This week after I booked two inspections, the buyers called me and said they were cancelling because their realtor told them they should skip the inspection. One person said that the realtor told him that there are multiple offers on the house and anything found on the inspection will jeopardize the deal. The other person called me and said they were walking away from the house because they want to do an inspection.
What’s the question?
Well you don’t need me to tell you that Realtors are the single biggest impediment to Home Inspections. I had a realtor text me not long ago, “$750.00 just for an inspection” I felt like saying $18,000.00 just for paperwork. I just let it go, she’s a known pain in the ass and called me as a last resort.
Peter, this is a problem right now but generally you can still do an inspection. The buyer’s offer may be either “as-is” or they waved the inspection “contingency”. When this happens, I just ask… Did you waive the inspection or the inspection contingency? There’s a big difference. I’d say that 95% of my clients bought “as-is” or waived the inspection “contingency” over this last year. They didn’t waive the “inspection” but many thought they did. They need to read the offer and ask the realtor to explain the offer. Ask the right questions. I’ve done a few homes this year where the contingency was waived but not the inspection and the buyer (my client) was able to get out of the deal because of “undisclosed and/or latent defects”. I can’t speak for other states (I’m in MD) but if the seller misrepresents the home, the buyer can get out of the deal. Even if it’s “As-Is”. Plain and simple. Explain that to your clients and proceed with the inspection. All have been able to get out of the contract if they wanted to if I found latent or undisclosed major defects. Latent is a defect that isn’t readily apparent like a roof leak only visible in the attic or foundation cracks that might eventually cause basement water issues or undiscovered termites. Undisclosed is like a wet basement wall that was obvious or junk pilled in front of a cracked foundation wall to hide the crack but not disclosed by the seller.
The abc’s… Always be closing.
I tell them it is your money/investment at risk not mine.
I love it when the complainer/PITA agent calls after a year or so. I always figure every other inspector in town has told them to F-off and it’s my turn again!
Maryland law requires the following statement in 14 point bold type in the report:
• “Only home inspections performed by Maryland licensed home inspectors will be recognized as a valid home inspection under a real estate contract”. § 16-4A-01
No licensed Home Inspector (inspection), the inspection contingency is worthless.
Anybody can do ‘walk and talk’ but it won’t satisfy a home inspection contingency to bail on the contract!
I have many clients who don’t buy the first property I inspect and pay me to inspect the second. That’s a far better performance review than Google.
I have 3 potential clients right now who have each asked me to quote several homes over the past few weeks. All 3 have lost out on multiple homes they were bidding on. All 3 have told me they would never buy a home without an inspection. Unfortunately in my area, if you want a home inspection in the current market, you will likely lose out to someone who doesn’t.
Tell them to get a new realtor. Worst advice ever and the realtor is setting themselves up for a giant lawsuit. Any realtor with a brain should encourage the inspection. The realtor can say, the “market is not favorable to those who ask for an inspection contingency, however I highly recommend one”. And then, as a realtor, I would have them sign a waiver.
Do they exist?
Bob - did you see that stuff from the last MAHI meeting? They said MD is about to officially sanction the walk and talks at the next meeting of the commission. They are going to allow anyone to do them as long as there is no report. This includes the handyman guys, inspectors from other states, any contractor, etc. There will be some official ruling from the commission about these after the next meeting on Nov 17th. All the shady realtors will be able to bring in whoever they want to do walk n talks instead of getting a real inspection. It’s been happening for the last 2 years already, but an official ruling could legitimize this practice in a way that is really detrimental to us.
No Ryan, I didn’t see it. I looked at the MAHI site recently but they didn’t bother to post it. If the state sanctions walk and talks in place of reports why should I bother to get licensed? Sounds like a state revenue killer to me. I’d appreciate any info you might have. Definitely lobby against that.
It was part of the last seminar they did. You had to listen to the ACC lady ramble on about their services for an hour before they got to the important stuff. But here’s the major bullet points:
Any unlicensed person can do walk and talks. No insurance, no liability, no consequences. No standards of practice, no ethical standards. No regulation.
But there were preliminary discussions by the commission to have penalties for licensed MD inspectors who use the wrong terminology during a walk and talk. Basically a licensed MD inspector can’t use the word inspection during a walk n talk. But any unlicensed or out of state inspectors can say whatever they want to. Only we would have penalties. WTF?
The key issue MAHI raised is based on professional protection. There are two types of professional protection: Title and Practice protection. Title protection means that having a professional license means you may use the Title of the occupation and others may not. For example you can’t call yourself a Master Electrician unless you have passed the test and have the license. Home inspectors in MD have Title protection.
Practice protection means that your occupational license allows you and only others with the same license to practice that job. So structural engineers have both Title and Practice protection. No one else can practice structural engineering without consequences. However, in MD, home inspectors DO NOT have Practice protection. This is the key issue MAHI raised and what creates the loophole for the walk n talks.
Getting practice protection would require a vote from the general assembly on the topic to change the law. I don’t see this happening. The realtors will lobby against it, these walk n talks really benefit them. MAHI is going to try to change this, but it of course won’t happen any time soon even if they do.
The walk n talks are market driven of course, but it doesn’t appear to be slowing down at all around here. The other driver is that realtors hate what home inspection has become. Home inspection has expanded drastically over the last few years to include lots of different services. This is in response to litigation and complaints for “missed” things and also demand from buyers. The walk n talks help some realtors to avoid these expansions of services that many of us offer. No walk n talk is going to recommend a sewer line scope for example. The simpler and easier option for them is the walk n talk. If the buyer doesn’t know any better, then they don’t know what they are really missing by skipping the real home inspection.
It really comes down to $ though. Whatever gets the house sold the easiest and moves the money along. Because god forbid a realtor not be able to sell a house…
This too will pass…
I agree with you nsummers, trouble is as a home inspector, agents are telling the buyer, if you want the house you better waive the inspection, because they know they are getting paid either way. This is what is happening in my area big time. And I as a home inspector don’t have a way of explaining this to the buyers, because i am not aware of the deal at that point. I think there will be a huge buyers remorse in about 6 months and following.
I hear what you’re saying… Unfortunately,in this tight market it’s more than likely the house would have to be under water for the buyers to walk, and the Realtors are very aware.
When I hear that - and it IS getting pretty common right now - I just explain that getting a home inspection isn’t just about negotiating a price… Very often, I see potential problems, and offer advice to avoid a future problem - I tell them the inspection will help avoid a surprise for them in the future.
The current real estate market clearly shows that realtors don’t care about their clients when they tell them to buy a home without an inspection.