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First visit to a real estate office - Visit Done


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As most of you know, I'm new to the game and I just found out tomorrow is going to be a big day for me. A friend of mine is in the Navy reserves and his buddy in the unit is a Realtor. Well he saw him today and told him about me and my new business. The Realtor said that they are looking for a new Inspector to handle their office (about 15 Realtor's) and if I was interested I could meet them tomorrow at 10am, during one of their group meetings.

Well golly gosh gee willykers (Toned down from my actual response for family fun) I said, I'll be there.

So I know what I want to say but I'd like to ask you vets, what are some lessons learned that you might be able to toss my way. Thanks!

P.S. I'll post tomorrow how it went.

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Originally posted by sepefrio

The Realtor said that they are looking for a new Inspector to handle their office (about 15 Realtor's) and if I was interested I could meet them tomorrow at 10am, during one of their group meetings.

I'm sure if say some of the magic words as " I am a Reeltour friendly inspector, I report both the good and bad of the home, I only inspect to the contract, My home has a FPE panel, and I will never address cosmetic issues.

And don't forget to tell them they are covered under your E&O policy.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Cave dweller

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Originally posted by Bain

I've dated a few realtors and they've told me what gets discussed at those weekly meetings. When it comes to inspectors, they tell each other to find someone young, inexperienced, and hungry, 'cause that's the guy that's most likely to want to please.

Pretty much my experience.

I walked into an office downtown about 7 years ago to say hi to a friend; right @ that moment, a realtor associate was standing up yelling across the room of 40 odd realtors "Anyone got a name for a newbie inspector? I've got a dog to unload, and I need someone in camp". When they saw me, everyone acted real embarassed, shut up, and looked away.

Every realtor in that office insists to this day the occurrence never happened, and that I'm a liar.

Good luck. Go for it. Be who you are and nail them w/your ability. Don't be surprised if everyone really acts like you're the coolest thing that ever happened, and then find out all your brochures are in the dumpster the next day.

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Although not a popular stance I still do realtor office presentations. I need X amount of inspections to pay the bills so I get work where ever I can. Being new to the industry as you are, you'll need to get your name out there as quick as possible. The shortest point from A-B is usually through a realtor referral.

Now, just because you have a referral from a realtor doesn't automatically make you a pushover. I do the same inspection regardless where the lead came from. Normally realtors only use me once but that's OK. What counts is I now have a customer that I didn't have before and that's the referral you're truly after. The customer will love you and the realtor won't - that's OK. After your phone is ringing off the hook with nothing but referrals from past customers you can put the dog and pony show away. I'm still trying to get to that point with my business. Although you'll meet your fair share of seedy realtors there are good ones out there. I have a handful that still use me.

Never change your report to please a third party and never lose focus of who your customer truly is - you'll be alright.

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Originally posted by Terence McCann

The customer will love you and the realtor won't - that's OK.

The good agents will also love you. They're the ones who want the best for their clients. Those are the ones I have relationships with.
After your phone is ringing off the hook with nothing but referrals from past customers you can put the dog and pony show away. I'm still trying to get to that point with my business.
I'm not sure I'll ever be there. Its math. An active "good" realtor may do 1-5 transactions a month. Times 12 months times, say, 150 "trusted" agents, that's a lot of potential biz in one year.

A homeowner will only buy every 4-6 years. They have a network of friends whereas only 1-3 or so of their friends will buy and may ask for a referral; stubborness and pride play here--nobody wants to ask for help. Everyone thinks they can do it better and will find their own sources.

I know some profess to work solely on customer referrals and never touch a real estate agent. I'm not sure how that works. If it does, great.

Real estate folks can be a solid source of referrals.

Its when one starts pandering to their whims that the trouble arises.

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Originally posted by randynavarro

I think its a great opportunity. . .

Let them know how much you'll help their client and not them.

Randy,

If He is going to tell them that he is wasting His time by going which is the way I see it also.

I had an offer to do all inspections for 100 agent office. I was offered free office space. I turned the offer down cus I knew I would be working for them and not myself and my client.

Bottom line if they can't control you, use you and abuse you you will be history.

Realtors and inspectors are like water and oil they do not mix.

Paul B.

PS:

Cus means because.

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Randy,

If He is going to tell them that he is wasting His time by going which is the way I see it also.

I don't think so. He will appeal to those ethical agents that want the best for their clients albeit a small percentage.

Realtors and inspectors are like water and oil they do not mix.

I also don't embrace that attitude. I can give you a sizable list of agents that I'd trust to handle my own transaction. There's plenty of good folks out there.

Putting a blanket statement on all agents continues the vicious cycle of dissension between the two professions. They're probably in their online discussion boards right now condemning all home inspectors because of all the sloppiness out there.

Perhaps they're right. . .

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Here's an article from one of the Good Realtors who expect a thorough and accurate Home Inspection to be performed, by experienced and competent Inspectors representing the buyer. He's a little heavy on the ASHI references, but otherwise he and I tend to agree, I'm happy to say he's one of our local Realtors. Here's a quote from his article:

""5) Let the Choice Be Yours: When choosing a home inspector, let the final selection be your own. Don't rely on others to make the choice for you. New and inexperienced inspectors are often able to obtain professional recommendations, regardless of their actual levels of thoroughness, competence, or lack thereof. What you want is the most meticulous, detailed home inspector available--the one who will save you from costly surprises after the close of escrow. The best inspectors are often labeled as "Deal Killers." This tongue-in-cheek appellation generally connotes those inspectors who provide the best level of consumer protection.""

Here's a link:

http://www.kohles.com/faq/1.0.4.html

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Originally posted by Lewis Capaul

Here's an article from one of the Good Realtors who expect a thorough and accurate Home Inspection to be performed, by experienced and competent Inspectors representing the buyer. He's a little heavy on the ASHI references, but otherwise he and I tend to agree, I'm happy to say he's one of our local Realtors. Here's a quote from his article:

""5) Let the Choice Be Yours: When choosing a home inspector, let the final selection be your own. Don't rely on others to make the choice for you. New and inexperienced inspectors are often able to obtain professional recommendations, regardless of their actual levels of thoroughness, competence, or lack thereof. What you want is the most meticulous, detailed home inspector available--the one who will save you from costly surprises after the close of escrow. The best inspectors are often labeled as "Deal Killers." This tongue-in-cheek appellation generally connotes those inspectors who provide the best level of consumer protection.""

Here's a link:

http://www.kohles.com/faq/1.0.4.html

But then, in his next point states "The price of a quality inspection generally falls between $250 and $300".

I don't know of any quality inspections that you could possibly get for that amount (maybe a 1BR/1BA new condo).

MOST RE agents desire to control the content of the inspection.

MANY RE agents try to control the cost of the inspections.

Just look at the many states that have had HI regulations influenced by the Real Estate lobby.

It's my experience that these optimistic comments are pointing to a tiny fraction of a percent.

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Bill,

I am sure you are aware of many regional differences. I have always been a strong supporter of a market price. I have many good friends in the Detroit Area of Michigan that do a quality inspection for approx those fees. I also have many good friends in Northern Mich that work for less and still deliver a good product. Then I have friends in Chicago, Portland, LA, Boise, etc that do the same level of work for a whole bunch more! The real problem is the price nearly always low, if you regard this as your business and are trying to put beans and bacon on the table.

The price issue has always been a little bothersome to me. I did an inspection this morning for $150.00. Was it a bad inspection? No. But it was not a normal usual quality inspection; pos house, first time buyer, spent one hour on-site and 1/2hr at office for 2hrs total.

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Yeah. Out of a few thousand, I know a couple I'd trust to be real. Which is why I've always found the name "realtor" to be pretty funny.

Don't get me wrong; if I thought I could pull good work out of realtors offices, I'd be leading the charge in the front door. I ain't holy about it; I want to work, and I don't care where the referrals come from.

Reality of >20 years says the percentage of those on our side is infinitesimal. Of that percentage, only a couple think home inspections should cost more than $300.

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Originally posted by Les

Bill,

I am sure you are aware of many regional differences. I have always been a strong supporter of a market price. I have many good friends in the Detroit Area of Michigan that do a quality inspection for approx those fees. I also have many good friends in Northern Mich that work for less and still deliver a good product. Then I have friends in Chicago, Portland, LA, Boise, etc that do the same level of work for a whole bunch more! The real problem is the price nearly always low, if you regard this as your business and are trying to put beans and bacon on the table.

The price issue has always been a little bothersome to me. I did an inspection this morning for $150.00. Was it a bad inspection? No. But it was not a normal usual quality inspection; pos house, first time buyer, spent one hour on-site and 1/2hr at office for 2hrs total.

Regretfully Bill, $250 to $300 is the going rate for the average home around here. Even though this is one of the fastest growing areas in the country, Coeur d'Alene, ID and Kootenai County, it's hard to force the price up, there are way too many Inspectors here for the volume of homes sold, and too many of them believe they get more business by charging less, the $79 guy did disappear though.

The average Household income here is $25,000, the average price of a home sold in the last 6 months, $238,000. I once wrote a letter to the editor suggesting that Idaho legalize polygamy so that the average family could have enough working adults to create an income that would allow them to qualify for a loan to purchase the average home.

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Originally posted by Lewis Capaul

Originally posted by Les

. . . The average Household income here is $25,000, the average price of a home sold in the last 6 months, $238,000. . .

That means that the average people in your area aren't buying the average homes.

That's a bad sign.

(Are you sure that's the annual household income and not the annual individual income?)

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Bain

I've dated a few realtors and they've told me what gets discussed at those weekly meetings. When it comes to inspectors, they tell each other to find someone young, inexperienced, and hungry, 'cause that's the guy that's most likely to want to please.

And, truly, there is the elephant in the room that I've never seen an HI address. Real estate ladies, being people people and all that, like to send referrals to handsome and witty HIs. If they're going to spend three hours in a house with some guy, they'd just as soon spend it with a good-looking guy who makes 'em laugh.

I have no scientific data, but I suspect that at least half of RE agent referrals go to guys who are charming. I don't think the RE ladies give a rat's ass about most HIs' inspecting/reporting ability. They know they can close a deal, regardless of what turns up in the HI report. They just want to have a nice day at the office.

Forgive my political incorrectness, but I think the best way to succeed in the HI biz is to be adorable.

WJid="blue">

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Originally posted by SonOfSwamp

Originally posted by Bain

I've dated a few realtors and they've told me what gets discussed at those weekly meetings. When it comes to inspectors, they tell each other to find someone young, inexperienced, and hungry, 'cause that's the guy that's most likely to want to please.

And, truly, there is the elephant in the room that I've never seen an HI address. Real estate ladies, being people people and all that, like to send referrals to handsome and witty HIs. If they're going to spend three hours in a house with some guy, they'd just as soon spend it with a good-looking guy who makes 'em laugh.

I have no scientific data, but I suspect that at least half of RE agent referrals go to guys who are charming. I don't think the RE ladies give a rat's ass about most HIs' inspecting/reporting ability. They know they can close a deal, regardless of what turns up in the HI report. They just want to have a nice day at the office.

Forgive my political incorrectness, but I think the best way to succeed in the HI biz is to be adorable.

WJid="blue">

Regrettably, it is average Household income, we get companies like Buck Knives who move up here and offer $7.50 an hour starting wages, it allows them, not just Buck, to keep using that Made in USA logo. One of the big National magazines recently named Kootenai County as Baby boomer heaven. Most of the people moving here are Boomers or retirees who have 401's and other incomes, they come from areas where housing, taxes, etc. are much higher and don't really care what the local wages are, others come here because the wages the can pay are so much lower than where they were. What's funny is that many of the local employers are crying about the lack of affordable housing and how difficult the housing prices make it for them to attract workers, they want the government to step in an build "affordable" housing, they never consider paying more money.

I've been thinking of writing another letter to the editor, about how one of the benefits of such low income in the area is that it seems to keep a lot of Illegal Immigrants away, from watching the News it appears that they average $10/hr down south, that's big bucks here.

Between Spokane County, WA and Kootenai County, ID somewhere around 25% to 30% of the families live below the national poverty level......local business groups that work to bring business here like it that way, when Buck Knives first announced they were moving here the newpapers reported that they were going to pay $15/hr up, other businesses had said the same before, one of the main "Bushiness Groups" here advised Buck Knives not to pay so much because it would be unfair to other local businesses.

I was born here, my family has been here for 130 years, this subject really pisses me off, so I better quit talking about it here.

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And, truly, there is the elephant in the room that I've never seen an HI address. Real estate ladies, being people people and all that, like to send referrals to handsome and witty HIs. If they're going to spend three hours in a house with some guy, they'd just as soon spend it with a good-looking guy who makes 'em laugh.

I have no scientific data, but I suspect that at least half of RE agent referrals go to guys who are charming. I don't think the RE ladies give a rat's ass about most HIs' inspecting/reporting ability. They know they can close a deal, regardless of what turns up in the HI report. They just want to have a nice day at the office.

Forgive my political incorrectness, but I think the best way to succeed in the HI biz is to be adorable.

WJ

Only my wife finds me "adorable" and I can't pull off "handsome" anymore but "charming" and "witty"...yeah, I do those. I take the job very seriously but not myself and I just can't do the gruff, pompous ass, leave-me-alone-to-do-my-job thing. I want my clients to know they can follow me around (most places) and ask all the questions they like. If that results in a few laughs, great; that's just my nature. I doubt very much that any of my few, regular, lady realtors have any fantasies about me but, yes, it's possible they refer me partly because I'm "personable" but I suspect it's actually because I always turn up on time and report in a manner that everyone can understand, even if it does often "kill" the deal.

My business now comes from a mix of direct client referrals, large tech companies (evidently I'm praised on some of their internal sites), my own web-site, and a couple of handfuls of "white hat" agents. My marketing consists solely of doing my job to the best of my abilities and waiting for the phone to ring. It has been that way for the vast majority of my career. Needless to say I had a very slow first year and it's really only this year, my fifth, that I've been turning down work on a regular basis. That worked for me as an old fart with a very productive wife but I can understand new HI's, trying to feed families, being more agressive.

Having said that, and returning to John's original post...while I have no problem with HI's getting referrals (for the right reasons) from individual agents, being the in-house inspector for a whole brokerage is an awful lot of eggs in one basket. With such a large chunk of your future business dependant on a single entity, the temptation to tread softly and not crack shells may be too much, even for the most ethical HI. I've never been tempted to visit an office, nevermind do an office presentation. I just don't see how you could get out of there without the taste of butt on your lips!

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Wow, just plain WOW! OK, lets take what has been said here and place it on a scale of 1-10. The remarks here score a 4. What just happened in that office gets a 9.

It started off OK, I walked in and asked to see the one agent I was referred too. We hit it off talking about our military histories and places we've been and people we've both met. Then we talked about the business and he liked my ideas and especially the fact that I speak fluent Spanish (Apparently this office specializes in the Hispanic market and there are very few HI's that speak Spanish). Then I met the most of the rest and things were passive. There were some smoke screen questions with the agents not willing to be blunt but I knew what they were saying. I answered each the same, it doesn't matter the who/what/why/where/when/how, I will do my inspection the same every time. I will report the same thing the same way every time. I won't put flowers in the report but I won't put demons in there either. I assured them I don't shout out "My God look at that piece of crap) when I see something but I will write it up correctly and if it's unsat or unsafe it will say so. We discussed pricing and things like that but again it all seemed pleasant and friendly. At this time I actually felt like I was winning them over while standing my ground, and my ability to speak Spanish was going to make me a keeper. Then Brunhilda walked in. The first words out of her mouth were, if an HI kills a deal I'll never use him again and no one else in this office will use them either. I walked up to her shook her hand, introduced myself, asked her name and calmly and flatly replied to her face, "I don't kill deals, the house kills the deal I just let the client know so they don't get hurt" Before she could reply, I turned and asked if there were anymore questions. From the look on their faces I just killed their puppy dog. I guess she is the muscle in the shop and always gets her way. They were only stares at me so I pulled out my cards handed a couple to each agent and saved Brunhilda for last. I walked up to her, gave her my cards (surprised they didn't catch fire she was so hot) and used a statement I got from these boards "Call me, I dare you!"

While on the drive home, the original agent called me and asked when I would be ready to do an inspection. I said my lawyers will be done with the contract next week so shortly after that. He told me Brunhilda ranted and scorned me after I left and was using quite a few unpleasant words. She told everyone not to use me period, but it looks like that at least this one and he said a few others liked how I stood up to her (guess they don't like her either) and I should call them when 100% ready to go as they would like to see me in action.

All in all though, even if I get zero inspections out of it, it was worth it because I learned a lot. And the best news, they aren't the only fish in the sea.

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Original statement paul burrell

Realtors and inspectors are like water and oil they do not mix.

Original statement by randy

I also don't embrace that attitude. I can give you a sizable list of agents that I'd trust to handle my own transaction. There's plenty of good folks out there.

Putting a blanket statement on all agents continues the vicious cycle of dissension between the two professions. They're probably in their online discussion boards right now condemning all home inspectors because of all the sloppiness out there.

Perhaps they're right. . .

by Paul Burrell

They are right. For every shady Realtor there is a shady HI to do their bidding. I have stated many times on this forum that not all Realtors and HIs are shady. All professionals and not so professional have their our own value system and that covers a wide range of humanity.

The nature of our business demands we work with Realtors if we want to make a living. So one may say I did not make the rules I just play by them. Anyway as long as this system prevails we as home inspectors will always be secondary to Realtors. We are playing second fiddle like it or not and as long as we are making a comfortable living we will just leave it alone and stay in our second class position. If we look at the nature our profession with an open mind and leave Mr. denial out of it .............

Paul B.

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