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Tips to Improve Your Relationship
with Real Estate Agents
by David Nyman, Inspector Toolbelt
I probably don’t have to explain why good relationships with real estate agents/Realtors are important, right? One of the best ways a home inspector can build up business is by having a good relationship with real estate agents in their area—that’s why! While this might sound simplistic, building up relationships is not. It can take a lot of time and determination. Here are some tried and true methods for building and sustaining positive relationships with agents.
Tip #1: Every Inspection Is a Marketing Opportunity
Our first tip is to be good at your job. This probably doesn’t come as a surprise for most home inspectors, but being thorough, providing high-quality service, and doing what you say you will do is going to go a long way with any reputable agent. In fact, we’re willing to go so far as to say that a thorough and reliable home inspector almost always has a good relationship with real estate agents. Of course, there might be other factors that come into play, but as long as you do a good job, the real estate agents and brokers will appreciate you.
Tip #2: Make Yourself Known
Second, stand out. Depending on your area of operation, there might be a lot of competition—many other home inspection companies. This means that you need to stand out from the pack. It also means that you will need to find out what the agents already have seen a million times and then go one better. Bringing over a box of baked goods to their office might be what everyone else does, and a lot of it probably ends up being thrown out at the end of the day. Maybe they have the pens of 20 different home inspectors sitting in a cup on their desk already. The main thing that will make you stand out is how much attention you are giving them. Offering a landing page on your website just for them can be a great way to let them know how important their business is to you. If true, leaving positive reviews of the agent from the perspective of a home inspector will help boost their business and gain you both some exposure. Let them know personally that you appreciate working with them as well.
Tip #3: Get Familiar
The last note on our second point brings us to tip three: be personable. Of course, you want to present a professional front as a business owner, but it is important to remember that you are dealing with human beings. If you want to have a good relationship with them as professionals, first treat them like a person. Get to know them. Don’t be afraid to share some minor details about yourself to see if they feel comfortable sharing something personal with you as well. You don’t want to get too personal of course. Pay attention to body language and tone of voice to ensure that they are comfortable with the conversation you are having. As an added note, don’t take too much of their time with social chit chat. Sharing a tidbit or two about yourself is enough to get the ball rolling toward a personal relationship that can benefit your business. You should also be careful not to come across as being insincere.
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Tip #4: Join an Association
A fourth tip is to take advantage of the associations that are available in your area. If you find that agents are in a local chamber of commerce or the National Association of Realtors (NAR), membership could open up an avenue for you to share with them why your home inspection firm is a good choice. Sometimes there will be opportunities for presentations; there might be trade shows or just an opportunity to spend time in the same room with an agent to get to know them better. Once your face is familiar, they might think of you when they have a property that needs to be inspected.
Tip #5: Proper Marketing
A fifth tip is to make sure you market yourself well. Make sure that the real estate agents are aware of all the services you offer and unique additional bonuses that your business brings. While having a business card that gives them your name, number, and website is beneficial, you could do a lot more. List relevant information on the business card so that the agent easily can see what makes you the best choice. For example, if they believe that thermal imaging is important for every inspection, listing that on your business card as one of the services you offer, if you do, makes it more likely they will call you right away instead of searching out other options.
Tip #6: Diversify
Sixth, don’t limit yourself to home inspection information. While you might feel like your website should be laser-focused on home inspection, it is good to have some helpful tips for homeowners that you share in your blogs and newsletters. It is definitely extra work and not so easy to measure the results, but if your information is well-written and informational, the agent might send links to their clients, and in that way, they could end up marketing for you. If you like writing, that’s a bonus.
Tip #7: Visit Open Houses
Our seventh tip is more for smaller home inspection companies and those who are just starting up. Open houses are a good spot for you to get in touch with a real estate agent. Often you will find that they end up having a lot of downtime between clients. This means that they might appreciate having someone stop by and spend time with them. You might be even more welcome if you bring snacks! Just make sure that you have a plan. Preparing a few subjects that you could discuss could help you keep the conversation going. Just make sure that you’re not impeding potential buyers in any way, and that you are observant to any social cues that you are overstaying your welcome. It’s better to leave while they still want you than staying too long.
Tip #8: Take a Close Look at Yourself
Our eighth tip could be harmful to your self-esteem, but it is important. Search yourself on the major search engines as well as on sites like Zillow and Yellow Pages . This is how many real estate agents find home inspectors. When you search Google for home inspectors in your area, is your business on the first page? If not, you have some work to do. Getting a professional service to care for your SEO (search engine optimization) can go a long way. You should also take a look at reviews. Do people say that you are a thorough inspector? Do they complain about your attitude? Are they pleased that you showed up when you said you would? All these items will affect the way a real estate agent views you before he has even met you, so try to address the issues to make sure that you have a good reputation.
These are just a few of the things that you can do to make sure that you stand out when a real estate agent is looking for an inspector, but remember, it is a long-term play and you will need to sustain your efforts. While it is important to put your best foot forward at every inspection, this is extra important when you are dealing with a real estate agent. Plan ahead to make sure that you have some buffer for traffic and other issues when you are heading out to the inspection to make sure you are on time. Be quick about getting your report out, since a late report is a common reason for real estate deals falling through. Try to be pleasant and accommodating, even when it feels like the real estate agents aren’t doing the same. Remember that they might just be having a bad day.
Keeping all this in mind, you can start making a success of your connections with real estate agencies in your area. You can find more helpful information at https://inspectortoolbelt.com/.
About the Author
David Nyman is Head of Content Management and Customer Support at Inspector Toolbelt. Swedish-born, and speaks three languages, he spends a great deal of time helping inspectors across the U.S. and Canada with Inspector Toolbelt, which is simple scheduling and administrative software for home inspectors that makes running your inspection business easy and automated.
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