What I'm Seeing Now


Doing More Than The Client Expects. The Slight Edge Business Model.

Doing more than the client expects.  The slight edge business model.

What is your business model?  Do you create a slight edge?

I think exceeding expectation is an important business model.  Or should be.

Clients have expectations in every business.  Are we, as business providers, doing less than the "code" so to speak, do we meet the "code" (meaning the minimum standard or expectation), or to we exceed the "code," attempting to provide best practices.

And what is this slight edge  thing?

On a recent new construction inspection my client was in London and unable to attend.  He wanted extra photos of how the place looked on final walk through because due to the builder's rules he had not been allowed into the property during construction, and was not there for the final walk through.

No problem.  So I took extra sweeping photos of everywhere.  I didn't include them on the report but sent them separately.

But my client had a particular concern.

He wanted to make sure the shower water temperature was okay.

Now I didn't know what that meant.

Does he like it extra hot?  Not so hot?  Is he like the girl in the Three Bears story and wanting it just right?  What's just right?

Again, I didn't know!

This is a condo and the master bath shower was a bit confined.  So I knew my thermal images would be somewhat narrow due to proximity.

Rather than just saying the temperature was this or that, I thought I'd put together a little thermal image panorama.

My computer program can take a number of thermal images and stitch them together into a solid image.

So I took four thermal images of the shower from the swinging door.  It was confined, but I thought I could create an understandable image.

Choosing a palette that would present the image in an artful way, I was able to demonstrate that the shower water was hitting the seat at about 108F.


To make a long story short, he was impressed, I received a very kind email, and all is well.  He wanted the temperature a bit hotter than that and can share that with the builder.  An adjustment on the electric water heater is a simple matter.

My recommendation:  doing the little things, going the extra mile, offering best practices, or whatever you want to call it, is a business model that stands out.  I think this habit gives a business the slight edge.  If everyone is doing the same thing, or offering the same service, how does one stand out?  By creating a slight edge  and exceeding expectations.  That slight edge,  in the long run, goes a long way.  The average score for 18 holes for the #1 golfer in the world is 68.8.  The average score for the #100 golfer in the world is 70.9, only 2 strokes higher!  Imagine the difference in earnings between #1 (Jordan Spieth) and #100 (Scott Brown)!  And, not to slight him because he is an outstanding golfer, how much media attention does Scott Brown get?  The slight edge  in golf is a big deal.  The slight edge  in any business is a big deal!



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 33 commentsJay Markanich • September 11 2017 10:41AM


Providing service above and beyond. Got it. Whether it is delivery of a grilled cheese from the diner kitchen with a smile or a cape style home with three acre lot.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) almost 3 years ago

Good morning, Jay Markanich and they always remember the little extra things.... and that equates to a happy client and more referrals... you earned them...

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) almost 3 years ago

It's that little bit extra that can make all the difference. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Nathan Gesner, Broker / Property Manager (American West Realty and Management) almost 3 years ago

Good morning Jay. Must say your photograph is very impressive and shows you going the extra mile! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) almost 3 years ago

Andrew - a little parsley or pickle beside that grilled cheese can make a difference!

Barbara - thanks.  And it does.  In every clime and situation perhaps.  The Biblical extra mile is an interesting bit of history - one was compelled to carry a Roman soldier's sword one mile.  It was suggested (you know by whom) to carry it an extra one because during that extra mile the carrier was in charge and could legally give it back any time!  Even slaves could give it back!  The Roman mile was 5,000 feet.  Our mile, based on an English principle, is 5,280 feet, or 8 furlongs.

Indeed Nathan.  Consider sports alone and it equates to mucho.

I thought so too, Wayne.  And the client appreciated it!


Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 3 years ago

It might have been fairly simple for you to do, but it made all the difference to the client.  Very impressive visual!

Posted by Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate (Baird & Warner Real Estate) almost 3 years ago

I equate it to investing ones heart as in moving with passion versus not....

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) almost 3 years ago

Slight edge is the reason they call you or me instead of the other guy. It's a big deal for sure. 

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) almost 3 years ago

So many people give a bit less than expected - to give more sets you head and shoulders above the pack.

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) almost 3 years ago

I completely agree. Clients can tell when a business or even an individual is willing to go that extra mile for them. Thank you for sharing. 

Posted by Corey Martin, Real Estate and Management Solutions (Martin Presence Group) almost 3 years ago

Margaret - in total it probably took me an extra 20 or 30 minutes to do that panorama.  Not a big deal, but it came with lots of capital.

A good equation, Richie.  Typical for you!

I think so too, Scott.  I remember something I heard back in MBA school in the 70s (I'm old...).  "If you don't take care of your clients somebody else will."  Great quote.  Great wisdom.

Marte - hence the saying that cream rises to the top!

Corey - it's the kind of thing that is seen and remembered.


Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 3 years ago

Jay, you always seem to go above and beyond. I think sometimes agents are afraid to hire someone like you but for me it would be a fairness issue to all involved to hire you.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) almost 3 years ago

Pretty neat picture.  But how come the water comes out hot, then cools as it sprays out but then gets hot again at the seat?  I would have expected the seat to be no warmer than the water hitting it and then getting cooler as it flows towards the drain.

Posted by Tim Maitski, Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal (Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage) almost 3 years ago

Joe - I was looking for a way to provide the client the info he wanted.  And this was a fun, but effective, way!

Tim - it's all relative.  Remember, these are different images stitched together.  In the middle the water is not heating the air around it so by comparison to, say, the seat, it looks cooler.  The seat was heating as was the floor tile, and the water down there was cooling, somewhat, as it approached the drain.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 3 years ago

great post.  Ive never had a home inspector do that for me, but I guess i've never asked.  All is well  good job to you!

Posted by Christine Kankowski North SD and Temecula, Excellent Sales and Property Management (House Match Inc) almost 3 years ago

I couldn't agree more.  I strive to hit it out of the park each time since all of my business is referral based.  I recently had a client who was looking for a house.  I told him that if they went with a builder they would be offered "incentives" to use their lender and that I could not compete with this scenario.  After 3 weeks working with the builders lender, they told the builder to keep their incentives and they were using their lender.  I closed the deal Friday and they are happy in their new home.

Interesting spin on this one.  Got a call from the builder today, they want to meet face-to-face later this week.  Wonder what they might want to talk about?

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) almost 3 years ago


I'm pretty impressed at what you did, as a great example of going above and beyond. We may not always know what clients expect but can often figure out what we can do to exceed them, and often without too much trouble.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) almost 3 years ago

Hi, glad to see you are featured.  I have been subscribed for a while but forget to check in.  When I read your posts I wish AGAIN that you were in my city.  My last inspector caused trouble with the comments he made, basically not being knowledgable about construction, which he shouldn't have done.  I had to get a contractor in to explain the comment.  Then when I asked for a reinspect the fee was an additional amount.  Bye bye.

Posted by Susan McCall 503-481-2256 Principal Broker-Oregon, Listing and Buyer's Agent (Compass Realty Solutions) almost 3 years ago

Giving an edge can certainly make one person stand heads above another! Although I'm thinking the edge you give is more than "slight."

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty) almost 3 years ago

Great job, and I agree, a little more than slightly above the competition, good food for thought for all of us... 

Posted by Corey Vandenberg (Platinum Home Mortgage) almost 3 years ago

I never heard of taking thermal imaging pictures. Good thing you are knowledgeable about that. I would have just tested the water temperature, as the hot water heater is usually set at a temp and can be adjusted. My brother, brother-in-law and father are plumbers. I would have been running to them for assistance!

Posted by Anne Corbin, Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia (Long and Foster - Lake Anna) almost 3 years ago

I think you have to call that thermal art! Cool pic, and using that camera is a big edge!!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) almost 3 years ago

I love your post. Yes indeed, it only takes a little more effort to give the extra edge.

I know from experience that people will see you as standing out from the crowd with that extra effort.

Great reminder for us all.

Posted by John Wiley, Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA almost 3 years ago

My same wishes to you, Christine.  Ask nicely and maybe the inspector will have a thermal camera!

Stephen - you'll have to tell me what happens at that meeting!  I'm not up on builder incentives.  I usually hear the opposite of incentives from clients who have complaints.

It wasn't hard to do that Jeff, and I thought it came out nice!

We inspectors should observe and report, Susan, not blowficate thoughtage.  Yes, I just invented two words.

That's very nice of you to say, Kat.  I appreciate you stopping by my posts!



Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 3 years ago

Corey - mix in a little here and a little there and before you know it the bread smells great!

Anne -  I've been doing thermal imaging for 14 years now.  And I did images of the ovens too, to prove they work!

Some of the palettes are very fun, Fred, as you know.  I do crazy images of my wife too, and show them to her.  Sometimes she looks like a Peter Max or Jackson Pollack painting!

Thank you John.  I have tried to make that my business practice.


Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 3 years ago

Nice...I'm sure the picture means much more than a temperature information. Priceless memory for your customer. Congratulation!

Posted by AndreaBFerreira CRS - SRS - CLHMS, Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County in FL (Keyes Co. ) almost 3 years ago

Thank you Andrea, and I think you may be right!  Good to see you have electricity and a computer!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 3 years ago

Very creative idea doing the thermal images. I would not have thought of that. That WAS going the extra mile. Great post. 

Posted by Stavrula "Sam" Crafa, RNC,GRI, CDPE, PSA, Providing the integrity and service you deserve. (Future Home Realty) almost 3 years ago

Thanks Sam, but I've been doing thermal imaging for 14 years now.  I have nearly 100 thermal imaging posts on AR!  For me it's normal business.  Doing a creative panorama of something my client wanted was, in our opinions, the extra mile!  Thanks!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 3 years ago

Jay Markanich "If everyone is doing the same thing, or offering the same service, how does one stand out?  By creating a slight edge  and exceeding expectations."

Right on target - and - re-blog!

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty (Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area) almost 3 years ago

Thank you for the reblog Tony and Suzanne!  I agree, it's a good model!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 3 years ago

I have tried  to exceed expectations over the years however only a few clients appreciate the time involved to create a positive experience in real estate Jay Markanich 

Posted by Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS, South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker! (Fathom Realty Washington LLC) over 1 year ago

That's the ticket, Paul.  It sets realtors apart from salespeople.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

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