networking, Marketing and Tracking of the HES Impact
Our partners at ID Energy have established themselves as the industry’s leader in plugging inspectors into the business-building Home Energy Score program through their streamlined and affordable onboarding and compliance (that’s Training, Mentorship and Quality Assurance) services. Inspectors who are providing Home Energy Scores through ID Energy have long appreciated the reliability of these basic deliverables, but now they’re also benefiting from a new suite of services that allow ASHI Home Energy Score Certified Assessors™ to make the most of their investment in achieving that distinction. 

ID Energy recently described to us the three main components in the HES value proposition to inspectors, and the serious work they’ve been doing in the off-season to see that their clients are ready this year to leverage each of those for maximum bottom-line impact.  First, most successful inspectors know that their agent network is one of the biggest factors toward maintaining a consistent flow of clients, and that remaining “front of mind” with this group is a constant challenge. ID Energy keeps close contact with its network of HES Assessors and has been pleased to see that the HES has proven to be an effective “foot in the door” for inspectors who do outreach sessions with their agent networks. The DOE has always provided a “canned” presentation designed to meet this need, but ID Energy recognized that some of this well-intentioned content was too generic for an occasionally fickle agent audience.

"We needed something more specialized for real estate agents, something that speaks directly to their needs," Brent Loya, Program Manager for ID Energy, told us. Meeting this need resulted in ID Energy developing a new agent-focused PowerPoint presentation that can be customized to specific time ranges and delivers important information to agents detailing why the Score is good for their clients and their businesses without a lot of extraneous government-speak filler. That presentation is available now, and ID Energy is on hand to help with visual co-branding and audience-specific editing services. 

Next on the list is a marketing task that no inspector has much time to bother with—creating effective collateral material that succinctly explains the benefits of a given service. The DOE-provided materials are adequate for this task, but again, ID Energy saw an opportunity to deliver something that would really work for the inspector industry that they know so well. Their new handouts and fliers stylishly get the key points across to agents and potential clients, while highlighting the technical expertise and credibility that the Certified Assessor™ title confers.

Finally, inspectors need certainty around the issue of whether the services they’re delivering really matter to their clients. “It’s one thing for an inspector to hear that the Score is valuable for
someone else’s customers in a different market,” Loya said, “but that’s not the same as knowing for sure that your customers are valuing it.”  

To address that need and to enable savvy inspectors to know that they’re delivering the right mix of services, ID Energy is now providing a custom, co-branded Home Energy Score Report Template that not only livens up visual presentation of the standard (and somewhat clinical looking) Report, but also includes a section where clients are able to rate their satisfaction with the Score and provide any further comments about their experience. Feedback from buyers thus far has been very positive and now ID Energy’s network will be able to know without a doubt whether they’re making a smart move by providing the Score.