Home Buying in Los Angeles>Question Details

Squid, Home Buyer in Los Angeles, CA

Agents Recommending Inspectors

Asked by Squid, Los Angeles, CA Wed May 13, 2009

My agent is recommending that I use a particular inspector to inspect the home I plan to buy. Should I be concerned? Seems like there could be a conflict of interest.

Help the community by answering this question:


Most agents have the opportunity of working with other affiliate professionals. It is in this type of work environment, that they will recommend someone to you when they are asked. This is purely as a convenience to you, the client.
They are recommending someone who has done a good job for them in the past..simple as that. They are not paid by that individual for the referral.
I usually will recommend a couple of people I have used, plus give them the website for the ASHI association which is the American Association of Home Inspectors http://@www.ashi.org . Most good home inspectors have contracting experience.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 18, 2009



EST. COST 1800 SF. $350.00........ BALL PARK.
Web Reference: http://www.CAcertified.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 24, 2010
How or why are these OLD questions being resurrected?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 10, 2010
Who better to ask?

Actually, any agent with any experience at all will have at least a handful of capable, qualified inspectors to recommend, and leave it up to you to make the phone calls and set up the appointment.

But inspectors don't do anybody a favor through any sort of conflict of interest that you imagine. Yeah, "my boy" let the leaky foundation pass so the sale would go through; you finish the basement, the rain comes, the judge makes me fix the foundation and refinish your basement. Hardly worth the commission, is it?

If, on the other hand, the agent says, "there's only one gal who can do this work," beware. Inspectors in LA are everywhere!

Hope this helps,
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 1, 2010

The agent recommends you the person they trust. Usually when an agent recommends the home inspector it is someone they have used in many transactions. Another reason why they recommend the home inspector because not a lot of people know home inspectors and usually want their agent to guide them

If you feel this is a conflict of interest you can use your own home inspector, but you shouldn't feel this way if you trust your agent.

Thank you
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 13, 2009
I always give my buyers the local ASHI list and put a mark next to three inspectors I have used in the past. My sellers are free to use whoever they want from the list or anyone else they may know that they trust. The only way there could be a conflict of interest would be if the inspector was a relative and then there is the business disclosure form.....
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 13, 2009
Your agent can recommend a few based on his/her experience but in the end you have the final choice of who you use. An inspection is very important and you want to make sure they indicate as much as possible without the fear of killing the deal. This will allow you to make the best informed decision possible.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 13, 2009
Hi Squid: I answered this once below, but wanted to clarify something. As Craig mentioned below, it is good practice for agents to provide three possibilities (and this help to ensure that the agent is in compliance with regulations). However, I think many agents have a team of suppliers they most like to work with because the agents have learned through experience that these particular suppliers can be counted on to do as good a job as possible under a variety of circumstances. In the end, who you chose for any job, including inspections, is always your choice and you can research other names and make your decision independent of what the agent suggests.

Kind regards,
Ron Rovtar
Prudential Real Estate of the Rockies
Days: 303.981.1617
Evenings: 303.473.1926
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 5, 2012
As long as the agent is not given a fee for the referral there is no conflict of interest. Usually it is just out of courtesy for our clients, but it is in your best interest to do your own research. At our firm, it is the clients responsibility to pick an inspector. Should anything go wrong in the future, it is up to your choice, not our recommendation.

Daniel Klein
Over 1 Billion Sold
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 4, 2012
Gee, if you trust your agent to help you purchase your home, I would hope you trust your agent to give you the people they use because they trust them. After 35 years, I have developed a working relationship with a whole lot of industry professionals whom I rely on and trust.

David Cooper Las Vegas Foreclosure Investor in Bank Owned REOs with Cash Flow. email or call for FREE list. not a real estate agent
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 20, 2011
Agents should always present at least three options for referrals to specifically avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 20, 2011
As an experienced agent for 17 years, I always recommend at least three physical inspectors for my clients to choose from. This disspells any concerns such as the one you have expressed. I would suggest you make sure the inspector you choose is a CREA professional. This will insure they are a knowledgable inspector.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 14, 2011
Have your agent give you at least three licensed inspectors in addition to the one your agent is suggesting and choose for yourself for your own peace of mind. How long have they been in the business, and where have they done work? Compare prices charged for this inspection.
As long as you make your own choice, this eliminates conflict of interest.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 22, 2011
They may just be used to working with this inspector and know they do a good job. However, it is completely your choice of the home inspector you want to use. I would recommend just talk to your realtor and go from there. Communication is the best strategy, always express all your concerns to them, then you can both deal with them accordingly.

Good luck
Heather Paul
Coldwell Banker
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 28, 2010
You agent can only make recommendation of which inspector to use. Ultimately it is your decision on whom to use to do your property inspection.
The recommendation from your agent is only a service convenience to you and the reason the agent is recommending is because that inspector has done a good job for agent in the past. Agents does not get a commission from the inspector for the referral.

Hope this helps.

David Akram
Web Reference: http://www.DavidNewHome.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 13, 2010
You can choose your home inspector of choice. Realtors usually have worked with inspectors and could recommend one they have had experience with in the past. I usually will give a list of 3 inspectors for the client to call. If you would like a recommendation you can email me for that request.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 10, 2010
Hello Squid.

It is best if you look for a general contractor that could inspect your house and provide you with a written report. Most of the inspection professionals use a cookie-cutter approach and a pre-written contract that excludes just about everything from omissions to crass errors, not allowing for any kind of indemnification even if the inspection is botched. That defies the purpose of a building report, which is to catch big ticket items before you get stuck with the problem.

Think of it this way, if the report has one million clauses protecting the inspector, and nothing delineating your rights if something obvious is later found to be amiss, how can you trust that report?

Roney Monteir - Building and Construction Expert
with The Ultimate Handyman a Construction and Maintenance Co.
8350 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90069
(323) 651 0635
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 10, 2010
As a agent, we generally recommend three inspectors. Usually, these are people that we know and have worked with us before. It is important to get a good inspector, whether it is recommended by your realtor or by your neighbor. You are spending the money so make sure you have an inspector who is reputable. It's the same philosophy - would you call a plumber from the yellow pages? Call them and interview them and see which one is best suited for you.
Web Reference: http://www.CindyEstates.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 25, 2010
A reputable agent will always recommend at least 3 inspectors. Never take a recommendation of just one inspector, attorney, etc.
Web Reference: http://iansellsnola.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 16, 2010
I don't agree that this is a matter of trusting your agent. I believe this is a huge liability for an agent to take on. We can't be responsible for someone else's conduct so it important to protect ourselves. Situations like this can turn into E&O nightmares.

It is not that difficult to provide a few different names so that the buyer does not feel pressured to use the person we recommend. I may suggest that I have had very positive experiences with a particular individual or company but I always inform them that the choice is their choice to make.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 16, 2010
If you trust your agent, then you can trust his/her recommendation (and if you don't trust your agent, why are you buying a home using them?).

We see lots of inspections, and we learn quickly who are the good ones and who are the bad ones. Not "who are the ones who don't kill the deals"... but more like "who are the ones who identify the issues, and suggest solutions".

After all, if you buy this home, you might call us in 2, 3, 5 years and ask us to help you sell it, and we don't want to represent homes with structural problems, or flooding basements either. So it's in our best interests to make sure that you have a good and thorough inspection and are aware of all the homes faults and defects.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 11, 2010
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
If you have a concern about your agent's recommendation, you can ask friends and other real estate professionals for their recommendations also. Then pick the inspector that you feel is best. In the end, you will live with the house so make sure you feel you have made the right choice.

Ron Rovtar
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 10, 2010
Generally, I suggest that an agent provide several names so you have the option to do your research and verify that this person is indeed qualified. This not only applies to home inspections but for loans too.

There is not a per se conflict of interest but it can create a liability for the agent if there is a problem. Your real estate agent most likely has a lot of confidence in this "particular" inspector but you are not obligated to use that inspector.

I have quite a bit of experience in risk management. I have seen just about every type of lawsuit that you could imagine. Why do you think that agents, home inspectors, title companies, escrow companies have E&O insurance? Again, my recommendation is that agents should provide several names of companies they have worked with but ultimately the choice is yours.

Good luck with your purchase.
Web Reference: http://www.calsucasa.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 10, 2010
Squid if you look back at your Purchase Agreement you will see under Service Providers that your agent can recommend a service provider but cannot guarantee the performance of said provider. With that said do your own research and choose someone you feel comfortable with if you don't feel comfortable with your agents recommendation. It's safe to say that your agent has done business before with this recommendation and therefore feels better about you using their service! Cheers on your purchase!
Web Reference: http://www.bennychavez.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 1, 2010
Hello Misslivvy,

You obviously have a concern about this situation or would not be asking. Yes I would pick my own Inspector as in the end you will have to be the one who lives with the results. There are many good Agents out there but also some who will steer you towards what we call the $99 Inspector or "Report Whitewasher" types of Inspectors. Both of these types will perform poorly for you and exceptionally for the Agent (ensures the sale and hence the commission).

When you pick an Inspector you will also hear "Use an Inspector from so and so association" or "one that is a former builder or plumber or etc.". Quite frankly associations are there for the members and there are NO Inspector associations that are there specifically to help the consumer. After all, the associations make their money from the members and not you, the consumer. As for prior trades people yes there are good Inspectors that come from their ranks but there are also many that could not hack their former trades and decided inspecting was easy money. If they could not hack their previous trade then how do you think they are doing as Inspectors?

What it all boils down to with Inspectors is to find one you can trust. If you can't trust them then it does not matter what their background is. I'm sure you have had experiences in the past and have developed your senses and requirements for trusting someone. Use that first when you pick an Inspector. After that look at the other factors.

If you have questions regarding Inspectors and how to stay away from specific types then feel free to contact me and we can go over additional suggestions. Good luck on the house hunting!

Emmanuel J. Scanlan
PS Inspection & Property Services LLC
214-418-4366 (cell)
TREC License # 7593
International Code Council, Residential Combination Inspector #5247015-R5 (Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing and Building)
Certified Infrared Thermographer (ASNT-TC1A Standards)
Texas Residential Construction Commission, Third Party Warranty Inspector #1593
Texas Residential Construction Commission, Inspector, County Inspection Program
Texas Department Of Insurance, VIP Inspector # 08507061016
Hayman Residential Engineering Services, Field Technician
CMC Energy - Certified Energy Auditor

Knowledge is power, but sharing knowledge brings peace!!
Web Reference: http://www.psinspection.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 13, 2009
I would certainly interview your agent's recommended house inspector, but I would seek out from my previous home buying friends, attorneys, mortgage companies and other real estate service professionals, a list of their recommendations before I actually selected my home inspector. Obviously making several recommended list is a very good thing and will narrow your searching. I would also ask my agent why he/she recommended this particular home inspector ( price, availability, quality of service , etc ) I would also look for accreditation(s) , price for the services , what is included in the fees, types of reports and any guarantees that may be included in the inspection . Also, a list of the home inspector’s previous clients gives you another option to gauge their performance. Getting good references are very important because in my area there are many inspection services available to choose from. Finally as with anything, after you have carefully screened the candidate list, go with your instincts and see which home inspector services best meets your needs, selection criteria and budget. Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 13, 2009
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