Defamation case

The underlying issue is the listing agent telling the buyers agent that the buyer can’t use that inspector. Unless specified in the contract between the parties involved, the seller or agent cannot dictate who does what during due diligence. Now the seller may have the right to not let a particular person/company on their property, but this also could be construed as obstruction of due diligence without prior knowledge of, or set forth in the contract. The buyer has the right to walk at that point, but in this market they would be more than likely to comply to save the contract.

However, I do feel it’s unethical for RE agents to try and regulate who buyers want to hire as their inspectors.

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Definitely. And as a client, if an agent told me I couldn’t use a certain inspector, I would definitely want to know why. Since these inspections were already booked, the client must have known who the inspector was originally going to be. My question is did the agent tell the client the real reason why the inspector couldn’t be used? I don’t know, maybe in the OP’s scenario the client never knew who the inspector was going to be to begin with? :man_shrugging: :man_shrugging:

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As I stated I’ve bought and sold several homes so I’m just playing devils advocate and wanted to provide an alternative point of view of the what the seller may be thinking.

And I can see your point because you don’t want to feel like your blacklisted just for doing your job but the realtor only cares about one thing and that’s making the sale so that they get paid. They feel that’s their right to protect their client’s interest, maybe it is maybe it isn’t.

Good to know that everyone thinks this smells as bad as I do.

In our current market we have about 10 percent of what we would normally have for sale. Buyers are frantic to get in the door. Its all cash, take it or leave it mentality from the sellers. Good properties don’t last a day.
I have spoken to the buyers and we were set to go when this occurred.
The situation came to light as we called the listing brokers to schedule times. Both went dark and called buyers agents and said we were not allowed to do the inspection and that they would need to find another option.
Both buyers were upset and not liking the situation but the drive to get a house was more than the worry of getting a bad inspection.
So both said sorry but I have no choice. I offered both the option of having me review the inspections pro bono for a second opinion.
Can you imagine the liability these brokers just accepted if the buyer finds a problem in the house after they close??

I will update after I meet with the firms managing broker and the office broker on Monday morning.
Rest assured I am not laying down and letting this occur.

That’s incredible that it has gotten so bad that someone paying all the bills in this transaction has no say in performing their own due diligence. Especially when they are told their inspector can’t be used because they are too thorough.

I guess it is their decision to accept it and move forward. I doubt a judge is going to give them much sympathy when it comes to light they were told they had to use a “lesser” inspector and they agreed to it.

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Sorry Ron, I can’t speak to your inspection or findings, but often times it might come down to your presentation of findings. I’ve known inspectors that would take such pride in finding things wrong, that their verbal comments at completion would leave everyone completely fearful and running for the hills, many times on things easily corrected.
I’m not suggesting that that’s what you’re doing, but you may wish to revisit how you inform your buyers of those type of conditions where needed corrections can usually be negotiated into final price.
Good luck with it.

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Good advice but that’s not us.

“It’s broken… we suggest further review to better understand cost associated with repair by qualified contractor”

We have scrubbed our reports of all adjectives over the years.

It’s the mold, broken sewer lines, roofs, structure issues we find. The real material defects not the minor crap.

They don’t like these items because they can’t be solved with a small credit at closing

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Brian, thats good intentions to contact the board but that would be a death sentence overall. Remember one key thing, All Realtors stick together no mater if the accused is a bad or not. I have witnessed Realtors indicate that they will not back an inspector in any case, will lie in depositions or will lawyer up in order not to do deposition, to protect their own but will back up a Realtor. In some of the expert witness cases I have participated in that has been the case, They do have organized meetings in offices to discuss the fate of inspectors, Termite, Pest & Wildlife and Appraisers in the area. If you contact the State Association, they will immediately contact the Brokerage and will also tell who is making a complaint. So you will be dead meat there. I have watched inspectors win cases that involved clients & Realtors and they never have any work again in their area and have to go outside of the Realtor cloak to another town to do work. Please note that if the office says that Inspector finds too much, and if this is so, the Realtors would never give the client that inspectors name, I am sure that they will not tell the client that, and if a client cancels it may be (80% of time) they were told by the Realtor that another inspector is better, so they get around it. The best thing is if Ron can find a Stoolley amongst the Realtors that will depose, find a Real Estate lawyer not within his area (Realtors know the Real estate lawyers and word will pass around the local Realtor cloak like wild fire), that would be the goal, and get ready to spend your deductible and more. I have expert witnessed to many of these type instances and the Lawyers that I work with all say the same thing, “if the inspector wins he will never get work in his area again”. If I was Ron, stay away from that office, concentrate on the good ones. There are good offices, especially with younger Realtors who have not been brainwashed by the older Realtors set in their corrupt evil ways

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Ron, Stay away from that office, do not waste time and energy and money. There are good offices and once you have established that you are a good inspector for the client (remind the Realtor you are protecting them also, which they forget that all the time) & Realtor maybe that information will leak back to the bad office (which it actually will) then maybe you can gain the confidence of the bad office. Just remember if you make a move legally you will probably never work in your town or within the Realtor office area again. I do expert witness on many cases in our areas and found this is 95% true. If you report to the State Association about the discrimination that State Association WILL NOTIFY that office with inquiry and you will be blackballed in the area anyway. Its a no win situation. So, keep quiet, just get some inspections with good offices and that may filter down to the bad offices or as many inspectors will say, referrals from past clients spread quickly. Good luck.

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Hey Ron,
It looks like you are in the Vail area. Your problem is simple. You are in a small, clickish market. If you are in the click, then you have work. Out of the click, and you are out of work.
I have had agents ask me to travel (recently Winter Park and the other way to Burlington) because they didn’t want an inspector too closely aligned with the agents in their area.
I propose having a sit-down (maybe lunch) with the agents about this. Ask them if they think you did a bad inspection. If so, explain. If not, then what do they think is “finding too much.” Who are they going to recommend for their buyers, the HI who doesn’t find much or you? “Oh, just curious, when you go to buy your own home, who do you want to do your inspection? Don’t we all want the best for our clients? When your seller goes to buy their next house, don’t you want the best inspector for them?”
Also, make sure that they understand, that you are careful to never make a molehill into a mountain. You call them as they are, no more–no less. All done diplomatically and friendly. In a small market like yours, you walk the diplomatic line, if you want work. I can afford some agents hating me in the Denver area (and I have some haters), but that luxury is not yours. In short, I propose trying to win over or at least mollify, these agents by showing them the win-win of good inspections in the long run.
Over the years, I’ve heard similar stories like yours. Good luck.

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I am thinking Lon has hit the nail on the head mixed with comments from William.
My approach to the meeting is going to be

  1. I am sorry, what did I do to upset you?
  2. Did we find something that you did not feel was real?
  3. Do you feel we overstated it?
  4. If I was representing your mom would you have liked me to not comment on these items? Or would you prefer she not know?
  5. Who would you call if your child was buying a home?
  6. How do we make it right?

I am then going to slip into have you considered the liability that you assume when you limit a buyer’s inspection for the process for yourself and your company?

I am going to have fun with this, the best part is we do more inspections a year than this entire company does transactions in a year. So while they are a big player I am not afraid but still going in passive, not lawyered up and attacking.

Thank you everyone for comments, its a great way to help work through my feelings.

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Be sure to give us an update after the meeting. Don’t leave us hanging!

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**[quote=“ramass, post:1, topic:211006, full:true”]
Has anyone experienced wholesale blackballing by a real estate firm?
If so any recommendations on how to handle this?
We have a firm telling buyers agents that they will not allow us to do inspections on their client’s listing. We have had two cancellations in the past week from the same office as they refuse us access.
The reasoning they give is we “find too much”
Or no other inspectors find “these kinds of problems”

All past issues they complain of are real. Broken sewer lines, mold etc.

Any thoughts would be great.
[/quote]


**> Blockquote

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Why bother with the meeting? It won’t change anything unless you’re willing to make some ethical concessions of your own.

When I read your OP it reminded me of several interactions I’ve had with agents over the last few years. I agree with some of the other posts too, complaining to the Board won’t get you anywhere. If you want to hurt them, a bad Google review of the brokerage would probably hurt more than anything.

Here’s the reality of this industry. Like many things in life it follows the 80/20 rule:
80% of agents operate in the unethical the way you are experiencing from this firm everyday, (they maybe are not dumb enough to call us and say it on the phone), the other 20% are good ethical agents.

80% of home inspectors operate in the same unethical way (sorry guys but it’s true) and look the other way on serious, expensive issues in order to maintain relationships with realtors. I’ve seen enough reports from other inspectors to know this is true. And there really aren’t many consequences for these inspectors either.
The other 20% of inspectors do their job properly. This is includes most of the inspectors on this forum, because let’s face it, only the inspectors who CARE are here discussing these things. The 80%ers are at the local bar with the realtors right now.

I could really go off on a 50 page rant about of all of this, but if you’re looking for an industry with consequences, real estate is not it. There are absolutely ZERO consequences for realtors when it comes to ethical violations.

Also, if you’re interested in a career where you would interact with less criminals than you do in real estate, maybe your local Dept of Corrections is hiring? :joy:

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Contact Joe Ferry. He is good at writing letters that work in favor of the inspector. He may be able to help in this case.

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Hi there
Exactly same problem for same reasons, but only one realtor. So when I see his sign at a property, I ask the buyers party to call him and tell him it’s me doing the inspection. He simply refuses. I just leave and I don’t care about it.

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I have a similar situation in my market - an old-school bully Realtor tells buyer’s agents, had he known they were using (my company) he would not have accepted their offer. SURELY an ethics violation. But in this case, he only throws that out after the contracts are signed, not before. Scares the timid ones though.

I have another group within a local Keller Williams office who stopped using me after the group owner’s husband (a retired engineer! Groan!) became their “home inspection advisor”. In his new role he began telling me how to write my inspection reports. When I told him how dangerous his position was, they stopped using my service. Left a big financial hole. Worked for years to get their business.

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Just do a walkthrough (walkthrough with buyer realtor, have buyer realtor get permission to look at the house again and you go with) inspection for those. That way you can help your clients, get paid something, and the listing agent never knows about it.

Who exactly is doing that? Name names! I’d also love to hear the names/details about agents meeting to conspire about which inspectors to use that someone else mentioned. If these are REALTORS (R), not just licensed real estate salespeople (as they’re called in MA), I can tell you with confidence that NAR would hand them their heads on various ethics violations. Now, there may be some validity to the notion that you’re in a small market with cliques, as someone mentioned. All politics is local. If so, escalate to the national level. I just went through the NAR ethics course. Also, I know people at the executive level of the Massachusetts chapter of NAR, so I might be able to help, at least with recommendations or feedback from them.

That’s not to mention any state licensing regulations in your favor… the state board here does not mess around one bit. I know someone who’s on it…

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How many one cent inspections have you done?