Seems almost every situation in our lives is centered on communication. Good or bad, the way we express our thoughts, wants, and needs to each other determines how we live, love, and learn together.
As a guy who is a regular on the seminar circuit, does a live radio show, an HGTV television show, writes books, columns, and articles, and all the while runs a thriving home inspection company, I get to do a great amount of communicating. Some of that communication is by transmitting; some of it is by receiving. After much reflection, I have come to the conclusion that nothing is learned when we transmit, but great gains come from receiving. That is to say, we learn when we listen, not when we speak.
Not a day goes by that I am not listening to Realtors. Most days I listen to more than a few, some days more than a dozen, and on occasion, I listen to hundreds at a single seminar sitting. The things Realtors tell me help me get better. Better at home inspecting, better at dealing with customers, better on the radio, just better at every aspect of my professional life! But all that input is not without moments. Those moments range from the amazing to the zealous, sad to humorous, and brilliant to well, less than brilliant!
One of my favorite Realtor quotes follow, complete with my thoughts and commentary. A disclaimer before we begin, if this particular quote sounds like you, know that none of what follows is from a single source, but representative of things I hear on a near daily basis.
"You don't need a home inspection, you're getting a home warranty".
Seems to make sense to some that if items are warranted, their condition is of little importance. But among the problems with this thought are:
All items that might fail may not be warranted, and
Items presently not functioning would be exempted from coverage as an existing problem.
When explaining the relationship of the home inspection to the home warranty, consider the home inspection to be a physical exam and the warranty to be health insurance. Would you ever expect to hear someone say, "you don't need a physical exam, you've got health insurance"? Doesn't seem to make much sense, does it? That is essentially what we are saying to our customers with the "you don't need a home inspection, you are getting a home warranty" comment!
Let's flip it around now. How about "you don't need a home warranty, you are getting a home inspection". Here's the medical equivalent, "you don't need health insurance, you just had a physical exam"!
In so many instances, when I have been able to explain a new or complex home related issue to a customer in equivalent medical terms, they suddenly get it. They seem to understand and are now comfortable. Clearly, most homebuyers are not in the medical profession, but the language is familiar to them. Must be from watching ER or Marcus Welby reruns!
So be clear in your communications with your customers. Be ready and able to clearly articulate a compelling argument for anything you wish to say. And above all, EDUCATE your customers. Educate them on why they need a home inspection, a home warranty, or whatever the subject is. Teach them how to choose a qualified home inspector. Teach them how to make a good decision on any real estate subject or issue. They will love you for it!
Wally Conway is President of Florida HomePro Inspections, and has recently written a book entitled "Secrets of the Happy Home Inspector", available at GoHomePro.com or Amazon.com. Wally's expertise and experience has been sought after by HGTV's "House Detective", the Florida Times Union, and many real estate boards and associations. As a speaker, writer, instructor, and host of The Happy Home Inspector radio show every Saturday at 3 PM on WOKV 690, Wally blends the right amount of up-to-date information with just the right amount of humor, insight, motivation, and real-world application. Visit WallyConway.com for more information!