How to Ethically Refer Repairs | NPI Franchise Blog


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How to Ethically Refer Repairs

 March 22, 2019 |  Inspection Tips |  client satisfaction, inspection industry, training

As a home inspector in an evolving industry, sooner or later you’ll probably be faced with the question of whether to refer your clients to qualified contractors who can repair the issues you find. Home inspectors used to not deal with this question at all—many worried (and many still do) about the liability involved, as well as appearing to have a conflict of interest.

As more millennial first-time homebuyers enter the market, however, this “hands-off” approach is quickly becoming outdated. The bottom line: millennials expect a higher level of service from anyone they do business with. In order to stay competitive, home inspectors have to look at new ways of referring repairs for their clients while avoiding potential ethical pitfalls.

1. Don’t Repair Items Yourself
You might think you’re going above and beyond by performing small repairs yourself as you see them. Replacing a burnt-out light bulb or tightening a loose drawer pull doesn’t seem like a big deal, but you should never repair any items in a home you’re inspecting. Your professional standards of practice dictate that an inspection should be visual and non-invasive, and performing repairs yourself, no matter how small, crosses that line and could potentially open you up to liability.

2. Never Take a Referral Fee
It’s a good idea to build and maintain a network of contractors that you trust, but you shouldn’t enter into any financial understandings with your contacts in exchange for referrals. This probably goes without saying, but you should only recommend a contractor because you trust them to do a quality job for your client at a fair price, not because you’re being paid to recommend them. Not only is this practice outside the line ethically, it can also come back to haunt you if the contractor you recommend ends up doing shoddy work.

3. Follow the Rule of Three
For any repair you recommend, you should have three names ready to give to your client. The Rule of Three perfectly balances being helpful to your client with avoiding the appearance of any conflicts of interest. By giving your client multiple options, you put the power in their hands to gauge the market rate for their repair and choose the best option for them.

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