No disrespect to inspectors...but WTF?

Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Gold

I pride myself in knowing as much as I can about my profession and the intricacies involved with real estate transactions. Having said that, I also know my boundaries. Way back in my sales life I learned one of the best things you can say is I DON'T KNOW, BUT I WILL FIND OUT! I found the customer was happy with that answer and it gave me time to get an expert to answer their question. Which brings me to my latest problem...

The inspector I hired for my last two contracts had the same thing to say about the boilers in both houses. I didn't immediately pick up on it until the second deal started to head South and after inspection objection my buyer decided he wanted a new boiler from the seller. I don't pretend to be a boiler expert, but the inspector wrote like they were. I hired a local licensed plumbing/HVAC contractor to inspect the system and provide a report on the existing boiler. When I presented the plumber with the inspection report, he explained they had offered a class to the local inspectors on what to look for in heating systems, but no one attended. After testing the glycol levels and inspecting the boiler and the tubing feeding the baseboards, he agreed with my buyer. The cast iron boiler was not compatible with the tubing used and was destined to fail!

So...what did the inspector put on their report? "A clacking sound was heard near the boiler." I asked my plumber what that was about and he LAUGHED! He said it was just the check valve for the circulating pump and that all boilers make that noise. HUH? It was my understanding we hire inspectors to point out major defects to ensure our buyers aren't walking in to big expenses after the sale.

I looked over the report again. I thought maybe I had overlooked the note telling the buyers to have an expert look at the heating system. I pored over the report 4 maybe 5 times and saw other things like the door to the bedroom didn't latch properly, but nothing about the heating system.

This is a $600K deal. Not huge, but pays a nice commission. If I were to pay this out of pocket, it would consume all of it. The buyer is mad. The seller is mad. I'm mad!

Even if the inspector had used the first part of my golden rule and had said I DON'T KNOW we could have saved this deal!

As I mentioned before, I pride myself in learning. Perhaps the people entrusted with people's hard earned money, should be as dilligent.

I am sure I will get a whole lot of grief from the inspectors out there! I can tell you that the inspector I used was certified, (we don't have licensing in Colorado) has been an inspector for more than 10 years and has done more than 30 inspections for me over the past 24 months.

Who got paid? Yup, the one who didn't say I DON'T KNOW!

Let me hear your stories...good and bad!



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Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

So many time a contract hinges on what the inspecgtor says - it sounds like you used a reputable one that you knew well.  I would love to hear what inspectors here on AR have to say.

Feb 03, 2012 02:12 AM #1
Francine Viola
Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA - Olympia, WA
REALTORĀ®, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs

Aaargh!  I had an inspector give a quote to fix an electrical problem (which they are not supposed to do since they are not contractors).  The inspector was off by about $10,000!  The buyer walked and didn't want to have an actual electrician look at the problem.  I heard that another buyer came along and the electrical problem turned about to be a $1,000 fix.  I feel your pain!   

Feb 03, 2012 04:11 AM #2
Vince Chinell
VICO Home Inspection - Branson, MO

Kevin,  I agree with most of the points in your blog.  One thing I have learned here at AR, there are two sides of a story.  I would like to hear the other side.  But based on face value, home inspectors are not experts of every type system in a home.  When something out of the ordinary or an issue is uncovered that the inspector is unfamiliar with, the inspector must with due diligence find the correct answer to the problem and report back to the client.  If we do not know something, we do not know everything, we owe it to our client to report our findings after we research the problem.   The philosophy of   " I DON'T KNOW BUT I WILL FIND OUT" should be used by every service provider that works for someone else.  It does not make us weak, it makes us committed to the client to provide the best information possible.  Many inspectors offer a completed inspection within 24 hours.  This time gives the inspector time to research a issue.  As of late many want an inspection done at the time of inspection, printed or e-mailed.  This policy can hinder the reporting of the most correct information available.   Thanks for posting this blog.  This is exactly the type of information that helps us all improve our communication with each other and helps increase the value of our service we all provide to our clients.  Pointing a potential problem out makes it easier for all of us to correct in the future.

Feb 03, 2012 05:25 AM #3
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