Kentucky Home Inspector on How NOT to Lose Leads & Referrals

Home Inspector with B4 U Close Home Inspections&Radon Testing (

Has a referral source ever found you years later and said, "I kept trying to find you to give you a lead but I couldn't find you!"

What kind of e-mail address do you have? 
Who OWNS your cell phone number?
How many leads will you lose because someone you trust is wily.
(or something changes in the business like the broker changing domain names.  Thanks Margaret)

Is it really YOUR e-mail address or does it belong to someone else?
Is it really YOUR cell phone number or does it belong to someone else?

Someone like your broker, employer, ISP (Internet Service Provider) or one of those FREE accounts that may change when YOU don't want to.

Here's a scenario for you that has happened to others in the past, costing them THOUSANDS of dollars.

I'm going to use real estate agents as the example, but it applies equally to a lot of other professions such as home inspectors and mortgage professionals.

Yes, wily brokers (and other employers) have screwed people out of thousands of dollars.  Though I don't know if "screwed" is the right word.  Seems these agents should know what's happening to them.  But then if everyone was honest, the world would be a vastly different place.

So Suzy (my favorite name, not meant as a slur to any Suzy's I know or don't know) gets her real estate license.  The next step is to hang it with a broker, which she does.

Kind and generous Broker gives Suzy an e-mail address of  Broker is really on top of things and also provides Suzy a cell phone, but tells Suzy she has to pay the bill thru his office.

Suzy spends five years farming, lead generating, gathering referral sources, etc.  Suzy spends the same five years passing out business cards with "her" cell phone number and e-mail address.

Now Suzy is making some money, but a better opportunity opens with a different broker and she makes the jump.  But because of the way they are set up, Suzy loses her e-mail address and the broker gets to keep the cell phone number because it's in the brokerage's name.

Guess what, a lot of Suzy's referral sources still have her e-mail address as and her ‘old" cell phone number.  AND they use them to pass Suzy leads.  But those e-mails land on the broker's desk and the phone rings for whomever the broker gives the number to.  The lead is simply told that Suzy is no longer there but they'd be happy to help them meet their needs in listing that $300,000 home.

Where does that $18,000 commission go.  Doesn't matter.  NONE of it is going in Suzy's pocket.

WHY????  Suzy never knows about it.

Even if the broker is honest instead of wily and just shuts them down, Suzy has lost the five years she spent spreading that contact information around.

Look around.
How many of your competitor's have e-mail accounts.
(UPDATE:  or, as David Harkness pointed out below have their ISP address, i.e. (  What happens when you change ISPs.  You lose it.  It's gone and you can't get it back.

How many of your competitor's have broker issued cell phone numbers?

Keep yourself in contact with your referral sources (and your pocket in contact with the money those sources bring) regardless of which broker you work for.

Get your OWN domain e-mail address!
Others exist but domain registration is only about $9.00 a year (on a ten year registration) and comes with free e-mail.  When you have your OWN domain name, you can transfer it wherever YOU want and access it forever (well, as long as you pay for it).

Get your OWN cell phone number!
It is YOUR's as long as you pay for it, even if you change cell phone providers (in the same geographic area).
Thanks to the Number Portability Act!

Real Estate is a LONG term business.  Have you planned to be in business for a long time?  Long time agents can recount many tales of a referral source or lead that only comes to fruition years later.

Are you planning to be there to reap the benefits?


Erby Crofutt
B4U Close Home Inspections & Radon Testing
Georgetown, KY

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Erby Crofutt
KY Lic# HI-2041
B4 U Close Home Inspections & Radon Testing
Georgetown, KY


B B 4 U Close Home Inspections serves Central, Northern & Eastern Kentucky real estate buyers & sellers

with Kentucky Licensed Home Inspections & Certified Kentucky Radon Testing
ppointments available 7 days a week -  7 AM to 9 PM. 
Phones answered during same period.

Call NOW for your B4 U Close Home Inspection appointment!!

Why should you hire Erby to inspect your home?  See what past clients have to say!!

Here's what a couple of B4 U Close clients say: (Clicki the line above to see others)

I think the current owners are a little angry about the thorough inspection you did. They didn't have one done and it cost them $18K.  I, my loan officer and my agent think a home inspection is well worth what I paid.

Nathan, Morehead, KY Inspection  (20101012B)

Thank You for the outstanding job you did on the inspection.  We bought and sold 9 houses and this was the only inspection that was ever done properly.  It was helpful and we will use it to do the repairs with a system, instead of the guess work we usually do.  Thanks again

Mike & Barbara, Stamping Ground, KY Inspection (20050603

See a B 4 U Close Home Inspection sample report by clicking the report picture below


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Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

Excellent advice. I graduated from U.K. Grew up in Paducah.


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Jul 04, 2007 05:41 AM #1
Lizette Fitzpatrick
Lizette Realty - Richmond KY - Lexington, KY
Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes
Hey, I'm glad I'm not Suzy! What an idiot! Successful agents are independent movers and shakers that operate by thinking outside the box. If you follow along like sheep eventually you will have to visit the shearing shed! LOL
Jul 05, 2007 02:31 AM #2
Mike (Inspector Mike) Parks
The Parks Consulting Group, LLC - Circleville, OH
Inspector Mike


Good advice for everyone.

Jul 05, 2007 04:38 AM #3
Erby Crofutt
B4 U Close Home Inspections&Radon Testing ( - Lexington, KY
The Central Kentucky Home Inspector, Lexington KY

Well, Suzy does exist, I know Suzy and Suzy lost several thousand dollars because her contact information changed.

Hey, the internet and cell phones aren't for everyone.  There's still "some" really good agents out there who don't need either to survive.

Look around you.  Do you have a friend who hasn't picked up on this yet.  Send them this link or better yet, help them get their own domain.

 Who was it that said "If you don't plan for success, you plan to fail."


Jul 05, 2007 08:20 PM #4
Gomer Pyle
Greenville, TX

Hi Erby,

You've got a good point about associating your email address with a particular employer.  It's a similar problem if you use your ISP's domain (cableone, sbcglobal, etc.).  If you ever decide to change ISPs, then you have to change your email as well.  In that sense, using a free account like yahoo, hotmail or gmail makes sense.  In fact, I have multiple free email accounts with all of those, and I use a Gmail account for my personal email address (friends, family & personal business).   However, to me, the words "yahoo" and "hotmail" do not convey a professional image.

I think the best solution (as you mention) is to create your own domain name.  It's very cheap and easy to acquire your own domain name.  (Obviously, you have done that with b4uclose.)  I registered my business then set up a Gmail account to send and receive email using that domain: .  

It's fairly easy to set up a Gmail account to "fetch" emails from another account, and I assume you can do the same things with Yahoo and others.  I work from my Gmail account, but to everyone else it appears I'm working from my personal business address. 

David Harkness, P.E.

Consulting Engineer / Inspector

Jul 06, 2007 07:22 AM #5
Dale Baker
Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections - Claremont, NH
New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information

Howdy Erby

Congrats on a very good and helpful blog post.

Jul 07, 2007 07:38 AM #6
Lizette Fitzpatrick
Lizette Realty - Richmond KY - Lexington, KY
Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes
Erby, you are a genius! I wish all new agents and everyone in business that works for a boss would read this. I'm a control freak so it never occured to me to let my broker control what I do. Many or most in our office use that domain email.  
Sep 22, 2007 01:24 AM #7
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome
Erby, I have seen this happen with agents who have not left the company but the company name changed...all emails lost that were @oldbrokersname. I think you have helped some agents more than you know.
Jan 19, 2008 10:10 PM #8
Erby Crofutt
B4 U Close Home Inspections&Radon Testing ( - Lexington, KY
The Central Kentucky Home Inspector, Lexington KY

Well, obviously I made this post back before I understood the need to reply to the comments on my blog.

My apologies.

David:  You have a great point about the ISP (Internet Service Provider) e-mail addresses.  I've updated the post to reflect that.  Thank you.

Dale:  Thank you.

Lizette:  It'll never happen.  There's always the smart and not so smart.  We can lead a horse to the water, we can even shove their head under the water, but we can't make em drink the kool aid!

Margaret: Another cause for updating the blog to reflect your information. Thank you for sharing that.  I hadn't thought about it.



Jan 19, 2008 10:50 PM #9
Stephen M. Wigg - Omaha, NE

Great information. I see agents' e-mail and cringe when I see them with something other than or and instead what you're saying like But even more "wily" is the web-site that uses that e-mail with a caveat that says Contact Today's Featured Agent, implying it's their listing. Smart or wily? Or both? Consumers don't care anyway, do they? I'm not an agent but I've purchased 4 homes and never cared, let alone KNEW a Buyer's Agent could keep the vultures off my back! I'm working with an old-timer that asks, "What good are all those leads anyway? Signs in the yard sell homes." Please... Did I mention he's an old-timer?

Feb 05, 2009 02:51 AM #10
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Erby Crofutt

The Central Kentucky Home Inspector, Lexington KY
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