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A quality home inspection can give both the buyer and seller peace of mind, help create a smoother closing and improve the overall ease of the buying process. When a real estate professional and a home inspection company work together, the result can make an astounding difference for all parties involved. This is exactly why Ron Irace decided to open a Pillar To Post franchise in Orland Park, Ill. Irace spent more than two decades working in manufacturing, during which time his wife, Karen, launched a successful career as a RE/MAX Synergy agent.

Irace decided to leave his manufacturing career behind and, five years ago, purchased his Pillar To Post franchise; he was introduced to the company by his wife many years before when she sold her first property and another agent referred a local Pillar To Post operation to her. Over the years, Karen shared with her husband how impressed she was with the professionalism and quality of the inspection. When that franchise owner decided to relocate, Irace decided to purchase the business.

Of course, making a marriage and two real estate businesses coexist harmoniously is no small feat, especially with the amount of work required on nights and weekends. The couple compares schedules at the beginning of each week to see what personal tasks they can tackle together and what they can do for the other while running errands in similar areas, depending on showings and home inspections, to make the most of their gas mileage. “We know that faith, marriage and family come first. By keeping these priorities straight, our family life and our businesses run smoothly,” says Irace.

While Irace has firsthand insight into the mind of a veteran REALTOR®, aka, his wife, that’s where the connection between the two businesses ends. “We keep our businesses completely separate. However, since starting this business, Karen has been invaluable in helping me understand what is important to real estate agents and buyers,” says Irace. “For example, termites and radon have become very concerning to new homebuyers over the past few years. Karen shared with me the feedback she was getting from buyers and I made the decision to extend my service line to include testing for mold and radon.”

Irace markets and maintains his own relationships with REALTORS® throughout Illinois and Indiana. “The most important thing I have learned from the real estate community is to be more in tune with the emotional side of buying a house,” says Irace. “I am not an alarmist. No home is 100 percent perfect, not even a brand new one. But that doesn’t mean it’s not an easy fix to close the deal.”

Of course, not all inspections are created equal; Pillar To Post was founded in 1994, and is now the largest home inspection company in North America, located in 44 states and eight Canadian providences, with over 400 franchisees. In the 2012 Entrepreneur Magazine top 500 rankings, Pillar To Post came in at No. 215. So what is it about the company that keeps the numbers growing and the clients—and agents—loyal?

It could possibly be the company’s commitment to follow-up. “We understand that we’re an extension of the REALTOR® who referred us, so we make sure to protect that reputation,” explains Irace, who notes that Pillar To Post inspectors remain accessible long after the inspection. “Our service doesn’t end when we leave the home. We’re excited to build relationships. We’re there from scheduling to inspections and beyond.”

The franchise’s success could also stem from their extremely thorough inspections. “In one inspection, we can check as many as 1,600 individual components or items,” explains Irace. The report is then printed on site, featuring photographs, which are included in a binder for the client to keep. A filing system for home maintenance records is also included in the binder, and a copy of the printed report is emailed to the client in PDF form, which, according to Irace, is an important feature in today’s tech-advanced society. Buyers and sellers are then able to forward the digital copy to their attorney, lender or agent. The bottom line is, a thorough inspection will allow the buyer to make a more informed decision. “Our job as inspectors is to teach; we want to teach the client about the property they’re purchasing.”

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