Why home inspectors are getting into trouble

I believe that many home inspectors are exposing themselves voluntarily to potential complaints and law suits when they are trying to “sugar-coat” negative inspection findings in order not to become known as* “deal breakers” *within the RE community.

When I was still involved in OAHI affairs - accusations filed against members of the association came mainly from home buyers who had wrongly deciphered the provided inspection results. It became very apparent that most generic inspection reports issued were difficult to be correctly interpreted by the average layperson.

I still maintain that most report systems in use these days are on purpose RE agents - but certainly not - consumer friendly. The applied codes - numbers and abbreviations to identify defects and shortcomings are cleverly designed to allow shortcomings to appear less significant at the first glance. To summarize the overall condition of inspected properties as being* “below or above average”* or "typical" are simply meaningless - or even misleading - considering that most home buyers are making their final purchase decision only after reading the condensed “*Summary” or “The Bottom Line” *if the hyper real estate agent is already anxiously waiting in the background with the waiver in hand - to clinch the pending deal.

The main problem of our home inspection industry is the fact that we have collectively become too dependent on real estate agents to make a meagre living, and that it is still being ignored that the real estate profession has successfully managed to shift most of their former liabilities onto us under compensated home inspectors.

I suggest thinking about my expressed view for a while before hitting the keyboard trying to prove me wrong again.

**RUDOLF REUSSE **- Home Inspector since 1976 - **TORONTO

Somewhere on another thread, Nick Gromicko hit the nail right on the head when he explained what it is that kills deals.

Buyers are not that naive to think that every report will be exempt from significant defects. It is when the report reveals more/more serious defects than the buyer had allowed himself to accept that a deal “dies”.

Good real estate salesmen have the ability of developing trust in a client by “telling it like it is” and will prepare a client in advance of a home inspection to expect a surprise or two.

When the client is ill prepared, reported defects become setbacks and sales fall through.

Inspectors need to continuously remind themselves (and each other) that we are NOT a part of the sales process. Our value to our client is our detachment from any decision he might make to buy…or not to buy…the house we inspect. Our only service is to provide a complete, accurate and unbiased description of the house as it actually was on the day we inspected it and trust him to do with the information what is best for him.

This approach is appreciated by good salespeople.

I suggest thinking about my expressed view for a while…I did
before hitting the keyboard …I did
trying to prove me wrong again…I happen to agree with you

Unfortunately, not enough buyer’s are complaining enough about the poor agent friendly inspections. The few that do, get compensated by the agent and/or inspector if they complain enough. These poor quality inspectors still come out ahead due to the volume they get from the unethical agents.

I know of about 40 agents who know very well what the difference is in my inspection quality and still send the poor buyer’s to the check-off inspectors who leave out or hide and downplay issues within the report.

It’s all changing though, give it a few more years and you will see more lawsuits as the price of repairs and HVAC units continue to climb.

This profession is still in the infancy and much improvement needs to occur especially with the report quality.

There are good reports and bad reports.

There are good inspectors and bad inspectors.

I have yet to see a courtcase where the problem claimed in the suit was the result of a poorly written report.

What I have seen is a problem not disclosed, or the concern was not properly given the weight it should have been given in the report or the consequences of the inspectors finding(s).

The condition was missed (patently)

The codition was not visible and/or no visible clues (latent)

The report did not correspond with the verbal portions of the report.

The inspector failed to bring to the attention of the purchaser the inspection agreement listing the conditions and exclusions of the report.

And for once I agree with James Bushart! (wow, write that one down)

As you can see from above it is simply not the type of report, it is the ability or lack of that results in litigation.


The easiest way to tell if you are going a solid, fair, and honest report is if the Realtors call you to do their own or family members inspections.

Ah, keep writing soft reports.
I like all the clients running my way.:slight_smile:

That has happened to me many times but quite a few of these same realtors don’t recommend me for their regular customers!! Go figure. Many days, I feel realtors and used, …no,* pre-owned* car salespersons went to the same school.

Just keep doing what you are doing, they will come around after they get bit or have to buy a roof or two.

Here is my response to the various replies:
**It is unfortunate that it has become the norm that home inspections are being arranged "conveniently" by real estate agents who are only interested in getting the interfering inspection process out of their way quickly and without much complications. Availability and price - and definitely not competence - have become the criteria how the services of home inspectors are being chosen these days. The trend certainly keeps the growing number of still enthusiastic - but naive - newcomers to the business busy for a while, until they are also getting wise how the majority of real estate agents are actually trying to take merciless advantage of “timid and/or starving” home inspectors.

Colleagues who still believe that one can eventually make a living of recommendations from satisfied customers - are badly in need of a reality check. Being in this business for over thirty years - with only one minor complaint - I have never received more than five calls a year from former customers or their referred to me friends. Since my individually written inspection reports become only available within 24 hours after the actual inspection - I cannot recall to have gotten any business from any RE agents in the last ten years.

RUDOLF REUSSE - Home Inspector since 1976 - **TORONTO

The referral and my website get me the large bulk of my inspections. Just did 1 from referral this PM. Did an inspection on a new home for a Dept of National Defense firefighter about 15 months ago…this inspection was my nineth or tenth out of that brigade.

You, myself and a few others with longterm experience of say 15+ years in the HI business plus 10+ years in construction should start a Senior Inspectors’ Association. Instead of a CMI with 3 years HI work and a bunch of points, let the public know that trades training and experience, not instant certification, is what they need and should be looking for.

I agree with Brian and Rudolph, however I find that alot of people(our potential clients) don’t know that they can bring in an inspector of their choice that does not have brochures or cards in the real estate office they are dealing with. I am comming up 3 years in business plus 2 years before that just gathering info to see if I wanted to do this, and I still have friends that ask “which office do you work for?” :twisted: We still need to get out the message that we are independant,it is still a bit of a secret. Some of those other problems might begin to go away. 2 cents worth from a “newbie”:roll: