Approximately 80% of home buyers use a real estate agent. These agents refer home inspectors to their clients. This means every buyer and seller of a home is a potential client for your home inspection business.
Since the majority of your clients will come from referrals, developing good working relationships with real estate agents is the key to your success. In fact, your business won’t survive without it.
Given this, it makes sense to develop a marketing plan that will target real estate agents. But how do you develop a plan that will help you make those all-important connections and enable you to build a sustainable business?
To better understand this process, it’s important to develop a marketing strategy that is built for garnering real estate agent partnerships. To help you with this, this article will break down:
- Understanding what it is that you’re marketing
- Figuring out where to find real estate agents
- Learning how to network with them
- Techniques for maintaining healthy professional relationships
Understand what you’re really marketing
Before tossing around a marketing strategy, you need to recognize the important position home inspectors hold and the value that your services entail.
A home inspection can be what stands between real estate agents and a successful closing. Buyers trust home inspectors to report inspection details honestly, while real estate agents need you to give buyers an evidence-based perspective on a home’s condition. Don’t exaggerate the facts, but don’t underestimate them either.
What you are selling agents is not just an inspection service—it’s your expert opinion and your ability to communicate effectively with their real estate clients.
Where to find real estate agents who are looking for home inspectors
There are no shortcuts to building your inspection network, but here are four places where you can find fruitful connections:
In your personal network
Hiring someone from a friend or family member provides referrals with an added feeling of trust. This secures more long-term relationships as these referrals are more willing to work with an extension of someone they know.
So, start your marketing strategy by contacting your friends and family. They can recommend your business to their colleagues or Facebook friends. If they know someone in the real estate industry, have them introduce you or recommend your inspection services.
Friends and family will also be the first to like your inspection company’s Facebook page, follow your Instagram stories, and share your blog content. This type of marketing will happen organically, so be prepared to provide marketing materials, your contact information, and Facebook information to those you know.
At industry business events and associations
One of the best ways to get involved in a community, industry, or trade is by joining a professional business association. These associations usually put on local or regional events that are tailored to the spread of industry knowledge and networking.
Besides being a great place to meet other industry professionals, participating in these sorts of events signals that you are serious about growing your business and want to capitalize on all possible networking opportunities.
Join professional associations and attend conferences for business owners in your community or those for industry professionals across the country. Real estate agents who are also building their businesses will take notice and will want to connect with you.
At community events
Real estate developer Mohan Kailas suggests that one of the best real estate marketing ideas for generating new business is networking and being socially active in your local market through community events. After all, your community is your primary audience.
Partner with local businesses, sponsor local events, or volunteer for local organizations. Look for opportunities to get local media coverage at events and share photos on your Facebook page and other social sites.
You might volunteer alongside a certified REALTOR®, a potential home buyer, a frequent seller, or someone who can share relevant marketing ideas.
Even if you don’t get inspection referrals directly from the event itself, your attendance will confirm that you have a genuine interest in building your community. This will fuel your reputation as a trustworthy and engaged company.
In online networks
The National Association of Realtors® reports that approximately 75% of real estate agents use social media for lead generation. Real estate Instagram is a powerful social space for you to experiment with marketing ideas. One way to access these networks is through the use of hashtags (like #realestate) and by following real estate agents.
Begin building your online presence by setting up social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Like, follow, and comment on as much real estate and home inspection related content as you can. You can also use LinkedIn to discover local real estate agents. Once you find them, send a direct mail message asking to connect in person.
Before making these connections, you should be prepared to link to a business website. When you have a professional website dedicated to your home inspection business, your contacts will know that you are serious about growing your business. HomeGauge provides inspectors with website design, search engine optimization, and content management (take a look at some website samples), whether you use HomeGauge inspection software or not. This guidance and assistance will help ensure your website looks professional and up-to-date.
Make it easy to find contact info, reviews, and sample home inspection reports on your company website so that agents will know exactly how and why to contact you.
Make short videos or write blogs answering common homeowner questions, then share these through social media. The more you get involved in conversations on Facebook and Instagram, the more likely it is that real estate professionals will see what you’re doing and be more likely to respond when you reach out.
How to network with real estate agents
Even a real estate broker or commercial real estate agent who doesn’t offer you referrals can offer real estate marketing ideas and advice. Observe how they market their business, use social media and manage their real estate brand.
Meeting people face-to-face is the most impactful form of networking. Some may find this method to be intimidating, but as a home inspector, it’s a crucial part of your business.
It can be difficult to overcome this type of anxiety. However, just remember that in-person networking can support your business and relieve other types of anxiety that are related to finances and personal success. To overcome anxiety about social interaction, remember what you’re really selling: trust. From your first handshake to a follow-up meeting, be genuine and transparent.
Techniques for maintaining ongoing relationships with real estate agents
Establishing new business relationships is only half the process. To grow your home inspection business over time, you’ll need to develop those initial referrals into returning customers.
Consistently perform honest, ethical home inspections
The best way to maintain a productive business relationship with a real estate agent is to perform excellent home inspections and provide top-notch inspection reports.
Every inspection is an opportunity to build trust with the real estate agent and the buyers.
Over-exaggerating minor inspection issues to get repeated inspections on a single house or under-reporting serious issues in the attempt to please a real estate agent or rush through a sale hurts everyone involved—the buyer’s agent, the seller’s agent, the buyer, the seller and your inspection company.
Deliver thorough and accurate inspection reports
In the ASHI Reporter, real estate agent Linda Reilly explains why the inspection report is such an important part of a good working relationship between agent and inspector: “The less time I have to spend going over the home inspection report with the buyer, the more time I have to keep the process moving toward closing,” she says.
HomeGauge Subscriptions and software packages make it easy to deliver detailed home inspection reports that give potential buyers and real estate agents the information they need to make informed decisions. Our report templates allow you to add images, videos, and detailed comments, then quickly distribute the report in a mobile-friendly format.
Highlight features that will impress agents
Agents and buyers will have access to the groundbreaking Create Request List™ (CRL™) when they go online to access a report produced by an inspector using HomeGauge inspection software.
This patent-pending HomeGauge feature simplifies the agent’s post-inspection process by allowing both the agent and the home buyer to view the inspection report online and create a Repair/Request List directly from the inspection with just a few clicks.
This feature allows homebuyers and agents to collaborate on the list. Each request is time and ID stamped so there is an accurate record of who requested what, saving time, eliminating confusion, and reducing liability for all involved.
The Repair Request List can then simply be attached to the agent’s standard amendment form.
Innovative and efficient features like this can be major selling points for your inspection business because they make a real estate agent’s job easier and make the inspection process more transparent for agents and buyers alike.
Maintain regular communication
Real estate business moves fast and once an inspection is complete, it’s easy to lose touch with previous clients, even if you’re known as a good home inspector. To keep yourself on a real estate agent’s referral list, keep yourself top of mind.
You can do this by developing regular content including monthly email newsletters to previous clients, regular website updates and regular posts on social media platforms. HomeGauge subscribers can access automated email marketing and content development services so maintaining regular communication is automatic.
Are you offering new inspection services or reporting features? Have you upgraded your equipment or improved processes? Get the word out both online and in person.
A good real estate agent and a qualified home inspector have the same goal: to help buyers make informed decisions. Tapping into this shared mission, developing real estate marketing ideas, and social networking skills will help you market your home inspection services to the right real estate agents and create a professional relationship that benefits both parties.