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  1. #1
    Reggie Russell's Avatar
    Reggie Russell Guest

    Question Listing Agent Complaints

    Hey Guys,

    I need some advice on how to handle a situation because it has happened several times now and I expect it will happen again. I received a call from the listing agent today on a home I inspected earlier his week and she was very distraught at my inspection report and the amount of repairs I listed on it because she told me the buyers were asking for everything in my report to be repaired and asked me if I meant for that to be the case. I told her no and that I counseled my clients to that effect (it is a 40+ year old home) and also put in my report on many of the items that I recommend new owner fix this, etc. She wants me to call my client and reinforce to them that I don't mean for them to ask for everything in my report to be repaired by the seller. Is that something I should do? Is it our job as inspectors to advise what a client should and should not ask for in the way of repairs? I usually provide what advice I can at the time of the inspection and if they call me, I gladly counsel them again, but I feel like this would be me calling my client and scolding them for their repair list. I thought this was the job of my clients Realtor. I would appreciate any thoughts any of you have on this matter.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Listing Agent Complaints

    Our job is to inspect and report on the condition of the property the client is planning to buy. It is the buyer's agent's job to help the buyers sort through the in$pection report and decide what to ask the sellers to repair. That's what they get paid the big bucks for. Around here the going rate for agents' commission is 6% and that is split 50-50 between the listing agent and the selling agent. On a typical $300,000 house the buyers' agent gets $9,000 compared an inspection fee of around $300. I'd let the agent earn her money.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

  3. #3
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Listing Agent Complaints

    I would (and have) told sellers who call me to put their concerns in an email and I will be glad to answer and copy my client just so we can all stay on the same page. I never get that email but I did offer and that's all I can do. I will not talk to a seller on the phone because what you say will get twisted and then you are on the defense with no way to prove you did not say what they say you said.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Listing Agent Complaints

    Quote Originally Posted by Reggie Russell View Post
    Hey Guys,

    I told her no and that I counseled my clients to that effect (it is a 40+ year old home) and also put in my report on many of the items that I recommend new owner fix this, etc. She wants me to call my client and reinforce to them that I don't mean for them to ask for everything in my report to be repaired by the seller. Is that something I should do? Is it our job as inspectors to advise what a client should and should not ask for in the way of repairs? I usually provide what advice I can at the time of the inspection and if they call me, I gladly counsel them again, but I feel like this would be me calling my client and scolding them for their repair list. I thought this was the job of my clients Realtor. I would appreciate any thoughts any of you have on this matter.
    I stay out of the negotion part.
    Everything I list as needing correction will cost someone $s to correct.
    The last thing I do is decide, or suggest who should pay for any item.

    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
    www.inspectaz.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Listing Agent Complaints

    Quote Originally Posted by Reggie Russell View Post
    Hey Guys,

    I need some advice on how to handle a situation because it has happened several times now and I expect it will happen again. I received a call from the listing agent today on a home I inspected earlier his week and she was very distraught at my inspection report and the amount of repairs I listed on it because she told me the buyers were asking for everything in my report to be repaired and asked me if I meant for that to be the case. I told her no and that I counseled my clients to that effect (it is a 40+ year old home) and also put in my report on many of the items that I recommend new owner fix this, etc. She wants me to call my client and reinforce to them that I don't mean for them to ask for everything in my report to be repaired by the seller. Is that something I should do? Is it our job as inspectors to advise what a client should and should not ask for in the way of repairs? I usually provide what advice I can at the time of the inspection and if they call me, I gladly counsel them again, but I feel like this would be me calling my client and scolding them for their repair list. I thought this was the job of my clients Realtor. I would appreciate any thoughts any of you have on this matter.
    First, it is our job to report what we find.

    Second, it is the agents job to help their client with what they want repaired and what might be a pie in the sky.

    Third, it sounds like one or both agents might not have the proper skills that one needs to control their client. A skilled agent should be able to help their client understand that they are buying a used home and some things just go with it.

    It is not our job to tell our client what they should ask to be repaired. Sure we can give them some guidance as to what is most important, but I consider pretty much everything that goes into my report to be important.

    Right now it is a buyers market, and most if not all buyers know this. They will be demanding more from sellers and if they don't get it they will move on to the next home. I'm seeing this with almost every inspection that I'm involved in.

    You need to tell the agent that State Law prohibits you from telling your client what they need to ask for in the way of repairs. The reason it is against the law is that you would then be giving real estate advice and since you do not have a real estate license you can not do that.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Listing Agent Complaints

    I echo a lot of what both Bruce and Scott said.

    As for this "She wants me to call my client and reinforce to them that I don't mean for them to ask for everything in my report to be repaired by the seller.
    "
    ..........

    That sounds like a realtor desperate for the sale to go through and who doesn't possess any negotiation skills. My answer would that it is not my job to tell the buyer what to ask for and I am not an extension of the realtor's sales team.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Listing Agent Complaints

    Quote Originally Posted by Reggie Russell View Post
    Hey Guys,

    I told her no and that I counseled my clients to that effect (it is a 40+ year old home) and also put in my report on many of the items that I recommend new owner fix this, etc.

    Why would you recommend that the new owner fix this. Isn't that just as bad as recommending that the seller fix this?

    Ours is to identify. The buyers, sellers & agents are the negotiating parties. Let them work it ALL out for themselves on who pays for what or even what actually gets fixed.

    Erby Crofutt, Georgetown, KY - Read my Blog here: Erby the Central Kentucky Home Inspector B4 U Close Home Inspections www.b4uclose.com www.kentuckyradon.com
    Find on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/B4UCloseInspections

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Listing Agent Complaints

    It sounds like the ball was dropped before the inspection was even done. Typically on a house that age, the purchase agreement has a dollar amount built into it to help with the repair or purchase decisions.

    It amazes me that the realtors have not developed a list of common inspection items and a preset method of how they will be handled based on the age of the house. I think the personality types that get into real estate are not the type that can do technical planning. I could put this together in a few days.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
    www.BAKingHomeInspections.com
    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Listing Agent Complaints

    I have statements in my report that point out that many conditions I find should be considered as weekend/honey-do projects. I spend a lot of time during the inspection trying to put things into perspective for clients. Despite this, I do have the occasional client who will request everything. R.E. contracts in my state are required to differentiate between issues of habitability concerns and those of lessor importance and I often point people (including agents and attorneys) to this. It's a thin line to walk for the inspector - remain neutral yet provide some food for thought.

    The Illinois and ASHI SoP allow me to present things according to my opinion and conviction. Two of the classifications I use in my report are Correct as Necessary and FYI. I use the FYI for doors that rub on a jamb, a handrail that may be a little loose etc. In my view, a report that simply says "repair or replace" regardless of the significance of the condition may indeed cause the buyer to get carried away in their requests.

    I think that it's the job of the inspector, agent and attorney to help guide (as opposed to directing) the buyers and sellers in their negotiations. We are ,after all, the people who deal with this day in and day out.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  10. #10
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: Listing Agent Complaints

    In NC....the phrase "A system has to be performing it's intended function and not be in need of immediate repair taking into consideration normal wear" is the guideline for what is repair or not.

    This phrase is required to be put at the top of the summary part.
    "This summary is not the entire report. The full report may include additional information of interest or concern to the client. It is strongly recommended that the client promptly read the complete report. For information regarding the negotiability of any item in this report under a real estate purchase contract, contact your North Carolina real estate agent or an attorney."


    A door that won't close is a repair but a 17 year old roof that is not leaking is not. Everything that makes it into the summary on my report is a repair item. Like Eric I have FYI items in the body of the report but if it makes it into the summary then it needs to be repaired or replaced. This is my opinion....yours will most likely be different.

    Last edited by James Duffin; 09-04-2010 at 01:42 PM. Reason: spelling

  11. #11
    Ricky Wells's Avatar
    Ricky Wells Guest

    Default Re: Listing Agent Complaints

    Hey Reggie,

    Dont beat yourself up on this one. You have done your part and now it is the job of the Agents to negotiate on the best interest of your clients.

    In Arizona Home Buyers must fill out what is called in the industry a BINSR (pronounced like bin-zer). That stands for Buyers Inspection and Sellers Response. They buyer can put on that report whatever they desire such as painting the house the fire engine red if they so desire and the Buyers Agent has to send that to the Listing Agent. What happens next is that Sellers talk to the Listing Agent and respond to Buyers with what they will and will not do. This can go back and forth several times until one side or the other backs out of the deal or they reach an agreement.

    I would have told that listing agent that I can not talk to her about the inspection because that is confidential between me and my clients. Even if you talked to your clients about it and they ease up on the list of items they wish the seller to fix, you probably will still not get any future refferals from that listing agent. However your clients will probably refer you to their friends and family in the future.

    I would be curious to know how it turns out for your clients so keep me posted.

    Thanks


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Listing Agent Complaints

    I have had two seller complaints in the past couple of weeks.

    The first I reported drainage problems. The house was 50 years old and had typical 50 year old house stuff going on. The buyer walked and another buyer contacted me to do another inspection. But, the seller does not like my report and refuses to allow me onto the property again.

    The second is a seller that sent me an email complaining that my report was incorrect on several points. It was written in all capital letters, so I felt like I was being yelled at. But, I rethought my initial response and decided that this is just from an old guy who thinks his house is perfect (like we all do). So, I responded as evenly as I could by stating that his house was very nice and his pride of ownership was clear. I then presented documentation and links to address his specific complaints. He responded with an additional list of complaints.

    Never mind. He just wants a sunny, cheerful report.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Listing Agent Complaints

    It's rough out there and we're in a no-win situation as HIs. The sellers are already selling their house for +/- 25% less than what they could have a few years ago so they're not exactly happy. Then, the inspector comes through and the buyers chip some more money off the price. I can see why people are getting cranky. I haven't had any sellers or listing agents contact me directly but I've just heard of a lot more tension surrounding deals lately.

    Especially as the summer (so-called busy season for buying/selling) comes to a close and sellers are forced to take whatever offer they can get.

    What I'm seeing a lot of also is people that bought houses 3-5 years ago and didn't ask for anything to be fixed because they had no leverage during the strong sellers' market. Now, it's all the same stuff they were told about and they're having to fix it or reduce their price.

    In the end, don't sweat it... it's all just part of the business. Things like this always come in groups and then it won't happen again for 5 years.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Listing Agent Complaints

    You guys are much nicer than I am. Listing agent calls me and I politely tell them they are calling the wrong person, I don't work for them. I don't even get into a conversation with a listing agent about their clients' house I just inspected. Inappropriate (and against our SOP without the clients permission) as far as I am concerned.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Listing Agent Complaints

    Quote Originally Posted by Reggie Russell View Post
    I told her no and that I counseled my clients to that effect (it is a 40+ year old home) and also put in my report on many of the items that I recommend new owner fix this, etc.

    "I recommend new owner fix"

    That was your first mistake.

    That mistake lead to all that followed it.

    You should write up all that you see and call for it to be corrected. (Did you notice that large "." "period" there?)

    It is not up to you to determine who fixes what. Your job is to do everything you can to "find it", and when you "find it" your job is to "write it up", and if it is "written up" then it should be your recommendation that "it be fixed". When the question comes back "Fixed by who?", your answer *should be* "Fixed by the person recommended in the report: a licensed and competent contractor."

    When that follow that with "But who should PAY for fixing it?", your answer should be "THAT is for MY CLIENT to determine, and for MY CLIENT and THE SELLER to negotiate. THAT is where YOU should have prepared the seller and the client before hand on addressing what WILL BE in the report - THAT IS YOUR JOB, not mine.", followed with a brief pause and then "MY JOB was to inspect the house and write up what I found not right, and I DID."

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

  16. #16
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
    Nolan Kienitz Guest

    Default Re: Listing Agent Complaints

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    I have had two seller complaints in the past couple of weeks.
    GA,

    You are just an old curmudgeon ...

    Good for you.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Listing Agent Complaints

    "My job is not to tell you what you should buy, it's to tell you what you are buying."

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Listing Agent Complaints

    If it's broken or not functioning as intended, fix it. If it's worn out or no longer operable, replace it. Besides recommending that all repairs be made by licensed and certified professionals in that specific field of expertise, I don't make any recommendation as to what anybody should fix now or hold off on.

    Do what you want with the info in my report. Do nothing with it if you like. It doesn't matter to me. Just pay me and let me be on my way. Negotiation and setting expectations is the realtors' job.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Listing Agent Complaints

    I had a seller complaint a couple of days ago. Funny thing, the inspection is scheduled for next week, not even done yet.

    Last edited by John Kogel; 09-06-2010 at 10:26 AM. Reason: changed compliant to complaint
    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Listing Agent Complaints

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    "My job is not to tell you what you should buy, it's to tell you what you are buying."
    Agreed

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

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