Instructors' Edge Blog Series

Avoid the Drama – 3 Tips for Inspection Comments

By Published On: April 1st, 2021Categories: Guest Blogs, Home Inspection Tips0 Comments

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.

Inspection Comments:

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.

True Story: 

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:

  1. Remain factual, not prejudicial!
  2. Be empathic while discussing issues.
  3. Bring perspective to every home inspection.

I’m looking forward to learning and sharing more with everyone soon!

 

About the Author: John Coleman

John Coleman is a 2001 graduate of the American Home Inspectors Training Institute (AHIT). His marketing success, gained by following the lessons taught by AHIT, has resulted in more than 2,000 home inspections. He started as a Field Trainer for AHIT in 2003 and committed to Technical Training full time in 2007. John is also one of the hosts for AHIT’s free “Becoming a Home Inspector” webinars helping prospective students learn about this career choice. John is an EPA / NRPP professional Radon Measurement Technician and an EPA professional Lead Paint Inspector. His experience includes past memberships in the National Association of Home Inspectors and the American Society of Home Inspectors. He was also named “Affiliate of the Year” in 2002 by the Longmont Association of Realtors. John brings energy & enthusiasm to his classroom and is passionate about helping others obtain their home inspection career goals.

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