Buying a Home? Hire an Independent Home Inspector

Posted on December 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

Have you noticed an interesting trend?

It seems that more and more home buyers are hiring their own home inspectors rather than depending on the agent’s recommendations. In some cases, I have heard of buyers NOT using an inspector only because they were recommended by the Realtor. Although the vast majority of buyers still use the inspector recommended by their agent, it does seem to be slowly changing. As more buyers understand the true purpose of the inspection, they are learning that an inspector recommended by the Realtor may not be, or just as bad, may not appear to be, working in their best interest.

Despite what this article may seem to be, it is not an anti-Realtor rant. In fact, I firmly believe that one of the prime beneficiaries of this trend is the Realtor. If the buyer hires a poor inspector, they have no one to blame but themselves for not being diligent during the hiring process, or the inspector for being less than thorough. By not recommending an inspector, the agent can walk away from a disastrous inspection with clean hands.

Home inspectors market directly to Realtors because it is easy to do and they can get many clients if they spend all their time dropping off cards and brochures at brokers’ offices. In rare but documented cases, some inspectors have even stooped to paying a fee to be included in a broker’s list of “preferred inspectors”, an obvious conflict of interest. Many Realtors use these inspectors because they know that if the inspector wants repeat business he will make the inspection process short and sweet…for the Realtor. Most agents want the inspection to go smoothly and quickly. They want the inspector to find very few problems, the house to be sold, to collect their commission, and to move on to the next home. In the meantime, the buyers move into their dream home filled with the joy of home ownership only to discover that the plumbing is older galvanized pipe that will have to be replaced in the near future, the AC compressor is past its useful life and needs to be replaced, and the windows in the back bedroom don’t open because the foundation has settled excessively. Well, now it’s really going to hit the fan. The buyer blames the agent, the agent blames the inspector and lawyers are sure to become involved. But what if the inspector had been hired by the buyer? In that case, the inspector is solely responsible for his own mess, and/or the buyers can blame themselves for not doing a little more research.

The important questions in the scenario above are: Did the inspector really miss the defects, or did he ignore them, or “soften” them so that the deal will close quickly ensuring that the Realtor will continue to give him referrals? Did the Realtor recommend this particular inspector because she knew that the inspector would do a 1 hour inspection, write a quick “checklist” report pointing out a few minor defects and most importantly “not break the deal”. Unfortunately, this scenario occurs much too often.

How do we avoid this conflict of interest? Here are a few recommendations that can help avoid problems:

If you’re a Realtor, stay out of the inspection process and don’t recommend any inspectors at all. At the risk of sounding rude, the inspection is none of your business. In fact, most experienced inspectors make it clear to their clients that nobody, not even Realtors, have the right to see the report. It belongs exclusively to the inspector’s client and can only be released by the client. Realtors should let the inspector and the client hash out the inspection, and the client will let the Realtor know whether it’s thumbs up or down on the home. If it is thumbs up, you can help your client deal with the concerns found during the inspection. If it’s thumbs down, then the next step is simple- Find the client another home and be thankful that your client is not moving into a home that is in bad shape and that will burden them with costly, unexpected repairs.

If you’re an inspector, one of the most important things you can do is wean yourself off using Realtors for referrals. Learn to market yourself directly to homebuyers. It is not as difficult as it seems. The most important result from taking this step is that you can inspect homes without any pressure from Realtors to “not break the deal”. In addition, another good rule is to “write hard, and miss nothing”. A good, thorough inspection is the best way to ensure a satisfied client and reduce your liability. It is also very important to understand that your clients are most likely very nervous during the home buying process, especially if it is their first home. Their decision to buy or not is almost exclusively based on your comments and your report, so you have to tread carefully. UNDER-stating a defect will likely end up with an unhappy client, but OVER-stating a concern can scare the buyer unnecessarily, and may get you in hot water with the seller. What is critical is to forget making anyone but your client happy. You can only serve one master, and that should always be your client. If the Realtor is truly looking out for their client’s interests, a good, thorough inspection (even if it breaks the deal) should not be a concern for them. On the other hand, be aware that if you call a hairline crack in the garage slab “foundation failure”, you are not serving your client well, and you may see the seller reach for the phone to call a lawyer.

If you’re a buyer, I recommend that you take on the responsibility of hiring your own inspector. Look at it this way; If you are buying a used car, don’t you want your own mechanic to check the vehicle for serious damage? Sure a used car dealer may advertising their “500 Point Inspection!”, but really, how sure are you that they checked the vehicle as well as someone who is looking out for your interests only? While most Realtors are honest and do look out for your interests, many are competitive and are anxious to make the sale. They are only human, and it’s too easy to misplace their priorities.

Finding your own inspector is not difficult. Many home inspectors are now advertising on the web and a simple web search can yield many results. Making a little effort can make the home buying process easier, and less risky for everyone involved.

Smart Home-Buying: Independent Home Inspectors Work For You – Not the Realtor

Posted on December 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

Who Needs a Home Inspection Anyway?

Buying a home is one of the most important purchases you will make in your lifetime, so you should be sure that the home (house, condo, townhouse) you want to buy is in good condition. A home inspection is an evaluation of a home’s condition by a trained expert. During an independent home inspection, a qualified inspector takes an in-depth and impartial look at the property you plan to buy.

The home inspector will:

* Evaluate the physical condition: the structure, construction and mechanical systems.

* Identify items that should be repaired or replaced.

* Estimate the remaining useful life of the major systems (such as electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning), equipment, structure and finishes.

After the inspection is complete, you will receive a written report of the findings from the home inspector, usually within 24 hours.

Finding a Qualified Independent Home Inspector

As the homebuyer, it is your responsibility to carefully select a qualified inspector. I stress that it is “your” responsibility, and not your agent’s. After you purchase your new home, your agent will not be responsible for paying the unexpected repair costs that result from non-thorough home inspections. Any unexpected repair costs will be your responsibility.

Understanding the Home Inspector / Realtor Relationship

For your protection, hire an independent home inspector, instead of a home inspector who is recommended by your real estate agent. Here’s why:

Most home inspectors solicit real estate agents for work, hoping that the real estate agent will exclusively recommend his home inspection services to all the real estate agent’s clients. Agents work with many home-buyers throughout the year, and each home-buyer will eventually need a home inspection in order to close the sale. So, it originally made sense for an agent to find one or two home inspectors that he/she could regularly recommend to clients. However, this Agent / Home Inspector relationship carries a conflict of interest.

Here’s why:

(a)Real Estate Agents make commission when their client buys the home.

(b)A client will only buy if s/he finds the home’s condition acceptable (Among other reasons)

(c)So, a negative home inspection can stop a home sale (and the Agent’s commission)

Now, this is not an accusation of any Agents or Home Inspectors. However, in this relationship, the Home Inspector may feel stated or unstated pressure from the Agent. There may be pressure to deliver positive home inspection reports or the agent may pressure the home inspector to produce inspection reports in less time at the expense of performing a more thorough inspection. After all, the Agent could easily replace the Home Inspector with another who may write more lenient reports. To be honest, there are many other Home Inspectors who would line up to get a steady flow of new clients from the Agent.

The Bottom Line: Spending Hundreds May Save Thousands

When you make a written offer on a home, you should insist that the contract state that the offer is contingent on a home inspection conducted by a qualified independent inspector of your choice. Independent home inspectors are hired by you, and they do not have a relationship with the real estate agent. Hiring a qualified independent home inspector could keep you from buying a house that will cost you many thousands of dollars in repairs down the road. Only after the independent home inspection is complete and you are satisfied with the results of the inspection, your real estate purchase offer can proceed.


Great Tips in Choosing the Best Home Inspector for Your House

Posted on December 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

Selling your house does not only require you to make your house spic and span and devoid of clutter. You have to market it in such a way that prospective buyers will vision themselves living in your home. This is how you sell your house. However before any decisions your buyer will make, having a recommendation from a reliable home inspector is the boost that you will need to make the sale final.

On the part of the buyer, what a home inspector will find about the house you are interested in is crucial in protecting your money and investment. More than anything, you want to avoid investing in a house that may look good on the outside but is rotting on the inside. With the help of a reliable home inspector, you will certainly sleep better knowing the true condition of the house you are interested in.

These are the reasons why you need to find the best home inspector in the market. Certainly there are so many home inspectors available in the community where you live in. However when choosing one, don’t just compare the prices of the different home inspection services offered. To protect your interest, here are great tips to heed when choosing the best person to do the job for you.

1. Make sure that the home inspector you are considering has met all the laws and requirements of your state.

2. Ensure that the inspector is licensed and fully trained. If possible, he should continually engage in an ongoing education that keeps him updated.

3. Certify that the inspector you are considering is either licensed by your state or he should belong to an organization that is established by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) standards.

4. Know how long has he or she been in the business. What extra certifications does he or she have?

5. Ask for recommendations and testimonials from previous clients. The more clients giving them positive feedbacks, the better.

6. View a sample inspection report. A good inspector will gladly show you his previous work for you to gauge the completeness and details on how he inspect other people’s houses. This is an important aspect you have to look at when choosing an inspector. Some inspectors would give reports filled with images and useless information. Just make sure that what you are getting is a thorough information about your house and not “general-type” of information that does not give you an actual, factual and inside look of your property.

7. Let the price and level of certification be the final tie breaker if you can’t make up your mind which building inspector to choose.

Choosing a home inspector for your house is crucial. It does not have to be overwhelming either. With these great tips, you can be sure to hire the one who can help you sell or buy a house faster and at the best cost.