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Is Inspection Guru Barry Stone Behind the Times?


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DEAR JAMES: Getting started in the home inspection business is a slow task that requires patient, persistent marketing to real estate agents.

These words begin home inspection answer man Barry Stone's response to a reader's question about how her son, an experienced carpenter who recently transitioned to the home inspection business, can get his floundering home inspection business up and running.

It's been more than half a century since home inspections became part of the home buying scene. Do you agree with Barry that after a half a century this is still the best way to get started in this business?

Read the rest of Barry's response here.

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I think Barry hit the nail square on the head for anyone who is new and trying to establish a home inspector business. It is all about the marketing and getting your name out in front of anyone who might buy a home or to the agents who have the clients.

When I relocated to Tennessee a little over 4 years ago I had no business. I did not know anyone in the area, heck I did not even know the names of the outlying towns. It was a struggle as I had not marketed directly to agents in over 6+ years prior to my move. My largest salvation was my website, it did make the phone ring on occasion.

This past summer I had to start a little marketing, I actually dropped off business cards and little plastic stadium cups with mints in them (my company name/logo and number are printed on the cups) to various real estate offices around town. All I did was drop off a few cups with the front desk and I moved on. It was only a few days later that my phone started to ring and it was from agents who I had never heard of but they were in the offices I visited. My little marketing helped to get my name out to the agents who had the buyers that needed a home inspection. Did I enjoying going into the RE offices? Not one bit, but you do what you have to do when business is slow.

My website is still the major source of calls for me.

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This past summer I had to start a little marketing, I actually dropped off business cards and little plastic stadium cups with mints in them (my company name/logo and number are printed on the cups) to various real estate offices around town. All I did was drop off a few cups with the front desk and I moved on. It was only a few days later that my phone started to ring and it was from agents who I had never heard of but they were in the offices I visited. My little marketing helped to get my name out to the agents who had the buyers that needed a home inspection. Did I enjoying going into the RE offices? Not one bit, but you do what you have to do when business is slow.

My website is still the major source of calls for me.

Your story attests to your performance as an inspector rather than as a member of a different category of inspector that practices the pursuit of sales with little or no regard for service to the homebuyer.

There are some inspectors like you that have the 'position' to get referrals from agents without having to answer to expectations to protect the sale. When an inspector has arrived at that point, there's no longer anything wrong with getting agent referrals, imho.

Someday I hope to get there. There's regional differences also that might factor in. Mention business ethics around here and all you get is dumb looks. Ethics is a joke here and I have to deal with it every workday.

Marc

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This past summer I had to start a little marketing, I actually dropped off business cards and little plastic stadium cups with mints in them (my company name/logo and number are printed on the cups) to various real estate offices around town. All I did was drop off a few cups with the front desk and I moved on. It was only a few days later that my phone started to ring and it was from agents who I had never heard of but they were in the offices I visited. My little marketing helped to get my name out to the agents who had the buyers that needed a home inspection. Did I enjoying going into the RE offices? Not one bit, but you do what you have to do when business is slow.

My website is still the major source of calls for me.

Your story attests to your performance as an inspector rather than as a member of a different category of inspector that practices the pursuit of sales with little or no regard for service to the homebuyer.

Marc, how did Scott's story attest to the performance or quality of the inspector at all. That same story could've have been told by a brand new inspector, or the one with no regard.
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Crap! Only good thing about it is that he's slipped and now his fly is wide open. A few choice words by someone who can gets the Globe's attention is all it should take to expose this coullion's blatant disregard for simple ethics.

Marc, I'm assuming (hoping) that you know more of this fellow's credentials than what I am reading within this thread. Simply because he advocates marketing to realtors, you have made, IMO, a very harsh assessment of his ethics (or lack thereof). I have never, nor will I ever, market to realtors--but I know that many ethical HIs do. When taking my mandatory NY training, I was exposed to the expertise of two fine instructors--with polar opposite views on the marketing issue. I firmly agree with the instructor that does not advocate marketing to realtors-but I also had no question regarding the ethics of the instructor that is pro-realtor.

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Crap! Only good thing about it is that he's slipped and now his fly is wide open. A few choice words by someone who can gets the Globe's attention is all it should take to expose this coullion's blatant disregard for simple ethics.

Marc, I'm assuming (hoping) that you know more of this fellow's credentials than what I am reading within this thread. Simply because he advocates marketing to realtors, you have made, IMO, a very harsh assessment of his ethics (or lack thereof). I have never, nor will I ever, market to realtors--but I know that many ethical HIs do. When taking my mandatory NY training, I was exposed to the expertise of two fine instructors--with polar opposite views on the marketing issue. I firmly agree with the instructor that does not advocate marketing to realtors-but I also had no question regarding the ethics of the instructor that is pro-realtor.

Hello Greg,

The truth is....I don't know anything about Stone, except that he's a home inspector and a columnist. But I also heard that he's done suggested in a newspaper column that a newbie should market his business to agents but neglected to say even a single word about the vested interest that agents have in completing the sale, no matter if it's a scrap heap or whatever. Imagine that newbie going out, contacting agents with his guard down and playing into the hands of every one of them until finally, somewhere down the road, he figures it out (or learns from a more thoughtful inspector) that there's a simple fact that plays much more importantly into the equation than was let on back then by this columnist. How many buyers will have been misled before that happens?

No, I don't know much about him....don't see why I need to.

Just my opinion, is all.

Marc

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Crap! Only good thing about it is that he's slipped and now his fly is wide open. A few choice words by someone who can gets the Globe's attention is all it should take to expose this coullion's blatant disregard for simple ethics.

Marc, I'm assuming (hoping) that you know more of this fellow's credentials than what I am reading within this thread. Simply because he advocates marketing to realtors, you have made, IMO, a very harsh assessment of his ethics (or lack thereof). I have never, nor will I ever, market to realtors--but I know that many ethical HIs do. When taking my mandatory NY training, I was exposed to the expertise of two fine instructors--with polar opposite views on the marketing issue. I firmly agree with the instructor that does not advocate marketing to realtors-but I also had no question regarding the ethics of the instructor that is pro-realtor.

I think you are reading Marc's comments exactly backwards. He is not judging Scott's ethics harshly; he is complimenting him on his abilities.
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It's been more than half a century since home inspections became part of the home buying scene. Do you agree with Barry that after a half a century this is still the best way to get started in this business?

After more than fifty years of inspectors working to gain the expertise and skills required to become a true professional, very little or nothing has been done to prevent a group people who are many times, no better than used lumber salesmenpeople from controlling and dictating whether or not we'll be able to pay our bills.

How embarrassing.

Don't think for a minute, allowing this to continue, and turning a blind eye to it, doesn't hurt everyone in this profession.

The one eyed hacks that who submit their "deal friendly" empty checklists, are the guys the public perceive the rest of us to be. The buyers only know what they're told by the person driving the BMW.

Six months down the road, when a wall falls in, the BMW driver is long gone, the hack settles, and the person with the problem tells fifty friends to not bother spending the money on an inspection. The BMW driver wins again.

Fifty years of this.

Why would you want to bust your ass trying to build any business, that could be taken apart in a heart beat by some lying son of a bitch, you can't protect yourself from because others in your profession are either comfortable with their arrangements, or simply don't have the guts to stand up and change it.

Good luck, Dear James.

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Barry is a Journalist...... Not a Home Inspector

His posts should be interpreted accordingly...

Really? That's not what he says in his bio on Inman News' site. Here it is word for word:

Barry Stone began his career in 1969 overseeing and partaking in the building and design aspects of residential construction projects. In 1978, having received his general contractor's license, Barry ventured into his own construction and remodeling business. During this time, his exposure to indiscriminate violations and loose interpretations of the Uniform Building Code by tradespersons and contractors heightened his awareness of the vulnerability of consumers in these areas.

For Barry, these unacceptable practices cried out for public exposure and remedy. In 1987, having been certified as a building inspector by the International Conference of Building Officials, (the authors of the Uniform Building Code) Barry left the construction field and established Action Home Inspection Service, the first business of its kind on California's Central Coast.

During the past fourteen years, Barry has inspected close to 7,000 homes, hotels, shopping centers and other commercial buildings, establishing a firm reputation as the pre-eminent property inspector and an expert in the field of building construction. His expertise has led to numerous spots on the NBC television affiliate KSBY TV reporting on environmental conditions and how they effect the integrity of the home as well as radio interviews. His knowledge of nationally recognized building codes is vast and covers all areas of construction, including electrical, plumbing, heating, roofing, fire safety, gas, propane, asbestos, radon and much more.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I met Barry and had lunch with him at Inspection World in 2007 in Las Vegas. I must say that he did not give me the impression of being a journalist. He kind of has the look of Earnest Hemingway or Robert Frost type person, folksy and down to earth. But, his writings are a far cry from them!

He looks like a typical nerd home inspector. He has worked in the trades and has the scars and callouses to prove it. Overall, I like Barry as a person and as a conveyor of the truth in our profession. Do I agree with everything he writes? Nope, I do not! But, more often than not he does get the message out that buyers need to hire a professional home inspector to inspect their home.

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From Barry Stone:

From Barry Stone

"Mr. Morrison,

The agent uses the home inspector to serve the interests of his/her clients.

A good home inspector serves all parties. He serves the buyers by making sure that they know what they are buying before they buy it. He serves the agents and sellers by decreasing the likelihood that they will be sued for nondisclosure.

Barry Stone"

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