The real estate industry is an industry of brands.
All the large real estate businesses – franchises, boutique groups, successful independent agencies and property portals have invested heavily in their brands. In each market, the successful brands are well known. In talking to top agents in local markets, they recognise the importance of their brand in the growth of their businesses.
Individual agents also develop their own brand identity, and while it’s usually associated with an agency brand, they know that their personal profile is vital to getting more listings. The best agents understand the importance of being consistent in marketing their services and in marketing properties for sale. They view themselves as a safe pair of hands and a lower risk solution for sellers.
Agents partner with REA and Domain in their property marketing and are happy to associate their brand with those businesses because they deliver a good service that all buyers look at. The risk of associating your brand with these platforms is very low.
But agents don’t always consider the risks of brand association in other aspects of property marketing.
Property inspections have now become more commonly part of property marketing. Vendors are now more likely to be encouraged to get an inspection done before marketing (we pioneered this product by the way – just saying). As a result, agents are associating their brands with inspections businesses too.
And there are Risks attached.
Why? Well, because agents are recommending inspection services to their vendors and buyers. And because the independence of the inspection process can easily be questioned when the vendor/agent are involved. So, if the inspection report and/or service is poor, buyers and sellers are likely to blame you, at least in part.
A lot of agents think inspection reports are all the same. Therefore, they think the risk of using one provider over another is the same.
But it’s not – for two very important reasons.
1. The whole inspection process is about risk assessment.
Inspectors are assessing risks in houses and strata plans every day and presenting those risks in a report. Follow-up support is about helping buyers (and sellers) understand those risks. If we assess the property badly, we haven’t done our job.
2. Buyers want to know that the property they might buy is OK.
Inspection reports are a key way to find out. Crucially, people don’t buy property very often and, therefore, they are usually unfamiliar with property and inspection reports. For this reason, the quality of the presentation of the information, and the follow-up support they receive to better understand that information, is an important element in them assessing the risk of buying that property.
An important purpose of inspection reports is to help buyers feel more confident about making a big decision. Feeling that the information they get in a report is from a reputable brand can make an important difference to buyers. Think about it, we all decide to buy from a brand because we perceive their quality and reliability to be better. Agents should not underestimate this aspect.
A great example is the recent decision by Purple Bricks to pull out of the Australian market. Established agency brands fought the Purple Bricks model as more risky and less professional because it was cheaper. That perception played a part in them struggling to get a foothold in the market.
In making your decision about Inspections, remember that inspection reports are probably the smallest cost associated with property marketing.
So why take the cheapest solution if it means higher risk for you and your clients?
Look out for my next article which will talk about quality assurance (or the lack of it) in many inspection reports.
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MD EYEON Property Inspections
At EYEON Property Inspections, we help you buy and sell with more confidence.