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How to make home inspections work for you

While the real estate market was steeped in a state of fast-paced bidding wars, there wasn’t always time for home inspections. Now that inspections are back, this doesn’t mean there’s a new hurdle for agents to overcome. 

In fact, home inspections can be an asset for the savvy real estate agent. A good inspection can make a prospective buyer more comfortable with a house, enhance the agent’s credibility, strengthen their relationship with the client and protect the client by making the agent an advocate on their behalf.

Here’s how you can make the most out of your home inspection each step of the way.


Before the inspection


Before starting the inspection, you should take the opportunity to prepare your client for the experience. For an average home, tell them to allow 2.5 hours for the inspection, to wear comfortable clothing and shoes, and not to worry about taking notes. Remind them no home is perfect, and the home inspector’s job is to provide recommendations for improvement.

Managing your client’s expectations is key. Prior to the inspection, remind your client that every home needs at least some work done, and they should understand that all homes require ongoing attention. Houses have thousands of parts, and many are designed to wear out. Setting this expectation early can keep your clients calm as things arise during the inspection.


During the inspection


Once the inspection has begun, encourage your client to follow along with the inspector and ask questions. The inspection is visual and doesn’t consist of any invasive testing. The inspector will not make any comments on any subjective cosmetic features of the home, and they do not comment on any existing building codes or bylaws.

A home inspector won’t advise your client on whether they should buy a home. They do not give real estate advice; they provide a clear picture of the home’s condition at inspection time. In addition, home inspectors offer maintenance tips and advice that apply to all homes.

Through this experience, you can remind your client that you want them to make an informed decision and equip them with as much knowledge of the home as possible. This way, you reinforce your role as a trusted advisor, and your client will appreciate your working in their best interest. A home inspector is an unbiased expert; their report is a tool for clarity.

While you don’t have to be with the inspector and your client through every step, you should be present for the introduction and the summary. If you notice an overly adverse reaction from your client that the inspector doesn’t pick up on, you should ask the inspector for clarification to ease your client’s worries. Use the information gathered during the inspection to understand the house better and learn where your clients are leaning.


After the inspection


Good home inspectors have the technical know-how and great communication skills. These verbal communication skills are important on-site and afterwards as home inspectors use their written communication skills to produce a concise, easy-to-read, informative report.

Most reports start with a summary, providing a good overview of the inspector’s findings, but encourage your client to read the whole report. Not every defect has to be addressed immediately. Your client can refer to the report when they move in and organize which items they should take care of first.

As always, the homebuyer should be encouraged to contact the inspector with any questions about the report. Good home inspectors make themselves available to provide answers for your clients long after they move into their homes. Use your inspectors as a resource and an aid.

A home inspection offers opportunities for your client to learn about their prospective home and to build trust. With each step, you can better advocate for your client, combining your knowledge with the inspectors. With this, your client gains the confidence to make an informed decision before buying their new home.