Be Known, Be Liked, Be Trusted!
Dan Aguirre is the owner and founder of Premier Home Inspections, which host Todd Mitchell contends is the best home inspection company in Fresno. The sixth of eight children living in a house with one bathroom while he was growing up, Aguirre is used to dealing with challenges. After retiring from his job as a building maintenance lead worker for the City of Fresno, Aguirre became bored without those challenges and Premier Home Inspections was born.
Working for the City of Fresno
Fresno owns several buildings, which Aguirre was responsible for maintaining. He would check out the buildings and respond to calls from the employees working in the buildings when something went wrong.
Though he had retired, his wife still worked part time at the church. Aguirre liked to cook, so he’d usually have something cooked for her when she got home. He walked the dog, cleaned the house, cleaned the garage, and cooked. One day she called him and asked what was for dinner, showing him the bad precedent he’d set. “Right there I decided ‘I think I need to do something other than just put an apron on.’”
He wanted to remain in the maintenance field. It’s comfortable and makes people happy. “You get a smile when you show up because ‘hey, finally someone’s here!’ and you get a smile when you leave because ‘hey, thank you very much!’”
It makes sense that Aguirre loves seeing people smile, since his own trademark is the big smile he always wears. “I can credit that to my mom. She’d always tell me that every day was an interview, so put a smile on.”
Premier Home Inspections
Aguirre wanted to go back to doing something he enjoyed, and what he enjoyed was working on buildings. “So I wanted to continue that, and I wanted to take it one step further and actually provide a service to people who were going to be purchasing homes,” he said. “I want to be able to give them the opportunity to know exactly what they’re going to be moving into.”
He wasn’t sure what he’d need to get into the business, so as he was researching, he found the California Real Estate Inspectors Association, or CREIA. The association provided training, education, and certification in many different areas of inspection, including pools, alarm systems, and solar panels.
The more inspections you do at a home, the longer it takes. The longer it takes, the more help you may need. Since Aguirre was the only employee, he started with only home inspections, but he’s looking forward to adding air quality control and mold inspections in the near future. As he gets older, he’s not going to want to continue crawling into attics or under houses. “I’ve gotten to the point where I do have an apprentice coming out with me now.”
Aguirre has also inspected some commercial buildings, but since they are much larger, they are difficult to do alone. With his apprentice by his side, he can do more commercial work in the future.
Know, Like, Trust
The biggest challenge early on for Aguirre was getting his name out there so that realtors knew he did home inspections. Aguirre read a book on marketing that advised him to first be known, then liked, then trusted.
He joined the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, or NAHREP, a nationwide organization that provides education and training for realtors and other associates in the real estate field. As he attended more NAHREP meetings and events, he began meeting other realtors and loan officers and made a lot of friends. “The secret to that was that I didn’t go out and tell everybody right off the bat that I was a home inspector, because I was still going by those three principles … I wanted them to know me as a person first. Not as a home inspector, but as a person.” Aguirre went on to sit on the board for NAHREP this past year, which helped project his business.
Advice to His Younger Self
“The advice I’d give is to have confidence in yourself. Take the risk,” says Aguirre.
Another piece of advice is to keep educating yourself in the field. To maintain their membership, CREIA members have to maintain thirty credits of extended education each year. The more you know, the more information you can give the buyer, the happier and more informed they will be. “The industry changes with the times, so that’s why we need to continue to be educated.”
Aguirre credits prayer with getting him through the hard times. “I get a little emotional when I start talking about prayer because I have a deep faith,” he says. “When I’m feeling down … I pray, and I give it up to God, and I move on.” Another way he gets through hard times is recognizing that everything happens for a reason. He tries to find that reason in a positive manner so he can learn from it.
An Influential Book
Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II by George Weigel was an influential book for Aguirre because the Pope credits prayer with saving him during WWII when Poland was being taken over. Aguirre took that to heart. “That was a book that I believe that changed my way of thinking and helped me be the person who I am today, because his faith and prayer has now become my faith and prayer.”
Aguirre wants people to know that they can like and trust him. “I try to provide a good service to the clients. I try to make the clients feel comfortable, and I want the clients to be well-informed of the defects and the condition of their home,” he says. “I want to make them feel that they’ve got probably the best inspection they could have gotten from anyone.”
He also offers services after the client moves in, and invites clients to call him with any questions.
Contact Dan Aguirre