Matt Fuller, of JacksonFuller, is a nationally recognized Realtor in San Francisco.
We recently asked Matt for his insight on the value of proper home inspection and how home inspectors can improve their services. Here’s what he shared:
Can you tell us about your background in real estate? How has your career evolved since you got started?
I was first licensed in real estate in 2002 as a solo practitioner, co-founded a team in 2003, and have expanded that team to five agents and three behind-the-scenes support staff over the years. When I started, print was really the way to market listings and reach buyers. In 2006 I led my team in a major pivot to digital marketing, and we’ve never looked back. I also volunteer extensively at our local association board, where I currently serve as the 2017 President for the San Francisco Association of Realtors. It’s been a phenomenal journey!
What is making the biggest impact on the real estate industry today?
As real estate continues its transition to a “digital first” industry, it has provided huge opportunities for savvy entrepreneurs. In the old days, Realtors were the gatekeepers of information, and much of our value was in simply providing access to information. Clearly, that paradigm has changed and I believe a successful Realtor is a “guide by the side” who helps their client make sense of the avalanche of data consumers are overwhelmed with, as well as putting the “good” information in the proper context.
What should those in the real estate industry – everyone from realtors to contractors to inspectors – be doing today to prepare for future trends in the industry?
While how we do business has changed a lot in the past 15 years, what hasn’t changed is what my clients want: impeccable and timely service. I believe that anyone who is truly focused on doing their absolute best for the client is doing exactly what they need to do to stay relevant not only today, but into the future.
How important is it that home buyers get an inspection before purchasing a home?
San Francisco is filled with lots of old, charming wood-framed Victorians, Edwardians and mid-century modern homes. While they might look stunning on the outside, beauty needs to go deeper than the facade. It’s absolutely critical that buyers understand the condition of the home they are purchasing, as well as learn about on-going maintenance items that should be performed to protect the value of the home. I can’t think of a better way to do that than a home inspection.
How do you advise your clients on looking for a knowledgeable inspector?
Here in San Francisco, I’ve worked with a handful of inspectors over the years. The ones who have done great inspections for my past clients are the ones who I absolutely recommend to future clients. Reputation plays a huge part. I also keep in mind the personalities of both my clients and the inspector, knowing that trust is the foundation of any good relationship.
What should home inspectors be doing to better market their services to realtors like you?
In my experience, the real estate business is a very people-driven business. If your local real estate board has an affiliate program, join it. Offer to do seminars or other informational events for realtors about home inspections, changes to laws that affect home sellers and buyers, and other relevant information. Take a Sunday to visit some open homes and introduce yourself. If you can make a personal connection and then demonstrate your expertise and knowledge, you’ll get business.
From your perspective as a realtor, what knowledge/skillsets do you think are essential for quality, trustworthy home inspectors today?
Competence is incredibly important, but great communication skills make the difference between an average and a great inspector. Home sales happen on a tight timeframe, and being responsive to questions that a client might have after reading a written report is incredibly important. Speed, in this day and age, is a proxy for service. In addition, the ability to explain a home in plain English without lots of confusing jargon is incredibly important.
In your experience, what areas of the home need the most attention during the inspection process? Where would you like to see inspectors spending extra time?
It really depends on the home. I like inspectors who don’t show up just to run through a checklist of items, but take the time to explore the home with the client and dig deeper into whatever area of that particular home might need more exploring. Sometimes it can be the roof, sometimes the electrical wiring, sometimes the plumbing. What’s important is that the inspector is really focused on making sure they understand the home. You can easily tell the difference between a passionate home inspector and someone in the industry because they couldn’t think of anything else to do.