One common question for home buyers is whether or not they should trust their real estate agent’s recommendations for a home inspector. Most buyers would probably like to think that all real estate agents are honest professionals who all follow a stringent set of professional ethics. In some cases, the answer is yes, you can trust some real estate agents to refer only qualified, professional, ethical home inspectors. Unfortunately however, in many cases you will want to avoid using a home inspector recommended by your agent and find your own inspector. It might also seem very convenient to use the home inspector your agent recommends, but here are a few good caution flags that should pop up with you, as a buyer, when you real-estate agent recommends a particular home inspector:
1. Could there be a conflict of interest?
A home inspector recommended by your agent may pose a conflict of interest. As a buyer, you have a vested interest in a non biased and detailed report on the condition of your potential new home. While a preferred home inspector, recommended by your agent may feel a vested interest in helping your agent close the sale. After all – agents don’t get paid anything unless they close the sale on the home. While it’s unlikely they would do anything less than aboveboard and risk losing their certification, the real-estate waters can get a bit muddied when the agent is involved in the inspector/buyer relationship.
2. Who’s the real client?
The home inspector is paid by and works solely for you, the buyer — in theory. However, if the home inspector and the real-estate agent have a strong work history together, their relationship may feel more like a partnership, where the home inspector considers the realtor their client, leaving you as the third most important party in the transaction. Your home inspection is your only opportunity to gather a detailed understanding about any and all identified deficits involving your home. It’s extremely important that the inspection not be rushed or short cuts taken to provide less detail about the true condition of the home.
3. Special List
It is not uncommon in many real-estate markets for certain agents to have a ready to distribute list of “recommended home inspectors” for their buying clients. Hopefully, the listed home inspectors are professionals who come with many great references. However, the home inspectors on that list may also be very aware that they are on a particular list and may feel that finding large amounts of inspection issues may threaten their future inclusion on that agent’s list of recommended inspectors.
4. Not All Home Inspectors Are Equal
It is pretty common for home buyers, especially new home buyers to assume that all home inspectors are created equal, it really doesn’t matter who you get – and finally, since they are the same you are going to choose the cheapest home inspector you can find. All of these assumptions could not be further from the truth and collectively – can result in buyers making a bad decision that will likely come back and bite them.
While these possibilities are unnerving, they do exist. So, whether you select a home inspector from a pre-determined list or hopefully decide to do your own due diligence in finding your own home inspector, here are a few suggested points to consider:
- Check the home inspectors national certifications
- See what professional training they have completed
- Visit their professional website – this can tell you a great deal about a home inspector
- Check out an example of their reports so you can see how they approach the inspection and how the report itself identifies deficiencies
- Check their feedback ratings from previous customers
While the real-estate market encourages a fairly competitive environment in terms of home inspection cost, cost itself should never be the determining factor for selecting a home inspector. Not all home inspectors are equal nor do all home inspectors have the same level of training, have the same level of technology or provide the exact same level of services. In the grand scheme of things – saving $50 to $75 probably isn’t worth your peace of mind. When you are considering making a major investment in real-estate, it’s best to make that extra effort and choose the home inspector you are the most comfortable with.
If you are considering purchasing a home in Albany, Leesburg or the Southwest Georgia area, we invite to check us out and rest assured – if we inspect your home – you will be getting the most professional home inspection available. We’ve got your back!