The WIN Story
Bringing a professional, friendly and helpful approach to the home inspection business
The first inspectors tended to come from a general contracting background. They had excellent technical skills but were lacking in customer communication skills. They’d show up in a battered work truck with a tool belt slung around their waist and would often approach the inspection process as a challenge — “Let’s see how many things we can find, whether it’s a major issue or not, and provide an exhaustive list.” Often, that list came devoid of any context and would scare buyers away from a perfectly good dream home.
Worst of all, the inspections were all over the map.
“I can’t tell you how many times an inspection would find a lot of minor things — the things you would expect in a house that is not brand new — and the way the inspector presented that information to the buyer made them think there were massive problems when there were really just minor repairs to make,” says CEO and cofounder Dianne Knapp. “Then the seller would make all the little repairs to get the home ready for the next buyer, only to have a different inspector come through and find a different set of minor issues.”
While the inspections did offer buyers some protection, the complete lack of uniformity caused needless frustration for buyer, seller and agent. There were industry standards for home inspections, but many people didn’t follow them. Many still don’t.
Dianne knew there had to be a better way.
The birth of WIN Home Inspection
Dianne and her husband, Tom Knapp, who was a home builder, started WIN Home Inspection to create the professional, uniform and friendly experience that was missing. Inspectors would arrive early to appointments driving a WIN-branded service vehicle with a fold-up ladder and tools inside; they would be wearing a crisp, clean green WIN-branded polo; and they would greet the home buyer and their real estate agent with a smile and a helpful attitude. Inspectors would provide a visual inspection that covered more than 300 items from the foundation to the roof, including all the major systems of the house such as electrical, plumbing, and heating and air conditioning. As the WIN inspector found issues, he or she would take pictures and make notes for a detailed home inspection report.
Now, the wonderful truth is that most homes that are in the sales process are in pretty good shape. WIN lets buyers know about any issues in a non-alarmist manner — just about anything can be fixed, and many repairs are simple and affordable — and answers questions.
One of the things that sets WIN apart is that in addition to examining the condition of the home, inspectors also take the opportunity to educate potential buyers so they know how to operate all of a home’s systems: Here is the water cutoff valve; this is how you can adjust your water heater; here are your circuit breakers; you have gas heat, so check with the utility company before you start digging in your yard; etc.
Where other inspectors caused anxiety, WIN brought clarity and confidence. The market responded. WIN quickly grew to dominate the home inspection market in Seattle and began a nationwide inspection brand that has taken the business into 29 states.