If another Realtor says the Home Inspector KILLED THEIR DEAL, I will scream!

Home Inspector with Jamie Schaefer, Professional Home Inspector Inc. 16000008353

As a full-time Home Inspector I have done several thousand inspections of houses, condos, co-ops and commercial properties here on Long Island.  Occasionally, a Realtor calls my office to complain that I "KILLED THEIR DEAL". More often I hear stories about other Home Inspectors who killed their last deal.

As a Home Inspector it is my job, to convey my findings, to my customer, in the most concise and accurate way possible!  I believe that I do my job very well, and my personal rate of customer satisfaction is outstanding. All too often, the Home Inspector is blamed by the Realtor for KILLING THE DEAL. Perhaps it was the condition of the property, reported accurately by the Home Inspector that killed the deal?!

How do I make these Realtors understand, that if a Home Inspector was to withhold any major issues from the customers, that I would be doing so many things wrong, that if I were caught, I would have my license revoked, my liability would be enormous, and my credibility as a Home Inspector and a human being would be severely compromised?

Then there are the ones who say "Well, it's all in the presentation!" To them I say, I am not an alarmist, nor do I go out of my way to scare any customer.  In fact, I usually explain how anything can be fixed, and I mean anything!  I have yet to uncover a problem on a property that could not be repaired, one way or another.

So, to those of you who have accused me (or any other hard working Home Inspector) of KILLING YOUR DEAL, I say...

...take a step back.  Re-evaluate yourself as a human being. How dare you only be concerned about making the sale? Think about your first home purchase. How nervous were you?  Where there professionals involved who helped you, and made you feel comfortable?  Wouldn't you have been angry, and felt betrayed, if they had  held back important information that could have saved you from spending thousands of dollars after you closed on your dream home?

Don't ask, or expect us to do that to our customers.  It is immoral, inhumane, illegal, a tremendous liability, and just plain WRONG!

I don't mean to imply that this nonsense goes on with all Realtors, nor does it happen with most Realtors.  It is the select few, who are concerned about nothing but completing the sale, and collecting their commission check.  They don't care who gets hurt in the process, and it shows.  Don't think your customers don't know it either, your facade is very easy to see through. 

To those of you who refer me regularly, THANK YOU.  Occasionally a deal goes away, but they understand that I was not the cause. Thanks for your continued faith in my ability to do the best possible job for our customers!

Comments (55)

William DeVries
Magnum Property Inspection - Picton, ON


Every home has a buyer and every buyer has a home.

Being through, and reporting the defects is the only solution. Keep it real and factual, Like Jamie said being able to convey how a repair or upgrade is needed and why it is relevent is taking the time to care about our clients, yes our clients.

Present it in a way that a six year old can understand and that will remove any form of alarmist's actions. Keeping an unbiased view and having the ability to explain the repair process will prove educational for yhe buyers. Some have no qualms if a home is renovate ready, some buyers want a renovated home.

Both just want the facts in a report that will give them the education and tools they need to to make a sound decision, remember if they did'nt like the home we(inspectors) would not be there with them.

Kudos Jamie chock it up as another great day at the office, which ever street you happen on.

Oct 05, 2008 05:36 PM
Jon Wnoroski
America's 1st Choice RH Realty Co., Inc. - Green, OH
Summit County Realtor

Jamie - I've never known a home inspector who killed a deal because he was doing his job.  When I represent buyers I want the home inspector to do his work honestly and point out issues that the buyer needs to know.  Sure, some deals will fall through because the inspection points out undisclosed defect; but the buyer needs to know of problems (even potential problems) with a home they are considering.  If the seller truly wants to sell their home they will need to take care of those issues that surface as a result of the inspection.  If they don't do it for my buyer they will have to do it before they can sell the home anyway.

Oct 10, 2008 01:24 AM
Steve & Debbie
RealtyUSA.com - Elmira, NY

I'm in total agreement with Jon, and I respect the job a good home inspector does.  However...I think that sometimes inspectors may tend to over-emphasize something they find, which may scare buyers away and kill deals.  Case in hand.  A good home inspector, whom I trust and respect recently inspected a home of my clinet.  He was hired by the buyer, and his report nearly scared the buyers away.  I'm wondering if conjecture such as, "sanitary drain pipes repair or replacement cos hould be anticipated at anytime" is really needed in a report of condition.  The licensed plumber who happened to be a friend of the buyer said, "they should last well into the future".  He clearly stated that the problems were no where near as serious as they were reported.  In this case, luckily the buyer investigated the stated items, rather than just bolting. 

There were a few minor issues which were taken care of as a result of the report, and the buyers bought the house, and they are quite happy with their new home. 

Do all Home Inspectors provide their personal opinions about the conditions of a given problem?  Is it correct for the Home Inspector to speculate about how long something will last or should he/she simply be reporting it's current condition?  I'd like to know what other home inspectors think about this.

Thanks  ~Steve


Dec 08, 2008 11:31 AM
Mark Reusch
A Major Inspection Service & Consulting - Simpsonville, SC

Hi Steve and Debbie. I report on what I see at the time of inspection. I do give an opinion only on possible life expectancy of roof shingles only. If I see something wrong I always note it in my report along with a suggestion such as (it is recommended that a licensed/insured plumber inspect and advise). Hope this helps a bit.

Dec 08, 2008 01:10 PM
Kevin Pierce
Cascade Builder Services - Tacoma, WA
New Construction Warranty Management

I don't predict how long a component will last.  That's best left for fortune tellers.  However, if the component appears to be past manufacuter rated life expectancy I'll say so.

Dec 08, 2008 03:14 PM
Steve & Debbie
RealtyUSA.com - Elmira, NY

Mark and Kevin...thanks for your feedback.  That sounds very reasonable and within what I would expect an inspector to do. 

Home inspector...something I've always been very fastenated with.  I may have to take that training.  :)

Dec 08, 2008 09:38 PM
Mark Reusch
A Major Inspection Service & Consulting - Simpsonville, SC

Hi Steve. You can start learning more here if you like and a lot of it is free. I am V.P. of the local affiliate organization. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.




Dec 09, 2008 02:15 PM
Steve & Debbie
RealtyUSA.com - Elmira, NY

Piggy backing on what my partner blogged, we always encourage our Seller's to have a home inspection PRIOR to listing.  Anything that may need correcting or improving on can be done so.  More importantly, any latent or major defect  can be identified BEFORE it becomes an issue in the Buyer's home inpection.  Seller's may not always want to hear the defects of their home, we all have had issues with that.  Encouraging Seller's to have the inspection lets them know you are doing YOUR Profession, helping them get the best price for their home.  A home inspection prior to listing supports your listing price - with either fixed problems or the acknowledgement of such problems.   Debbie

Dec 10, 2008 03:21 AM
Mark Reusch
A Major Inspection Service & Consulting - Simpsonville, SC

Debbie I am in total agreement with what you are stating. I try to encourage any agent i work with that has a listing to get a pre-listing inspection. It shows potential buyers that the sellers are indeed performing their due diligence. It has been my experience when a pre-listing inspection is done the report can be used if it is a good report to help keep the asking price at an acceptable level and any issues found do not become negotiating points if they have been addressed but in quite a few cases the buyer sometimes waives their own home inspection as well.

Dec 10, 2008 04:19 PM
Ron Spanton
RE/MAX Real Estate Associates - Gilbertsville, KY
Kentucky Lake Area

Sorry to bring up this post again but I just found this. I have no problem with an inspector that is accurate, but to call a high level home ungrounded (electrically), to look at 2 different 200 amp boxes with ground wires, to say this is a 2 wire system typical of construction in 1987 just because he found a few outlets ungrounded. He took the covers off the breaker boxes but didn't take the covers off the outlets to see that the ground wires were there - just not hooked up. I'm no expert on construction by any means but I thought this inspector definitely killed the deal. And it was due to either ignorance, a mistake or not being thorough. Sorry about the rant.

Jan 06, 2009 09:17 AM
Mike Ciavattieri
BONSAI Inspection Company - Weymouth, MA
Home Inspection Massachusetts


It is our best attribute to simply convey information in a professional, yet direct manner. If you feel as though you are meeting that standard, then kudos to you. I personally believe that an Inspector's verbal skills may be their MOST important.

Like all professions, there are good eggs and bad eggs. Anytime two opposing sides meet with a lot of money at stake, there is going to be friction - and occassionally a blow-up. That's the deal. As a felllow inspector, I am sure you are well aware of this. I, too, find that there are two distinct and general classifications of Realtors - those that care about customers and those that care about commissions. You are spot on.

Just keep on doing your thing. Peace. ~ MikeC


Jan 06, 2009 03:33 PM
Paul Duffau
Safe@Home Inspections, LLC in SE Washington - Asotin, WA
Caring for People, Educating about Homes

Ron -

It sounds as though the inspector didn't do you justice.  A 1987 built home should have been fully grounded and equipped with GFCI's outdoors and in bathroom - I think kitchen GFCI's entered the code in 1987 so they probably weren't in - the house was probably built to the 1984 code as municpalities can be slow to adopted the newest changes.

That said, the inspector shold have noted the two outlets as ungrounded, informed the client that it wasn't typical but soemtimes happens wither by a wire not getting properly connected or by upgrades tot he house.  Normally, this is a pretty easy fix.

Don't sweat the rant.

I'd rather an Agent that wants the best than a broker who tells me that "deals are hard enough to close without my magic ray gun (infrared camera) inventing problems."  It turns out that the infrared camera saved him from a lawsuit for non-disclosure (along with 4 visits and counting to the home).  Still, I took all my marketing materials out of his offices (he has multiple offices) and refuse to work with any of his agents because that attitude scares the heck out of me.

Jan 16, 2009 03:36 AM
Ron Spanton
RE/MAX Real Estate Associates - Gilbertsville, KY
Kentucky Lake Area

I completely agree Paul and he wouldn't correct the report because doing so would mean he would have to admit he made a mistake. IMO, it was a drop down menu in his software and he hit the wrong choice. A simple mistake. But I guess his ego got in the way.

Jan 16, 2009 04:36 AM
Ian Niquette
Square One Home Inspection - Markesan, WI

Great blog, and great comments by all. I have only been called a DEAL Killer one time. The home was 4 years old and in perfect shape. I actually use the electric panel in a manual that I hand out. I mean this house was great. Until the radon test came back. The levels on this test were ridiculous.They came back at over 90pc/l. No kidding. I of course thought this to be impossible, and did a retest with a different monitor and came  back with results nearly the same. The realtor basically chewed my ear off for about an hour(I couldn't get a word in edgewise), until he heard that it could be vented and fixed by the proper contractors. The sale went through and that realtor still sends me a gift basket every Christmas. And the client has me come out once a year and do an annual radon test for safety sake. Just report what you see, don't get carried away, and everyone walks away happy and satisfied.

Jan 25, 2009 11:23 AM
Robert Walstead
Nationwide Property Services - Colorado Springs, CO
Inspector - Colorado Springs

When my report describes the house accurately and in the proper perspective relative to it's age and construction, I just can't "kill a deal". However.........Previous occupants of the house may have murdered it.

Jan 27, 2009 11:16 AM
Jim Allhiser
Perfection Inspection, Inc. - Salem, OR
Salem, Oregon Home Inspector

Great post.  It makes my think of my first home purchase (and inspection).  That guy was a joke and he put a really bad taste in my mouth for home inspections for the next year until I became one and realized the things he should have been looking at and telling me about.

Jan 28, 2009 12:54 AM
Keith Campbell
Alpha Inspections - New Braunfels, TX

Great Post!

As a Professional Inspector we should take the time to share and communicate the information to our clients in a way that is not ALARMING, they do not inspect houses for a living and what we look at and many times expect they do not understand as easily. Taking the time to answer questions with out rushing and pushing forward is a huge part of being a professional.

 I take the time before the inspection to explain how I am going to inspect and what to expect and buyers are every single time comfortable and ready for the verbal and written report.

 I have never "Killed deal" but know some inspectors who have, not because the house had "Deal Killer"serious problems, but because of how they communicated the information, or I should day DID NOT communicate the information.

Keep up the good work....

Apr 08, 2009 11:19 AM
Ryan Hanley
The Murray Group Insurance Services Inc - Albany, NY

Being an insurance agent, from my prospective the Home Inspection is one of the most crucial parts of the home purchase.  A poor or misguided inspection leaves the new homeowners open to all types of unrealized claims. 

A home inspection does not kill a deal it spots a seller from misrepresenting the quality of the structure.

Good Post!

May 08, 2009 03:30 AM
Darren Anderson

Darre @ Anderson Home Inspection, Tampa.  Well said.  I would write it exactly the same.  I've even had a regular realtor that asked as I arrived, "Can you sugar-coat it a little?"  That is when I looked at him and told him that I can't believe my ears.  I told him that I am walking away from this 500.00 inspection.  I also told him that I can never do business with him again.  Once it is in the air that items could be overlooked, I don't want to be a part of it.  Yes, I might have lost a Realtor that sends me 2 or 3 inspections per month.  But I would rather play golf than to do an inspection for an unethical Realtor. 

I am known to be a thorough and I guess you could call it picky inspector.  My reports are 40 or more pages long.  I spend hours at the inspection.  I walk the exterior a minimum of 3x to make sure something doesn't get overlooked.  I care for my clients.  They are going to live there for many years.  It is not up to me or the Realtor to decide if something is no big deal, it is up to my client. 

Yes, I do have a few Realtors from time to time that will use my service 1x and to never hear from them again.  I'm sure they don't like sitting around for 1/2 a day and continually looking at their watch send me signals that I'm there too long.  And a few Realtors that only use my service for their family members but not for their clients.  With that, 100% of my regular Realtors use my service because they really care for ther client as I do.  They really want a good inspection.  Some even point out some things they know about before I start.  These are valued Realtors.  These are Realtors I would do anything for.  For those other Realtors that only cares about getting to the closing table, shame on you.


Jul 02, 2011 01:11 AM
Baker Home Inspection and Commercial Properties Inspections
Baker Residential and Commercial Properties Inspections - Springfield, VT
Home and Commercial Properties Inspections Vermont

Hi there and evening Jamie
Jamie, I'm sure hopping my comment finds everything is going well for you!

Sep 22, 2011 04:43 PM