Disclaimer: Canadians are generally less litigious than our American cousins. If you are American, I suggest you take my advice with many grains of salt. And, whether you’re Canadian or American, use your own discretion and take personal responsibility for whatever calculated risks you choose to take on as part of your business. After all, no judge is ever going to let you off the hook just because, “Ted said so!”
Every real estate lawyer will tell you that you should never recommend a single service provider. Their reasoning is simple and completely logical; If the person you recommend messes up, you could be held liable.
This makes complete sense from a strictly legal perspective in terms of minimizing your personal liability. However, I consciously choose to disregard this sound legal advice.
Using home inspectors as an example, I’ll explain why, but you could apply the same principles to any service provider you recommend, including lawyers!
Here’s the scenario: Your buyers have an accepted offer, conditional to a home inspection, and they’re asking for your advice on finding a good inspector. 🕵️
What are you supposed to do? Pretend you don’t know one?
If you can’t provide good advice to your clients when they need it, what good are you?
Some lawyers recommend giving your clients a large list of potential service providers, but how is that limiting your liability? If any one of those inspectors messes up and a lawsuit ensues, did you not still explicitly recommend everyone on that list? 🤔
I’d rather minimize the risk and recommend only one or two service providers that I trust to do a great job.
First things first:
If you recommend an inspector, you better make bloody damn sure they’re excellent at what they do. Here’s why I think my two inspectors are great:
- They’re consistently meticulous. They never miss even the tiniest detail, and they each provide excellent, extremely detailed PDF reports.
- They’re personable and customer-service-oriented. They know how to talk to people and patiently explain all the different components in their new home.
- They keep things in perspective. They don’t hide anything, but neither do they scare my clients into blowing up their deal over some insignificant, common problem. 💣
Here’s how I pitch my preferred inspectors to my buyer clients:
“I’ve got two outstanding home inspectors I can recommend. They’re both meticulous, they never miss a thing, and after the inspection, they each provide an extremely detailed and informative report on your home, including pictures of every problem area. Honestly, in my opinion, these are probably the two best inspectors in the city. Would you like me to set this up for you?”
At this point, hopefully, you’ve built a high level of trust and rapport with your clients, so allowing you to continue being in control of all the details is a no-brainer. After all, they probably know zero inspectors, and you know the two best ones in the city!
I don’t remember the last time a client said, “no!” So, I make all the arrangements for them, setting up the day and time, etc. 📅
This is infinitely better than having some unknown inspector come in and mess up your deal due to incompetence or stupidity, or both. This has happened to all of us, right?
Why do I have two inspectors? Simple: if one of them is unavailable, I can always get the other one. It’s important not to put all your eggs in one basket.
Have I ever gotten myself in trouble by recommending a particular service provider?
Never. Why? Because the people I recommend are the best at what they do. Therefore, I’m willing to accept the tiny risk that something might go wrong one day, because the benefits outweigh the risks by a long shot.
The biggest benefit? My clients get a thorough understanding of exactly what they are buying. There are no surprises.
In my opinion, if you’re going to be a great REALTOR®, you must be willing to recommend expert service providers. Therefore, you must also be willing to accept some level of risk for the recommendations you make. The key is to minimize that risk by recommending only the best of the best.
Next week, I’ll talk about properly establishing your clients’ expectations before the home inspection.