HABiT - Wellington

The team at HABiT Building Inspections Wellington have now carried out thousands of inspections for clients looking to buy or sell a property.  The team is made up of John & Stephen Brien (Owners), Matt Blundell, Paul Nixon and Craig Latham.   We also cover the Wairarapa region. 

We are fully insured, with Professional Indemnity to the value of $1 million and $2 million for Public Liability.  Our reports are carried out in accordance with and based on the NZ Standard NZ4306.  Our reports have been developed to talk to you in your language.  They come with lots of photos and our past customers rave about how easy they are to read and how in-depth they are.

An interview with Matt Blundell from the Wellington branch

We have Matt Blundell on the line.  He’s one of the inspectors for the HABiT, and also is a part-owner of the HABiT franchise in Hawkes Bay ...

How are you Matty?

Good, thanks Pete.

Can you just tell us a bit about you and what you do?

I’ve been working for HABiT New Zealand for nearly five years now. I started down here in Wellington with the main franchise holders, doing inspections and over those five years, the company’s grown, and grown. We’ve obviously got new inspectors on as well so still out there doing inspections myself but also we’ve got two other guys here in Wellington, which I oversee. They’re actually happy in their work and what they’re doing – which is good, so we can all bounce ideas off each other.

Last year, I bought into the Hawkes Bay area as well, so got an interest there and just started out and we have an employee up there working, which is just slowly working away at the marketing now and trying to build the business like we have here in Wellington.

How long have you been a builder now?

Let’s say 13 years. Thirteen years. And you’ve got John and Steve Brien Owners and Head Franchisors Of Home & Building Inspections Team New Zealand in the office.

How long have they been builders for?

John would have been a builder for at least 25 years, Steve for maybe 20. So, you’ve basically got a good wealth of knowledge there that you can fall back on and that obviously helps with knowing what you’re looking for when it comes to inspecting a home. That’s right. You always come across different things every single day – all of us being inspectors, and that’s never going to change. You’re always going to be furthering yourself and making your reports better as you learn along the way. It’s great to ask, obviously, each other questions to see how we feel about it and get the right answer, and give that to your clients.

Why should anyone use you over someone else? I mean there's obviously a lot of competition out there

Yeah, there is a lot of competition out there. A lot of the competition may not be as personal as us here at HABiT. We try and make sure we obviously give the purchasers a phone call straight after we’ve left the site, so they’re not sitting there anxious all day, waiting to know what’s happened throughout our inspections. It puts their minds at ease in that respect, while we have time then to write the report up and get that emailed out within the 24 hours. We also offer the service of having the clients on site. Sometimes, it is easier for them to actually physically see what we’re talking about, and the issue at hand, and then relate it back to the report. I know people do find that a lot easier, as well. That is our definite point of difference, I would think – just having this communication with the client rather than carrying out an inspection, and sending a 70-page report out and being done with it, it’s working through the process with them, offering them solutions, and giving the end result. Hopefully, finding them a nice, good, safe home.

With the report, it's pretty comprehensive; there's a lot of pages but it's easy to read. So, it's not 70 pages of builders' terminology

Yeah, you’re right. It’s not building terminology, and it does have a lot of photos, which hence, you do come out with sometimes 70-page reports, but they’re well set out, they’re spacious, they’re clear and easy to read. It’s not just 70 pages of writing, so it makes it easy for people that obviously aren’t in the building trade to understand the issues at hand.

How do you handle that? Because there’s a couple of different types of clients – one that obviously knows– they’ve been brought up in the DIY age, and they know a lot about building renovation and all that sort of stuff, as opposed to someone who doesn’t, do you weigh up the knowledge of each client and talk to them in that manner or…

If you know that someone has been in the building trade and they do understand that we can change the terminology when you’re explaining things to them, you sound a little bit more professional in that respect, but only if they do know what you’re talking about. If not, it’s definitely in simpler terms, without building terminology, so they can paint a picture in their own mind of what’s actually going on.

So, if you find any issues - any major issues - what do you do?

If we do find any issue whatsoever in the property, that will be noted in the report, and it will be highlighted as well, so it stands out to the client that we do have an issue here, so it would be highlighted in red or blue. Red in being remedial, and meaning that you need action immediately to attend to that problem. In that respect we also offer solutions, so if we find a problem that’s not – hey, we got a problem here, go sort it out. We talk them through it; why the problem has occurred, the best ways to obviously get around this issue to fix the problem, and go down that track because obviously no house is perfect, every home will and does have issues, and so, it’s finding out – you do have this report and it’s all highlighted and people can get scared from that, but it’s talking them through it because nine times out of ten they’re not that hard to fix. So if they can understand how to fix them and go down that track, well it puts their minds at ease. We also do ask clients to come back to us with their list that they see or deem to be a major issue at hand, and we can give them estimates on that. Then, they can obviously budget for fixing that in the future, or negotiate it on the price that they’re buying this property on. If we can’t give them quotes or estimates ourselves – because that’s outside of our trade, we have a whole list of tradesmen in the area that we can call upon, send them the report, maybe they can give us an estimate off that or just talk them through it, just to get some ballpark figures, just out the process out of buying this house.

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