Hell hath no fury like a buyer scorned!

Home Inspector with Charles Buell Inspections Inc.


Do you need a Prenuptial Agreement with your Inspector?

Sometimes  relationships wiltWhile Home Inspectors are often accused of being in bed with their agents, I for one, hope that is never really the case.  Likewise, being in bed with one’s buyer should also be avoided.

The Pre-Inspection Agreement is a little bit like a prenup in that it usually spells out what will happen in the event that the relationship should “fall apart.” 

No inspector likes to have that happen. 

I like to think that no buyer likes to have that happen either.

In the event that the inspector totally screws up and figuratively commits adultery by going into a house and coming out less than fully clothed with information---but nonetheless well paid---the buyer may just choose to toss the pre-nuptial agreement out the window and start aiming below the belt.

Just like any real marriage.

How well that prenuptial agreement holds up will depend on who has the best lawyers and just how egregious the screw-up was.  This can be expensive for everyone and the lawyers are the only winners.

Hell hath no fury like a buyer scorned.

So while we certainly should not be sleeping with our buyers, doing what we can to take care of them is likely a good idea on a lot of levels.  The prenuptial agreement should be there to benefit both parties and not be designed to protect one from the other, but instead, provide a path to follow in the event that one or both of the parties fool around.

Let’s not “fool around,” let’s take care of our relationships.


Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle

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Tim Bradley
Contour Investment Properties - Jackson Hole, WY
Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY

Maybe not a prenup, but a written contract is always a good idea!

Mar 31, 2012 04:04 AM #1
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Over the years, I've know agents who said, "I'll never use that inspector again".  Or, "The home inspector killed the contract."

This is one of the causes for Buyer's Agency and fiduciary to a buyer. 

Sadly, many agents have a rather Cavelier attitude about contract management.

Most, in my experience, truly do perform in the best interests of their buyer/seller client.

Mar 31, 2012 04:15 AM #2
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

There are always going to be those scenarios, but yes, get everything in writing that is a no brainer

Mar 31, 2012 06:05 AM #3
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Charlie, Wel that sure was a way to put it. Well in our little old state you better have the old prenup in order or a spanking may be next ; )You are right the lawyer always win no matter what happens.

Mar 31, 2012 07:50 AM #4
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Tim, a little tongue and cheek but yes---and certainly most inspectors have them

Lenn, I think they do as well

Kristin, and signed and initialed where necessary

Don, yes---but a spanking might be nice---if you are into that sort of thing :)

Mar 31, 2012 10:32 AM #5
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I don't know what you mean about a pre-nup, but I have a very nice agreement my clients sign.  Is that what you mean?

Mar 31, 2012 11:08 AM #6
Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

This sounds like a great analogy Charles.

How many pre-nups would you be signing everyday?   :)

Mar 31, 2012 05:23 PM #7
Kathryn Maguire
GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

All I ever ask from an inspector is a thorough and professional inspection. If the house is a wreck, let's hear it. It is the buyer's decision if they want to continue with the process.  

Mar 31, 2012 07:56 PM #8
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

I would have to say many inspectors focus on the contract as their shield against "divorce". I have listened to many lengthy discussions on pre inspection agreements. Time and effort that could be, in my opinion, better spent focusing on something like related education and customer service. But that's just me. 

Apr 01, 2012 12:33 AM #9
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Jay, I need a nap more than at nup or a nip

Tom, none today---but one tomorrow for sure

Kathryn, yes---that is all we can really do

Jim, I think it can back-fire with the client that wants to mess with you.  Best to do everything we can to take care of the relationship.

Apr 01, 2012 03:25 AM #10
Darin Redding

I agree with James that time could better be spent elsewhere, not only educating the buyer but also educating the home inspector - we all take continuing education - this keeps us on our toes with new developments in building science. But if push comes to shove, having a solid pre-inspection agreement, reviewed by an attorney in your area can certainly help. In a business relationship, there are contracts and agreements. Home inspection is no different.

Apr 01, 2012 03:29 AM #11
Mike Cathell
Real Estate Services of SWFL, LLC - Fort Myers, FL
Real Estate Investing for Real People


great analogy!  before I started selling Commercial real estate, I always had the client meet the inspector so they understood what an inspection does and does not cover.  Both inspectors I used also allowed my client to meet them at the house for the last 30 minutes of the inspection to not only discuss, but show the clients any problems that were spotted.

Apr 02, 2012 05:31 AM #12
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Darin, for sure---gotta have them.

Mike around here it is pretty standard for the client to be at the inspection the whole time---I hate having to remember everything at the end :)

Apr 02, 2012 07:14 AM #13
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