For someone looking to rent or sell their property, a property inspection can seem like a nightmare waiting to happen. Knowing that the results of the inspection can have an impact on the value of the property, it’s understandable that a property owner might be nervous. Using a few simple strategies to put the property owner at ease isn’t just good for them: it also makes your job as an inspector much easier.
1. Be on Time. The longer a property owner has to wait for an inspector to show up, the easier it is to get nervous about all the things that might get put into a report. If you’ve told the owner you’ll be there at a certain time, make sure that’s when you arrive. Being punctual gets the inspection off to a good start and gives the property owner less time to worry about it. It’s even a good idea to be a little early – but no more than ten or fifteen minutes, or you risk catching the owner unprepared.
2. Be Friendly. Shaking a property owner’s hand and asking how their day is goes a long way towards making you look like a person, not an anonymous force come to list everything wrong with their property. A property owner should feel comfortable having you in their building and asking you questions about your work, so being friendly and open will help them feel like you’re working with them, not against them.
3. Be Honest. You might discover something in your inspection that you know the property owner doesn’t want to hear. Perhaps a gas line is cracked, or the roof requires an expensive repair. It’s never pleasant to tell a property owner something about their property that you know will bring the value down, but it’s always worth being honest: the last thing someone wants is to be blindsided by bad news in a report. Telling the property owner what you find in clear, simple terms not only makes you look more trustworthy and reliable: it gives the property owner time to come up with strategies to fix any major problems.
4. Be Efficient. A property inspection can take several hours, especially for a large property, and it’s always best to apprise the owner of that in advance. But once you get there, always try to work as efficiently as possible. Doing a thorough job is important, but it can be easy to get caught up in unnecessarily fine details, which is a waste of the property owner’s time. Doing your work quickly, efficiently and professionally shows that you respect their time, and can put a nervous property owner’s mind at ease.
5. Be Prepared. Before going to the property inspection, make sure you have everything you need, that your camera battery is charged and the memory card clear, and that any information you can put on your forms in advance is there. If you use a property inspection app, make sure the app is loaded and ready to go when you arrive, and that it is already correctly configured for the type of property you are inspecting. Being disorganized can make even an expert look inexperienced and unprofessional, and that will make a property owner question whether you’ll do a good job. Showing up prepared sends a message that you care about your work, making the inspection much less stressful for everyone.