January, 2020
Feature
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Pre-Listing Inspections Can Enhance Your Business: Advice from an Expert

DAVE KLIMA

Did you ever stop to consider how and when the inspection phase fits into the home-buying process? A house is put on the market, an offer is accepted and then you get a call to perform an inspection for the buyer. Your inspection inevitably reveals the house’s deficiencies, which leads the buyer and the seller to negotiate the cost of repairs.

With this process, real estate transactions are essentially negotiated twice—once on the price of the house and a second time for the price of repairs. Never has the price of the house increased or the seller netted more money at the end of these transactions. This process costs the seller money because the buyer will want a repair or replacement of an item or a reduction in price. In addition, this process can cost the buyer money, too, because they can be blindsided with unexpected costs and unforeseen deficiencies. In fact, some buyers will walk away from the deal and lose all the money they spent on inspections, environmental testing, appraisals, well and septic testing and so on. Truly, the way real estate is sold can be improved, and home inspectors can be recognized as leaders and innovators who bring easier, less stressful and more certain transactions to the real estate industry.



I started thinking about how motivated home inspectors, marketing to like-minded real estate agents, could help address this problem by offering pre-listing inspections that provide information on the condition of a property before the parties involved even begin to negotiate a purchase. The goal would be to end the anger, anxiety and uncertainty that often accompanies the home buying and selling process. 

I also started thinking about how home inspectors could not only use the pre-listing inspection process to connect with buyers and sellers directly (versus simply relying on real estate agents for referrals), but also be a more valuable resource to real estate agents who are looking for leads on buyers.

So, by working with home inspectors from across the United States, I created an innovative lead capture and marketing platform for home inspectors who believe in working with real estate agents and sellers. The lead capture and marketing technology can be used on any house that is for sale, but the platform specializes in the concept of pre-listing inspections.

What is a pre-listing inspection?

Pre-listing inspections are the same as a typical home inspection, but they’re done for the seller of the home instead of the buyer. To help promote the concept of pre-listing home inspections, I started a business called InspectedHouses.com. The website features a video and information that explores the concept of pre-listing inspection, and how they can be helpful to home inspectors’ businesses in many ways.

Benefits of offering pre-listing inspections

1. Drive new leads to your business.

Currently, home inspectors only get one inspection per real estate transaction, but we can use the pre-listing inspection process to create two inspections per real estate transaction. For example, in my market in Indiana, real estate agents tell me that even when a pre-listing inspection is performed, the buyer will still get their own inspection 80 percent of the time.

That means if one home inspector performs a pre-listing inspection for a client, eight times out of 10, the buyer will also request another home inspection closer to the time of sale, all within a single home-buying transaction. This means our industry went from 1 inspection per transaction to 1.8 inspections per transaction. How can anyone argue with promoting a concept that increases the number of inspections per real estate transaction for the home inspection industry? 

2. Market your business in the community.

When performing pre-listing inspections, we can use technology (such as The Inspected Houses System) to help market the house, capture buyer leads, drive leads to the listing, drive leads to the real estate agent’s website and drive leads to the home inspector’s website. When a home inspector gets a lead from a buyer, it becomes their opportunity to market to the buyer directly versus relying on the real estate agent for a referral. 

Also, with this technology, home inspectors are able to put lead capture signs in yards, which enables the home inspector to have their business logo in a yard for 30 to 90 days. Never in the history of our industry have we been able to market our companies in the yards of houses that are for sale, but with pre-listing inspections, we can. As a result, anyone driving by the house sees the inspector’s logo, any buyer walking up to the house sees the inspector’s logo and any real estate agent walking up to the house sees the inspector’s logo. It is cheap advertising, and it is a heck of a lot better than having fliers sitting in offices that buyers never see.

3. Generate new and repeat inspections.

Using this pre-listing inspection concept, coupled with lead generation, can change the relationship between you, the inspector and real estate agents. Instead of viewing you the as a deal killer and a hindrance, the real estate agent might be more likely to view you as helping to streamline the real estate process. They might see that you are someone who helps them market the house for the seller, and this could make you stand out among other home inspectors in your region as a leader and innovator.

Also, by using this pre-listing model, a home inspector can turn one inspection into many. For example, first, the inspector does the pre-listing inspection for the seller. Then, the inspector may be asked to perform an inspection for the seller on the house he or she is going to buy. And when the potential leads come in for a buyer of the seller’s house, the inspector may be recommended to do that inspection as well or for any other house they may be considering.

With the Inspectedhouses.com platform and the technology it offers, home inspectors can actually help market all houses and capture leads for buyers. There are ways that the platform can be used with or without real estate agents or with or without being associated with a real estate transaction.

Try pre-listing inspections and see results

Home inspectors who use this platform will have a niche that is different from other inspectors in their market. Using the tool helps your message sound unique during presentations to real estate agents, and it provides a way to help “pick up” new agents.

I encourage you to check out the website and consider the ways in which adding pre-listing inspections to your business model could help your business’ bottom line. If you’d like to learn more, please send me an email or a Facebook friend request, and I will provide more information and do a lead capture demonstration with you so you can learn more about the platform. As you can see, my enthusiasm for the benefits of pre-listing inspections is boundless, and I look forward to talking with you about it.

Benefits of Pre-Listing Inspections

Inspected Houses offers benefits to all parties in the home buying and selling process. Learn more at InspectedHouses.com. 

HOME INSPECTORS

  • Pre-listing inspections will increase the number of inspection opportunities.
  • Home inspectors receive potential buyers leads with a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to manage all opportunities.
  • This program gives inspectors a tool to convince agents that pre-listing inspections are good for everyone involved in the home buying and selling process.

REAL ESTATE AGENTS

  • Agent members will receive free leads that typically include a potential buyer’s contact information and whether they are working with another agent.
  • Agents who use the pre-listing program have a tool to get more “care-free” listings, get more buyers, sell houses faster, have happier clients and are increasing their chances of getting both sides of the transaction.

HOME BUYERS

  • Buyers do not have to worry about spending weeks of months looking for houses, getting an accepted offer, and then have an unforeseen issue found during the home inspection process kill the deal.
  • Purchasing a home inspection report will allow buyers to know about some deficiencies before they make an offer on the house and then they can price their offer accordingly.

HOME SELLERS

  • Home sellers know the true condition of their home prior to accepting an offer, and this allows the home seller to plan accordingly and puts them in a position of strength during the negotiation.
  • Sellers have an opportunity to post the pre-listing home inspection report, offer it for sale, and recover some of the money spent on the pre-listing home inspection.

Dave Klima is the cofounder and president of Aardvark Home Inspectors, Inc. Along with his cousin Steve, Dave founded Aardvark more than 20 years ago, and the business has evolved into a thriving home inspection business that has 42 employees serving Mishawaka and Fort Wayne, Indiana, and the surrounding areas. Dave has spoken at various home inspector conferences and enjoys giving home inspectors ideas and advice. He cofounded InspectedHouses.com, which offers innovative technology to help market houses, captures buyer leads for home inspectors and real estate agents, drives leads to the listed house and drives leads to the home inspector’s and the listing agent’s website via automated marketing capabilities. Contact Dave at dave.klima@inspectedhouses.com