Diversifying your services accomplishes two goals: firstly, it helps you obtain new customers that you wouldn't have otherwise obtained and secondly, it helps you differentiate your company. Crafting a unique and meaningful position in the marketplace allows you to stand out from the competition. Here's an area of diversification to explore that's a natural home inspectors - brand new homes.
Inspecting new homes falls into the following three categories:1. Construction management and progress monitoring
2. Inspecting the new home prior to taking possession
3. Inspecting the new home prior to the expiration of the builder's warranty
All three categories of new home inspection require some knowledge and skill beyond the standard home inspection. Inspecting a new home is very different from inspecting resale homes. The main difference is resale homes are inspected using a performance-based inspection strategy, while new homes are inspected primarily against applicable codes.
A performance-based inspection means you are looking for evidence of non-performance. You are looking for things that don't work. You have some code and construction knowledge that may help you predict nonperformance down the road, or point out safety concern issues, such as reverse polarity outlet.
A new home doesn't have any history. You cannot evaluate its performance. All you have to go on is the codes and an understanding of construction errors that can lead to nonperformance.
Because of this basic difference, the inspection and the report are very different. You are not likely to run across a worn-out roof surface, but you are likely to see a roof/wall flashing that is not done properly. You have to know your code and reference your findings. You will be up against the builder!
We have found inspecting the home prior to the expiration of the warranty to be the most interesting from a profitability and suitability standpoint.
Here are six reasons why it's a winner:
- There is some history to the home. It will have been through all the seasons and the homeowner will have operated all the fixtures. You can use some of your performance-based inspection savvy here. You still have to be code proficient.
- The inspection is a quick, checklist type inspection.
- Because your client already owns the home, your inspection report will not be used to make a buying decision.
- There are no real estate agents involved.
- You can go after the business rather than waiting for a referral. You can aggressively pursue this business during your slow periods.
- The inspection is not time-sensitive. It can be done any time over a period of several weeks.
Reasons 2 to 5 apply to all three types of new home inspections.
Here are a couple of ways you can solicit the new home business:
- Supply a list broker with a geographic area, and they send you a monthly list of homes that are ten months old.
- Send a mailer to each homeowner with a compelling reason to have you inspect the home prior to the warranty expiring.