Former top producing REALTOR reveals two things agents don't want inspectors to do.

As some of you know, I was a top producing REALTOR for many years. Here are the two things real estate agents don’t want inspectors to do:

  1. Find defects that aren’t there.
  2. Miss defects that are there.

Number 1 wrecks our sale for no valid reason. No sale, no commission check.

Number 2 wrecks our future referrals from our shared client and may even get us sued. No referrals, no clients. No clients, no sales. No sales … (see #1).

Make a real estate agent happy today… generate an accurate report.

Good and valid points .
Whats missing however is often we must advise clients to exersise caution and have further examination performed by contractors in order to protect both them (their investment) and ourselves from further liability .

Should we minimize the importance of further examination where needed in order to get a continuous source of referrals ?

Just load up on insurance ?

There is a fine line especially with older buildings and past methods vs improvements .
Relaying significance is a bit of a fine art not taught here.

I’m personally not a fan of constantly recommending that every defect discovered be examined further by someone else.

I might have made such a recommendation a dozen times at most, in my entire career.

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But won’t I get sued??? How can anyone expect me to step out there and make a professional judgment??? Not me I’m there to walk around, create a fancy looking digital report, cash my check and have the experts in the trades come in and cover my but. Oh yeah… Then come here and spout how awesome and thorough I am and discuss all of the "secret " ways I market but fail to share details as someone might steal my ideas and find my kinda success as well… Now I get it!!!

You know , “double tap breaker, need repair by qualified/licensed Electrician” when the breaker is a double pole with one wire in each tap.
Heard this one from a Realtor last week who has started recommending me after her preferred inspector of 15 years started using an assistant and the reports went south

I have found this to be spot on, with “top producing Realtor’s”, but some others, not so much so.

If a Realtor & his family are hungry today & the bills were due yesterday, do you think he cares about next month sales? Do you think he wants to see his commission/paycheck diminished due to my findings?

And unfortunately there are hungry inspectors out there willing to accommodate these “others”.

o If it needs repair just say repair
Each day is a different problem
Each client has a different view on things
BTW why am i worried about a agent that doesn’t care about their client again?
Nick perhaps our clients are getting more savvy sense you where doing it .
and then there is contractors willing up sell a condition that isn’t really that bad but is willing to throw the inspector under the bus.
What is different from inspecting homes in the last 10 years? A lot . A more informed client

A dozen times WOW ya got me beat I never use those words:shock::mrgreen:

I think WW is correct we have a different type of client than when you were in business they are much more informed. I tell Agents all the time if a house does not work for a client after the inspection they need to find them one that does. Just because the client walked from a house does not mean the client walked from the agent unless the agent was a Butt then they deserve to loose the sale and the client;-)

They want accurate and my favorite expression (stole it from coach Belichick) “it is what it is”.

Which makes sense, even if a major component is bad, a big deal, its no that you can’t say its important. A failed roof, for example can be one of the more common and expensive items we encounter. But most times is repairable, so its 10,000 to fix. Just say it, the roof is failed, it is very important to fix, probably several thousand 's. The leaks may have also caused ABC.

I know we all mock the REA term “non-alarmist” and many equate it to a soft report at times, but the truth is if we write an accurate report, and state the facts with normal communication we will kind of sound like coach bill, it is what it is.

If we go on and on like we are trying out for the next Mike Holmes show and insert drama, even if the facts are accurate, that style of communication does not actually help us do a better job, and it will not likely get you a referral.

If we act like we’ve been there before, not like “Holy cow this is the worst I’ve ever seen, run” we also look amateur.

Nick you need to tear down this site in that case as you tell us to recommend further examination by licensed and certified contractors throughout the site and in CE courses.

I can understand a few inspectors trying to give on a public thread the false impression they will find every single defect and no further examination is needed but perhaps that is why they will be or have been sued in the past.
Nathan has never performed an inspection so not even sure where he is coming from commenting on the thread.

  1. Tree in line with a main drain to the city sewer means it needs further review by video scan and at least in Illinois this must be performed by a Licensed Plumber.
    (Nick are you suggesting breaking laws ?)

  2. Question for the guys above is when performing inspection on a solid fuel burning fireplace are you scanning the entire flue or simply negligent in not recommending a level 2 inspection of system ?

  3. When discovering a material suspect of containing a hazardous material such as asbestos am I the only one here that cares enough about my clients to suggest it be tested ?

  4. When discovering conditions conducive to organic growth and a substance consistent with mold do you guys automatically call it out and label it as mold without laboratory testing [wow] because if so you are doing a big disservice to both seller ,Agent,and client.

5 ) EIFS (exterior wall finishing systems) installed with a barrier method have many known issues and have been banned residentially over 10 years in Chicago plus need to be examined by fully trained experts often trained by someplace such as the "Exterior design institute"
How many or what percentage of Home Inspectors have such qualifications ?

Home inspectors are generalists trained to find issues and often times can make recommendations based on their experience and training but by no stretch of the imagination are to be considered experts in every single facet .

Again if you wish to be sued continue to pretend you are a total expert in everything or do yourself and your client a favor by knowing the limitations of your trade and the time afforded you .

The average home inspection is close to 3 hours and nobody here no matter how important they feel they are can see everything or test everything during that time.

I have read here some guys bragging they can do an inspections and have a complete report in 90 minutes and if they come here to claim they are missing nothing as well should be drummed from the Inspection business.

Lets be realistic gentlemen and stop making false claims in marketing or on public forums.
Get real !

Time for me to leave for my next job which gives plenty of time for the B.S to follow.

I don’t see anything you mentioned that needs comment…ditto

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Bob, I was referring to items within a general home inspection’s SOP… the items your being PAID to look at. Yes, of course if you see something that looks like asbestos and you don’t test for asbestos, recommend that they have it looked at by someone who does test for asbestos. That goes without saying.

But within the SOP of the inspection I was being paid to perform, I almost never felt a need to recommend that someone else come in and say “Yep, your inspector is correct, it’s a defect.” My client may want to hire a contractor or expert to explain how to fix it, or how much it will cost to fix it, but not to confirm that it needs to be fixed. That’s my job.

Agreed but some are far to busy playing CYA instead of learning what is right and gaining the ability to stand by their opinions.

NACHI is a fantastic resource if people will avail themselves.

Great but how about the grey areas ?

NACHI SOP is much like codes in that it provides a good basic guideline however fails to address quality of the inspection which is what separates the experienced and the non experienced.

Example :
You say something looks like asbestos then recommend it be tested and that goes without saying is precisely correct in that the SOP has nothing to say about it other than…
**2.2. Exclusions:

I. The inspector is not required to determine:

M. the existence of environmental hazards, including lead paint, asbestos or toxic drywall.**

Example :

My comment about always recommending a level 2 fireplace inspection…
IV. The inspector is not required to:

C. inspect the interior of flues or chimneys, combustion air systems, water softener or filtering systems, well pumps or tanks, safety or shut-off valves, floor drains, lawn sprinkler systems, or fire sprinkler systems. **
(quite a mouth full in that section of the SOP…:))

Nick I just got back from and inspection where a large tree is directly in line with the main drain…will edit in the picture in a bit.
How does the SOP address this type of situation ?

It does not because just like residential building codes it is written to be minimal.

3.6. Plumbing

**I. The inspector shall inspect:

G. the drain, waste and vent system; **

(Yep thats it …minimal.

Now who determines when further review is needed and under what guidelines is where the art and skill of a good solid Inspector works his magic and earns those referrals other than through marketing which any rookie or SEO Shaman can perform.

Assuming all follow the SOP there are still matters it does not provide guidance for.

Nick you wrote it and I am just a dim witted Home Inspector so perhaps you can help me understand what I am missing.

From International Standards of Practice for Performing a General Home Inspection - InterNACHI

I think the key is stating what actually is and not presenting an opinion. That is what gets you in trouble. Stick to the facts of what the home is presenting, research what is confusing and call for professional opinions on areas where certification trumps yours such as HVAC/plumbing, gas, electrical. In Vermont, builders are not required to be certified. Throw on a tool belt, and you are a contractor. Rare, that I would ever call one in. If I do, it will only be the best I know that do it right and by the book. I will tell you though, all builders tend to be Monday morning Quarterbacks when they come in after a home inspector. Most have experience only (which does mean a lot to me) and can’t qualify why they think something is wrong or for how long it might of been. Instead you get, “thats been like that a long time” “The inspector shoulda known that” General statements scare people. I push them to be precise and qualify their findings…then tell them to shut up.

Correct Bob, we’re not talking about stuff outside the scope of work you’re being paid for. So telling your client they should hire a mold inspector to evaluate a mold problem because you don’t do mold inspections is perfectly reasonable IMHO.

I just personally almost never recommended evaluation by an outside contractor for anything I was already being paid to inspect and assess. That’s what the consumer paid me to do.

I’ll admit, financially, there is a potential “CYA” savings in regularly recommending that your client get a second opinion. I just believe, from a pure accounting standpoint, that those savings are offset many times by the loss of profits from the loss of repeat business that comes with having a local reputation of being an inspector who is unable or unwilling to make the calls without all that repetitive chicken-$h!t CYA language cluttering up every comment on every page of every report I generate.

I would reserve that CYA language for those rare instances when you really need it, like when you are totally dumbfounded (been there) about a system or a component or an installation or an application or whatever. Because in those instances, it’s really not CYA language, it’s good advice you’re giving your client… get someone else in here to look at this.

Nick, I wish it was that way here. Just got off the phone with Dan Bowers. Business is slow for CMI’s here in the Midwest. Personally, I only had 4 inspections the whole month of November. I have put out hundreds of CMI brochures in dozens of RE offices. I have sent out email blasts and marketed the new CMI safe home book via the CMI web site.

We have assumed that agents will not use CMI’s here in KC, because we write accurate, detailed reports, charge larger fees, and have more of a chance to fail a sale. So, RE’s here are using franchises, and $10 per hour inspectors, all to gain “happiness” and “revenue” from these out of state companies.

Nick, who would you hire? A $400 inspector, or a $149 non-alarmist?

My personal residence was recently inspected by a national franchise. The report was 2 and a half pages long. I sent you a copy of it. The inspector wore shorts and work boots. Drove an old PT cruiser. I bet he makes $15 per hour, sends the check to an out-of-state office, and the money flows back to many people.

Amer… quoted a price on a full duplex; 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, single garage, basement on both sides. $369 for the whole thing, including termite. I cannot compete with that.

The days of accurate, detailed reports will not get you business any longer.

Edit: I just now lost an inspection for Saturday that I had scheduled on Monday. Buyer said I was too high priced. After explaining why I am higher than most other inspectors, she said no thanks, and hung up the phone. Now I have upset a buyer, who will tell her agent, who will tell other agents… It is all backwards here.