InterNACHI's Free Listing Inspection Program
- Q: What is InterNACHI's Free Listing Inspection Program?
A: It is a program designed to help inspectors reach consumers earlier in the home-buying process.
- Q: Why is reaching consumers earlier in a real estate transaction important?
A: Home inspectors and real estate agents often share a common client in a real estate transaction. The vast majority of the time, the consumer becomes a client of the real estate agent first. This bad-luck fluke in timing resulted in the home inspection industry having to rely on real estate agents for referrals, and, consequently, has required home inspectors to market to real estate agents in an attempt to win their favor and have work referred work to them by those agents. Some home inspectors even stoop to demeaning tactics, such as delivering bowls of candy to agents in an attempt to win their favor. If this fluke in timing was corrected, the home inspection industry would no longer be beholden to the real estate industry. And, in fact, real estate agents would rely, in part, on home inspectors for their real estate leads.
- Q: How would InterNACHI's Free Listing Inspection Program capture consumers ahead of real estate agents?
A: Consumers who are thinking about buying a home most often search for homes online, long before they enter into an agency contract to have a buyer's agent represent them in their real estate transaction. These searches occur on sites such as REALTOR.com, HomeFinder.com, Trulia.com, Homes.com, RealEstate.com, and Zillow.com. InterNACHI's Free Listing Inspection Program provides a way to capture these consumers on those websites and others – upstream – before the consumer enters into a representation agreement with a buyer's agent. It does this by offering something of value to potential homebuyers; it can qualify the seriousness and immediacy of those potential homebuyers by asking them to pay a small fee for the product. And that product is access to an inspection report performed on the property that the potential homebuyer showed interest in online. Once a consumer opens his or her wallet and actually pays for such a report, he or she moves from being merely an online surfer to a very hot real estate lead. That purchase demonstrates that they are very likely going to be buying a home soon and will also likely be needing the services of both a real estate agent and a home inspector even sooner.
- Q: How much would a consumer have to pay for an inspection report for InterNACHI® to believe the consumer isn't merely an online home surfer, but, rather someone very serious about finding and buying a home?
A: Surprisingly, a charge of as little as $1 does a good job of screening out hot real estate leads from the vast majority of mere Internet surfers.
- Q: What type of fee is InterNACHI® contemplating charging to access an inspection report on a home that is listed for sale?
A: In our beta tests, we experimented with fees of $1, $2, $4.95, $9.95, $29, $39, and $99. And although $39 was the best price point in terms of money collected, we discovered that $9.95 causes the most consumers to purchase access to reports. Therefore, we are currently planning to launch the program with report access fees of $9.95 per report.
It can be safely inferred from the purchase of the report that the prospective homebuyer had the following motivations:
Q: I heard that the participating inspector will get a portion of the download fee every time a consumer accesses one of the inspection reports generated by the inspector. Is that true?A:
- I want to immediately learn more about the home than just see the photos of it online.
- I want more information about the home to help me decide if I should schedule time with a real estate agent to show it to me in person.
- I want to know if there was something seriously wrong with the home before I waste any time on it.
- I'm out of town and want more information before traveling to see the home.
- I want to get an idea of how much I'd have to spend on repairs if I made an offer on the home that was accepted.
Yes. But we don't know how much that will be as we aren't yet certain how much we are going to charge to access the reports.
Q: Aren't people who surf for homes for sale online working with a real estate agent already?
A: Luckily for you, no. The vast majority are not working with a real estate agent. And even more of the consumers who pay a little to download an inspection report are not yet working with a real estate agent. That's a good thing because your agent isn't interested in consumers who are already working with another agent.
Q: Under this program, who is going to host the inspection reports, collect the access fees, and administer the downloads?
Q: Do I have to use an InterNACHI-required reporting template?
A: No. We want you to generate your inspection reports they way you want to. Your report is going to be seen by homebuyers in your local market who are all going to need a home inspection, so we want those homebuyers to see a sample of the work you produce as a professional. Furthermore, for marketing purposes, you certainly want your inspection business contact information on those reports going to all those people who are about to hire a home inspector.
Q: So, what do you ask of a consumer who accesses an inspection report online?
A: InterNACHI® asks them several things:
Q: What do you do if the consumer says they want me to contact them?
- We ask for the consumer's contact information.
- We ask the consumer to sign an agreement (more about that next).
- We ask the consumer if they are currently working with a real estate agent and, if not, would they like us to connect them to one in their local market.
- We ask the consumer if they are currently working with a home inspector, and would they like the home inspector who performed the listing inspection to contact them about inspecting other homes they may eventually put in an offer on or to inspect the home they may be selling.
A: We give you their contact information. This is an opportunity for you to contact them, offer to perform a home inspection on any home they enter into a sales agreement to buy, offer to pre-inspect the home they are selling, and offer your ancillary inspection services, such as radon or mold testing.
Q: Homebuyers aren't going to trust the inspection report prepared for the seller, are they?
A: We hope not. We want homebuyers to get their own inspections.
Q: What do you do if the consumer says they are not currently working with a real estate agent but would like one to contact them?
A: We encourage you to put them in contact with the agent that had you do the listing inspection. These are very hot real estate leads and very valuable to real estate agents. This will encourage the agents who get you listing inspections to get you more and more.
Q: Are there other reasons a real estate agent should want a pre-listing inspection performed on a home he/she is selling?
A: Yes. Go here for a list of such advantages: http://www.moveincertified.com/agents
Q: Are there reasons a home seller should want a pre-listing inspection performed on a home he/she is selling?
A. Yes Go here for a list of such advantages: http://www.moveincertified.com/sellers
Q: How valuable are these real estate leads?
A: Brokers we beta tested confirmed that each lead is roughly worth between several hundred dollars to $1,000 apiece to them.
Q: I can see how an agent could essentially get addicted to those leads, even to the point of offering to pay for the listing inspections his/herself, or at least pushing the idea to their sellers so that they pay me to do them. But I will likely have to offer my first listing inspection for free to real estate agents. And even though I can see all the downstream financial benefits of this program, I can't afford to do the first ones for free. So, what should I do?
A: InterNACHI® to the rescue! InterNACHI® is going to pay you to do the inspections for free until you get enough agents coming back to you with more listing inspections to do that you'll no longer need our subsidy. InterNACHI® can perpetually fund this program with the value we can extract from having access to the quality real estate leads it generates.
Q: Do the seller and the listing agent get a copy of the report?
A: Yes. For free.
Q: How much will InterNACHI® pay?
A: Whatever you charge. It should not be much more than what our free, online inspection fee calculator estimates, though.
Q: Can I invite my favorite real estate agents to have InterNACHI® pay for the inspections on their listings?
Q: If InterNACHI® pays for the inspection, are you going to sell my client's data?
A: InterNACHI® is your client. And, yes, we may sell or trade OUR information – not yours – to help perpetually fund the program.
Q: InterNACHI® has strategic partnerships with large companies, such as Ford, Porch, and Owens Corning. Are any of these companies involved in this program?
A: No. But we will be integrating with ISN. Participation in ISN is optional.
Q: So, if InterNACHI® is my client, who signs my pre-inspection agreement?
A: Someone on behalf of InterNACHI® will sign it for you. If you aren't familiar with how we can sign your pre-inspection agreement on behalf of InterNACHI®, read this.
Q: How can InterNACHI® offer something for free, forever?
A: InterNACHI® has been doing just that for years. Click here and prepare to be amazed. :)
Q: I understand that InterNACHI® is going to pay for the first listing inspections, which then lead to paying listing inspections. But is it possible that InterNACHI® will pay for listing inspections forever?
A: Yes. That's actually our audacious goal.
Q: So, InterNACHI® is my client on those free inspections?
A: Whoever pays you is your client, and that will certainly be InterNACHI at first. And InterNACHI® pays well and would never sue its own member. So, those free inspections, although free to the seller, are good-paying, zero-liability inspection jobs for you. And that's just the start of the financial rewards this program will begin to generate for your inspection business.
Q: But if I do my own listing inspection for a seller, the homebuyer who accesses the report can sue me if I missed something, correct?
A: No. That consumer has already signed our download agreement, which protects you and, furthermore, the homebuyer would have no legal standing to sue you. The homebuyer isn't your client. Also, there is much less liability in performing an inspection for someone moving OUT of the home you inspected as opposed to someone moving IN to the home you inspected.
Q: Can I view this download agreement?
A: Yes. Go here: https://www.nachi.org/report-download-terms.htm
Q: Will InterNACHI® pay me to offer free ancillary inspections?
A: No. That is not yet part of this program. The program upsells ancillary inspections for you, though. You charge for them. You keep the money.
Q. Who will InterNACHI® pay to do repair re-inspections?
A. Sellers will want to show that repairs have been made and then re-inspected, so the sellers would pay for those inspections.
Q: Isn't InterNACHI® incentivized to help the cheap inspectors, since InterNACHI® is paying for the inspection?
A: After all these years of advising consumers not to hire the cheapest inspectors, do you really think InterNACHI® is going to start doing that now? Furthermore, InterNACHI® is giving every one of these homes a "We'll Buy Your Home Back" Guarantee, so we are incentivized to get quality inspectors into the program.
Q: How are inspectors selected?
A: Inspectors select themselves – just like they do with all other InterNACHI® programs – by choosing to participate. So, the answer is that selection is based on willingness, first. And when we have an agent contacting us to get a listing inspection, we'll dispatch it based on geography using a system connected to www.InspectorSEEK.com and similar to our current Owens Corning dispatch system, which has been operating well for many years.
Q: Can the agents I work with request that I do their listing inspections?
A: Absolutely. And those requests will be honored.
Q: What does the download agreement accomplish?
A: A number of things at once:
A: So, the download agreement helps convince the consumer to also have a pre-listing inspection done on the home they have to sell. Why would someone thinking about buying a home want the home they have for sale inspected?
- It reminds the consumer that they have no standing in a claim against the inspector, since they are not the inspector's client. InterNACHI® is the client.
- It reminds the consumer that they'll be hiring their own InterNACHI® inspector, should they enter into a sales agreement on this home or any other home.
- It reminds the consumer that they won't get the benefit of InterNACHI's "We'll Buy Your Home" Guarantee if they don't get their own inspection.
- It reminds the consumer of the ancillary services they might want to hire an InterNACHI® inspector to perform, such as radon or mold testing.
- It reminds the consumer that we give them access to nearly 300,000 discounts from GiftsFromYourInspector.com if they get their own inspection.
- It reminds the consumer that it is wise to have the home they are selling pre-inspected by an InterNACHI® inspector and to have that report offered to potential homebuyers online.
Q: The advantages of a pre-listing inspection to the seller of a home are many. Read: http://www.moveincertified.com/sellers
Q: Let's say 100 consumers download one of my inspection reports. Isn't there a lot of liability in my inspection report being in the hands of 100 different consumers?
A: No. First off, only one of those 100 consumers can buy the home. So the other 99 consumers aren't buying the home you inspected. There is no liability in someone, or 99 people, or 10,000 people having a copy of an inspection report you did on a home they aren't buying. As for the person who ultimately buys the home you inspected, they've already pre-agreed not to hold you responsible. Furthermore, they aren't your client and so have no standing to file a claim against you. InterNACHI® is your client. And, furthermore, each home comes with InterNACHI's "We'll Buy Your Home Back" Guarantee.
Q: So, how does my inspection report in the hands of 99 potential homebuyers in my local market help me?
A: Your home inspection report has your inspection company contact information on it, no? What you've effectively done in this hypothetical example is place a copy of the product you produce as a professional in the hands of 99 consumers in your local market who are all about to need a home inspector. Now, that's target marketing!
Q: Well then, I want to help get as many downloads as possible. How can I help increase the number of people who buy access to the report?
A: InterNACHI® will give you the link, just like we are going to give it to the listing agent to include on his/her online listings and advertisments of the home.
Q: So, with this program, I won't have to present to real estate offices or deliver them little bowls of chocolate candy anymore, will I?
A: Real estate agents are going to be asking to present at your office and will be delivering you little bowls of chocolate candy.
Q: I'm just an inspector. Will I have to sell real estate leads to agents?
A: No. Give those real estate leads to agents who have you inspect their listings and/or refer you. They are very valuable to your agents.
Q: So, this program infuses additional listing inspections and repair re-inspections into our industry, in addition to the inspections we as an industry perform already?
A: Yes. It can potentially more than double the number of inspections our industry has to perform each year. These are all ADDITIONAL inspections generated.
Q: Does increasing the number of inspections increase the prices we can command?
A: Yes. In a free market, an increase in demand equates to an increase in what suppliers can charge.
Q: I don't allow my competitors or real estate agents to dictate my fees. So, why should I participate?
A: Your premise is inaccurate. What fees you can command is very much affected by real estate agents steering work to competitors who charge less than you. This is not unique to the inspection industry. Every business's fees are affected by what their competition charges. If you are struggling to increase your gross revenue, I recommend you read STACKS: A Home Inspector's Guide to Increasing Gross Revenue. It's free.
Q: So, this program infuses many more inspections into our industry, gives me an opportunity to get some of these listing inspections, gives me an opportunity to get some repair re-inspections, puts a sample copy of my inspection report into the hands of consumers who are all about to hire a home inspector in my local market, puts me in direct contact with consumers who need a home inspector very soon, allows me to increase my fees, helps me upsell my ancillary services, lowers my liability, reduces my marketing costs dramatically, and provides me with hot, real estate leads to pass on to agents that refer me work?
A: Nice, huh?
Q: How does this program reduce failure-to-disclose lawsuits?
A: Because not only does the seller disclose what he/she knows about the house, but also permits a pre-listing inspection on his/her house and advises the buyer get yet another inspector to inspect the house. It would be all but impossible to successfully argue the seller was hiding something.
Q: Why shouldn't our industry just keep relying on real estate agents for referrals? Why not just leave the world the way it is?
A: The Inspection Museum has inspection reports on display that are more than 20 years old. Some reveal the fees for those inspections. Those fees aren't much different than the average fees we see being charged today in our industry. Even without correcting for inflation, our industry hasn't had a pay raise in 20 years. We should b charging about three times what we are today. Why aren't we? Or, more accurately, why can't we charge triple? Because our industry has become subservient to another industry: the real estate industry. And that is true not because the other industry is larger, but merely because that other industry gets to our clients just before we do. The world is the way it is because of an unlucky timing fluke.
Q: Does InterNACHI® have any experience hiring inspectors?
A: Yes. Read about our Owens Corning Program that has been in existence for many years. We've paid out millions of dollars to inspectors whom we've hired. Inspectors are paid promptly by direct deposit.
Q: Does InterNACHI® have any experience hosting inspection reports online and offering them as downloads?
A: Yes. InterNACHI® owns FetchReport, where millions of inspection reports have been uploaded and downloaded since 2006.
Q: Will the report be taken down eventually?
A: Once the home sells, the link that offers access to that report will be removed.
Q: When you launch, will this program be available everywhere?
A: Yes. It will be available in all of the U.S. and Canada.
Q: Can all inspectors participate in this program?
A: No. It is only for InterNACHI® members and Certified Master Inspectors®.
Q: Could a state home inspector advisory board pass rules to stall or harm this program?
A: No. Home inspector regulations only regulate home inspectors, not trade associations.
Q: Where do I sign up to participate?
A: InterNACHI® hasn't launched the program yet. It's only been in beta testing for the past year. We expect to launch sometime in 2018.
Q: Why did InterNACHI® reveal this program if it isn't ready to launch yet?
A: First off, tradition. InterNACHI® reveals all the projects it begins working on and involves the industry while that work is in progress. For example, each of InterNACHI's multi-million dollar House of Horrors® Training Facilities was announced the day construction started. We even posted time-lapse videos of their construction, which took more than a year for each facility. Secondly, we believe industry participation from the outset helps us with every program we develop. For example, the "We'll Buy Your Home Back" Guarantee is certainly a beneficiary of such participation from the outset. And, lastly, we needed inspectors to participate in our beta testing of the program.
Q. Do you have an awesome domain name registered for this program yet?
A: Yes. We own SellYourHomeForMore.com and SellMyHomeForMore.com. They will be used in our ads that target listing agents and home sellers.
Q: Is there going to be a formal announcement about this program?
A: The program is already running in beta. We'll announce all the parts as we complete them, including the free marketing pieces we are producing for participating members. And we'll do a big, formal announcement at the free international 2018 Professional Inspectors Convention coming up in Atlantic City at the end of April, where we expect close to 4,000 attendees. For more information about the free convention, visit www.nachi.org/convention. And, yes, it's really free, so register for it now!
Q: InterNACHI® continues to do things outside the scope of a trade association. InterNACHI® is the largest provider of free courses for inspectors, and the largest provider of free courses for real estate agents. InterNACHI® is the largest provider of free design services for inspectors. InterNACHI® is building Houses of Horrors® across North American and, at the same, time buying homes with under its "We'll Buy Your Home Back" Guarantee. And you keep adding deals to your GiftsFromYourInspector.com discount cards while, at the same time, adding to your list of free membership benefits. I can go on and on, but you get my point. Is this really what a trade association is supposed to be doing?
A: The job of a trade association is to provide competitive advantages to its members. So, helping them land more inspection jobs, upsell ancillary inspections, command higher fees, and save money are all legitimate things for a home inspection association to be doing. Furthermore, the job of a trade association in any industry is partly defined by InterNACHI®. InterNACHI® is the first trade association in all of human history to wrap around the entire globe, so what we do defines the responsibilities for all other trade associations in all industries.
Q: Is InterNACHI® simply trying to take over the world?
A: We would if we could. ;) But, seriously, we're just creating another competitive advantage to add to the long list of competitive advantages that InterNACHI® members already enjoy.
Q: Where can I ask a question about this program and get an answer?
A: Go here to post a question. We'll then include the question and the answer on this FAQ page.