When it comes to Property Inspection Reports, the quality of information about the property varies greatly and so does the quality of the service.

And when it comes to Free Inspection Reports, how on earth can a buyer be confident about the information in the report? After all, there is a very good saying: You get what you pay for. And if you present a buyer with a Report that has no cost, what problems are you trying to solve?

Some sellers and real estate agents think it’s a good idea to commission a Report (usually paid for by the seller) and then give it out to all interested buyers. They say they do it because they want to be transparent and make it easier for buyers. But while transparency can be a great tool, free Reports are often not transparent and, on the contrary, create uncertainty and reduce confidence.

Buyers will take a free report (because it’s free), even if they can’t ask questions or have concerns about the report’s independence, but does it help them or you?

7 Reasons why Free Property Inspection Reports don’t help anyone.

1. How can you tell who is the serous buyer?

You see, if you give out an Inspection Report to 10 people, it doesn’t mean that you automatically have 10 interested buyers. It’s just like giving out a property brochure – people take it, but it doesn’t mean they liked the property enough to take further steps.

But when a person that’s been through a property is prepared to pay a fee to obtain an Inspection Report, it means they are interested enough to want to research it better.

2. Usually, the very first thing you see in any Free Property Inspection Report is a disclaimer.

You need to do this because you’ve provided the report but don’t want to be liable if it’s wrong. So, you say to buyers that they can rely on the contents only if they buy it directly from the inspector. And this is where it gets confusing – if you provide something for free, why do you ask for payment? This is not a good message or good service.

In most cases, buyers won’t be prepared to pay anything for the Report at this stage. Why? Let’s put this into perspective: Have you ever downloaded an app for your phone?

If you have, stats suggest that most of these will be free apps. Usually, these apps also have a paid version that offers an ad-free environment and better functionality for only a dollar or two, but most people choose not to pay anything. Why? Because a couple of dollars seems like a fortune compared to free!

3. Buyers have less confidence in Free Reports.

This one might hurt, but not many people associate real estate industry with confidence and trust. We speak to property buyers all the time and found that a good portion of them usually take information received from the real estate agent with a grain of salt. So how can they feel confident about a Free Report?

We don’t just say this, we also survey all buyers coming through our website and over 85% told us that they wouldn’t trust a Free Report provided by an agent and would have doubts about its independence.

4. Free Report = Zero Customer Service.

When an Inspection Report is given out for free, the inspector doesn’t have any incentive to speak to the buyer. Buyers also don’t feel like they are entitled to any support because they paid nothing for the Report and have no connection with the inspector. This means a few things: 1) the selling agent and the seller will have to deal with all Report-related questions themselves; and 2) buyers end up having low confidence in the credibility of the Report and a poorer buying experience.

5. Have you thought about Insurance?

When a Report is given out, buyers don’t form any contractual relationships with the provider and, therefore, are not covered by their PI Insurance. If the Report wasn’t obtained directly from the provider, there is no guarantee that its contents haven’t been altered. So, buyers won’t pay a fee after getting a free Report, but they might want to rely on the information in it. If they do, they aren’t protected against the inspector’s mistakes, see next point.

This leaves the real estate agent and the seller exposed.

6. Free Reports = Lower Quality Reports

Of course, we aren’t saying that 100% of Free Reports are low quality. But you must understand that this model is not financially sustainable and the only way for a provider to stay afloat is to carry out as many inspections per day as possible. This, coupled with the fact that the inspector is less likely to be held liable for their mistakes, promotes lower quality nature of Free Reports.

7. Free Property Inspection Report can easily become outdated.

Often, things change at the property. The seller may have carried out some repairs at their property, or a new strata committee meeting might have taken place. But if the Report has been given out for free, it won’t get updated with this information and buyers may still be receiving information that is no longer accurate.

What are the features of a Quality Property Inspection Service?

  • Don’t decide purely on price. Inspections aren’t cheap but be careful about choosing based on price only. Keep in mind that you usually get what you pay for.
  • Check whether the inspector has current qualifications and current professional indemnity insurance. Ask for proof of a builder’s license or related qualification and a certificate of currency for insurance.
  • Find out how long they have been doing inspections. It is always best to deal with someone with a decent amount of inspection experience.
  • Make sure you can follow up with the inspector with any questions about their Report and so can buyers.
  • Confirm how you and buyers can access the Report and follow-up service? Is it instant access online or any other alternative?

Some things should be free… like apps. And some things cost more, for good reason. But that doesn’t mean it needs to cost a fortune. EYEON Property Inspections offers a great service that help both buyers and sellers. And it is easy to arrange.

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Best Regards,
The EYEON Property Inspections Team

At EYEON Property Inspections, we help you buy and sell with more confidence.