Inspect YOURSELF- Are you serving your client or your checkbook?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Top Properties

So I'm at the office today about 10-15 minutes before I close up shop and head off to enjoy a rare, free Saturday afternoon. In walks a bewildered looking gentleman with stars in his eyes and sweat on his palms that I greet with an offer for help.

"I'm such and such with such and such home inspections." Uggh! I don't have time for this BUT I'm going to smile, take your brochures and hear your pitch anyway. Now begins the speech of, "I'm a local home inspector who has decided to do my inspections for less money than the typical inspector..." Go on.


 "I also am not a deal breaker and like everyone to walk away from the inspection with a warm, fuzzy feeling." HE LITERALLY SAID THIS!Warm and fuzzy feeling? How about an accurate, insightful inspection report with some detail on preventative maintenance for the future? If i want warm-and-fuzzy I'll watch a Disney movie with a hot-toddie.

[Insert anecdote about non-grounded outlets] "Do you have any questions?"

About how long have you been doing this?? Since June.

About 4 minutes of scripted sales pitch that would make any telemarketer look like Dustin Hoffman was all the time I had to give.

Luckily, another agent was walking up and BOOM in he goes again, SAME EXACT SPEECH!?!?!

ay ay ay. He went on to admit that he got his certification through a local junior college after buying an as-is house and thinking that it was "neat" to figure out how everything should work in a house. Fair enough, I suppose- everyone's got to start somewhere. "I'm doing really well, he says. I'm doing about 3 inspections per month and would really like to be doing 4." Any more than 4? Maybe not- it would interfere with his current job. OK!?!?! So what's your background? Construction? HVAC? Plumber?? "Oh no, I'm a factory worker." Rock and roll- I used to work in a factory, went to the same junior college to take my real estate salesperson class and once was only in my business for four months as well. I'm not buying the "sales pitch" yet- but I'm not counting you out for those factors either.

Anywho, this agent and he then take up to discussing another local home inspector who went nameless except to say 'Inspector X, the deal-breaker from anytown.My co-worker explained her disdain for him (which I already was privy to) and asked if he was like that: "Oh no. I'm not a deal-breaker" (again). I was quickly packing up my desk of weekend belongings to avoid hearing more than I needed to before being sucked back into the conversation:

Everyone has their opinions (mine, outlined on this subject in a previous blog). I won't fault an agent who feels they had a bad experience(s) with a service provider and chooses not to use that person again. I cannot, however, refer a home inspector to MY CLIENTthat seems to have the confidence of a gazelle on a high-wire over a pool of hungry crocodiles when it comes to his craft. The Red Sox didn't bring a nervous fan in out of the 4th row the other day to close out the World Series- they went with a guy they know can get the job done because he's been there- done that. Why should I subject my client to a guy like this?

My co-worker went on to say that she'd give him a chance in the future and that she really likes another company, although their price is a little steep. HA! A client of mine used that inspection company to buy their house down the block from me and I thought they sucked the chrome off a trailer hitch!!

AND they charged about $200 more than a "good" inspector.

Buyers beware! When you get a referral from your Realtor- give that inspector (or other service provider) a jingle and ask a few questions to satisfy yourselfin terms that he/she/they are willing and able to do the job properly. I, personally, refer to the aforementioned deal-breaker exclusively because of that high level of service provided for an outstanding price (when client doesn't come with one in-tow). It's MY JOBto go through the report with the buyer to explain what are potential deal breakers and what are preventative maintenance issues to keep an eye on in the future. I want my clients to come back to me year after year and refer me to everyone else.

Realtors- regardless of your stance on how many referrals you should be giving for each service-providing-industry (more than one, more than three, etc.): Why would you not select a person that YOU, yourself, would hire to work on/ inspect your own home?!?!

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Jim Ludes is a REALTOR with Century 21 Coleman-Hornsby in Grundy and Will County, IL. If you have a question about real estate that he might be able to help with, email him at or call/text at 815-712-7786. If you'd rather observe from afar or become friends first, check him out at:

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James Downing - Metro DC Houses Team REALTORS®, CRS, GRI, ABR,MRP, MilRes
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
When Looking to Buy or Sell - Make the Right Move

I will only refer someone that I personally would hire. (Which is why sometimes my list is so small!).

If someone tole me they were not "a deal-breaker"; I would probably go off in a rant!  I agree there are some home inspectors I have seen that are all about "the sky (or house) is falling" - but I want someone who is accurate and concise - that shows facts and leaves their opinions out of it.

I have an inspector that I love - and sometimes I cringe at what he finds - but you know what - he has never broken a deal - but informed my buyers and my buyers have received credit or repairs for the major stuff and were knowledgeable about the rest.  The way it should be!


Nov 03, 2007 02:29 PM #1
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

I have three quality inspectors I refer to clients. I also tell my clients to search for inspectors at several associations. Personally, I would not hire an inspector who doesn't belong to a home inspector association, and I don't expect my clients to, either. Because I want honest, full-blown inspections. If it kills a deal, both of us are better off walking away.


Nov 04, 2007 02:37 AM #2
Daniel J. Brudnok, REALTOR
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach, REALTORS - Exton - PA License #RS-225179-L / Delaware License #RS-0025038 - Downingtown, PA


I agree with you 100%....I may have a referral for my Client for what they need....I always say call and talk to them and get your questions answered....and not ust the price.

I also say please look in the yellow pages (if they do not have one I give them one) and make a call or two out of the book so that you have a good far that has worked....BTW, I am not a fluff, warm and fuzzy type...the facts and just the facts please

Nov 04, 2007 03:44 AM #3
Mike Klijanowicz
Cummings & Co. Realtors - Perry Hall, MD
Associate Broker @ Cummings & Co. Realtors
Jim I respect your opinion and what I think you are trying to say, however, be careful about being an "EXPERT" about issues concerning the home.  I know you have probably been to many many home inspections like myself, but it is important that we do not tell the buyers how they should feel about certain issues and what is cosmetic and routine maintenence and what is serious.  This is why they hired the inspector to begin with, otherwise, why get the inspection!
Nov 13, 2007 10:30 AM #4
Darleen McCullen
Raleigh, NC
Broker - Raleigh, NC Real Estate
I recently had a conversation with a home inspector who said that a lot of real estate agents dislike him because he is a deal-breaker BUT that those same agents call him when it's time for the agents to purchase a home. Go figure! Some folks are only concerned about themselves and not their clients.
Nov 17, 2007 02:55 PM #5
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Jim Ludes

Grundy/Will County, IL REALTOR
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