Are Home Inspectors Deal Killers?
If you are an experienced home buyer, or even a real estate agent, you or your client have probably had to walk away from a home before. Sometimes the home just isn't the right fit, maybe it's the home's layout or the schools in the area. But have you or a client ever walked away because of what was in the home inspection report?
If you are the prospective buyer of a home, you have probably never said the words "I wish the home inspector didn't find that problem". You may wish that nothing was wrong. You’re wishing for an otherwise perfect house, that was in the perfect neighborhood, with the perfect schools, and the optimum commute to work. Blaming the home inspector for doing a thorough job however, is probably not what you would do.
Real Estate Agents are your greatest asset when it comes to a real estate transaction. Their job is part agent, part paralegal, part personal assistant, and part chauffeur. All this to say, they put a lot of work into the home buying process, and they may have a different perspective when it comes to what turns up on a Home Inspection. I bet if you asked any agent, no matter if they were a buyers agent, seller’s agent, or even a commercial real estate agent, that they would have a story about how a deal fell through because of a Home Inspection.
When a deal falls through, the work that an agent does starts over, and the amount of work they do, in the amount of time they do it in, is astonishing. Keep in mind that they have vowed to protect your best interests. That being said, they work off of commissions and just like you, they want nothing to be wrong in the home inspection.
A clean inspection can mean less follow up work when it comes to things like getting additional experts out to the home, faster turnarounds, and higher sale prices. It is a simple concept to understand, that if a deal falls through, that means the process starts over and the work starts over for the agent.
Before I joined the home inspection industry I experienced first hand both detailed and not so detailed home inspection reports on each of the two homes I have had the pleasure of buying. Truth be told though, I am not sure which of the two reports left me asking more questions.
The detailed report we received was 40-50 pages and was for our first home, and as a first time home buyer, I was confused. I was also concerned, and I didn't understand everything the Inspector had published on our report. I ended up asking a ton of questions to my agent, and he was incredibly helpful, but that was more work for him and it wasn't truly his job to explain the report to me.
The second home we bought felt like a cakewalk compared to the first home we bought. We were "experienced buyers" and we knew what to expect, and knew what we wanted. The report we were given for the second home was 9 pages long. It was a scanned copy of a document the inspector had filled out on-site that consisted of mostly "Checked" boxes. I found myself in the same confused state as the first time, asking similar questions but for all different reasons.
All this to say, a detailed report can be just as much of a deal killer as a less than detailed report. These two experiences taught me a few things. First was that not all home inspectors, and home inspections are equal. The second thing I took away was that I have an eye for detail and I could offer detailed reports with an additional service to answer all the questions that the client might have.
The additional service that I chose to include is what I now call a "Post-Production Meeting". I host a meeting in a video conference format, where I go over the Inspection Report, line by line. I answer any comments, questions, and concerns from the clients and their agents. It is an opportunity for anyone who was not present during the inspection to get the full experience of being there.
I tell all of my clients "No house is perfect and that every problem can be fixed. We are here to determine if the imperfections are something that you either feel comfortable accepting, or asking the seller to resolve".
An Agent can recommend a home inspector, but at the end of the day, it is the buyer's responsibility to determine what they need out of a home inspection and to determine which home inspector will meet those needs the best. I am proud of the level of detail I provide in my home inspections, and I let my clients know that my report will be about 40-50 pages that include pictures, comments, and examples of proper installations of house components and systems. I appreciate the details and I want to make sure everything I report on is understood, so that you, as the client, have the best understanding to be able to negotiate well.