Supra Key and MLS

Hi,
I am in central Florida and I would like to know if home inspectors are either required or advised to have Supra Key access and MLS access.

I am currently a licensed realtor, transitioning into home inspection, so I already have all these memberships in place. They are, however, expensive, and if there isn’t really a solid benefit/need for a home inspector to enroll in these associations I don’t want to spend the money.

Any advice is appreciated! Thanks.

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Our company uses Supra, I’d say it’s worth it. Sometimes realtors don’t know we have it and stress out about providing us access. As far as MLS I don’t personally have it but we have a team member who uses it for us and I think it’s also beneficial.

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Everyone plays a part in the real estate transaction, the way I see it is that the Realtor’s job is to open the property, maintain responsibility for anyone who enters the property opened by the realtor, and secure the property once the inspection concludes.

Dumb things happen in every situation when players over play their hand. A supra key has huge liability potential, especially when the buyer shows up to the inspection with their extended family and you are now responsible because you opened the door. Home inspectors would be wise to never enter a home (especially one which is occupied) without the personal liability protection which the realtor provides for free and free ain’t cheap either. Realtors should be encouraged to play their full part and unlock the door.

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Thanks Joseph. Well said. When I was a buyers agent, I always made sure I was there to let the inspectors in, etc. I guess I have to adjust my thinking as far as where my responsibilities/liabilities are as a home inspector.

Cheers!

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I do not disagree with @jburkeson1

However, I use a suprakey here in GA and I do not have to be a member. I have “vendor access” and I require a CBS code (call before showing) which is provided by the realtor in order to access the home. $15 bucks a month. Proof of insurance and a background check are the other requirements.

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My philosophy in most things is minimalist, frugal and introverted (INTP) which means I shun being in charge and/or responsible for stuff. The ancient Chinese used a term called Wu-Wei, I like to keep it simple.

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Not a bad approach. I shun at having realtors hanging around me, small talk/chatty Kathy’s or waiting for them to show up. Just give me the code so I can get on with things. :smile:

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You all can do as you see fit, but my past experience tells me “Hell no”!

I cannot count the number of times things happen during the inspection where the realtor was needed. You have liability, safety, background information, correspondence with the seller and listing agents. Etc.

You’re taking on a lot of liability and responsibility for the seller’s house. I might add that the seller is not a “friendly” member of this real estate transaction, and they will throw you under the bus without cause.

One of my most memorable moments was when I was inspecting the house of the trombone player in the band Chicago. The garage door was open when I arrived at the inspection. When I got to inspecting the garage, I closed the garage door to check its operation. The sprocket on the chain driven opener broke off the shaft and the chain headed down to the homeowners Bentley below. I jumped across the car and managed to grab the chain from hitting the car. The realtor was there and saw it. She made the appropriate communications and arrange for a garage door company to come by and repair it immediately. She was so shook up over it, she asked me to drive the car out of the garage so the door could be replaced. First time I ever drove a Bentley…

Can you imagine if I was there alone and used a lockbox key? I can only speculate on the communications to follow.

Some real estate agents are lazy as crap and expect you to have a lockbox key. Well, I don’t like working for those people in the first place. When the agent was not available for the start of the inspection, I would on occasion have them provide me with a one-dayI lockbox code. On those occasions, the realtor was always there when the house was locked up. We usually had a verbal debriefing at this time, which saved a lot of time on the phone later. They were able to take a look at the things I found if necessary. When the listing agent or homeowner questioned my call, the selling agent was fully briefed on the situation and never had to converse with me about anything. One less phone call for me.

Most of the time when the selling agent was not present, they sent their office assistant to the house who stayed there and did their work until I was done. Hard to find professional real estate agents sometime, however.

Home inspectors don’t make enough money, and their insurance rates are too high to take on the job and responsibilities of the real estate agent, who makes a significant commission on the sale. I refused to work for an agent who felt the inspection process was not worth their time and effort.

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In my area, I think realtors would shun you if you refused to do the inspection without them present. Very few realtors have attended my inspections. Maybe 1 in 8 or so. And I am perfectly fine with that.

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That’s fine, I don’t have any problem with that, I simply raise my prices accordingly…

Real estate agents control this industry, you do what you have to do. But you don’t have to work for everybody. Some are better than others. How many of the ages in your area have their own personal office manager?

That’s why your insurance premiums are 500% higher than necessary…

I’m just passing on my experiences and considerations. If you have an option, you may consider electing for that type of option.

I live about 60 miles from Nashville. The first week I started home inspections, I had to stay in a hotel, so I could get my reports done and be on site the following morning for the next inspection. Your experiences may differ, and Your mileage may vary.

How could I do that you ask? I had a professional real estate agent who drafted me into doing home inspections and had an office full of real estate agents with the same business plan. My inspection report was my only marketing tool. My phone calls were not “how much do you charge”, rather “are you available on…”? That agent also told me how much my services were worth to her. Significantly higher than the going fees. Her only request was not to write an inspection report like everybody else does.

If you build it, they will come.

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Realtors are lazy and most would prefer the home inspector have a suprakey. The end game for them is conveyance, don’t kill a deal so they can make it to the finish line… The Closing Check. I personally will not get a suprakey for the ridiculous expense and the liability. We have enough to be concerned with, why add more unnecessary problems.

Same here, I am in Florida, and it costs$15 a month. But I also have to be a member of the realtor association, although it is cheaper than a realtor membership.
I think I pay $150/yr.
So Matt, if you are not a realtor anymore, it would be cheaper to still keep the supra

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Thanks Daniel.
We have to be a member of the realtor association? Is that the national association or the local chapter, in my case, Orlando Regional Realtor Association? I currently am, but I will be putting my real estate license as Voluntarily Inactive, once I get my HI license. I have no desire to be on the sale side of RE transactions anymore.
Supra is only $14 or $15/month so it’s not a big deal financially, but now I am questioning the added liability so many here have mentioned.

Thanks!

Matt, not in FLA but here in NC they have an associate membership in the RE association for home inspectors appraisers and other professions that need access to homes. It’s cheaper than the full RE membership. I think it’s about $115 Annual membership fee, a one time initiation fee of $250 then $30 quarterly fee to the MLS and $15 a month to Supra for the phone app.

This sounds expensive but the convenience outweighs the cost. I resisted getting the Supra key when I started until it cost me a referring agent which resulted in lost inspections and revenue. I went the next day, joined and got my key.

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This I don’t know the answer to. I have only been in two agent offices since I started. Both of those offices reached out to me and invited me in for a meet and greet. Honestly I couldn’t even tell you if either of those offices had an office manger. I only talked to the agents that invited me and a few others they introduced me to.

A mistake I made early on drove me to get Supra access. The agent had sent me a temporary key to get non-member access. When leaving the property, I realized, after locking the key back in the box, that I had forgot one of my ladders inside. My key was good for only one use. I had to wait 45 minutes in the driveway before the agent got back to me with another key.

Now I use ShowingTime and Supra to set up appointments and get access to all properties. As soon as I request and am granted access, I get the combo code or whatever the set up is for access. The ShowingTime app tells all parties involved what my plans are.

I have noticed that when I am talking to agents about doing an inspection for their client, telling them that I will take care of setting everything up using ShowingTime and Supra usually is met with relief and gratitude. It really is a win-win for everyone. The nominal cost in my area to have these tools is easily worth it.

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I’m with Ryan, Minnesota-based. It’s standard practice here and I don’t know an inspector in Minnesota (I’m sure there are some) that doesn’t have supra access.

I’d say it’s dependent on your area and what the standard is there. Clearly, the standard in some areas is to be let in by the Realtor, here that’s not so. I have yet to have difficulty reaching out to a listing agent in an emergency, nor have I had any legal troubles for being responsible for the property while on site. Fingers crossed.

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And to Ryan’s point, I think it costs what? Around $200-$300 a year? A worthy expense for me to not have to rely on agents.

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Where I am it is required to be an Associate Member of the local (county) BOR @ $275.00 annually. to be able to have Supra (also requires Criminal background check) and about $14/ month Supra. It is a necessity to have Supra here. No way do I want to depend on an agent to show up on time or fit an agent’s schedule to open a property. Also nice to have access back to the house in case you need to return for some reason or to place/pickup Radon.

I don’t want to have an agent hanging around either.

I do not have access to full MLS with my membership/fees paid, not even sure it is available without being a lic. agent. Or if access to MLS is just a matter of paying more money to Whoever.

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I agree, no inspector should enter a home without agent, and at a minimum they should do a walk thru with you.Liability issues are huge if you enter home alone. Any broken or damage item in house could now be blamed on the inspector.

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Ryan, I’m talking about agents who have their own assistant/manager. These are the Agents that make money in the business by making sure their client uses them for the rest of their lives. They want to not just sell the house, they want to list it when they move on, or move down the street to get their kids in better school systems.