First, let me acknowledge that this blog will be viewed by some as being controversial. In my opinion, I think it is educational. I want to be clear that I am not accusing ALL real estate agents and home inspectors of wrong doing. But, with any group of people there is going to be those bad apples.
Most home buyers know that a home inspection is a good idea, they just do not know which home inspector to choose. There are a few resources that can be used to find a good home inspector. Some resources are real estate agents, friends, family, lawyers, mortgage brokers, and the internet. This is not an all inclusive list, but gives you a general idea of the resources available.
Home buyers have a lot to do when trying to purchase a home, sometimes it can be overwhelming. The real estate agent many times offers a few names of home inspectors or home inspection companies to the buyer. This can appear to be a beneficial service for the buyer. The problem with this is that the agent and others involved in the home buying process have a vested interest in the buyer purchasing the home, this presents a conflict of interest in my opinion. Why is the agent referring a certain home inspector(s)? Some agents refer certain inspectors because they feel that the inspector will not "kill the deal".
The derogatory phrase "Deal Killer" is used by real estate agents to describe those home inspectors who are objective and provide the buyer with an inspection report which may cause the buyer to renegotiate or cancel the purchase of a property. Many real estate agents believe that the home inspector "Kills the Deal", when in fact, it is the condition(s) of the house that kills the deal. It is the classic "kill the messenger" mentality. Real estate agents believe this hurts their ability to earn income. Real estate agents will use a number of tactics to control which inspector that you select. Be wary of the agent who objects to your desire to use an inspector that they have not referred. Their objection is your clue that your desire to use a different home inspector is the right thing to do.
Some home inspectors are willing to minimize issues that are found with a house so as to not "kill the deal" in order to gain more referrals from the agent. The agents learn which inspectors are willing to minimize issues and will continue to refer them. Some home inspectors are related to or married to the agent, and do not disclose this to the buyers.
Home inspectors are the only service providers involved in the home buying process that do not benefit when a buyer purchases the home. We benefit before the purchase is complete. My job is to inform and educate you on the condition of the home, then you decide what you want to do.
My advice is to search for a home inspector before, or at least, at the same time you begin to search for the other services needed to purchase a home. Talk to family and friends, co-workers, search the internet and interview potential inspectors. Remember, you have the right and responsibility to choose your home inspector.