Innovating Home Inspections: Mahlie Dukes’ Path from Realtor to Entrepreneur

Mahlie Dukes

In recent years, the housing market has experienced a rollercoaster of highs and lows, impacted by factors such as surging mortgage rates, a persistently low inventory, and the implications of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) settlement. These challenges have prompted professionals within the industry to reassess their career paths, pondering the viability of their current roles amidst stubborn inflation and ongoing inventory woes. It’s within this climate of uncertainty that one individual, Mahlie Dukes, identified an untapped opportunity, transitioning from the world of real estate sales to the more hands-on domain of home inspections.

Mahlie Dukes is not just any entrepreneur; she’s a trailblazer who decided to pivot at a time when the housing market was fraught with unpredictability. Formerly a realtor, Dukes took a significant leap by acquiring a WIN Home Inspection franchise, thereby shattering longstanding gender norms in what is traditionally seen as a male-dominated field. Her journey from selling homes to inspecting them illustrates a fascinating shift, driven by the desire to leverage her extensive knowledge of the real estate industry to provide a critical service that ensures the safety and satisfaction of homeowners and buyers alike.

Check out our interview with Mahlie below.

Can you share what prompted your transition from licensed real estate agent to entrepreneur with WIN Home Inspection?

Mahlie Dukes: With six years of experience as a licensed real estate agent, I have fulfilled roles as both a listing agent and a buyer’s agent. Throughout my career, I have frequently encountered challenges related to sourcing reliable and comprehensive home inspection services for clients. Unfortunately, I have observed instances where inspection reports lacked the necessary depth and failed to provide actionable guidance for addressing identified issues within a property.

Upon discovering WIN Home Inspection, I decided to exclusively recommend their services to all my real estate clientele. My confidence in WIN Home Inspection stems from their consistent delivery of exceptional client experiences, characterized by meticulously detailed reports. These reports not only identify issues but also clarify their significance and offer recommendations for resolution.

In what ways have your experiences as a real estate agent enriched your approach to running your WIN Home Inspection business?

Mahlie Dukes: As someone who has been on both sides of the real estate transaction process as an inspection company and an agent, I recognize the significance of effective communication throughout the inspection process. The WIN Home Inspection franchise prioritizes thorough training, ensuring they possess the expertise to communicate findings to clients, ensuring they are informed without feeling overwhelmed.

Additionally, our inspectors are skilled at engaging with agents, drawing from firsthand experience to facilitate a transparent and seamless process for all parties involved.

As a woman entrepreneur in the male-dominated home inspection industry, what unique challenges have you encountered?

Mahlie Dukes: I haven’t encountered any significant challenges related to my gender, as far as I’m aware. Our team of inspectors are highly knowledgeable and readily available to address technical questions regarding home inspections.

Our primary focus remains on delivering top-quality inspections and meeting the needs of our clients, regardless of any gender dynamics within the industry.

How do you navigate and thrive in a sector that has historically seen fewer women in leadership roles?

Mahlie Dukes: I focus heavily on prioritizing continuous learning and skill development. Staying on top of industry trends, regulations, and best practices through ongoing education and professional development is essential for maintaining a competitive advantage.

Additionally, having a strong support system within WIN Home Inspection has been invaluable in my journey. The WIN team has consistently helped and promptly addressed my inquiries, contributing significantly to my franchises’ success.

In what ways do you and your business support other small and local businesses in your community?

Mahlie Dukes: We’re deeply committed to our real estate partners who trust us with their referrals. You’ll often find us proudly sponsoring their events. We also support local sports teams like Fishers Boys Lacrosse and youth baseball leagues like the Marauders Baseball Club and Oaklandon Bombers.

Our commitment extends to organizations such as the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. Additionally, we contribute to local school fundraisers, showing our ongoing commitment to community support.

Can you offer advice to women considering entrepreneurship, particularly in industries where they are underrepresented?

Mahlie Dukes: Recognize that your perspective as a woman brings valuable insights and ideas to the table. Build a strong support network by surrounding yourself with other business owners, both women and men, whom you can reach out to for guidance, support, and encouragement.

Networking with a diverse range of entrepreneurs can provide valuable perspectives and resources to help you navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship and succeed in your endeavors.

How do you balance the demands of being a business owner with personal time, especially considering you’re a mother to three young boys?

Mahlie Dukes: Balancing the demands of being a business owner with personal time, especially being a mother to three young boys, requires careful planning, prioritization, and flexibility. I have an amazing team of inspectors who share similar values and always demonstrate a willingness to support one another whenever necessary.

Family is a top priority at our WIN Home Inspection business. For example, if an employee needs time off for a child’s game or birthday, it’s always accommodated.

Have mentorship or support from other women in business played a role in your journey? If so, how?

Mahlie Dukes: I love conversing with other women in business, particularly to learn how they manage running a business and raising children. These discussions not only inspire fresh ideas for my professional life but also provide practical insights into simplifying my home life so that I can prioritize more time with my kids. Whether it’s discovering quick meal solutions or efficient household organization tips, these discussions provide diverse strategies for balancing the responsibilities of business ownership with raising a family.

Lastly, what future goals do you have for your WIN Home Inspection business? And how do you plan to achieve them?

Mahlie Dukes: My future goals for my WIN Home Inspection business include expanding our market reach, enhancing service offerings, and fostering continued growth. To achieve these goals, I plan on focusing on delivering exceptional service, building strong client relationships, and embracing a culture of ongoing education and innovation.

Follow Mahlie Dukes online at:

WIN Home Inspection:  

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Emily Sprinkle, also known as Emma Loggins, is a designer, marketer, blogger, and speaker. She is the Editor-In-Chief for Women's Business Daily where she pulls from her experience as the CEO and Director of Strategy for Excite Creative Studios, where she specializes in web development, UI/UX design, social media marketing, and overall strategy for her clients.

Emily has also written for CNN, Autotrader, The Guardian, and is also the Editor-In-Chief for the geek lifestyle site


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