Professional home inspector or specialized professionals?

Asked by Kent Palmer, Denver, CO Mon Dec 17, 2007

Which would you feel more confident about hiring if your reputation was on the line?

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Lorie Gould, Agent, Duluth, GA
Mon Dec 17, 2007
We as real esate agents can only recommend, we cannot dictate. If you are hiring the inspector or specialized professional then the count down is on for that to bite you in the ____. I recommend, I do not hire nor do I pay for the inspection because it opens me up for liability if the person hired makes a mistake and we all know mistakes happen.

With that being said, I recommend a home inspector to find the defects and code violations. I recommend a termite inspector to inspect for active or signs of past infestation for wood destroying creatures. In Georgia, we receive the the inspection report same day. I look over the report and then make any recommendations for specialized professionals like a structural engineer, HVAC company etc. If the home has stucco then I recommend a stucco inspection which is a specialzied inspection separate from the home inspection. If the home is on septic, I recommend a septic inspection by a licensed septic inspector. There are mold and radon inspections too so one needs to know the percentages of those cases in ones market area so they can advise accordingly.

Kent, I look at it like this. I write each contract and make recommendations to my clients to protect my license and my career which in turns protects their interests and investment. I had a broker once tell me that we are one contract away from a lawsuit. He meant that one mistake is all it takes to end a career in this business. I am here to protect my clients. If my clients fails to take my advice then they sign a waiver that I recommended and they declined. It gets their attention and they often rethink the decision.

I would rather a client spend $1500 upfront on inspections then close on a home that would be a financial pitfall...not to mention they could become sick from mold or radon that cannot be seen or smelt.

My last bit of advice for the evening. Do not ever tell a client that an inspection is not necessary. For instance, If they are concerned about mold and want a mold inspection then support their decision. I have seen agents communicate to clients that it would be a waste of money to have certain inspections like a termite inspection on a home 5 years or newer. This is adding liability to the transaction and will eventually bite an agent one day. We are not experts on the structural or environmental aspects of a home. Do we really want to go there?
1 vote
Sylvia Barry,…, Agent, Marin, CA
Mon Dec 17, 2007
To clarify what I said below, I always provide the options and advise my clients of all the possible inspections they can get for their house (not wanting to give an impression that I only recommend the two inspections), but most people opt for the basic two to start with and evaluate the specialized inspections as they deem needed for the specific property.

I do agree with Lorie, inspection is something a buyer does not want to skim on, and many times, the same for sellers (so they can find out potential problems and remedy the problems which could very well become a deal breaker if not handled beforehand.

0 votes
Sylvia Barry,…, Agent, Marin, CA
Mon Dec 17, 2007
HI Kent:

For me, it depends on the house and the inspection results. If the house is newer and looks O.K. I will recommend my clients to get both home inspection and termite inspection (from two different companies); from their recommendation and findings, we will go with specialized professionals when needed.

For older properties, in addition to the two inspections, we might just go ahead and get specialized inspections.

For properties with trees, we will get arborist if the giant heritage oaks are part of reasons why the clients like the property. Pools, pool inspector, unless the pool works great and looks great. Septic system needs special inspection. etc.

Of course, we only recommend and advise, the clients are the ones who will be making an educated decision on what they want to do.

Either way, we recommend companies with great reputation and adequate insurance just in case they make a mistake.

0 votes
Ian A. Wolf, Agent, Morristown, NJ
Mon Dec 17, 2007
Why not go with both. You'll get two professional opinions and might get some great insight on the home situation. When I buy homes for rehab, I often get a few opinions, just because I like to see what people say is the same and different. It helps me ascertain the proper solution to problems and or the right course of action.
0 votes
Durenda Fach…, , Coastal Tampa Bay area. Pinellas and Pasco Counties.
Mon Dec 17, 2007

Please clarify your question.

if you are talking about choosing a home inspector vs specialized professional for one of your buyer clients, your client needs to make that choice for themselves.

It is not the agent's decision to make.

Best of luck.
0 votes
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