Rarely do I complain about agents

The vast majority of my encounters with agents are positive, each of us perform a service for the client and for that we are rewarded monetarily.
I also hear the gratitude of the client for educating them about their new home.
And from the agent for making the home inspection process clear and edifying for the client.

Now, heres the “but” in the story.
New agent I’m working with calls me up after reading the report and says, “Theres nothing critical in the report, theres nothing in red.”

I respond thats because there was nothing “critical” to report.
I reserve critical for truly serious issues. A foundation problem, an active roof or basement leak, hazardous electrical issues etc.

He starts telling me that the listing agent is “squirrley” and that if I dont’ put things in the report as critical then they’ll dismiss it.

Of course I tell him that the items wouldn’t be in the report if they weren’t important in the first place.

Besides my beotching about the agent, how do you use designations such as “critical” in your reports?


The person that’s going to be living there can deem what is critical or not to them. Nothing should be “critical” to you, as you won’t be living there.

I have only 2 types of comments. Deficient Condition, and informational comment. No degrees of deficient.

Satisfactory, Needs Maintenance, Not Satisfactory. The Needs Maintenance category really allows you to speak to deferred maintenance or really anything that may need to be addressed in an on-going manner. I find that there is a fine balance with language and people involved in a real estate transaction. The needs maintenance category allows you to help everyone look into the future a bit as you know a vast number of people will let things go Qin their home and call two years later and say " you didn’t tell me to do that!". I find it to be highly beneficial as it places some serious focus on the potential issue, but doesn’t inflame the potential issue. A home, like a car…needs maintenance. People get it when you place it in those terms. And if they fail in performing this, you are covered, because you did say something.

I use the repair or replace on Home Gauge reports. I also explain that just because it says replace does not mean it needs to be. Sometimes repairing something is just better than replacing.
If I find something that could cause death or injury it is stepped up to ASAP for safety reasons.

I note this in the report intro.

When an item or system is said to be in “good” condition this means it is in above average
condition in relation to other items of a similar age, type, or style of construction.

When an item or system is said to be “satisfactory” in the report, this means that it is in average
condition. The item or system should give generally satisfactory service within the limits of its
age excluding any defects or potential problems noted during the inspection or in the report.

When an item or system is said to be in “fair” condition, this means it is in average to below
average condition in relation to other items or systems of a similar age, type, or style of
construction, excluding any defects or problems noted during the inspection or in the report.

When an item is stated to be in “poor” condition this means it is below average in relation to
other items of a similar age, type, or style of construction and may need repairs or other
attention immediately or in the near future as recommended in the report.

Observations listed in “GREEN” indicate general information and/or recommendation.

Observations listed in “BLUE” indicate deficiencies and/or items needing attention.

Observations listed in “RED” indicate items needing immediate attention .

I do not assign priority to any defect unless it is an eminent threat to life or property, such as a gas leak, active arcing, broken service neutral, etc. For these defects, I stress the importance of repair or correction immediately.

All other defects fall under the same designation whether it’s a roof leak, open junction box, damaged gate, cracked window, rodent infestation, whatever.

Must be an uneducated REA. You need to teach him/her about your reports.


No the guy has been an agent for a long time.
We will see if he calls me again.

I list all defects found as - defects, I don’t list one defect as being more critical than another, although many times I will put statements in the report stating things such as “electrocution hazard”.

As Joshua stated, let the client decide what is important to them & what isn’t, IMO that’s all that matters.

Last week I inspected a house that had considerable electrical issues. My client told me he wanted to know what was wrong but that he really wasn’t concerned with electrical issues because his dad is an electrician.

Thanks for the replies, I do comment verbally on the conditions of certain items but as said earlier in the report I leave it pretty neutral. Reserving the “critical” designation just for that. Live open electrical wiring for instance.

New agents … in that 90% of them will be selling men’s suits in a department store within the next two years … should generally be ignored as to how a home inspector does his job, IMO.

Instead of educating the inspector on how to write a report, an inspector who wants to have an ongoing relationship with the new real estate salesman should make the extra effort to educate him - not vice versa.

A home inspection is a complete, accurate and unbiased written description of the current condition of a house. It is up to the buyer of the report to decide what is important and what is not. In most (if not all) states, he is free to walk away from any “listing agent” … and his deal … that refuses to address issues that he (not the inspector) feels to be important.

I have 4 choices. Inspected, Not Inspected, Not Present or Repair/Replace. My legend in the report describes or explains what those mean. My SoP and my inspection agreement also explain those items. For me, its either an defect or not. I do not give the defect tiers or classify the defect into different levels for example.

As a few other mentioned if there happens to be an immediate life threatening issue such as gas leak in the home I will notify all parties involved in the transaction and emphasize it in the report. I’m sure there are 100 different ways inspectors generate reports and what their procedures are, whatever works for you. But what happens if one person’s opinion or an attorney is different than yours when you classify a defect as critical or not critical? Maybe not an issue at all.

Just explain to the Realtor how you operate and what your procedure is. If they don’t like it, cant please everyone.

Bad REA’s will complain and try to educate you. Like Jim B. said, you need to educate the REA, or find another competent REA to work with.

The REA that complains will not be one for long.

I say the items listed are items I would repair if I lived there. I am not saying the buyer or seller should do what, just that it should be done. IOW, the next inspector coming through when you sell it will probably find the same things and ask you to fix them, and some inspectors can be unreasonable about expectations.