Never a Dull Day in Real Estate - Home Inspectors

Real Estate Agent with Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.

I Love Home Inspectors!




With apologies to all home inspectors everywhere, let me tell you some of the most memorable things I've ever heard at a home inspection.


  1. HOME INSPECTION"Margaret only sells GREAT homes, so I love it when I see her name on an inspection request"  What real estate agent wouldn't recommend a home inspector who always says this to his/her clients? 

    I think ALL home inspectors should be trained to include this in their script, don't you?  

  2. "Let's go over some paperwork before we get started."  These are the first words spoken by some home inspectors as they hand my clients a clipboard with disclosures, disclaimers and the bill.  

    Let me just say that it's not very reassuring for a nervous first-time home buyer to know EXACTLY where the inspector's priorities will be for the next hour or two - i.e., covering his/her ass in case of a mistake.

    Would it be too inconvenient for home inspectors to say "Hello, nice to meet you ... here's what we'll be doing for the next hour or two..." BEFORE handing my clients your clipboard?

  3. "I will examine every major system and structural element closely."  I guess it's all a matter of interpretation, and he didn't mean to imply that "close" means "close" since he's looking at the roof through binoculars from across the street. 

    Not all home inspectors do this, of course, but it happens too often.

  4. "I'll be pointing out my observations about the property."   Let's remember the purpose of the home inspection, shall we?  Accurate information and peace of mind for my buyers.

    I'll never forget the home inspector who pointed out that interior door knobs throughout the house were an inch lower than regulation.  Rather than ask if this bothered them (probably not), he went on to say the only way to correct this will be to replace every door in the house - and this will be very expensive. 

    He's no longer in the home inspection business.

  5. "I conducted a termite inspection, and they're all very well-fed.  Unfortunately, that means we have some serious structural problems with the house."

    A bit of humor during a home inspection is fine, but please don't make light of a major home inspection issue!  State the problem and recommend the buyers have a contractor provide an estimate for repairs.  Period.


One of the most memorable things I've heard at a home inspection actually came from a child accompanying his parents.   As the home inspector pushed the test button on a smoke detector, he asked the boy what that sound means.  The boy replied, without a moment of hestitation, "That means dinner is ready!"

I don't know which was funnier... the inspector's facial expression or the outcry from my clients.  It still makes me laugh, and my favorite home inspector often repeats this story. 


There's no such thing as a perfect house, and a home inspection is a necessary step in any home purchase.  It protects the buyers from hidden defects and and helps prepare them for the role of home owner.  Sellers benefit from a home inspection, as well, because it gives the buyers peace of mind.  Most home sellers aren't aware of any dangerous defects, but correcting any identified by the home inspector will help sellers avoid future liabilities. 

There's never a dull day in real estate, especially when a home inspection is scheduled!

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This infoMargaret Wodarmation was provided to you by Margaret Woda, an Associate Broker with Long & Foster Real Estate in Crofton Maryland. Contact Margaret today for general real estate information or to learn how she can help you buy or sell a home in Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton, Davidsonville, Gambrills, and Odenton. 

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  1. Donald Bradbury 10/04/2010 11:12 PM
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Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Allen - Loose screws are important, but it's also important to note that they're fixable.

Julie - Thanks for the comment.

Oct 04, 2010 05:35 PM #32
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

James - I guess #1 depends on your personality and the type of homes the agent sells.  When a home inspector says that to one of my clients, he's sincere.  It's not just a compliment to me, but to the buyer for choosing me and choosing this home.  I work in a nice suburban neighborhood where the homes ARE great.  Inspecting one of them is usually a piece of cake for an inspector who might otherwise be inspecting abandoned homes for investors, or 50-year old homes in poor condition.

Charles - I never realized there was a specific height either, but that home inspector made both the client and me feel stupid about not noticing.  I guess that was his way of showing how superior he was.  It was just one of several items he treated that way during the inspection, and the sale fell through.

Ken - Wow, that's a mouth-full.  Did the buyer go through with the purchase?

Oct 04, 2010 05:56 PM #33
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
Trusted For Experience - Respected For Results

Margaret - even though CYA seems to be the norm these days, and not just for home inspectors ..... there are some out there that do go over the basics before hitting them with the CYA.

Oct 04, 2010 07:20 PM #34
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Margaret, I am plenty good enough at making myself look foolish to spend too much time trying to make anyone else look foolish :)

Oct 04, 2010 07:31 PM #35
Loren Green
Greens Home Design L.L.C. - Buckeye, AZ
Phoenix Home Inspector & Designer

I usually find it is takes less time to pull out the screw driver and tighten the screw than it does to write it up.

Oct 04, 2010 07:43 PM #36
Tammie White
(615) 495-0752 or - Franklin, TN
Franklin Homes Realty, Franklin TN

Margaret, when I first started in real estate, I asked for a home inspector referral.  Several agents sent me the same name so I used him.  Then he whipped out the binoculars to look at the roof.  I never used him again.  Now I use an inspector who actually gets up on the roof.

Oct 04, 2010 08:10 PM #37
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA,

As always - I love your posts! Thanks for the giggles this evening! I needed a good smile and this definitely brought it! 

Oct 04, 2010 09:00 PM #38
Patricia Aulson
Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes

Ha!  Thanks for the amusing post today. I enjoyed it!!

Patricia/Seacoast NH

Oct 04, 2010 09:29 PM #39
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis Home Inspections

That was a fun read - I especially like the part about the smoke detector.  I'm just baffled at the part about the door knob who commented on the height of the door knobs.  As Charles mentioned, there is no regulation about this, but even if there was... WHO CARES?  Yikes.

Oct 04, 2010 09:36 PM #40
Diane M. Phillips Realtor 443-286-4365
Frankly Real Estate Inc. - Manchester, MD
Specializing in Carroll Co., MD

Margaret ~ Great post, thanks for sharing.

Oct 04, 2010 09:47 PM #41
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Kathy, the home inspectors I recommend are all very personable and DO take the time to explain the home inspection process to my clients before going over the paperwork with them.  However, I have attended home inspections where the clipboard was jammed in people's faces as my clients got out of their car.

Charles, I don't know how to respond, since I have no idea what you're trying to say. 

Loren, I've never had anyone do that, but it makes sense to me.

Tammie, I hear you.  Now... I'll certainly understand it if the weather is bad and the inspector's safety is at risk, but I feel there should be a follow-up inspection of the roof asap after that.  The home inspectors I recommend always do check the roof and chimney up close, but I've been on home inspections when they used binoculars from across the street.

Oct 04, 2010 11:01 PM #42
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Lise - Glad you enoyed it.  The home inspectors I use just shake their heads when I tell them about one of these rogue inspectors... I think they realize that these experiences make me appreciate them even more.

Patricia - Fortunately, these five stories were isolated incidents throughout the years... no one inspection was ever "that" bad. 

Reuben - Right, who cares?  Ok, mention it if you must, but don't follow it up with a suggestion to replace all interior doors at great expense.  This fella made us all feel stupid, and someone who is feeling stupid about a house rarely wants to go through with the purchase.  I just wasn't able to over come the buyers' emotional reaction to that home inspection (which included other similar observations).

Diane - I appreciate your comment, but did you know a comment needs 10 words to count for points?  Hopefully you already have your ten done for today.

Oct 04, 2010 11:06 PM #43
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

I love the way my inspector handles my buyers.  He makes a list of what he considers the most important items while explaining to the buyer their list might vary.  He also discusses the fact that no homes are perfect, even brand new homes.

Oct 05, 2010 12:05 AM #44
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Margaret I just mean that a person that makes other people look foolish is saying they never are----I know that I don't know everything and don't try to hide it.

Oct 05, 2010 02:18 AM #45
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Christine, I think that's the ideal... those of us who have found that individual (or several of them) are very fortunate.  It's so important for the inspector to be thorough and knowledgeable... and articulate.  By that, I mean put things in perspective, as well as explain them clearly.

Charles, Thanks for checking back in to clarify that.

Oct 05, 2010 09:44 AM #46
Jim Hazell
Real Property Inc. - Marblehead, MA

Margaret,We try to give home inspectors a wide berth but with some gentle prodding once in a while.I have had both good and bad experiences but oh well life goes on and on to the next sale.JHAZ>

Oct 05, 2010 11:56 AM #47
Pat Haddad, ABR, CRS, ePRO, GRI
Keller Williams Indianapolis Metro NE - Carmel, IN
Carmel, Fishers, Westfield IN Real Estate Expert

Margaret--I guess it would not hurt any of us involved with buying and selling homes to walk in each other's shoes.  The best home inspectors appreciate what we do and what it sometimes takes to close a deal and they handle our clients with kid gloves while making sure they have the information they need.  Enjoyable post Margaret!

Oct 05, 2010 08:44 PM #48
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Jim, I do as I'm told and provide the names and contact info of three different home inspectors.   I also give my clients the names and contact info of previous clients who have used them, as references.  The problem comes with those rare occasions when someone goes with an inspector found in the yellow pages.  Yes, they still do that!

Pat, it's a fine line they walk sometimes - especially if the inspector doesn't really know the agent or clients.  My "regular" home inspectors know that I expect them to be thorough, but to put discrepancies in perspective for the buyers.

Oct 05, 2010 11:14 PM #49
Rich Bail

LOL , funny blog , thanks!



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Oct 06, 2010 04:53 PM #50
Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR
ERA - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale - Mesquite, NV
Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS

My favorite home inspector is friendly and laughs at my jokes - :)

He is very reassuring to the buyers, when they are present, and sometimes will say - I don't have a problem with .....  but you decide if it matters to you. 

However, he did once put a photo of a dead potted plant in a report - I resolved that issue myself.  :)

Oct 08, 2010 10:15 PM #51
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Margaret Woda

Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

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