In the past, I had worked quite hard to be on a list of preferred inspectors. It wasnt called a list of preferred inspectors. It was a list of 4, with mine being first.
I got there by participating in seminars for first-time home buyers. I got there by being thorough and fair. I got there by offering free advice to agents. I got there by mentoring new agents on the realities of inspections.
I never paid.
However, as advertising money became tighter for these Realtors, many started moving towards internet sites, formal marketing brochures/magazines (twice a year), etc. With that came the requests t pay to be listed on a site. I never paid, and was never listed.
I believe that it is okay to pay to play. That’s right.
However, the caveat is the accompanying verbiage which should disclose that names on that list paid to be there and is not necessarily an endorsement of the firm or their work product.
Unfortunately, the caveat is never there. Therefore, it is NOT okay for pay to play.
You can see pay to play in many versions, including annual events where inspectors, attorneys, mortgage companies, etc must contribute to the cost of the event, and receive a free breakfast or pay a higher amount for the priveledge of having a table where they give away things.
Most of the time, the decision comes down to 1) cost and 2) availability. Affiliations, training, competence, and experience are almost never considered with these lists.