Born in Colorado, Earl Eric Lee, Owner of Walk In Home Inspector, moved with his family to Ormond Beach in 1980. His step-father had a concrete company, which for Lee, was an opportunity to learn about construction at an early age. After high school, he spent some time in the framing business before working in the customer service side of the food industry for 20 years. By August 2020, Lee was ready for a change.
"I had fun and met a lot of great people, but the industry changed so much over the years," Lee said, referring to his time in food service. "Around this time, I started investigating the home inspection business. I've always been fascinated with buildings and homes and, over the course of my life, I've grown to appreciate the value of what you put over your head."
Lee continued, "I started talking with Realtors and other folks in the industry and my greatest takeaway was that quality never lies. Homes are like cars - they're a lot of work and you have to stay on top of them. However, before you even reach that point, you have to find the right house. The process of finding the right house, for most people, can be a very anxious experience. Even though the home inspector is just borrowing the client for three to four hours, it's important that we stick with them and not just put together a report and move on to the next house. My focus and commitment to my clients is to educate them, to take away their anxiety, to provide a personal experience and to deliver a level of customer service they wouldn't normally expect."
Walk In Home Inspector was founded in August on the principles of customer service, safety and education. Each client receives a personalized and in-depth snap shot of their potential home purchase. Lee's goal is to provide an exceptional, quality report combined with a narrative of the house.
"Purchasing a house to make it a home is perhaps the greatest investment any one family will make in their lifetime," he said. "And it can be full of concerns. No one wants to 'fly blind' when it comes to buying a house and that's where I come into the picture. I will answer questions, describe, direct and eliminate the usual anxieties associated with the complexities of purchasing a house. I'm not your typical home inspector. I truly enjoy teaching and learning about the house myself."
When it comes to growth, Lee is "pounding the pavement" and trying to introduce himself to as many Realtors and referrals sources as possible. He's also very motivated by a personal experience he recently had with buying a house.
"I just recently turned a house into a home and I knew there'd be some challenges," he said. "However, the entire process of getting into the house was a process that no one else should have to go through. I had to chase my inspector on three different occasions. Lots of things were ghosted. If I wasn't savvy about business, I would have been in trouble. It was a bad experience, but it also left me very educated and showed me what not to do."
Lee added, "I encourage all of my clients to walk with me through the inspection. No one should be 'left in the dark' with such a huge decision on their mind. I look after my clients' homes like I would my own and their safety, along with the safety of their children, grandchildren and grandparents, is always front and center."
What advice does Lee have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "Keep at it," he said. "Also, you're definitely going to have a full plate of goals and responsibilities, but it feels great that you have the overall choice of not having to work with certain elements. The greatest thing I've learned is to look at everything that could possibly bite you and how it could bite someone else. Do your duty to everyone involved."