For Home Inspectors: Maximizing Your Perceived Value

by Nick GromickoCMI® and Kate Tarasenko

One way to increase your profits is to provide services or items that increase the perceived value of your services – so that you can ultimately command higher fees ­– for more than it costs you to do or provide those services or items. This is measured by the perceived value-to-actual cost ratio.

Although “perceived value” is a term from the heady world of finance and investment, the definition is straightforward:  It’s the value attached to something by the customer regardless of its actual cost. When something is deemed “priceless,” or when someone says, “You can’t put a price on it,” they’re talking about perceived value.  And perceived value is arguably more valuable to your prospects and clients than something they willingly pay top dollar for.

How are you increasing profits with high perceived value-to-actual cost ratios?

Here are the BIG THREE items that all InterNACHI® inspectors should be taking advantage of.

At Number 3: 

InterNACHI’s Now That You've Had a Home Inspection home maintenance book increases the value of your inspections by about $14 but only costs you $2.70 per book. That's a perceived value-to-actual cost ratio of about 5 to 1. This book also has the additional benefits of reducing your liability, as well as generating new referrals from past clients by anchoring your contact information on their bookshelf.  Get the standard version, or have the cover customized for your business for just pennies more.  It's also available as a Spanish-language PDF download, and a hard-copy version specifically for Florida homeowners.

Number 2:

InterNACHI’s "We'll Buy Your Home" Guarantee increases the perceived value of your inspections by about $100 but costs only $5 per inspection. That's a perceived value-to-actual cost ratio of 20 to 1. The Buy-Back Guarantee also has the additional benefits of landing you more inspections and reducing your liability.

And the Number 1 Perceived Value-to-Actual Cost Ratio item is…

...the Certified Master Inspector® professional designation. CMI® increases the fees you can command by tens of dollars per inspection, but costs pennies per inspection over your career. CMI® is the mother of all perceived value-to-actual cost ratios at about 200 to 1. And it has the additional benefit of landing you more inspections because your clients are hiring an inspector who has earned the highest professional designation the home inspection industry offers.

Let the Sizzle Sell the Steak

There are other ways to employ the perceived value-to-actual cost ratio strategy.  Sometimes, it’s merely a matter of targeting a specific market. 

For example, InterNACHI® promotes different types of inspections which are no different than standard home inspections that are performed according to the Residential Standards of Practice. These include:

  • Move-In Certified® Seller’s Inspection: Most home buyers are also home sellers. By tapping the seller’s market, you’re essentially doubling your business. Why not offer sellers the peace of mind that comes with making sure they’re selling a home that’s been pre-inspected, with no surprises for prospective buyers, or themselves? And if any defects or needed repairs are discovered, your inspection will give your clients the opportunity to shop around for reasonable repair estimates and have those improvements done on their own timeline. It also allows them to show prospective buyers that they’re dealing in good faith, which goes miles toward an amicable negotiation process. And it may even convince prospective buyers to waive their own inspection contingency. A Move-In Certified® home is move-in ready. It’s win-win-win.

  • Annual Home Maintenance Inspection: This inspection is ideal for newer homeowners, busy homeowners, and veteran homeowners who aren’t confident (or interested) in how to maintain their home properly, but nevertheless want to know what their home’s condition is so they can take the next steps to arrange for professional maintenance and repairs. It’s the equivalent of a yearly medical checkup. Forewarned is forearmed, and that goes for homeowners, too.

  • First-Time Home Buyer’s Inspection: Imagine the relief a new home buyer feels when they see this inspection listed on your website and in your brochure!  There are so many systems, components and variables in a house, and whether it’s a new build or an existing home, the challenges remain the same for the new home buyer. Your added perceived value is to invite your client to accompany you on their inspection – something you might encourage all your clients to do anyway so you can answer their questions and educate them about their new or prospective home. Point out the location of the shutoff valves, show them how the electrical panel’s breaker switches work, demonstrate how to change the furnace filter, and generally acquaint them with the home's basic systems and how they operate, and the typical maintenance tasks that may seem especially daunting to the average new homeowner. Pair this with a free copy of Now That You’ve Had a Home Inspection, and you can create a loyal client for life.

  • Builder’s Warranty Inspection:  Perhaps considered the easiest of home inspections because it's performed on a new build, remember that no home is perfect – not even a new oneThat’s why getting this inspection during the 11th month of new homeownership – before the builder’s warranty expires – is considered a high perceived value. The cost of the inspection is small relative to the potential out-of-pocket expenses that the new homeowner may face if there are problems with materials, installation or workmanship. Saving your clients any possible headaches during that magic 11th month, while their builder’s warranty is still in force, breathes practical life into the phrase:  “A dollar saved is a dollar earned.” 

What are YOU doing or providing that increases the perceived value of your inspection services more than it costs you to do or provide them?  Your perceived value can add real profit to your bottom line!