Soooo… Let’s talk turkey! Sorry, too close to Thanksgiving to resist! But seriously, did you know that one of the most controversial and heatedly debated relationships in real estate is that of the Home Inspector and the Realtor? It’s true! I can’t speak for Realtor online forums and message boards, but the ones for Home Inspectors are frequently abuzz with debate, both about referrals from and complaints about Realtors. I can only assume it’s the other way around on Realtor message boards. And the reasons are understandable when you look at it from either side.
Realtors work to hammer out a deal on a property based on price, comps, amenities, upgrades, school districts, taxes, budgets, location, (did I mention upgrades?) and many other factors. They work long hours, often times for zero pay, they deal with emotionally charged parties on both sides and try to come up with a deal that comes as close as possible to making all parties happy, or at least non violent.
Then, once a contract is signed and the earnest money is in hand, here comes a Home Inspector (or as some Realtors affectionately refer to us, “the deal killer”) to obliterate everyone’s hopes with terms like “foundation settling,” “Federal Panel” or “Kitec plumbing”. Or worse, they meet with the buyers and fail to convey which items are important and which are minor and end up scaring the living daylights out of a buyer of a perfectly acceptable property. Understandable, wouldn’t you say?
From the other side of the fence, however, there are just as many reasonable grievances. We take hundreds of classroom hours of education, pass tests, pass back ground checks, carry insurance (oh and let’s not forget all the hours of continuing education), all so we can try to help people understand the condition of the house they want to buy. We meet with anxious buyers, hostile and suspicious sellers, fend off overly friendly pets (if we’re lucky) and show up at vacant homes to find that the utilities are shut off. Then, when we discover an issue, or issues that our client finds unacceptable, we’re slapped with the blame for the contract termination and get bad mouthed in the Realtor community.
This is not to say that there aren’t Home Inspectors out there that go overboard. There certainly are! Inspectors that are not adequately educated or are afraid of litigation can be needlessly damaging to a perfectly acceptable real estate transaction. Just as there are unethical Realtors that only want to use a Home Inspector with a reputation for rubber stamping the inspection report and clearing the way to the closing table every time.
Fortunately, these extremes do not represent the majority of real estate professionals on both sides of this issue. Rob and I are extremely fortunate to work with a core group of absolutely spot-on professionals that give the Lubbock real estate market a sterling reputation! And the Texas Real Estate Commission does a great job of making the education requirements and inspection process for Home Inspectors uniform for the entire state.
The takeaway here is this: Home Inspectors and Realtors are undeniably linked in the home buying process. They each should have a professional and respectful attitude toward the other. If either your Realtor or Home Inspector shows animosity for the other’s profession, that may be a red flag. Realtors should want all issues regarding the home inspection out on the table to be dealt with, and Home Inspectors should be professional in their attitude toward, and dealings with, Realtors. Can’t we all just get along? I say, “Yes!” We can and we should, for the benefit of the clients we share.
Please feel free to leave feedback with your views and/or experiences. Also, I’d be happy to answer your home inspection questions! Just email them to firstname.lastname@example.org .