Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
I have interacted with several chat programs, such as Reddit, Facebook, and other online forums, and found numerous opinions about home inspectors. These online opinions are often in direct contrast to the professional recommendations found on sites like Google.
The opinions are not what I consider ‘glowing or ‘favorable’ by any stretch of the imagination.
What is the root cause for the vast majority of unfavorable opinions?
Is it because bad news spreads faster than good news?
Why do people on forums have poor opinions of home inspectors, and yet Google has numerous recommendations for inspectors showing positive opinions?
Are the opinions added to Google’s review feature created before the homeowner has had a chance to live in the home? How can the public decipher the truth about the inspection process?
The disparity between online opinions and professional recommendations can be attributed to a mix of physiological biases, the nature of online platforms, and individual experiences.
Often, negative opinions can stem from a few key factors:
Misunderstandings: Homebuyers sometimes have unrealistic expectations of what a home inspection can reveal. They might expect a guarantee of future conditions, which isn’t feasible.
Bad Experiences: Like any profession, there are instances of poor service or errors. These negative experiences can be amplified through word-of-mouth or online platforms.
Financial and Emotional Stress: Buying a home is a significant financial commitment, and any issues identified by an inspector can be a source of stress, sometimes unfairly translating into negative perceptions of the inspector.
Positive Reviews: You often see more structured reviews on platforms like Google. Customers who have had positive experiences are encouraged to leave reviews, and professionals often respond to these reviews, creating a more balanced view.
Spread of Information: Bad news often spreads faster and more widely than good news. This is a well-documented phenomenon known as “negativity bias.” Online platforms, especially forums and social media, can amplify this effect.
Selection Bias: People are likelier to post about exceptionally good or bad experiences. Average, uneventful experiences don’t usually prompt reviews or discussions.
Look for Consistent Patterns: Consider consistent themes when reading reviews or opinions. If multiple reviews mention the same issue, it might indicate a real problem.
Professional Credentials: Check the credentials and certifications of home inspectors. Professional affiliations and ongoing education often correlate with higher standards of practice.
Personal Recommendations: Often, the best insights come from personal recommendations. Your network of colleagues and clients can provide more nuanced and trustworthy feedback.
Contextual Understanding: Understand the context of each review or opinion. A negative review might be due to factors outside the inspector’s control.
Engaging in constructive conversations online, especially in response to misconceptions or misunderstandings, can positively influence the public’s perception of the home inspection process.