The other day I started this thread

The Greater Memphis Market has been hit really hard by the current housing market. It appears to me that many of you may not truly understand what really is going on. Myself and a few friends of mine have gone from 25 inspections a month to just a few here and there.

Today I got a call from the 1st Real-estate agent who referred me to my 1st paid inspection. He (at the peak of the Memphis Boom) was a top agent/broker in Tennessee as well has Mississippi. He has gone from 1 closing every 4 days to no closings since last June.

He called me today (in tears) telling me how he has a client who is pre-approved for a small home up to $90,000. He stated she has enough money for the Appraisal and a little more set aside for an inspection.

Keep in mind I have not worked with him for at least 3 years now mainly because he has been in new construction and we did have a little dispute over a inspection I did for him 3 years ago (IMO) However with that said he helped me established several long term relationships with several other top agents in his office.

He really was reaching out to me. I explained my min. fees and he understood and felt his client would be able to meet my terms.

After diner tonight with my adviser (wife) I called him and said I wanted to do him a favor and told him there would be no charge for this inspection. He was so speechless and I just told him “lets just get you a closing”.

I truly believe I am investing in the future with a man who owns and manages one of the top 5 real-estate agency’s in Tennessee. I just know he will remember my efforts when he/market does bounce back.

This housing market is the real deal in my area anyway. I am just doing what I feel is best to survive and not be the last to recover.

Thats very kind of you, especially considering the money was not coming out of his pocket. I just would not let the comment I underlined get taken out of context. If you discover an expensive repair and blow his first deal in months, I doubt that giving his client a free inspection will make a difference in future referrals.

This is definetly a tough market in my area as well. I have heard those types of remarks as well. Recently a broker asked me to cut my fee for her client that “could barely afford the house” . Well, I did as a favor, knowing that she had not cut her commision. I got the info on the house, how it was " in good shape".

Turns out the house had terrible roof, difficult attic access, was filthy, pest infested, water intrusion, electrical issues throughout, the owner was difficult and said every inspection he had ever had had only taken 45 to an hour, it was very difficult inspection, turned out the buyer’s english was very broken and was difficult to speak with. All because I was cutting my fee, for a broker that could have cut her commision to offset the price of the inspection for a buyer I never met, and apperantly she could care less about. I never expressed how disappointed I was that her claim the house was in good shape was a lie, I also have not heard from her since. I assume because the house did not go through because of the inspection. The buyer told me that she said the roof still had several years left on it. (thermal imaging showed numerous roof leaks, damaged decking in attic, soffit damage)

Your broker may be the exception to this, but I have become even more aware of how dirty, and unethical the real estate business is. The claws have come out, and agents are doing anything to close a deal, if it means lying, stretching the truth, steering to a cheap inspector, talking them out of an inspection, whatever. I am more disgusted at the unethical actions of people in the real estate business, than I am at the lousy market.

Business has seemed to picked up in the last few days, and had several contacts for next week, but having surgery next wednesday, so no work for me!

We are seeing numerous agents here retire their license. I have not increased advertising because at this point there is nothing to advertise to. The market in Northwest Tennessee is sad to say the least. Good luck in the Memphis and Mississippi area, hope yours and this Broker’s business increases over the next week!.

That sucks Frank.
Hope it turns around for you.


The housing side does suck. I am just thankful I still have 1 year left on my HUD contract and the commercial inspections are still doing good.

Look at it like this, he did not ask me for any favors, he does encourage all his clients to get an inspection, he did call me after a few years of not calling me ( maybe because the inspector he has been using is out of business), and I still have a good base in his firm. I believe this will payoff so why not gamble from time to time.

Him and I go way back. He was the first person I called when I started doing inspections after being laid off from my past job. He hooked me right up and for the first year I was in business he really helped me.

Sorry about you having to have surgery, hope all goes well for you on Wednesday.

Good luck Frank!
I think your reasoning is sound.
There are Realtors I would and have done work or gave information for free.
But, Ben has a point to remember. He has a shortage of good Realtors in his area though.
Tennessee has not been hit as hard as most states, but it still really stinks!
I think I’m going to head 100% to the commercial side and quit banging my head against the wall.

I think you have violated every ethical standard known to man.

When a home inspector books an inspection with a salesman…and his closing remarks are “Let’s get you a closing” there is a problem.

Sorry, Frank, but this heartwarming gift of a free closing to an agent does not serve your client. I think you made a mistake that, hopefully, will not result in a complaint or suit. If it does, your goose is cooked.

If the agent is worth his salt, he should be glad, if you saved his client & yours, from making a bad purchase, and he will help the client find another home. If he blackballs you for doing your job, you haven’t lost anything, anyway. However, if the sale goes through, and goes bad later, the fact that you did it for free, for the agent, could look bad in court, and come back to bite you, regardless of your good intentions. Be careful frank.

I’m not lacking in compassion and I can understand how this agent may be feeling desperate but you said yourself he’s not been in touch with you for three years over ONE disagreement. Does this agent really appreciate your services and why is he coming to you now? You also said business has been slow for you so why do this for free? Ask this Realtor to perform his job for free too and see what he says. Is he concerned that business has been way down for you? Sorry to sound skeptical but somehow I doubt it.

I can understand what you are trying to do for your business but I think this is one of those situations were desperation, forgive me for using that word, is getting in the way of reason. Telling this Realtor “lets just get you a closing” may sound compassionate but it’s crossing the line in my opinion. This is an example of how the Inspector/Realtor relationship is seen by some as volatile.

Good luck in your business and I hope things turn around for everyone sooner than later.

I agree with Ken on this. I would have the client immediately sign not only my inspection agreement, but a hold harmless clause for any and all future claims. Same type of document you would have signed if you were giving a refund.

"I think you have violated every ethical standard known to man"


I agree with you Frank and have done the same thing with a couple of agents in my area. The first one was a young struggling agent when I first started out and he is now one of the most successful agents in the area and has been of invaluable help since. In fact I had to ask him to stop giving me all his business because of the legal position he put us in. The second is another young agent, a single Mom, who is having hard time.

It’s called priming the pump, chumming the waters, fertilizing the lawn. It is a damned nice thing to do as well. And hell, even the Grinch came around in the end.:mrgreen:

I agree with your philosophy frank, but I wouldn’t have used those words. helping people out in these tough times is smart business, lets all hope the business gets back on its feet soon.



Regulars know I am independent of Agent referral, but even I can read between the lines to see the real story here

There are two distinct methods of getting business, but what Frank was trying to convey has nothing to do with either .

The poor RE market has effected many, and I would not jump on the details as a way to attack the storyteller.

The client will be served to the very best of my ability (and he knows it) I will assure you of that.

I can give coupons to who ever I feel.

I did send him a coupon for 1 home inspection for 1 dollar for any home valued under $100,000. I will choose my words more wisely in the future and thanks for your advice.

Hi Frank,

I think that’s the smart way to handle it, I’ve been considering something similar to kick start residential inspections in my area (although not for $1), when I moved down here I deliberately didn’t go after “residential retail” business, but frankly (no pun intended) the Commercial side is very quiet.



I took up on one of their free offers and got 25 free refrigerator magnets. My son who has gotten his learners permit to drive drove me through some neighborhoods and I placed them on 25 mailboxes with for sale signs.

Book a inspection within a week and I ordered 500 more and we go out at night and have a great time.

He has only hit one mailbox with my rear veiw mirror. No damage but I pull that sucker in now.

That’s pretty clever, my driver’s ed student would love that too! Can I ask what your magnet said/looked like?

Create your own here.