Why me? What about your regular Inspector?

Home Inspector with Firm Foundation Home Inspections Inc

I have worked with many Realtors in the 5+ years I have been in business. Many have come and gone, and a few have become not just regular referees but close friends. In fact a select few will not suggest any other Home Inspector to their clients and to them I am truly grateful.

Imagine my surprise when the phone rang late this afternoon and the person on the other end of the phone says"Hi, my name is MJ (not her real name) and I am a Realtor. My insurance company told me that I need to have a Wind Mitigation Inspection done on my home otherwise they will cancel my policy. Do you do Wind Mitigation Inspections, and what do you charge?"

Fortunately I was busy on my computer when MJ called so I went into my database and lo and behold what do I find? Nothing, absolutely nothing. MJ had never used my services before, I had done an inspection for one of my clients on a property she had listed, but never received any replies to any letters or emails that had been sent to her to try and obtain any business from her.

With that in mind I quoted MJ my normal rate and was very surprised with what followed. "Don't you give discounts to Realtors?"

"I certainly do," I replied, "I give discounts to Realtors who send me business all the time."

"Are you telling me you are not prepared to give me a discount?" came a shrill voice over the phone.

I tried to explain to MJ that since she had not given me any business in the past she was not entitled to any discount, and with that the phone went dead.

A Realtor who has been in business since 2003 should have one or two Home Inspectors that clients are referred to on a regular basis.

It makes me wonder about the quality of their work, if a Realtor has to go shopping the inspection of their own home to somebody they have never dealt with but has a reputation for detail and accuracy.

Please don't expect me to offer a discount on your Home or Insurance Inspections if you are not a person who helps me to grow my business. If you are using new inexperienced or desperate Inspectors who write soft reports for your clients and only want experienced inspectors for yourself, your family or your friends then you should be ashamed of yourself. We both have a fiduciary duty to the client to do what is in their best interests and using an Inspector that you would not use for yourself, your family or your friends is not right.

I will probably ruffle a few feathers with this article but there are way too many Used House Salesman posing as Realtors and it is time that Realtors stood up and weeded them out because they are the ones that are tainting the image people have of Realtors. Yours is an honorable profession and a good Realtor is worth their weight in gold.

Vince Chinell
VICO Home Inspection - Branson, MO

Aubrey,  We are all working together, for the benefit of our customers. suggested

Jan 30, 2012 01:19 PM
Shannon Jones
The Shannon Jones Team - Long Beach, CA
Long Beach CA Real Estate

Aubrey, I do think it's interesting that after being in the business that long, she didn't have a regular inspector. I can certainly see your reasoning behind not offering her a discount. I think I probably would have handled it a bit differently... I might have said, "I typically only give discounts to Realtors who send me referrals. I assume you must have a home inspector you've worked with in the past. Is there some reason you haven't contacted him or her about your own inspection?" And then I would have listened. Perhaps there was an opporrtunity to build business there. Perhaps not, but you never know. We had an home inspector we worked with for years and we stopped using him because of some off color remarks he started making. I like him, I think he does a good job, but I just can't refer people to him anymore. If at that point in my career, I had needed an inspector for my own home, I might have found myself calling an inspector I hadn't worked with in years but was well-respected.

Jan 30, 2012 01:21 PM
Aubrey Kahn
Firm Foundation Home Inspections Inc - Kissimmee, FL


Thank you for your thoughtfull input.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try you just cannot get a word in edgewise. Unfortunately MJ was not willing to listen or talk, I will however send her a letter inviting her to meet with me and see if we cannot come to a mutually satisfactory arrangement for some joint venture in the future which would entitle her to a discount on my services.

Jan 30, 2012 03:43 PM
Aubrey Kahn
Firm Foundation Home Inspections Inc - Kissimmee, FL


In the majority of cases I would agree with you, but (and this happens in all professions) there are always some that are out to make a buck at the expense of the innocent.

Jan 30, 2012 03:45 PM