Seacliff Home Inspections


Realtor-Independent Home Inspector

What is a "Realtor-Independent Home Inspector", anyway? You may have heard this term, but what does it mean? Generally, it refers to a home inspector that does not solicit business or market to real-estate professionals. In addition, the home inspector, and inspection, should be 100% removed from any influence of the realtor.

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What's Wrong with a Real Estate Agent Recommending a Home Inspector?


It is unethical and a huge conflict of interest. As much as agents are supposed to be on your side, they are ALWAYS working in the seller's best interests, and for the largest commission possible. Remember, the agent doesn't get paid unless the house sells! Do you believe the agent really wants you to hire someone that might jeopardize the sale? Think again.

House sales are carefully crafted, staged, and rehearsed to sell as quickly as possible with the least amount of resistence. Keep your perspective. Would you hire the mechanic that a used car salesperson recommended before buying his car? Probably not. So why would you hire the home inspector that your real estate agent (think: used home salesperson) recommended? The real-estate agent is in the business of selling houses. Do you really believe they are going to refer someone to you that is not going to help their business?

Choose your own home inspector.
It's your right. Be wary of panic induced coaching from your agent. Certainly there are agents who have integrity and honesty; however, too many put their commission above their client's best interests. If a real estate agent tells you that you cannot use an inspector of your choosing, or insists that you use one of their "recommended" or "approved" inspectors, you should be very wary.

Almost all home purchase agreements include the condition of a home inspection. Why is that? It's because a home inspection addresses two critical concerns for the agent and/or brokerage firm. A home inspection addresses the condition of full disclosure, and reduces the agent's / brokerage firm's liability. But they never want you to choose your own inspector. They known that most buyers will unknowningly ask for recommendations. And there's the rub. As professionals, they make it all look easy!

What is a "Deal-Killer"?
This is a derogatory term often used by real-estate agents to describe an independent home inspector that provides too much information to the client, and is too thorough and objective in his inspection, which leads to the home buyer wanting to renegotiate the terms of the sale, or walking away from the sale resulting in lost commission. Many real estate agents view independent home inspectors as a challenge to their ability to generate income. Many will use a number of tactics to control the inspector selection process to make sure that the prospective buyers choose a "preferred" home inspector.

The best home inspectors are more likely to find conditions with a home that raise dissatisfaction in the buyers. Less experienced inspectors don't find or disclose as many of these conditions, posing less risk to the agent's income. For many agents, the temptation to recommend a less thorough inspector is far too great to resist. And when temptation prevails, the lesser inspector becomes the agent's choice, while the thorough inspector is written off as a "deal killer."

How Does the Real-Estate Agent Conrol Which Home Inspector You Choose?
It's easier than you think. There are many tactics used, some subtle and some not so subtle. Remember, these are professionals trained to sell and make it look like it's your decision. More often than not, under the guise of being helpful, the real estate agent will volunteer to set up the home inspection for you. This is the easiest route for them. They simply pick who they want to use. Or, they give you a list of three inspectors and pointing you in the direction of their preferred choice with comments like, "This guy's really good" or "We use him all the time". If you do choose your own inspector, they may try to sway your decision with comments like, "That day or time doesn't work for me or the seller. Let me set something up for you", or "I hear he's not very good", or "he takes too long", or "he's too expensive, I can get you a cheaper inspector", or "I don't know him, so he can't be very good" or "he hasn't been in business too long". Get the picture.

Sometimes, even if you do choose your own inspector, agents try to influence the inspection or the inspector. I have had agents tell me:

  • they're first-time home buyers - go easy on them;
  • ONLY report what the seller has to fix - not everything wrong with the house;
  • if you do a good job I got lots more work to keep you busy;
  • don't scare the buyers;
  • it's not a problem - every house around here is like that;

I have had agents flat out ask me for money to be referred. One told me, "Hey, if you give me 20 bucks when I refer you and the other guy doesn't, who do you think I'm going to refer?".

I have had agents get mad at me for pointing out problems with a house for which they were also the seller's agent, telling me, "This is a real problem. Now I have to disclose these issues to future buyers. The house isn't going to sell."

Why do home inspectors choose to work with real-estate agents?
Because that's where the money is. It's an exchange of services to help each other's business. For many inspectors, up to 90% of their business is from agent referrals. If a lot of these deals go south (that is, the house doesn't sell or requires a considerable amount of renegotiation), do you think the agent is going to continue using that inspector. No! Besides "helping" the agent to sell the house, many inspectors pay kickbacks to agents and brokers in the form of advertising or marketing money. Or, they contribute large amounts of money to fund-raising ventures for the brokerage. Or, they contribute to an agent son's soccer team by purchasing uniforms for the team. It's all about a return of favours.

Real-Estate agents and home inspectors should operate at arms-length from each other. Anything else is unethical and a conflict of interest.

Buyers, practice due diligence. Trust others for suggestions. Trust yourself for decisions. Your agent may be one of the truly honest professionals who recommend only the best and most thorough home inspectors. But you don't know that for sure. So compare inspector's qualifications. Ask who are the most thorough, most experienced, most qualified home inspectors in the area. You might even come straight out and say, "I want the one they call a Deal Killer."

Your Real-Estate Agent Referred Seacliff Home Inspections

If a real estate agent referred Seacliff Home Inspections to you, then congratulations, you have found yourself a real estate agent with integrity and your best interests at heart! Unfortunately this is not always the case in the real estate industry. I am 100% Realtor Independent! I only work for the home buyer and without influence from any agents involved in the sale. I look out for you, your interests, happiness, and financial well being with regards to your new home purchase. Period!