The Urge to Purge.

Home Inspector with Firm Foundation Home Inspections Inc


I know, my writing style is that of an assassin (we won't discuss my poor grammer), and sometimes it does more than ruffle a few feathers. As far as I am concerned it’s all good because it makes people think and react.

Today’s rant is no different, it is meant to make your hackles rise and get you motivated to do something. The something I want you to do is to do for your profession what I am in the process of doing here in my state to home inspectors who are unlicensed and unethical in their dealing with clients.

There are many fine inspectors and it only takes one or two to give us a bad name. The same with Realtors.

Many of you know that I use the term “used house salesman” for Realtors who don’t look out for the best interests of their clients, today’s was a perfect example.

I was hired to do a 4 Point and a Wind Mitigation Inspection (insurance inspections) by a middle aged couple who were buying their first home. They had placed themselves in the “capable” hands of a Realtor who has been their "friend" for 20 years.

The Realtor was a dual agent, representing both the seller and his friends of 20 years (the buyers). I know and understand that the Realtor has a fiduciary duty to the seller first and foremost, however it is my opinion that he still has a certain duty to the buyers.

The buyers had called me to book the inspections and I had asked why they didn’t use the inspector who had inspected the house for them. The reply they gave stunned me. “Our Realtor told us that the house belonged to a handyman, that it was well maintained and that we didn’t need to waste money on a home inspection.”

I arrived at the “well maintained” house 15minutes early and was greeted by the buyer. The used house salesman had given the key to the buyer to open up the night before as he was not going to be present.

Here is a short list of the issues I found in the "well maintained house that didn’t need a home inspection”. The electrical pane is made by Zinsco (many insurance companies will not insure homes with these or Federal Pacific electrical panels), sharp pointed screws used for the panel cover (people could be electrocuted if the screws pierced teh wires insulation and they touched the panel), double tapping of circuits in the electrical panel, loose wires in the electrical panel, no GFCI outlets in the garage, kitchen or any of the bathrooms, loose connections at 50% of the outlets, no cover-plates for the electrical outlets in the kitchen (the rehab was supposed to have been completed over a week ago) missing cabinets in the kitchen, no appliances, no backsplash or wall tiles, and the list goes on and on.

For crying out loud people, let’s get rid of all these bad apples in our industries. We don’t need them, and our future clients certainly don’t need them either.

All in favor say Aye.

Alison Klump, GRI, BPOR, AHWD
Legacy Realty & Associates - Ocala, FL


Stunning - the fiduciary does not exist with the realtor representing both the buyer and seller.  You cannot hold a fiduciary position to either client - it would be best to be a non rep to one party (the friends) than to do a bad job for both.

As regards the comment about the home "not needing an inspection as it was owned by a handyman", that Realtor(r) is a law suit waiting to happen.  He needs to read the "rule book" again and not make any reccommendations.

When we arrived in this country and bought a house, our Realtor(r) at the time said the same thing over and over again...  I cannot recommend anything - here is a list of three... and if we had anything resembling a legal question - it was "well, of course, the best thing to do would be to consult a lawyer". 

I am so thankful to him for his precise and impartial behaviour - I am certain it helped me pass first time both the class and state tests!

Again, Aubrey - AYE!!!!


Mar 12, 2012 12:25 PM
Aubrey Kahn
Firm Foundation Home Inspections Inc - Kissimmee, FL


Thank you for your comments and support. I am glad that your first experience with a Realtor here in the USA was a good one and led you to enter this honorable profession. Keep up the good work.

Mar 12, 2012 12:38 PM
Diana Zaccaro Broker Associate
ZOOM Realty Group - Cocoa Beach, FL
"The Accidental Blogger" Cocoa Beach, Florida

I wonder how long the Realtor has been in the business and how they have lasted as long as they have. You have to wonder if this pattern of behavior is characteristic of how they treat all their customers or just long time friends...


Mar 12, 2012 01:24 PM


I cannot say how long he has been in business, and no matter how long or new he is in this industry it would appear as though he has a character flaw.

If this is how he treats his long time friends I shudder to think how he treats strangers let alone his enemies.

Mar 12, 2012 01:34 PM
Leslie G. Rojohn
MoonDancer Realty - Sylva, NC
GRI, ABR ~ MoonDancer Realty

I don't know how it works in FL but in NC if you are a dual agent you have EQUAL fiduciary responsibility to both parties. You have a listing agreement with the seller and a buyers agency agreement with the buyer, and both parties have pre-agreed to the fact that you may end up in a dual ageny situation.  The situation you described should never happen, but I'm sure it does, even here where much legal precaution has been taken. Some people think rules are meant to be broken.  Wish we could weed them out.

Mar 12, 2012 01:52 PM
Aubrey Kahn
Firm Foundation Home Inspections Inc - Kissimmee, FL


This is where I have a problem with dual agency. As the sellers Realtor you will always try to get the highest price possible for the property and hence the hightest commission possible. So how does this affect the buyer? He/she lands up paying a price that they are prepared too but they may possibly have been able to negotiate a better price if their Realtor was not representing the seller as well. We both know that in 99.9% of the time this is what happens.

As for weeding them out, surely there is a governing body that they can be reported to. Remember it is the squeeky wheel that gets the grease.

I now have the DBPR (our State Licensing Body) investigating unlicensed people that I reported.

Mar 12, 2012 02:46 PM
Diana Zaccaro Broker Associate
ZOOM Realty Group - Cocoa Beach, FL
"The Accidental Blogger" Cocoa Beach, Florida

Aubrey - not sure if that was you in #4 or someone else but what I was wondering was if maybe this person is newly licensed and just did not realize what he was doing or if it was a long time licensee who is at fault. Not that it makes a difference but just curious...

Either way what happened is unconscionable and I doubt this individual will be around much longer...


Mar 13, 2012 06:01 AM
Diana Zaccaro Broker Associate
ZOOM Realty Group - Cocoa Beach, FL
"The Accidental Blogger" Cocoa Beach, Florida

Leslie and Aubrey - in Florida, a licensee may NOT be a dual agent. Dual agency was revoked in Florida in 1997 and in its place, the State created the role of a "transaction" broker.

A transaction broker provides limited representation to the buyer, seller or both parties in the same transaction. A transaction broker DOES NOT represent either party in a fiduciary capacity or as a single agent. When representing both buyer and seller as a transaction broker, the parties give up their rights to the undivided loyalty of the licensee and the licensee will facilitate the transaction by assisting both parties but may not work to represent one party to the detriment of the other party.

Under Florida law, it is presumed that all licensees are operating as transaction brokers unless a single agency or no brokerage relationship is established in writing. 

So the Realtor could not have been acting as a dual agent and was most likely acting as a transaction broker. 

Aubrey - forgot to put in my post last night that I suggested this - good post!


Mar 13, 2012 07:12 AM
Aubrey Kahn
Firm Foundation Home Inspections Inc - Kissimmee, FL


Thank you for correcting me, I seem to have forgotten that for some reason or other. Yes you are quited correct, and that is how it is supposed to work. The problem being that many times it does not work out that wey because used house salesman care only about one thing, themselves. I know Realtors who are hard working, honest individuals who will do what is right, the problem for inexperienced buyers is that they will often get hoodwinked by used house salespman and land up in the situation that my clients find themselves. This purchase will not have a happy ending because of the problems in the house. They are convinced that their "friend" is telling the truth and no amount of facts is going to change that.

Again Diana, thanks for the education and helping me to relearn this fact.

Mar 13, 2012 07:26 AM