Don't become too dependent

I have read recently that manufacturers and/or suppliers who have become dependent on large companies like Walmart - Home Depot or major automobile manufacturers to sell their products too, have faced devastating consequence if their bulk purchaser has stopped buying from them for whatever reason.

The same can easily happen to home inspectors who have become too dependent on the sales staff of one large real estate company in their area of operation. It is my personal experience that it only takes one disgruntled agent who spreads the news around the office that he/she has lost a pending sale because of an “unfavourable” home inspection report. The accused home inspector might be toast in no time.

Nevertheless - most marketing strategies promoted these days are still suggesting that newcomers to the business should first of all develop and nurture good relationships with the real estate profession. No one is addressing the negative aspects if home inspectors who have become dependent on the manipulative real estate profession to make a relatively meagre living in comparison to the real estate commissions collected these days by agents.

The best approach to sustain in this competitive business is to create an impeccable reputation of competence and integrity with the public. Maintaining contact with former customers to secure potential referrals has been very beneficial in my experience. Wishing each purchaser individually all the best in their new home - or sending a flower arrangement after the closing date - has generated lots of goodwill for myself during the years I made a living in this business.

To lavish real estate agents with any kind of presents - or to wine and dine these
self-centred folks - has never resulted in any payoff for my business in more than thirty years.

RUDOLF REUSSE - Home Inspector since 1976 - Retired

How true we have had Agents love us big time and said how much they loved our inspections till two junkers did not sell.
We have not changed our inspections and now seldom get any inspection from that large office .
Too bad their clients are the loosers .
We are very busy , our reputation and word of mouth are the reason .
We take it as a complement their not using us… Roy

Next radio show May 25th 10;00 AM See my web site CJBQ

Good point Rudolf.

On a related matter: I make it a practice not to eat at franchises (Applebees, Denny’s, etc) if I can help it. If we all keep patronizing franchises, in 10 years, that is all we’ll have and we’ll be dependent on them.

Good post!!

Hopefully BC will lead the country down the road to a more mature and honest industry with their restrictions on RE’s recommending HI’s!! IMHO, 95-97% of realtors are of the “Used House” salesperson ilk, leaving 3+% will true personal integrity. I have some realtors that only refer me when a good friend or family member need a home inspection…who do all their regular customers get??

A funny thing happened a few weeks before Xmas: I was driving away from a Sunday AM inspection in a 8-10 year old subdivision when I noticed the truck of an HI I know- he was just sitting in it so I stopped to chat.

The realtor and his client were together and late so our chat went on until they showed up. The realtor had been on both sides of a sale that I did the inspection* on last summer.

She saw me talking to the HI and somehow assumed I was there to do the inspection also…She started asking repeatedly in a quite high voice: “What are you doing here? What are you doing here”. In her excitement, she did let it slip though…"He’s our office inspector!!" Bought and paid for in their back pocket!!!

*On this 3 year old residential duplex that had already had modification to create 2 small commercial spaces from the ground level garages, I found much electrical wrong even though there was a new electrical inspection sticker on all 4 meter socket boxes! After telling them to fire 2 “electrician” types hired by the vendor to correct the wrong, she hired her own electrician and paid for the work (her commision was probably ~$20,000). So 5 weeks later and $2,700 cost to the realtor after my initial inspection, the sale went through…so I am not one of her favourite people!!

Yes also be leary of associations which will get in bed with realestate associations in order to achieve the associations goals of having home inspectors licenced.

We don’t need no stinking Realestate bodies lobbying on behalf of associations because an association can’t foster and deliver its agenda on its own.

Well said Rudolf

How true we have had Agents love us big time and said how much they loved our inspections till two junkers did not sell.
We have not changed our inspections and now seldom get any inspection from that large office .
Too bad their clients are the loosers .
We are very busy , our reputation and word of mouth are the reason .
We take it as a complement their not using us… Roy

Next radio show May 25th 10;00 AM See my web site CJBQ

NACHI is great helps all Homies all the time

"who do all their regular customers get??"

The so called ‘hard inspectors’ so that the Realtor won’t get sued? Why else would a Realtor send a soft inspector out to friends? They know they are safe from having dear old dad sue them of course!

Most realtors aren’t that smart, George!! That’s why they recommend inspectors that work to their standards!! Hope you’re not depending mostly on RE referrals. It would disappoint me greatly that such a notable would have depend on Used House salespersons for the bulk of his work…it is a sad commentary!

Talked to an inspector with 8-9 years experience today and told him the story I recounted here. This guy is the only other inspector I will refer folks to in the province as he is quite thorough. He had a comment recently from a realtor to the effect “You’re not making me much money”…HI’s don’t help RE’s make money; they provide info to help buyers make sound decisions, whether they buy or not!!

Good Post,being dependent in any industry can be a mistake,In my previous business , as a drywall contractor
of 23 years,when I first started up I was strictly independent,building up a pretty good clientele ,I was offered a good proposition to get in with a local large builder,doing all their work,it was demanding and over time had lost my private clientele,not being able to satisfy every one,in time a funny thing happened,the builder owned me,expecting me to turn a blind eye on cutting corners etc…I expressed a lot of Attitude ,unwilling to buckle,then of course a cheaper bid came by and I was left with nothing,Being out of sight and out of mind with my previous clientele, they were gone as well,
and I started all over from scratch,as far as my new career of Home inspecting,I am against real estate referrals,it is straight up a conflict of interest,and the guys who catch less will get the most work,I recently read an article about a BC judge lecturing a home inspector,long story short, the judge asked the HI to look inside of himself and ask the question, am I here for the client or for the real estate agent,the judge also told him if he was brought before his bench again he wanted to see his HI report in plain English,if something is wrong with the house ,write it,no more sugar coating,I know being independent will cost me money,but I am in this business for one reason,the client,I have used the same mechanic for 20 years,he is first class,last week I gave him a list of things I wanted him to do,he called me back later and said, it is good to want to take care of your vehicle,but most of this stuff does not need to be done,his shop is busy all the time,quality and ethics,anyways just my 2 cents,we are all here for just a short time and how we conduct ourselves is our own choice,PS real estate agents are simple,I have never used one,bought my present home and previous without a real estate agent,simplest process in the world,when I bought this house, I told the previous owner, we agree on a price,and we both meet at the lawyers and we are done,save 15 grand buddy, I said,Edmonton Alberta is setting a trend on people selling their own homes,I forget the percentage, but I read an article a while back on the subject,anyways another 2 cents I guess.I just watched an episode of house hunter international and the guy bought a house in Belize ,he said he could not believe how simple the purchase process was compared to when he bought in the states,its because the real estate agents complicate the process to justify the thousands of dollars they are making,and that’s the truth,thanks.

Not disagreeing with you, but there is a big difference with the US and International purchasing (overseas). Most countries are “cash only” for residential sales. The US is one of only a few countries that even consider “financing”. Cash only sure eliminates a lot of the BS.

Good Point, I did have a mortgage broker involved in both purchases,handled all the financial parts,1500$ dollars total cost, for lawyer and mortgage broker to work out all the details on the transaction,both times.

Have an inspection to do on a house being bought by a younger realtor tomorrow. He has seen me work a year ago and again 2 weeks ago for a young client (income property investor) of his who hired me instead of any HI’s recommended by himself…now he wants me for his own purchase!!

Oh well, I seem to be building a new niche of clientele…Young realtors who are becoming income property investors and their friends who are also becoming income property investors.

Heaven knows, Brian, I live to avoid disappointing you. :smiley:

So it sounds like you depend on the realtors for your business!! Are there any really thorough inspectors in your area??

Not to paint all Realtors with the same brush …, I know of some really good agents who will only want the best for their clients, but they seem to be few and far between.

I particularly love agents who know more about inspections, then they do about realestate.

Not everybody loves me, but then again I don’t want to be liked by those agents who have a sale foremost in their mind, rather than the best for their client.

This is one of the issues I guess I have to get used to thinking about now, I keep telling myself that I can just tell the RE that that’s the condition of the house, and no sugar coating, walk away and possibly lose more inspections. I guess it’s hard for those that feel the need to work with an RE that dictates the conditions when there hasn’t been many inspections for them recently, I can only hope I am not left in that position, or ever feel the need to be run by an RE office.

I have an RE friend, keeps asking me when I will start inspecting, I keep hoping that by the time I do he has forgotten, LOL.

Start small, cultivate the good agents.

As with any business you will not please everyone.

Many agents fail to realize that ‘you’ the inspector is the one who will be sued. At some point you will have to point that out to the agents that think you are working for them.

I remember when I first started out one agent had the gall to come up to me and whisper in my ear that he would like a favourable inspection because he did not want to lose his commission.

But if the agent has recommended you, they will also be included in the lawsuit, along with yourself, the vendors, their dog, the mailman…anyone who has been on the property recently. We hear this regularly from the US folks who live to litigate!!

I comunicate with a lot of Home Inspectors and have yet to have one tell me this story .
I personally this is just another of Brians passing on his information .


One thing I forgot to mention in your quest is to ensure your agent friends always provide three or four names for the client to choose. Many realestate offices now have this policy in place. However some clients will not have the time to research and will let the agent pick the inspector. Many times a client will ask the agent which inspector is the best out of the 3 or 4. Again it is important that the agent has the best interest of the client in mind, and not the agents best interest, if you know what I mean.