Many new and even seasoned home inspectors forget the emotion that clients bring to a home inspection. Buyers are looking for someone with skills and knowledge to confirm their purchase decision. They want to make sure their new home is warm, safe, and dry.
Home inspectors provide facts of a home’s condition. Sometimes this includes fire, health and safety issues. Professional home inspectors take it up a notch with a good bedside manner. It’s not enough to talk about the “bricks and sticks” of the house. Help the buyer understand what’s going on. Replace fears with knowledge and educate them during the home inspection process. In other words, deliver relevant information with perspective and empathy.
Your written AND verbal comments make a difference.
It is important to bring perspective to the inspection and leave personal prejudices at home. We may be aware of problematic or dangerous components. Our professional voice should remain informational, objective and be easy to follow. Approach issues with verbal and written comments equal in weight and directive. Deliver information to the client in a balanced and comforting manner.
Put yourself in their shoes. Do your best to put the client at ease. For instance, wrap your comment with a statement such as, “This appears to be a correctable condition.” Similarly, be empathetic to their responses when discussing issues and remain neutral. Provide only your professional opinion with a path to a potential solution. For example, remind them of the talents their Real Estate Agent possesses, “Sally is an excellent Real Estate Agent!” Report the facts and avoid drama throughout the inspection process. Plainly stated, leave your ego in the car!
You might be surprised to learn that some Real Estate Agents may try to blame the Inspector, regardless of the facts.
I recall an inspection involving one of my favorite and high-performing agents. She knew that in addition to being a professional home inspector I was an instructor with AHIT. I walked down the basement stairs with the smell and feel of moisture penetrating the air. I noticed the water heater had a significant active leak at the hot and cold pipe connections. It was leaking for a long time with visual mineral staining on the concrete floor. Fortunately, a nearby floor drain took all the leaking water.
I reported my findings in the written report. The listing agent called the buyer’s agent and asked, “Is your Home Inspector a deal-killer?” After that, she called me and laughed aloud when telling me this story. In addition, the seller admitted that the water heater had been leaking for quite some time.
3 Tips to Avoid the Drama:
- Remain factual, not prejudicial!
- Be empathic while discussing issues.
- Bring perspective to every home inspection.
I’m looking forward to learning and sharing more with everyone soon!