4 home inspection company sales pitches and what to do about them….
Spring is here (at last) in Massachusetts, and it’s getting to be that time again when jobs are abundant and competition is on the rise. Like many in the Real Estate profession, home inspection companies can be subject to being perceived as commodities – that somehow we are all alike, separated only by cost.
As competition rises, so does the volume of time-tested sales pitches, claims, shenanigans, and exaggerations. While intended to be harmless, some of these tactics can downright deceitful. We’ve all ‘been had’ at some point in time in our lives.
Some of you may question why a Home Inspector would write such an article about Home Inspection sales tactics. Here’s why: After answering thousands of calls, presenting a dozen or so homebuyer seminars, and conversing with a multitude of clients and Realtors, it is clear to me that too many potential homebuyers don’t know the difference between one Inspection firm and the rest. I educate buyers about homes, so why not also educate them about Home Inspectors? As an ‘honest Abe’, I guess I feel like it’s my obligation.
So the moral of the story is this: Be a skeptic. Make multiple calls. ASK questions. DON’T fall for the easy pitch. If you hear or read one of these famous one-liners, assume the alternate meaning might be true. Armed with this new perspective, you may find yourself seeing things in a whole new light and finding the inspector that is truly right for you.
1. “Lower priced Inspectors are just desperate for business…”
What it can mean: “…Hey, this is America – and I know that you think that bigger and more expensive is ALWAYS better! The $1,200 TV at Wal-Mart looks way better than the $325 TV, so that must go for home inspections too, right? Hopefully, my well-practiced telephone sales pitch, flashy web page, 100 years of construction experience, and multitude of certifications and customer testimonials will convince you that don’t want one of those ‘puny’ $325 inspections! Because if I can’t, and you hang up and call around, you’ll find out that most inspectors can do the same thing for 1/3 the price. But that’s okay… because ‘you’ll be sorry’.”
2. “I’ll save you $50,000 in repairs…”
What it can mean: “…But, you’re not going to buy this house (in fact, if you’re the scared and nervous type you may never buy a house)! Because I will point out every single defect and describe it in a worst-case scenario, you will likely become so frightful you will likely back out. This is good for me too because it eliminates my liability. You also probably don’t realize that the odds of getting 50, or even 10 thousand dollars off of asking price really are about as great as hitting the lottery. But by the time you do, I’ll have gotten 2-3 inspection fees out of you.” (see #4)
3. “Mention this ad/site and receive a $10 discount/free pest inspection…”
What it usually means: “…Mention this ad/site and I will raise my price $10 before discounting you $10, and then I’ll give you a “free” pest inspection (that I was going to do anyhow) because I definitely don’t want any claims for missing insect damage!”
4. “I don’t solicit/accept recommendations from Realtors…”
What it can mean: “… no Realtors will recommend me because I frequently scare customers out of transactions! I might really dislike Realtors (including yours) because of this. Even though not soliciting/accepting recommendations creates an illusion of ‘me good’ vs. ‘them evil’, you might not remember there are good and bad eggs in all professions. It’s also good that you don’t know that Buyer Agents in Massachusetts can and do recommend Inspectors, because if you did, I’d look like a either a hypocrite or a fool…”