What is a home inspection thank you letter?
There are three different clients that home inspectors work with on every home inspection: the buyer, the seller, and the real estate agent. It’s always nice to say thank you to every customer, just keep in mind each client type needs a specific thank you note. These letters express your genuine gratitude and show the client how thoughtful and considerate you are. You can grow your business with this marketing technique.
Thank you letter to the seller
These are sometimes referred to as leave-behind letters because you leave them in the home as you finish your work. The point is to thank the seller for allowing you into the home. Although we often times think that sellers should be willing to do anything that’s required to get their house sold, we forget that they still own the house and consider it home. Being asked to leave home for a few hours and let a complete stranger investigate every nook of the home is unsettling for a lot of people. Leaving a letter that lets the seller know you acknowledge and understand their inconvenience is a nice thing to do. Many companies adopt this practice as a marketing tactic, hoping to get an inspection from the sellers when they purchase the new house they plan to move to. Many inspectors say they get a lot of business from this practice. Even if the seller already has an offer in on another house, you can still get good business from this. It shows the seller that you appreciate the position they are in, which goes a long way during this stressful time.
The letter lets the seller know what you did in the home – opening windows, testing appliances, and filling sinks, etc. The point its to give the seller some information so they don’t feel totally blind about the process. Thank them for allowing you to come into their home. Remind them to check the thermostat, alarm, and other settings that you may have changed. You don’t want to get blamed for someones heating bill if you accidentally left the thermostat turned up (and for some reason they don’t notice for a day or two).
Upgrade your letter
There are a lot of ways to upgrade your letter to get it noticed. A handwritten note is a nice touch in any business situation and this is no exception. You can write these at home ahead of time. If you think about it, you’re probably doing two inspections a day max, so it should take too long to write these out the night before. Plus you know the seller’s name in advance, so you can even make them personal.
You can always swing the other way and leave a professional looking, business oriented packet. InterNACHI offers what they call the Inspector Market Lunch Box which is a gift box that looks like a house. The idea is to fill it with information about your business like your business card and a brochure. A box sitting on the kitchen counter will definitely get noticed and might increase the chances that your material gets read.
What we do
Instead of a leave behind letter, we let our reports speak to the sellers. When the buyer brings the report to negotiations, the seller gets to see what’s inside. Sellers appreciate that we didn’t blow anything out of proportion. The seller wants the deal to go through, so they appreciate when the information is presented accurately. We’ve gotten a lot of business from sellers this way. The seller likes working with us from their side of the deal. So they call us up when its time for them to buy a new home. The report is very professional and doesn’t put the sellers down. So they like it. We hear that a lot.
For the buyers
Home buyers are the ones who hire you, even if an agent refers you. So you definitely want to thank them for choosing you. Doing a thorough inspection and delivering a detailed report on time are two great ways to show them that you appreciate their business. But it’s always good to spell it out too. A simple email is an easy way to streamline this process. You can set it up to go out automatically a few days after the inspection. Let them know you’re grateful for their business and that you’re available to answer any questions they have.
We also send out a quarterly home maintenance email to all our past clients. We introduce this service after the inspection and present it as a thank you gift. The information is very helpful to homeowners because it’s either about things they didn’t know or it serves as a helpful a reminder. Seasonal and yearly checklists are a huge help for busy families, who might not have home maintenance tasks at the top of their to-do lists. Plus, it keeps our company name in their inbox and their minds.
Some inspectors give a similar gift of maintenance reminders, but in a physical format instead of an email. A home maintenance binder with all kinds of information and checklists is a great thing to give to the clients. There are also programs that you can sign up for and offer as a service to your clients that allow them to buy home services, like security systems, at a discount. For a few dollars per inspection you can provide the new homeowners with a lot of value if they choose to use the services.
For the agents
As you probably know, it’s against the home inspector code of ethics to give any kind of monetary thank you or kick back to agents. But that doesn’t stop you from writing them a nice letter. Sometimes a thoughtful word means more than a discount would. If it’s your first time working with an agent, write them a letter thanking them for the referral. If you work with the same agent week after week, your letters might get a little old. You can switch to a different strategy at that point. We give a thank you gift to our agents. It’s something that they can pass along as a gift to their own clients. Agents love things that make them look good to their clients. It’s a relationship-based business, after all. If you can help them on that front, they often really appreciate it. A simple set of “we’ve moved” cards that are personalized to the property makes a nice gift for agents. They can include it with other gifts they give the buyers at closing. The client thinks the cards came from the agent. And the agent loves that we took the work out of creating a personalized gift.
Above and beyond – What we did to grow
When we first started out in business, I called every client after the inspection. I made sure they understood everything in the report and that they felt comfortable with the information they received. It gave them a chance to ask any questions and to spend some more dedicated time thinking about how the inspection was. It also gives them an opportunity to air any grievances they have. Since we give a high quality inspection, if we ever get any negative reviews, they are usually based out of a place of confusion. The client misunderstood something or had the wrong expectations. A follow up call gives me a chance to clarify any areas of confusion with them. I’d rather spend the time to get things sorted out than have the client try to figure it out on his own and end up coming to the wrong answer and assuming we did something wrong. This practice went a long way in making sure our clients were happy. We built a lot of business on client referrals, especially in the beginning. I attribute a lot of that success to those calls.
This business can be tough sometimes because repeat customers are few and far between. But if you think about it, everyone knows someone who’s moving. If they are truly impressed by your work and thankful for the knowledge and service you provided them, they are more likely to recommend you to a friend. Every new client that you get without marketing to yourself is a big help to your business.
Another good thing to do is to call the agent a couple days after the inspection to see if they have any questions. They might need some clarification about the condition of something in the house. They help the buyers with negotiations for repair costs. So the more they understand, the better. You never stop marketing to agents, so these little things to help make their deals go more smoothly are great marketing tactics. This really helps to make a lasting connection with the agents.
Speaking of calling agents, I also would call the buyers agents and sellers agents before the inspection to introduce ourselves, if we had never worked with them before. I made a lot of good connections with agents that way. Just a short phone call goes a long way. The agents know a little more of what to expect from us just because we’ve spoken on the phone.
Having good relationships with agents is not always easy in this business. We hear a lot of complaints around the home inspector community about bad relationships with agents, or agents treating them badly. We never experience that. We have great relationships with our agents, some of them we even consider friends. And we never alter the quality of our inspections to please agents. You dont have to do that to have a good relationship, and you shouldn’t! Doing things like these follow up calls builds those strong relationships. Not only is it good for business, but its good for happiness in the long run. Wouldn’t you rather work with clients who like you instead of ones who are always mad at you? Consider the little things you can do to go above and beyond for agents.
A home inspection thank you letter is a great way to say thank you to agents, buyers, and sellers after an inspection. It’s a nice thing to do and a smart business tactic.