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Gwendolyn Sp…, Real Estate Pro in Mt Vernon, OH

How do you handle a Certified Home Inspector that finds the smallest defects, that have little if no affect on the purchase of the property.?

Asked by Gwendolyn Sparks, Mt Vernon, OH Sun Apr 1, 2012

This inspector expands on the description of these small defects to the point that I think he is justifing his cost.

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MC2 Home Inspections Denver Colorado’s answer
I love how many agents say "get a new inspector". The home inspector is chosen by and paid by the homebuyer NOT the agent. I do not understand why many agents think that the home inspector works for them. Our allegience is to our client and to no one else and certainly not to agents. Agents do not have to "handle" the home inspector. Get off of your high horses! Home inspectors are NOT your employees. In many states that require licensing, we are REQUIRED to report on many things that according to agents are "cosmetic". You have your job to do and we have ours. Not rocket science.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 6, 2012
Wow Gwen,

First of all, the home inspector does not work for the realtor. You can not handle or control the home inspector without violating Florida DBPR rules for both realtors and home inspector. The home inspector works for the buyer or the seller.

Second, it is not up to you, the realtor to determine what will have little affect on the purchase of the property. The buyer should have all relevant information about the property without having the realtor controlling the flow of information. Again Florida DBPR rules violation.

Third, the home inspector is required to identify any defect, no matter how trivial. He is required to describe the defect in detail. He must also recommend a coarse of action. It is up to the buyer to determine what is minor and what should be addressed immediately or if the property is worth the asking price.

Failure to disclose all defects will land the home inspector in hot water and may result an investigation, and civil penalty for the inspector. Realtors are also required to give full disclosure. Trying to cover up details from your clients is not just illegal it is bad for the real estate business and gives all realtors a bad name.

Shame on you Gwen.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 17, 2013
Educate your buyers before they order a report, keep a copy of one, alter the contact and property info and use it as an example. Fear is caused by lack of understanding in a real estate transaction, good luck,

Jim Simms
NMLS # 6395
Financing Kentucky One Home at a Time.
Web Reference:
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 6, 2012
not sure what you mean. THe inspector should produce an accurate report of his findings warts and all. Are you saying that he should overlook thsings just for your convenience ?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 3, 2012
I prepare my buyers for the home inspection ahead of time. I let them know it is the inspector's job to point out all the defects, hazards and potential problems with the home. However, they are not buying a brand new home, so they have to expect there to be some defects. They have agreed to purchase the home "as is" and the home inspection is their opportunity to determine what that means, what IS the condition of the home, and, with that knowledge in hand, do they still want to go forward with the purchase. I also advise them that, of course, if there are MAJOR defects, defects in major systems such as plumbing, electrical, the septic system, the roof, in other words, big ticket items, of course they have the option of saying, "I still like the home and I would be willing to go forward if xyz were fixed". Then I provide them with the contact information for 3 inspectors I have worked with in the past that know how to conduct a thorough home inspection, but are more 'low key' in their explanations. I love the guy who says, "the water heater is xx years old, nearing the end of its useful life. It's functioning perfectly now, but you should be aware, you may have to replace it within the next three or four years". THAT's the guy I want to work with!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 1, 2012
A home inspection is NOT merely the opinion of one individual. As a home inspector, I can tell you all, if I report water leak under a sink it is NOT my opinion, it is a deficiency. Yes it can be very destructive to a structure if it is not fixed. If fixed right away, it is likely not real expensive to repair even if you are not able to fix it yourself. However, as a home inspector, I am obligated to identify this defect [no matter what the realtors opinion of this minor defect might be] because that is what industry standards REQUIRE me to report. So just because a home inspector does his or her job correctly and identifies the deficiencies found in an inspection on your home inspection report, that inspector has done their job as they are required to do for his or her client, who is normally the home buyer. However, that home inspector should not be labeled a deal killer and bad mouthed as a bad inspector. Realtors need to let the home inspector do the job they were hired to do, we home inspectors don't like having negative labels applied to our business simply because our client might have based a decision on the home inspection report instead of their realtors opinion. However stated, I don't see DEAL KILLER as a bad thing, instead it is what ALL home buyers should ask for. it is just a matter of the buyer finding their own inspector. Most simply let the realtor find the inspector for them so they don't have to. Usually works good for the realtor but are they really helping their client or are they helping themselves..
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 15, 2012
It is the inspectors job to find the defects. It is the realtors job to educate the buyer as to what those problems will do to/for the value of the home. No house is going to be defect free, even new construction. If the only problems the inspector finds are small defects, then the realtor, buyer and seller should be relieved. If the defects are cracked foundation, long term water damage, or other costly issues, and the inspector did not revel them, that would be a red flag. The cost for the home inspection is not based on how many defects are found, rather on the size of the property. It should take several HOURS to inspect the property, and even the little defects should be included in the report. It sounds to me like the inspector is doing his job well.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 13, 2012
Gwen, I think the key word here is "DEFECT". Big or small, the home inspector is obligated to report his/her findings. What are small defects to some are large to others.

Hans Cramer
Cramer Inspection Group
*Reporting large as well as small defects since 1996
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 4, 2012
Amen Hans!
Flag Fri Apr 6, 2012
It is the job of the home inspector to find and identify and all defects with a property. If he/she were not doing that, then they would not be doing the job they were paid to do. Buyers are not inspections and most do not know what to look for in an inspection. That is why they must rely on a professional.

The inspector should go over the severity of the problem of each item. The buyer can then make an informed decision on how to proceed. Given the liability potential for lawsuits and complaints, a thourough home inspection is what every buyer and agent should want.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 1, 2012
Get a new inspector. The last thing we need is another source of trauma. Get a new inspector.

There are many skillful ways to address the potential of such occurrances.One is to be fully aware of the type of report your inspector will present. If they add "Cost of Repair" to reports...get another inspector. However, you or the inspector must set the stage properly by discussion the following.

There are five systems of fundamental value in a home.
1. Foundation
2. Roof
3. Electical
5. Structural

Everything else is COSMETIC. If the inspector does not clearly identify those issues that are cosmetic, Get a New INSPECTOR.

In case you didn't get the message, fire the inspector. You do not need to be a certified inspector to realize the one you have is detrimental to the buyer by injection unnecessary trauma for cosmetic issues.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 1, 2012
Wow, State of Florida Standards of Practice for Home Inspectors totally violated by this. 475.42 Violations and penalties
(k) A person may not knowingly conceal any information relating to violations of this chapter.
(n) A person may not disseminate or cause to be disseminated by any means any false or misleading information for the purpose of offering for sale, or for the purpose of causing or inducing any other person to purchase, lease, or rent, real estate located in the state or for the purpose of causing or inducing any other person to acquire an interest in the title to real estate located in the state.
Flag Tue Apr 16, 2013
Get a New Realtor! Home inspections by standard of practice cover more than 5 areas, and the the others are NOT ALL COSMETIC!
Flag Tue Jul 17, 2012
Everything else is just cosmetic? Are you serious? I wish all we had to report on were the 5 areas you mentioned, however that is simply not the case. A good home inspection invloves examining ALL aspects of the home and describing the condition of the ENTIRE home as it sits on inspection day. And to reitterate Hans' comment, you cannot fire the home inspector. Home inspectors DO NOT work for you, they work for the homebuyer.
Flag Fri Apr 6, 2012
Annette, How can you fire the inspector when the inspector works for the client, not you! You can take him/her off your referral list but it sounds to me as if your driving your clients to your "preferred inspector".
Flag Wed Apr 4, 2012
Why do you need to "handle" him and are you certified as an inspector as well?

I tell my buyer's that an inspection will give them a to do list of all the little things that they would never have noticed and turn up the major things that can change the decision to buy.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 1, 2012
You do not hire the inspector. If an inspector is scaring your buyer, then you should know enough to help them understand the issues and sort through them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2016
An inspection report is merely the opinion of one individual. What is important is educating your buyers to this fact. An agent is in most cases a mediator between various parties, negotiating and guiding others with selling and buying properties. It really does not matter what we think but what does matter is how choose to work with the information we have. Good luck to you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 23, 2012
My opinion: Remain calm and professional as you deliver the inspection report to either party. Unless the property is new construction, the home is used. A used home has used components; therefore, it's no surprise if any number of defects are found. Educate your consumers/clients before an inspection is even ordered, explaining the purpose of a home inspection, its process, and what they can expect beyond the inspection.

It is to everyone's benefit to have a thorough home inspector, as you have described. It is not uncommon to receive a report 30-60 pages in length. The number of pages do not correlate with the number of defects, for each inspector may have a different format to communicate their findings. I've seen reports of 2-3 pages with more major defects listed than a 40-odd page report. These reports are not just for communicating defects, but for communicating factual findings of the home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 13, 2012
MC2 is on the money guys. If you as the agent pick the inspector, then you deserve to be sued when something goes wrong.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 13, 2012
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 6, 2012
Every house in the world will come back with inspection items, so I conceptualize with buyers between repair items and annual maintenance observation items.

Many inspection items are homeowner maintenance items, like resetting a GFI outlet, changing the furnace filter, gluing a loose cover plate, and locating a missing remote control device.

The problem is when a seller and buyer cannot perform even these simple repairs. When that situation arises the parties have to recognize that they need a handyman for everything and pay for it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 6, 2012
While buyers select the inspector, realtors are the ones providing most of the resources where the buyers make choices from, inluding inspectors, mortgage professionals, attorneys, insurance companies, contractors etc. We all try to built our "power teams" to better service our clients.

If one of the professionals prooves to be working at standards lesser than what our clients come to expect via our recommendations, it would be our duty to our clients not to recommend such company/person.

That what realtors mean by "get a new inspector" - meaning get a better pro for our clients.

Irina Karan, CDPE
Beachfront Realty, Inc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 6, 2012
Definitely requires educating the Buyer at the time of the offer. IF your Board's offer does not have wording that excludes cosmetic items and directs the Buyer to look for safety and serviceability items in the inspection report, you should approach the responsible committee to revise the form.
Yes, many of the items found by the home inspector are minor, but they Buyer needs to know about them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 6, 2012
Have a good builder check out these items as well. He will undoubtedly look at them for free and give you and the buyer an idea of the cost to make repairs. Most of the time, in my experience, there is really nothing wrong.

If I run into an alarmist inspector I just don't use them a second time. The more negative an inspector can be the more likely they will be to avoid a claim on their insurance, but they run the risk of not getting repeat business.

Don't use this guy again, if you have a choice, and check with a good builder to get a second opinion.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 4, 2012
Hello Gwen,

If this is a repeat experience, then yes, ask if the person is even experienced (maybe he is not) - and get another one...

There are rules, though, that inspectors are governed by, as to what they can or can't do.
They don't have "X-rated" vision as to latent defects, and they can't deface the property to see what's hidden somewhere behind that wall, they can't knock on every tile to see if it is attached properly...

All in all, if the main points of the house (listed by Annette) are sound, the inspection served its purpose.

Irina Karan
Beachfront Realty, Inc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 4, 2012
How does one determine that there is "little if no affect on the purchase of the property from the smallest defects"? And was this inspection, in the minds of the buyers, a way to hopefully drive the price of the home down due to "needed repairs"?

You can get a second opinion or spend a little more time learning about the inspector, reading the contract and Standard of Practice.

A home inspector should provide a Standard of Practice before the inspection. It's important that the inspector ensures that, before the inspection begins, the client has a realistic idea of what is and isn’t included. InterNACHI inspectors for instance, could include a “Systems Excluded” page detailing what’s not typically included as part of the General Home Inspection. This page may also mention that the inspector offers some of the stated exclusions as ancillary inspections, if that's the case.

It is not an inspector's duty to find every defect, big or small. That is why so many of us have the following in this first line of the contract:

"INSPECTOR agrees to perform a visual inspection of the home/building and to provide CLIENT with a written inspection report identifying the defects that INSPECTOR both observed and deemed material."

It’s not good to miss something on an inspection, but, because they are human, sooner or later, every home inspector is going to miss something.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 4, 2012
Well, I am concerned by your comment that "he is justifying his cost". Are you saying that he also does repairs and is bidding on the job? We have some inspection companies like that out here, and I never use a company that has such a conflict of interest.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 4, 2012
it's not the inspector you need "to handle"'s the buyers (not that I think the word "handle" is the appropriate word to use for this situation)............buyers should be told/prepped ahead of time that they are paying an inspector to find all sorts if issues - large and small - with the home...that's what they are paying for.....some inspectors are more detail oriented than others.............and that once they have heir inspection report in hand, they will need to go through it, and separate out the important structural issues from simple cosmetic or maintenance issues.......a little education ahead of time can go a long way
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 3, 2012
I handle my buyers and agree with Suzanne 100%. It's up to you as the agent to educate your buyers and set their expections in advance on this process whether you're working in the capacity of a sub agent or buyer agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 1, 2012
The buyer selects and pays for this service and should therefore receive a complete and accurate report that will help them to understand issues that may be present in the subject home.

Since each contract addresses the nature and extent of repairs, it becomes our responsibility to work within these perameters and guide the buyer through this sometimes difficult task. Since inspectors are trained and licensed and generally know what they are doing our position may be one of figuring out what to do with the fall-out.

I would agree with Deena.....if an inspector is thorough beyond reason, I'm going to think long and hard about recommending them for future inspections.

Hope this is helpful.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 1, 2012
After 17 years in the business, Gwen, I start with the idea that I know quite a bit about houses, myself.

With that in mind, every half-hour or so, I ask the inspector to recap the defects in order of importance. Since they almost always start with the outside, we've dealt with the roof, gutters, siding, windows and trim, earth-to-wood contact, so we've got a priority list established right after the first act.

So when we get inside, and the inspector is going nuts about the reversed polarity of a living room outlet, we have the ability to put that in perspective - is the roof a major problem, or is this electrical fix really our biggest problem? A $10,000 problem, or a service call from an electrician?

This way, as the inspection moves on, the buyers can keep newly-discovered defects in perspective and not be overwhelmed by them.

So try having the inspector do a recap after the outside evaluation and after each floor of the house. This way, you both can maintain your professional integrity, and the buyer will be well-served.

All the best,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 1, 2012
According to TREC, Texas Real Estate Commission, as much as 85% of legal claims are related to property condition.

Any defect on real property is information a buyer should know. It is up to the buyer to determine if the defect is worth of attention or not.

If there is concern by the buyer that the defect is a concern, then hire a pro to investigate (plumber, electrification, HVAC repair, roofer, etc.).

Good Luck!

Cathy Bureau
Green Home Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 1, 2012
Get a new inspector, Gwen.

Deena Carvajal
Re/Max Avalon Park
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 1, 2012
DBPR is very clear the home inspector works for the client not the realtor. Realtors may suggest a list of inspectors but are forbidden to suggest a single inspector.
Flag Tue Apr 16, 2013
Deena, its my understanding that the client hires the inspector, not the agent. Either your new at this or you havent been sued yet.
Flag Wed Apr 4, 2012
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