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Today’s Ask the Expert column features Demetrius Payne, a home inspector with Pillar To Post Home Inspectors and REALTOR®.

Q: When and why did you become a REALTOR®?
A: I became a REALTOR® in 2015. I loved what I did in the U.S. Navy and continued to do at Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Newport News, Va. I also had a liking for real estate that came from buying, selling and investing. I would attend real estate seminars to hear the different ideas and possibilities in real estate, and after reading book after book, I decided it was time to give it a try.

Q: So, when you were ready, you sought a real estate license?
A: Yes, and I still love the concept of real estate and helping people find their dream home. Listening to people describe their dreams and trust you with their vision of the future is amazing, and I enjoy building that bond.

Q: When and why did you become a home inspector?
A: As I learned what it took to be a REALTOR®, and what was looked for in a home inspector, I realized that the military had not only taught me how to do my job, but also some underlying skills that would work as a home inspector. One such skill is being able to explain and teach at a level that people can understand so as not to scare them, but cause them to think and make an educated decision. In the Navy, we called it the Chicken Little Syndrome, but in real estate, it’s called being an alarmist. I still get to have that feeling of helping, but I think I’m a better resource as a home inspector.

Q: Can you provide an example of a home you found a surprise in?
A: I was taught to trust, but verify. There was a home that was beautiful inside and out, but when I inspected the crawlspace, none of the plumbing was connected to the city sewage system. Most serious issues are in areas that often aren’t examined when a buyer falls in love with a home. This includes crawlspaces and the attic.

Q: Is it wise to have a pre-listing home inspection if you’re a seller?
A: Yes, it is. Sometimes, the seller balks at an added expense, but the trick is to find the small things that need to be repaired and do those yourself. Something that may cost $100 to repair might cost you $1,000 when the buyer’s home inspector finds it, which could lead to a reduction in the price of the home. A pre-listing home inspection will tell you exactly what shape your home is in so that you can price it accordingly.

Q: Is all this work stressful?
A: It can be. In the Navy, we used to go up on deck and “put it on the water.” Whether it was talking, crying or just sitting there in thought, you would “put it on the water” in order to focus on the goal ahead. Since I live in the Virginia Beach area, I have a modified version where me and my wife—and sometimes the grandkids—go to the beach, and while enjoying them, I can “put it on the water” and focus on the goal ahead, which is right in front of me: family.

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