The real estate property inspection service industry is certainly not immune to the devastations imposed by today’s economy. As a service, it seems to be almost on the brink of going the way of gas stations, once called service stations. Indeed, the whole notion of serving our fellow man while making a living has been getting quainter for a couple decades now. But I will ever be a holdout for the position that bettering others is the only true measure of success, whether in life or in my chosen profession of inspecting houses. Otherwise, what’s the point, or, more generically, what has society become?
Service in the real estate property inspection business will never really go defunct because fulfilling even the most basic functions is a service. But I sense an attitude shift in collective consciousness away from appreciation for a benefit received towards assumption that everyone does the minimum he can get away with. Whether this is a short-term glumness stemming from economic necessity or a long-term cultural change is harder for me to detect. Will the halving of the number of real estate agents be a blip or permanent? Will helping people to buy and sell houses survive as a service? Probably in some form, but using a different business model. Will we get to the point where the vast majority sacrifice advocacy and expertise for the sake of lower cost (including real estate property inspection cost), perhaps justified by the self-delusion that they are still safe, that nothing will go wrong?
Criteria for Determining Quality Service
Here are the things that truly benefit the customer and make a significant difference;
Spending up to four hours inspecting and resisting agent pressure to rush
A quality inspection report, comprehensive, following Finding-Implication-Recommendation (FIR) protocol for every item, cogent narrative supported by photographs and references.
Good inspector communication, including a willingness to answer client questions and a desire to tend to customer needs.
Marketing approaches that don’t require compromise or the tossing of service out the window.
Genuine real estate property inspection expertise, meaning authority to identify and report wood-destroying species.
As a licensed real estate property inspector, you can pin your success on helping others, not on earning as much as possible.
The Setback of Trust
The temptation to get really depressed is pervasive today. Investment bankers nominally provide service to their customers (and employees (!)) yet expose themselves as really self-serving. The systematic destruction of the middle class is no longer an open question. Rampant cynicism seems to have replaced the demonstrable fact that serving others brings meaning and purpose to life and is its own tremendous reward. Perhaps too much technology and social media have numbed us to the basic humanity and a sense of universal brotherhood.