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Marketing During a Pandemic
by Isaac Peck, Editor
Dave Klima, co-founder of InspectedHouses.com and President of Aardvark Home Inspectors Inc., has a number of very innovative “pandemic” marketing ideas. Here’s what’s working for his firm.
Kilima’s marketing techniques include passing out branded hand sanitizer bottles to agents and clients, branded reusable face masks for all staff, and “Hang in There” kits for all real estate agent contacts.
Klima says that in slow times like this it’s important to nurture relationships and reach out to the Realtors® in your area. “We’ve been calling the agents that we work with, really trying just to relate with them and stay in touch. It’s tough for all of us. We’ve even had some Zoom meetings where we get a bunch of agents on and even make it a social thing and share stories like any other social setting. It’s really important to keep the relationships that you have,” says Klima.
Not shy about using technology, Klima says he also used his Inspection Support Network account to send out text messages to many of his agent contacts. “I sent text messages just saying ‘hey I know things are rough right now, we’ll make it through this thing, keep your head up,’ and other things like that. The idea is to let them know we care and maybe inspire them a little,” says Klima. “We also still send out birthday cards to agents on their birthdays wishing them well. We are just trying to do things to maintain contact with the agents without a high pressure sales pitch.”
Klima says business partner Joe Mishak also hand-delivered “Hang in There” kits to many real estate agents which included Corona beers, wine, some snacks, and a little note to lift their spirits. (Figures 1 and 2 below) “Anything to keep up the relationship and maybe start new relationships will help. That includes social media posts, showcasing what you’re doing, and even making educational videos. The goal is to stay top-of-mind even in these slow times,” argues Klima.
Another great idea that Aardvark implemented is getting branded hand sanitizer bottles and distributing them to his clients and referring agents. “We were handing out hand sanitizer pre-COVID-19 and when we ran out we found some local distilleries in our area to replenish our supply. The hand sanitizers are a big hit,” reports Klima. (Figure 3.)
Lastly, Klima’s Aardvark team created branded reusable face masks for all employees, which he says were well-received by his clients. “Our daughters work in the healthcare field, so we gave them our N-95 masks and made our own branded masks. Some real estate agents actually saw them and they wanted their own masks, so we were able to do that for him too,” says Klima. (Figure 4.)
Leveraging Technology in a Pandemic and Beyond
While many states have already begun lifting their “Stay-at- Home” orders, Klima sees the real estate industry making changes that are here to stay. “More and more real estate agents are going to start using virtual tools; providing virtual tours of homes, and continuing to use technology even after the COVID- 19 scare passes. Agents have already discovered they can get offers on houses using the virtual tours process. What if another virus comes through or this one reemerges? Agents and home inspectors need to be prepared because things are going to change moving forward,” says Klima.
That includes offering additional services and value through technology. “Virtual tours are up 400% and it’s going to continue to grow and grow,” Klima says. “As home inspectors, we need to embrace technology and make ourselves more valuable in a changing real estate market. Anything we can do as inspectors to show more value and use technology. A lot of guys are using 3D cameras now with 360 degree views to use those pictures in virtual tours, and some home inspectors are offering that service as a way to make more money.”
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InspectedHouses.com, an online real estate platform co-founded by Klima, is another way that home inspectors gain an edge with technology. Klima says that he’s found the service very valuable for his own business as well. The service allows real estate agents and home inspectors to showcase listed homes that come with pre-listing inspections, which not only gives more business to the home inspector, but also protects the seller and the buyer. “When we offer a pre-listing inspection, potential buyers are able to learn a ton about houses without physically visiting them, which limits their exposure to viruses because they have to see fewer homes. Buyers don’t know if someone’s been coughing or sneezing in the house. And it also helps sellers because they don’t have as many looky-loos coming through, he says.
It’s also been a useful tool to help market properties with a virtual tour experience and connecting with buyers directly. “We’ve been using InspectedHouses.com and helping sellers and agents market their listings because we can go in and do a prelisting inspection, take pictures of the home, get video from the agents, and load everything to the platform. Then we can put a lead capture sign in the yard, and it allows the agents to really jump-start their virtual marketing of the home, even during lockdown,” says Klima.
About the Author
Isaac Peck is the Editor of Working RE magazine and the Vice President of Marketing and Operations at OREP.org, a leading provider of E&O insurance for home inspectors, appraisers and other real estate professionals in 50 states. He received his master’s degree in accounting at San Diego State University. He can be contacted at email@example.com or (888) 347-5273.
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