Why a Good Relationship with Realtors is Important
One of the best ways a home inspector can build up business is by having a good relationship with real estate agents. While this might sound like a simple thing, building up relationships can take a lot of time. There are also many ways in which you can ruin a good relationship. This is why we will provide you with some tips on how to work on a beneficial relationship with local real estate agents. These are tried and true methods that you can implement with a little bit of work and determination.
Tip #1: View Every Inspection as 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 realtor. 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 will come into play, but as long as you do a good job, the realtors will appreciate that.
Tip #2: Make Yourself Known to Real Estate Agents
Second, stand out. Depending on your area of operations, there might be a lot of options for home inspection companies. This means that you need to stand out of the pack. It also means that you will need to find out what the agents already have seen a million times and then one-up that.
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 possible, leaving reviews on the major sites from the perspective of a home inspector that has worked with a particular real estate agent will help boost their business and gain some exposure. Let them know personally that you appreciate working with them as well.
Tip #3: Get Familiar With the Real Estate Agent
The last note on our second point also brings us to our third point. 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 their business, treat them as a person. Get to know them. Don’t be afraid to share some minor details about yourself and see if they feel comfortable sharing something personal with you as well.
There is of course a fine line to walk here. You don’t want to cross the line of personal interest into the nosy or creepy zone. 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 conversations. Sharing a tidbit or two about yourself will be enough to get the ball rolling toward a personal relationship that can benefit your business. You should also be careful so that you won’t come across as being insincere.
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 realtors are in a local chamber of commerce or a realtor association, membership could open up an avenue for you to share with them why your home inspection firm would be a good choice for them. Sometimes there will be opportunities for presentations, there might be trade shows, or just an opportunity to spend time in the same room as a realtor and get to know them better. Once yours is a familiar face, 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 realtor easily can see what makes you the best choice. Say for example that they feel like thermal imaging is important on an inspection. If that already is listed on your business card as one of the services you offer, they’re more likely to call you right away instead of looking at other options that they don’t know whether or not they have that capability.
Tip #6: Diversify
Sixth, don’t limit yourself to home inspection information. While you might feel like your website should be razor-focused on home inspections, it is good to have some helpful tips for homeowners that you share in your blogs and newsletters. It is definitely extra work that could be hard to put a value on, but if your information is well-written and informational, the realtor might send links to their clients, and in that way, they could end up doing marketing for you.
Tip #7: Visit Open Houses
Our seventh tip is more for smaller home inspection companies and those that 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 some time with them. You might be even more welcome if you bring some snacks for them. Just make sure that you have a plan. Preparing a few subjects that you could discuss that the real estate agent might be interested in could help you to 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 to stay than staying there 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 for yourself on major search engines as well as on sites like Zillow and yellow pages. This is how many real estate agents will find a home inspector. So, if you search for home inspectors in the area, will your name come up? If not, you have a long road ahead of you, but not an impossible one. Getting a professional service to care for your SEO 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 just remember, it is a long-term play and you will need to keep up 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. Be quick about getting your report sent 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.