Home Inspectors In Oakland County Michigan and What You Should Know About The Conflict of Interest With Real Estate Professionals
Most home inspectors in Oakland County Michigan have a working relationship with realty agents.
When it comes time to get a home inspection, most home buyers pick from a list of select home inspectors supplied by their realty agent. This provides convenience and simplifies the task of finding and deciding on a home inspector; especially since it comes at a time after the offer has been accepted and the buyer is given only a very limited time to get the inspection done.
Most home inspectors in Oakland County Michigan want to be on as many realty agents lists as possible. Being on a realty agents select list of recommended home inspectors achieves three very important benefits.
First, They will have the highest return for their marketing efforts by going to a ready source of clients who are in demand for their services, realty agents.
Second, Since the list of home inspectors is rather select, a significant amount of competition from other home inspectors in Oakland County Michigan has been eliminated by the realty agent.
Third, The list is actually a recommendation. The home inspector is being recommended.
What most people don't realize is that for realty recommended home inspectors, a business relationship typically exists between the home inspector and the realty agent and that it is a conflict of interest.
What is a business or working relationship?
A business relationship can be anything from a friendship, to an informal agreement, to paid placement by the home inspection company, to be on the realty agents list of recommended home inspectors.
So how is it, a business relationship between the home inspector and a realty agent is a conflict of interest?
A thorough and accurate home inspection can cause a client to back out of a purchase due to problems found during the home inspection. Realty agents are in the business of selling homes, so it is in their best interest if the home inspector's findings do not create any problems that might prevent the sale or create any complications.
For all home inspectors who have business relationships with realty agents, there is always the uncertainty and concern that the agent will not be happy with his/hers findings if they will cause concern to the client. This puts these home inspectors in the conflicted position of biting the hand of the realty agent that feeds (recommends) him/her, so to speak.
Make no mistake, home inspectors in Oakland County Michigan who work with realty agents are dependent on them and the risk of loosing a significant amount of their future business from an unhappy agent is real, it does happen, it is devastating to their income and these home inspectors know it. This puts a lot of pressure on these home inspectors and gives the realty agent a lot of leverage over their recommended home inspectors.
All realty agents and home inspectors understand this conflict of interest and almost none discuss or disclose it. If you were to ask them, everyone, to a man or woman, will deny they would ever condone or practice unethical behavior that compromises their objectivity. Certified home inspectors and realty agents will site their trade organizations code of ethics prohibiting behavior that compromise or even appear to compromise professionalism and independence. Yet, the moment a realty agent recommends a select list of home inspectors and these inspectors come to depend on the agent for clients, then a business relationship exists. Furthermore, the home inspector's objectivity is compromised because of the conflict of interest.
Some states recognize this conflict of interest and have laws in place that provide some measure of protection for consumers, but here in Michigan we have no such laws and it is buyer beware; which is why I have written this blog; to make buyers aware.
There are a number of home inspectors, including my self, that recognize the importance of independence and objectivity to our profession and to our clients, and that is why we are members of Independent Home Inspectors of North America (IHINA). It is a group of like minded home inspectors who do not solicit or rely on realty brokers or agents. Visit my web page Conflict of Interest to see what others have to say.
While home inspectors in Oakland County Michigan have been the focus of this blog, the practice of home inspectors having working relationships and a conflict of interest with realty agents is prevalent throughout Southeast Michigan including the other 6 counties I service; Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, Lapeer, Livingston, and St. Clair Counties.
Regardless of where you live, it is in your best interest to hire a home inspector that is truly independent and does not rely on realty agents.