Finding a Home Inspector 1/2

The media and consumer advocates generally recommend that buyers avoid home inspectors that are recommended by a Realtor because the Realtor’s motivation is to “close the deal” which may be facilitated by a less than thorough inspection.  You on the other hand want an inspector who is as thorough as possible so that you are sufficiently informed about the home you are thinking of buying.  So, that leaves you to do your own research, review websites, talk to inspectors, and talk to friends.  I would like to offer a counter-intuitive approach to this thinking.

Research is important, but it is difficult to discern quality from a website or a phone call.  Oftentimes the information on a company’s website is too general to distinguish it from another.  And if you call a company, you will get just about the same answers to your questions, because everyone says they are the best, the most thorough, the best value and produce the best report.  The most important qualities and values that distinguish one inspection company from another can only truly be observed or appreciated when they are doing the job.  Then you talk to your friends who have purchased homes recently and they share their experience with you.  However, notice that each friend’s experience is limited to one inspection with one inspector; that’s not much experience to draw from.  A poor inspector will rise to the occasion now and then and do a good job, but at the same time, an excellent inspector will once in a while do a poor job.  How do you know?  If only someone knew all the inspectors out there and actually saw them do their job over and over again and saw how accurate and thorough the reports really were!  But someone does; it’s your Realtor.  The Realtors are the only ones out there who interact with the inspectors on a regular basis.  They know who are the good and bad inspectors; take advantage of that knowledge.  Yes, due diligence is important, but don’t discount your Realtor’s recommendations.  If you don’t trust your Realtor’s referrals, then let me ask you a question: why are you using that Realtor?  If you don’t believe that your Realtor’s motivation is to help you get the best value in a house then find one who has that motivation.  How do you find a good Realtor?  Hmm, who works with the Realtors day in and day out?  Who sees how they deal with their clients and hears the advice they provide?

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Finding a Home Inspector 2/2

In Part 1 of this series, I tried to convince home buyers to consider using a home inspector recommended by a trusted Realtor.  Within days of writing that blog I was confronted with a real life counterpoint when our office booked an inspection for a client who refused to use their Realtor’s preferred inspector.  To test out my powers of persuasion, our office manager sent him the blog I wrote and he ignored my advice and went with us anyway.  So much for influence.

It was a reminder to me that there are buyers who for one reason or another may not want to use a Realtor’s referral.  In this case, the buyer found the house himself while driving around and called the listing agent’s office.  One thing led to another and they found themselves with a ratified contract without the benefit of a buyer’s agent.  Another agent on the listing agent’s team was representing them but not in a buyer’s agent capacity.  They were savvy enough to realize that “their agent”, though professional and competent, was not representing their interests.  Hence the call to our office.  If you find yourself in this position, and you are not an aggressive negotiator, I recommend hiring your own Realtor or attorney to negotiate the contract and home inspection addendum.

The moral of the story is that one shoe does not fit all.  We have had the happy occurrence on many occasions where a buyer declines to go with the Realtor’s recommendation for a home inspector because they’ve gotten a referral from a friend only to find out that we were that Realtor’s recommendation as well.  Now that’s a good referral.

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Q and A with Rick Belliveau

What to Look For in a Home Inspection Company