Even though I have several real estate professionals who regularly refer me to their clients because they trust me to do a good job, I still have to answer this question “No. It is generally in your best interest to avoid using home inspectors referred to by your real estate salesman.”
First, there are many real estate salesmen and brokers who solicit home inspectors to pay them to appear on lists that they provide their clients. These lists are often called “preferred vendors” or “preferred providers of services”. In these cases, as your own common sense will tell you, a home inspector who has invested money with a real estate salesman to have himself referred to you is highly unlikely to throw away his investment by putting anything in your inspection report that might make you walk away from a deal or otherwise offend the referring salesman. He is likely to “soften” his report to ensure that you buy the house.
Additionally, real estate agents have a duty to their clients’ “best financial interests” and should, when they recommend a vendor, be recommending them on their levels of skill and experience and not simply by their willingness to pay a fee.
Even when inspectors do not pay to be referred, home buyers are still better served when their real estate salesman…who only gets paid if the buyer closes on the house…has no part in choosing the inspector who will write the report.
Many home inspectors, it is sad to say, have built their businesses to be totally dependent upon real estate salespeople to refer them. In these cases, they advertise themselves as being “non-alarmists” so that real estate salesmen know that they are safe to recommend to their clients. Most buyers, however, are counting upon being told of “alarming” defects in a home they are about to buy…and should avoid these inspectors for that reason.
Especially in very large Missouri cities where the real estate sales market it highly competitive with thousands of agents competing against each other…a good home inspector who will write a complete, thorough and unbiased report is NOT always appreciated the most by agents and is likely to be left off of a few “lists” of those the agent “prefers” to recommend.
Play it safe in the bigger cities and find an inspector from out of town…one who is not connected to the local real estate sales professionals in any way.
Be certain that you can count on your home inspector to work for you and to provide you with a complete, accurate and unbiased description of the home you are wanting to buy.