Inspections in a hot home market

Jesse Durham courtesy

If there is a good time to be involved in the residential real estate business in North Texas, the time is probably now.

The housing market is hot and we’re just getting into spring, typically a busy time in the market.

Jesse Durham considers himself lucky.

The 27-year-old moved recently from southeast Michigan, where he was a Realtor. But starting a family, he was hoping to have a little more control over his work schedule than the sometimes hectic work life of a Realtor.

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Durham decided instead to become a home inspector. Since he was familiar with the operation due to his experience with them, he decided to work with Pillar To Post Home Inspectors, a home inspection franchise.

“I enjoyed every minute of [being a Realtor], but when we moved to Fort Worth, I decided to make a leap while still staying close to the real estate market. I wanted to put my skills to the test,” said Durham. “Choosing Pillar To Post Home Inspectors was an easy choice for me. I was able to see firsthand the Pillar To Post Home Inspectors’ difference while being a Realtor. It made it clear to me that if I wanted to be successful, then that is the franchise to choose.”

Durham works primarily in Tarrant and Johnson counties, focusing on north Fort Worth and says he is pretty busy. No surprise as Fort Worth reported 1,117 closed sales in March, up 6.8% over the previous year, according to research from the Texas A&M Real Estate Center.

Each home inspection averages between two and a half and three hours, according to Durham. But, as homes get bigger that average climbs.

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“For every 1,000 square foot of house add an hour,” he says.

Because of the hot housing market, Durham stays pretty busy.

“It’s picking up very fast,” he said.

Since he focuses on Tarrant and Johnson counties, he can stay busy but still be close to his home in Northeast Tarrant County.

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“I can be pretty booked up for inspections and still be home by 5 p.m.,” he said.

One of the reasons Durham went with Pillar To Post Home Inspections was the technology provided. Pillar To Post Home inspectors input data and digital photos into a computerized report that is then provided to clients in a customized binder for easy reference.

The company also offers a centralized phone center so customers can easily schedule a home inspection.

“For a lot of home inspectors, they manage their own schedule, which means if they are on a job, people have to leave a message or whatever. With this they can get something on the schedule quickly and easily, which is important to the Realtor,” Durham said.

And there is more new technology coming. Durham said he is impressed with Pillar To Post’s PTP360, a new offering that allows Realtors and potential buyers with an interactive 360° virtual tour of a home.

“We are rolling out some pretty amazing technologies that will be in full swing by spring 2021 for all Pillar To Post Home Inspections,” says Pillar To Post Home Inspectors President and CEO Dan Steward.
“One of these will be the PTP360 tour. It will also be available with a floor plan. It is a great new innovation – fast-tracked to completion for COVID-19 response – but in the long term, a huge help for busy, professional Realtors; saving time, better serving their seller and giving prospective buyers a far better experience.

“Buyers can view anytime they wish, stay if they like, share with friends and family, share with contractors to get an estimate and even get a measured floor plan to help with furniture planning, etc. This is a brilliant experience,” Steward said

Pillar To Post is one of several property service companies owned by Toronto-based  FirstService Corp., which trades on the NASDAQ and Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “FSV.”

Founded in 1994, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is the largest home inspection company in North America. There are nearly 600 franchises located in 49 states and nine Canadian provinces. The company has been named as Best in Category in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise500® ranking for nine years in a row and appeared in the ranking for 24 years.

For Durham, the experience with Pillar To Post has been positive.

“It has always been a dream of mine to own my own business,” Durham said. “I want my kids to grow up seeing that hard work can pay off.”

Paying off also has been his move to Texas, though one reason he moved was to avoid the brutal winters. Of course, this year the weather didn’t cooperate. Durham describes the week-long winter freeze of February as “a really bad camping experience.”

Pillar To Post Home Inspections