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Marketing A Decade After Herner Vs. Housemaster


hausdok
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One would think that, given the scorching condemnation of their marketing policies by a judge in the Herner vs. Housemaster case, that H.M. franchisees would have learned by now not to consider those in real estate their "customers." Apparently, Herner vs. Housemaster wasn't much of a lesson for them after all.

To read more, click here.

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"The next time you find yourself wasting precious time dealing with a problem client, go ahead and resolve the issue at hand if you can. But then consider whether it might make sense to find a way out of the relationship. The time you save will be time you can spend giving your best customers the service they deserve. Over time, your short-term loss should translate into long-term gain."

Amazing, guess who the client is!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Maybe I missed something but I didn't see anything in the article that was damning to the Housemaster franchisee. I don't market to R.E. agents in any way, shape, or form; but I hold nothing against those who do, providing it's done within the guidelines of common sense, business ethics, etc.

Why is it wrong to pay sales calls to R.E. brokers, agents, etc.? I can see why it might be a prime source of business to a newly minted HI. Should we look down our noses at those who take this path?

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Hi,

Apparently you did miss something. Certainly, their work for the buyer is also marketing and there is nothing wrong with catering to one's best "customers." However, this article, if you read it carefully, makes it very clear that the "best customers" that are being referred to in this article are real estate agents, and the premise of the article is how to keep that "customer" happy, not the people who the inspection is being done for.

Have you read Herner vs. Housemaster? If not Bing it or Google it and check it out.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Maybe I missed something but I didn't see anything in the article that was damning to the Housemaster franchisee. I don't market to R.E. agents in any way, shape, or form; but I hold nothing against those who do, providing it's done within the guidelines of common sense, business ethics, etc.

Why is it wrong to pay sales calls to R.E. brokers, agents, etc.? I can see why it might be a prime source of business to a newly minted HI. Should we look down our noses at those who take this path?

No one is criticizing those who seek referrals from real estate agents. Mike is just pointing out the irony that Housemaster doesn't seem to have learned anything since 2002 when they got their metaphorical pee-pee whacked for, among other things, making the real estate agent their "customer in fact".

Here's a link:

http://www.rongrazianolaw.com/CM/Publis ... master.asp

This paragraph, in particular, seems a particularly fitting companion to the piece that Mike just posted:

In contrast, what the Herners did not want was an inspection whose undisclosed and predominate purpose was to market HouseMaster. The record establishes that the realtor is HouseMaster's customer in fact. Eighty percent of its business comes from realtors. It conducts seminars for them to explain its services. Its informational brochures are left with the realtor to distribute to prospective buyers. At the same time it is undisclosed to the consumer that HouseMaster insures the realtor against liability for a faulty inspection, coverage which is not *107 provided the consumer. By specific training, it would also go undisclosed that a particular inspector had done a number of inspections for a realtor. HouseMaster's worst nightmare is to become known in the real estate brokerage industry as a "deal-killer."

Inspectors who actively market to real estate agents really ought to read through the entire thing every year or so to keep their head in the right place. It's easy to let things slide out of control.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Thanks for elaborating on the history of Housemaster. I haven't read any articles on the Herner vs. Housemaster case and really don't care to. Like I said, we don't suck up, market, make sales calls, or pay any special attention to re-litters in any way, shape or form. If I have a long term relationship with high quality realtors who are dedicated to protecting their (our) client's interests regarding the purchase of a home, then we and the realtor have something in common. I will, and have on a number of occasions, do something special for them like comping them on the inspection of their own, personal domicile; discounting an inspection for one of their relatives, etc. After 10 or more years in the business I have a very small cadre of such realtors, perhaps a dozen. By the way, if there are any home inspectors in the Chicagoland area who are truly at the top of their game and looking for work, we may have an opportunity for you. Drop a line.

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  • 6 months later...

It sounds like the inspector did not do a good job. It also sounds like the company specifically had two levels of reports with one being more critical than another.

But I have some comments about the defense.

The one piece of information that the defense left out is that an unreasonably critical report can also get a home inspector into hot water. If it is determined that a HI is too critical, like calling for a new roof when it still has life left in it, the HI could get sued by the seller for wrongfully scaring off a buyer.

I would have argued that it is for this reason that HI's need to balance acceptable aspects of the house with the defects. An evaluation of a house would be incomplete without documenting that you have checked everything. If we check it, we must comment that it is "OK" or otherwise in servicable condition.

It is a fine line we walk.

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