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When Your Realtor Recommends a House Inspector
By: Fred Willcox
Copyright©  2010
All Right Reserved 
(With Permission)

Be very careful using the real estate inspector your Realtor commonly recommends. Your interests are best served by having a thorough, detailed inspection performed on the house you want to buy. Your Realtors interests are not. Your Realtor only gets paid when you close on your new home. Anything that threatens the deal or delays the closing is not in your Realtor’s interest. If major problems are discovered during the inspection and you decide that it is your best interest to back out of the deal, your Realtor looses all the time and money he or she has invested in you on that house. And never forget that your Realtor is ultimately paid by the seller of the house.

The purpose of a real estate inspection is to find indications of major problems that may exist in the house you want to buy. If indications of major problems are found, further investigations must be performed which may include destructive testing. When the extent of the problem is discovered, repairing the problem and restoring the cosmetic finishes may take some time. During all that time, your Realtor remains unpaid.

Many, many Realtors prefer to recommend house inspectors who simply don’t find problems. Realtors think of these inspectors as facilitators and as third party liability carriers. The inspector doesn’t find any problems and you are not alarmed. If something goes wrong after you close on the house, your Realtor simply tells you to contact the inspector and to have the inspector make the repairs.

But your deal went smoothly and your Realtor got paid. And that is all that matters to your Realtor.

The house inspector got paid and he kept his real client. The Realtor. Almost all house inspectors market to, and solicit business from, Realtors. It is hard for house inspectors to find individual buyers. It’s easy for inspectors to go to a Realtor’s office. Should the inspector actually perform his job and he finds problems with the house you want to buy, he would loose his real client and his marketing efforts and expenses would have been wasted.

But, what happens to you if major problems go undetected? You are left with the major problems. Even if your inspector makes the repairs, you have to take time off from work and disrupt your life while the repairs are made. Your lifestyle is disrupted and your new house is a mess.

If your inspector refuses to make the repairs, you may be stuck with paying for damages that could have been discovered during your inspection. If you had hired a competent inspector instead of the one your Realtor really likes.

When you are buying a new house, be very careful hiring an inspector who markets to Realtors. While there are some honest, ethical Realtors who do a great job for their buyers and while there are a very few number of house inspectors who market to Realtors who actually perform good inspections, the odds are against you. Your best bet is to ask your family and friends or your attorney for a referral for a real estate inspector, check the inspector’s website and ask for a sample inspection report. If you don’t understand the sample report or if the information on the report is not complete enough to help you understand the issues with the house, keep on shopping. Saving a little time on researching a house inspector or saving a few dollars on the inspector’s fee can cost you a lot of money and aggravation.

And don’t worry about your Realtor’s feelings. When you close and your Realtor gets paid, your Realtor will be just fine.
 

Credit:
Fred Willcox has served on the Texas Real Estate Commission Advisory Committee for over 19 of its 23 year existance serving in every capacity. Mr. Willcox essentially wrote the Inspection Standards of Practice that inspectors are required to follow and the disciplinary penalty matrix when they do not.

Fred Willcox, Houston
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