What Real Estate Agents are looking for in a HI?

Red Flag:

Frank DeNora, REALTOR®, speaking on what Real Estate Agents are looking for in a home inspection.

Maybe I am jumping to a conclusion here before hearing out Frank DeNora but certainly the subject title should give one and NACHI cause for concern. I thought we home inspectors worked for the clients not the real estate agents/brokers. Here are some brief stories that speaks to my concern.

I had made the intent known to an attorney friend of mine, who deals mostly with real estate transactions, that I was going to give the home inspection business a try. He thought that was a good idea but cautioned me that if I wrote too detailed an inspection report I may not get a lot of referrals form realtors … “they just don’t want you to paint a picture of the sky is falling, skip the little stuff and you will do good”.

While I was training to become a home inspector I considered becoming a real estate agent as well. I was immediately turned off to that career path when the broker told us “to be agents” in a training meeting not to actively promote the home inspection to the buyer but if needed use the one that was renting office space from him next door.

Since becoming a home inspector it became very obvious just how much power realtors have over us. When I approached one realtor about getting some referrals she outright said that she had a loyalty to one inspector, period. I asked her if she thought she was doing a disservice to her clients by not encouraging them to shop around for quality and price, she outright did not care.

Another realtor (buyers agent and a friend) who referred me, as well as two other inspectors (as she always does), to one of her clients told me that she had some real resistance form the sellers agent about the potential buyer using me as an inspector because I was not a structural engineer. I later learned that she had close ties to a professional engineering firm in the area that also did home inspections.

I am sure there are more stories out there but I see a bad trend here. I am not talking about creating a level playing field so that home inspectors can compete properly, what I am concerned about goes to the heart of why this profession even exist. In many states (my state New York) a home inspector has to be licensed for the purposes of providing a cost effective, professional and ethical service in assisting the home buyer in their purchase.

Most home buyers (and I have been there) are very much overwhelmed by all that goes on in the process of selling and buying a home. It is common practice in New York for the agent to request the potential buyer to sign an agreement not to hold the realtor liable for problems if a home inspection is not performed. Most home buyers do not think about an inspector until they are faced with this part of the agreement (on average once every seven years) so naturally a home buyer will not buck the suggestions of the realtor to use her preferred home inspector.

I hope the point is made but to recap, if this trend continues I don’t think the buying public will benefit from the cost effective and ethical part of our mission. I would like to think that NACHI would be concerned about this and look closely at meetings with subject matter titled “what Real Estate Agents are looking for in a home inspection”.:twisted:

REALTORs have a fiduciary and contractual duty to find for their clients and recommend to their clients…the very best inspector. It is part of their job.

Consumers have a right to choose to be represented by a REALTOR just like they have a right to be represented by an attorney. A REALTOR who is opinionless and neutral in her advice is as worthless as an attorney who is opinionless.

A REALTOR who is fair to all inspectors should be hung from a tree for violating her sworn duty to represent her client and only her client. A REALTOR is paid good money to be biased, just like an attorney is paid to be biased.

Buying a home is a very rare occurance for most people. It’s why they choose to be represented by REALTORs. REALTORs are professionals who are supposed to know what is best in their markets. To serve their clients and fulfill their principal/agent relationship duties to their clients, REALTORs have to know what to look for in a home inspection.

Most of them “know” exactly what to look for. Someone who won’t screw up their commission check.

That’s life!

Very well said. Thank goodness I have a handful of Realtors who are “loyal” to me and don’t jump over to the new guy because he is $25.00 cheaper and bought them a biscuit at a business meeting. I have several Realtors who use me because I am thorough.

Honestly, I was a REALTOR for 10 years and know of none that look for patty-cake inspectors who destroy their referral business.

Now don’t get me wrong, they don’t want alarmists either.

They want it right.