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  1. #1
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    Mar 2007
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    Default Home Inspection Kills Another Deal - Inspector Blamed (As Usual)

    When the Home Inspection Kills a Sale

    A colleague passed along a complaint about a home inspection that went awry and succeeded in torpedoing a sale.

    Although the consumer insisted that the house wasn't as bad as the home inspector said it was, it seems odd that this situation would even exist in a market where many buyers are choosing not to have inspections for fear of losing out to someone else.

    The homeowner said that there were minor problems and those were disclosed fully on the state-mandated form that was supplied not only to prospective buyers but to the home inspector as well.

    The homeowner also said that the inspector was "rude." Unfortunately, in this era of road rage, talk radio and abrupt sales clerks, rudeness has, unfortunately, become a key element of every day life.

    If rudeness were a crime, most of us would be behind bars.

    In states where home inspectors are licensed and the industry regulated, there are procedures in place to complain about individuals and inspection companies. In the homeowner's state, however, the requirement is simply that the inspector be a member of one of the major inspection organizations -- the American Society of Home Inspectors or the National Association of Home Inspectors, to name the two largest.

    The organizations maintain professional standards and require a high level of expertise and field experience to join. Still, organizations are only as good as their best members, and, as with every field of endeavor, there are bad apples that give the barrels a bad name.

    The homeowner could sue, but on what grounds? The inspector wasn't hired to kill the deal, he was hired to inspect the house within the period specified by the agreement of sale. He apparently found things in the two hours he was in the house that didn't meet acceptable standards or required repair.

    I'm only hearing one side of the conversation -- the homeowner is spending a lot of time talking about rudeness -- but there are a couple of things in this story that bother me.

    The first is that the homeowner was present during the inspection and made an effort to become involved in it. There are no hard and fast rules, but unless the homeowner is selling the house without a real estate agent, only the listing agent should be present during the inspection. {Now that's an odd bit of advice.}

    One of the ways the agent earns a commission is by representing the client's business throughout the entire transaction. Therefore, the listing agent's presence necessary to act as an intermediary, to write down questions that could be passed on to the seller, and to negotiate repairs or reductions in the sale price to compensate the buyer for needed repairs once the report was available.

    The listing agent wasn't present. The buyer's agent wasn't present. One of the buyers was there at the start of the inspection, but had to leave for a business meeting.

    So we have the home inspector and the homeowner. In other words, someone who was working for the buyer and someone who probably got overly defensive and may, in the inspector's opinion, have been trying to influence the report.

    The inspector works for the buyer, not the seller. This seller insists that the inspector should work for both. It's obvious he doesn't understand why the home inspector is there in the first place, so no amount of explaining would work.

    First, if I were the buyer, I would have remained for the entire inspection, scheduling it when that could be arranged. I know people are in a hurry and everyone is busy, but buying a house is the most expensive transaction in a person's life.

    I've had three inspections on three houses since 1982, and I was there the entire time for each. Most of what appears on the reports requires explanation. A lot of what looks bad isn't really as bad as it looks if the inspector has a chance to explain as he or she proceeds during the tour.

    The inspection company was not completely blameless. It should have provided a copy of the inspection report to the listing agent before the buyers pulled out so that the agent could have pushed for negotiation. {Another odd opinion. Didn't the writer say earlier that the inspector works for the buyer, not the seller? Strange.}

    The homeowner said that the report was illegible, and correctly argues that, in this day of computers, how difficult would have been for the report to have been typed. The inspection firm was a franchise that should have employed someone to type up the inspector's report as soon as it was completed.

    So what recourse does the homeowner have? First, having the inspection provides the homeowner and listing agent with valuable information about buyers and what they are looking for. They are now aware of potential problems, and should develop a negotiating strategy to address those problems with the next buyer.

    And then, simply, the seller should wait for the next buyer.


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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Healdsburg, CA
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    Default Re: Home Inspection Kills Another Deal - Inspector Blamed (As Usual)

    "The inspection company was not completely blameless. It should have provided a copy of the inspection report to the listing agent before the buyers pulled out so that the agent could have pushed for negotiation."
    Now I find that statement really strange? Perhaps the home inspector swhould have stayed and fixed everything he found wrong?
    If the inspection report was hand written then it's not worth the paper its written on. Is Uncle Buck the franchisor?

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Corpus Christi, TX
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    613

    Default Re: Home Inspection Kills Another Deal - Inspector Blamed (As Usual)

    Rude is in the eye of the perceiver. I have noticed in my own dealings that I have sometimes been perceived as rude. Sometimes that has been accurate. More frequently, I have been described as rude when what I did was refuse to be subservient when spoken at or down to.

    The first is that the homeowner was present during the inspection and made an effort to become involved in it. There are no hard and fast rules, but unless the homeowner is selling the house without a real estate agent, only the listing agent should be present during the inspection. {Now that's an odd bit of advice.}

    More than odd; it's way off mark. If the Inspector is working for the buyer, no communication should occur with the seller or the seller's agent without the express consent of his Client. I (politely) explain this to sellers and their agents at the beginning of the inspection and tell them that the only exceptions to this will be safety issues where they are at risk of harm while still living there.

    One of the ways the agent earns a commission is by representing the client's business throughout the entire transaction. Therefore, the listing agent's presence necessary to act as an intermediary, to write down questions that could be passed on to the seller, and to negotiate repairs or reductions in the sale price to compensate the buyer for needed repairs once the report was available.

    Again, the buyer is the Inspector's Client in this case. Nothing needs explaining or negotiating until that mature adult determines what he wants.

    The inspection company was not completely blameless. It should have provided a copy of the inspection report to the listing agent before the buyers pulled out so that the agent could have pushed for negotiation. {Another odd opinion. Didn't the writer say earlier that the inspector works for the buyer, not the seller? Strange.}

    Covered above. This writer exemplifies why so many Realtors just don't get it. The inspector is an observer reporting on the present condition of the house. He/ she is the paid employee of the buyer, period. Whether the deal goes through or away should be of no concern.

    So what recourse does the homeowner have? First, having the inspection provides the homeowner and listing agent with valuable information about buyers and what they are looking for. They are now aware of potential problems, and should develop a negotiating strategy to address those problems with the next buyer.

    He really doesn't get it. He wants the old prospective buyer to pay for an inspection that the seller should have had conducted before ever putting the house on the market. There have been several threads here addressing "floating" reports. I got a call again this week asking me how much I would charge her Client to review the report that I had recently written for someone else. My Client had paid me $700 for that report that was now in the hands of the next buyer. My response was brief and rude.

    The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.
    - Paul Fix

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Home Inspection Kills Another Deal - Inspector Blamed (As Usual)

    " it seems odd that this situation would even exist in a market where many buyers are choosing not to have inspections for fear of losing out to someone else."

    Huh?

    In THIS market today?

    Maybe a couple of years ago, but in *today's market*? This is a buyers market, the buyer is king, the seller the serf, if the seller does not give in to the buyer in good faith, the buyer will walk ... and probably find a bigger, better home for less.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ft. Lauderdale Fl
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    73

    Default Re: Home Inspection Kills Another Deal - Inspector Blamed (As Usual)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    " it seems odd that this situation would even exist in a market where many buyers are choosing not to have inspections for fear of losing out to someone else."

    Huh?

    In THIS market today?

    Maybe a couple of years ago, but in *today's market*? This is a buyers market, the buyer is king, the seller the serf, if the seller does not give in to the buyer in good faith, the buyer will walk ... and probably find a bigger, better home for less.
    August 2005

    Captain


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Connecticut
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    Default Re: Home Inspection Kills Another Deal - Inspector Blamed (As Usual)

    My usual reply to an owner who wants to stay for the inspection is. " Sure you can stay but you have to fix everything I tell you to fix, DEAL?
    The next thing you hear is the door slamming when they leave.
    If my client and their broker want me to stay and inspect the home alone with the seller. The nest thing they hear is the door slamming when I leave.
    Thats it , simple


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