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By Kayla O’Brien

RISMEDIA, June 3, 2008-What has been the most timeless, trend-proof method of client retention through the ups and downs of the real estate market? Most real estate professionals would say that it’s good service, and as a moving target for agents in today’s marketplace, average is no longer acceptable. Consumers are now accustomed to the information age, wanting and expecting to be fully educated on all things real estate, most importantly, their home. Home inspection company Pillar To Post works with both the agent and the consumer to do just that-to ensure all parties are aware of the condition and the safety of the home-helping to build the trust of a potential client for life.

“Whether it’s with a resale or new construction home, we’re there to help people make a good decision,” says Dan Steward, president of Pillar To Post. “We don’t assess whether a home is worth a particular price, but rather we provide a procedural way of ascertaining facts about the condition and safety of the home in a way that makes sense for the parties involved.”

For Realtors, home inspections are an opportunity to help clients participate in a good real estate transaction. If a client receives information from the inspector that changes their mind about a potential home, the client knows the Realtor did the right thing by suggesting a home inspection and will work with that Realtor to find another house. What’s more, sellers today have the opportunity to have a pre-listing inspection done on their home to help avoid any unnecessary surprises at the end of the real estate transaction.

“Good Realtors want to do good work,” says Steward. “Professional agents are saying to their clients that you absolutely should have your home tested for radon and take care of all the things that are of concern-whether it’s an issue dealing with the interior, exterior, safety, or energy efficiency within a home.”

Today, Pillar To Post serves both the U.S. and Canada, in 500 locations in nine provinces and 43 states. Pillar To Post home inspectors are certified and trained to do a thorough inspection of all homes-both resale and new construction. Carrying Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance, which protects referring agents from liability, Pillar To Post inspectors are aware of what to look for during their visual inspection, including early-warning signs of problems that may arise later on. While most new homeowners look at the obvious traits of a home, like the paintwork, home inspectors can check for warning signs not so visible to the untrained eye.

“Often the things that new home buyers see are the blemishes, but they may not be aware of the fundamental issues going on that could cause major damage,” says Trevor Welby-Solomon, vice president of technical training, support and development at Pillar To Post.

“We’re able to see if their bathroom exhaust fan is venting into the wall space or attic instead of outside,” says Steward. “If all it’s doing is blowing humidity, you’re building a potential mold problem within the home. Inspectors can check if it’s properly vented to the outside.”

According to Welby-Solomon, while existing properties are older and have been through the wear-and-tear cycle with the previous owner, with new homes, however, builders or developers may have subcontracted the work, presenting a potential problem within the home.

“An example would be the basement of a newly constructed home,” says Steward. “If you look at the ceiling, you see the beams for the main floor of the house. These are there to hold the floor up and bring structural integrity. It wouldn’t be uncommon for a heating contractor or plumber to cut through it to get their job done-therefore, comprising the structural integrity.”

“One person’s job will effect the work of someone before him,” says Welby-Solomon. “You wouldn’t buy a car without having it certified, so there’s no reason not to have the same knowledge about the home you’re purchasing.”

To spread the word about the importance of inspections for new construction, Pillar To Post is creating marketing campaigns targeting neighborhoods of newly constructed homes. What’s more, Pillar To Post publishes monthly newsletters to agents that include information for consumers on topics such as radon gas, water quality, and the importance of home inspections for new homes, etc.

“This is not to insult the builders; it’s communicating the importance as there’s a lot of money and pressure out there to get the work done and the house closed,” says Steward. “It’s worth knowing that you have proper insulation and caulking that won’t impact the energy efficiency in your home. We’re giving them information to help them prepare.”

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