Home Inspectors Can Make Real Estate Agents Look Good
Twenty to thirty years ago, the home inspection industry was in its infancy stages. There weren't many inspectors and they typically were not part of the real estate transaction. My mom was an active agent in the 80's and 90's. She remarked to me recently how she had wished she had a go to inspector back in the day. There were times when a buyer wanted to hold her libel because of an unforeseen expensive repair that was required after a purchase. She realized that a thorough and objective home inspection not only would have protected the interests of her clients, but hers as well.
Although there are agents that share that philosophy, there are some that see a home inspection as a threat to the deal. Some go to great lengths to make sure that a deal doesn't get killed by a 'bad' inspection result. I've been in business long enough now that I have run into agents that are so dead set on 'their own guy' that they have coerced their client into hiring their guy. I've even had signed agreements with home buyers to do their inspection that their agent made them break!
In Texas, it is perfectly legal for home inspectors to get listed on real estate company websites usually for a fee. And it can be significant. I call it 'pay to play'. The Texas Real Estate Commission; however calls it an advertising fee. In my opinion, this scenario makes conditions ripe for agents to want to 'refer' inspectors to their clients that won't spoil the deal and inspectors that won't spoil the deal because they want to keep getting the referrals. That's bad for the industry.
It shouldn't and doesn't have to be this way. Ever. An agent should be uncovering exactly what their clients needs are; what their resources are; financial limitations the client may have; and to be realistic with the client in regard to what properties fit the bill. They also need to be upfront with a client that an older property is probably going to have more issues (no matter how good it looks cosmetically) than a newer one. Conversely, a newer property if it hasn't been maintained properly can have just as many issues.
The agents that I work with understand that we are in it together for the benefit of the client first and foremost. I'm most concerned with safety and costly maintenance items that should be addressed as soon as possible. But I also take the time to report conditions that should be addressed in the not too distant future as well as ones that can wait; or items not to be concerned about at all. I don't 'pass' or 'fail' a home, I simply report what needs attention and rank them that way.
It's a win win for all involved. The client is well informed to make a decision and will be happy knowing there won't be surprises. The agent can rest assured that they have done everything possible to take care of the client. That can only benefit their reputation.
Have a great day!