3 Things Your Home Inspector Would Never Tell You

home inspection Los Angeles

3 Things Your Home Inspector Would Never Tell You

I can recall back when I was a nine to five construction manager trying to move up the proverbial ladder of success, it seemed the better I was at my job, the more educated I become, the higher up in the ranks of success I was able to achieve.  Well, of course that was waaay back when I was young and new to the work force. Today, however, having been in the construction and having been a home inspector, this form of reward simply does not exist.

Opposite from contracting, the home inspection industry is the only business i’ve ever seen where the better you become at your job, the less business and therefore income you will amass. There is a game being played in the home inspection industry and its not fun and the only looser in this game is you, the buyer. There is a whole other dark side to this business that the home purchaser, (that is the person who is spending their life savings for a single tangible object), may never ever hear about, perhaps until now. These are 3 things that a home buyer may never know exists in the real estate and home inspection industry which are really one in the same, most of which directly affect them… or you.

Who’s your daddy?

home inspector ethicsYour inspector will never tell you that they get 100% of their business from agents (agent referral list) and if they wish to remain on these lists, they must play by “their” rules.

If your agent provided you with a list of home inspectors to choose from, toss it in the trash. Keep in mind that the inspectors on that list most likley get the majority of their business from these real estate agents and Ladies and Gentlemen, there is a game being played here between the agents and the inspectors and the only looser is you, the buyer.

The Home inspectors on these lists who are smart, play it smart and will not jeopardize their position on these agents lists by doing “stupid” things like calling out too many issues ( insignificant issues according to agents), or explaining issues from a perspective of experience or worse… an expert (as one who intimately understand the issues).

You have to understand that these inspectors must make a living and the reality of the home inspection business is this…  if you remove the agent referrals from the inspectors bottom line, and the inspector does not have a good internet presence or past client referral network they are for the most part, out of business. So they “tow the line” and become what the agents want them to be… conformists. I’m sure these inspectors feel they are performing a good service on behalf of their client but IMO, they are who/what they have evolved into and are unable to see themselves for what they truly are…”a yes man”.

Side note: To you inspectors reading this and are offended too bad, it’s probably because this likely describes you. To those of you who agree with this … its because you are not a yes man.

Report antics

Your inspector will never tell you that the report must be un-offensive to everyone and all items in the report to come across as “normal or everyday wear and tear“.

home inspector reportsWriting a home inspection report is truly an art. When it comes to writing the home inspection report, those home inspectors who are slaves to these agents, must possess a unique way in which they ultimately compile and write the information found during their brief inspection in a report document. Let me explain. Many of these types of inspectors understand that what they write will be scrutinized by everyone who reads it so whatever they write must at the very least be accurate… it can be vague, but it must be accurate. There is a fine line in which they must walk when explaining the findings and while on one hand they want to inform the buyers of issues discovered so they can account for the money they stole, they must also do it in a way that will not scare the buyer or the agent or worse… jeopardize the sale.

The inspection reports are written in a way that is not offensive to the buyer, seller or agent and will tip-toe around the important issues or by verbally spinning the issues in a way that is not offensive to anyone yet, still covers the butt of the inspector in the event you ever wish seek compensation from the inspector fr the crappy job they did.  And if they happen to miss something that’s okay… they told you to “have a professional contractor evaluate” probably over 1,000 times in the report and if that doesn’t do the trick.. the mounds of disclosures you agreed to will surely cover them in court. Some inspectors will deliberately keep things out of the summary or hide items within the body of the report in hopes that you will not read the entire document. And then there are those inspectors who use checklist reports which are vague at best.

Speed is the key

Your inspector will never tell you that the faster he is at inspecting your house… the more the agents will love him for it. The longer he takes, the fewer agents who will refer his services.

In the home inspection business speed is key and for 2 reasons.

home inspectors who are too quickFirst, the faster the inspector is at performing his inspections the more agents will love him for it and therefore refer his services. The slower and more methodical he is at inspecting, the fewer agents that will use his services. This is primarily because the agents have “better‘ places to be than sitting at the house which you the buyer plan on spending all your hard earned money on for 3 hours or more. No, no, no… anything longer than 45 minutes is just too damn long if you’re an agent even if the house is 4500 square feet… with a pool.

Ya, don’t let the agents fool you. They will all say “the longer the better” but that is simply not true. They all want a fast quick, get in and get out inspection. And whats worse than this is that the inspectors who are primarily referred by these idiots actually embrace these games and as a result will fly through your house in record time. The end result? A home buyer who placed all their trust in two people and was let down.

Trust me buyers… the longer an inspector takes… the more an inspector knows… the more he will find.

Side note: To you agents reading this don’t be upset… this is just who you are. To the detriment of the home buyer unfortunately.




Comments 7

  1. Post

    Derik, The I understand our business perfectly after being in it for as many years as I have, and my firm is by the way, is not lacking in any way what-so-ever I assure you. You can disagree and it does not mean you’re labeled as a conformist. There are good inspectors who do right by the buyers like myself and other contributors here at HBA and perhaps even you. But I do know agents and what they expect from those of us in this business, and for many inspectors it really does mean they do some or all of the things I’ve written about on this blog to stay in the good graces of the agents and in order to keep on their lists.
    The job of a home inspector is to document issues discovered during the inspection process and yes, articulate that into easy to digest language for buyers. The inspection is based on facts not conjecture and facts are taken from building code and experience. If being an “alarmist” means you state facts, then everyone should be an alarmist because it’s impossible to overstate facts / code as they are what they are.
    Now you can add commentary to your finding which may make you an alarmist depending on which words you choose, which then i’d agree if the commentary is based on opinion or fact-less information, but saying your new house has a Zinsco panel and there is a possibility that it will fail during your occupancy and failure may come in the way of a fire or whatever…is not overstating or being an alarmist. If you ask any buyer they want to know as much information as you can give them good or bad. Unfortunately were not in the business of telling people how “nice” their houses are.
    Ask any agent and they DO NOT want ANY bad information which may kill their deal, and many inspectors “get this” and act on it accordingly.

  2. Here is an article that stated “out loud”, what we All realize and know but are too afraid to say !
    Thank you!!!

  3. Wow…..what a terrible article. As with ANY industry, you will always have bad apples. But it is your job as the buyer to do your due diligence in finding a good home inspector. If I am going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, I will definitely do my research on finding a good inspector. And then I would attend the inspection after researching the facts on the home. Age and how it relates to the code enforce when the house was built, type of structure and what to expect. And so on and so forth. When did it become OK to just take people’s word and then when something isn’t the way you want, to then criticize everyone for it? As an informed buyer, DO Your home work! I am a home inspector, and I take great pride and so do the realtors I work with. The problem is when customers don’t understand how or why things are the way they are and they jump to conclusions based on the little information they have. Out of all the inspections I have done, NO client has ever called me to ask questions. So either I am extremely thorough and a great writer OR clients are not interested in the why and how. It seems to me they only use the reports to ask for money off the listing price when there is a plethora of information on the general maintenance that a house demands. Often times they will NEVER look at the report again once the house is bought. It all comes down to vetting your inspector, real estate agent, asking questions and doing research.

  4. Being a home inspector means translating what you know into terms people can understand. It means putting things in perspective. I disagree with the author that a balance can not be achieved. I also take offense to the, “With me or against me,” attitude. I don’t suck up to Realtors, and I work very hard to keep things in perspective without overstating conditions. To say that my disagreement means I’m a suck up and a conformist is slanderous, irresponsible, and demonstrates a real lack of understanding of our business. Balance and perspective can be achieved. Sounds to me like the author is losing business because he’s an alarmist who overstates conditions and has never really learned to communicate effectively. Very sad.

  5. Spot on. There are as many fly by night inspectors as there are good ones. That said, imo the majority suck up to realtors and do whatever it takes to stay on their lists.

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