Are Home Inspectors Really Worth It?

Real Estate Agent with John R. Wood Island Real Estate 3230321

Recently, I put an offer on a condo. Naturally (and as I tell my buyers) I get a home inspection. What a joke!!! So the inspector uses this hick a ma jig to check the outlets for GFCI compliance, and another hick a ma jig to test for dampness where water spots appear on under a sink near the plumbing (oh, and I almost forgot -he even took a good picture of it), and a temp gun (lol -I know that term instead of hick a ma jig) to check the AC in the unit. He opens the electrical box to see if anything is out of place -of course there's a double wired breaker -a no no!  The water tank is original 18 yrs old (rusty) and the inspector goes on to tell me things are minor. 

24 hours later I get the written report. Goes like this: several outlets not GFCI protected (have it evaluated by a licensed electrician), plumbing under sink shows signs of past leak (have it evaluated by a licensed plumber), Electrical breaker has double wires (have it evaluated by licensed electrician), water tank at end of life (have it evaluated by a licensed plumber), dampness detected in bathroom corner of ceiling (have it evaluated by a certified licensed mold/water damage company). R E A L L Y???  You are afraid to call a spade a spade? 

So I bring this to the listing agent's attention (in writing of course) and tell her I need an extension of the inspection period to get an estimate of costs for many of these issues from many licensed professionals (of course I'm going to get the price reduced or have the seller cover all or most of this -within reason now). And I don't want to lose my escrow deposit (earnest money) due to being out of the inspection period timeline to take the property as-is. Seller's agent is ok with getting this done. 

Next... I call my inspector and tell him "what good are you?" He's like what do you mean? I said really you found all these issues (I'm glad he did), but then you can only say get all these licensed people in to evaluate? You inspect tons of homes/condos etc... yet you can't say if they are or are not a big problem or estimate a cost on these? Yes, I really had an idea myself from years in the real estate business -but you all know, you need a legit report by an inspector to respond to the seller. My inspector also said he had to be careful about what he says and writes as he doesn't want to lose his license! Yikes, that's all he cares about?  Now I have to take days to coordinate (and possibly pay) all these licensed people to come take a look at the issues and write an estimate so I can go back to the seller's agent. 

WTF (sorry for the explitive have to let it out)? I should have just hired (from the beginning) a licensed plumber, HVAC, electrician, etc... then I would have had an on the spot professional opinion and written estimate by a licensed whoever-all in the same day! I figured if I had to pay each one of these licensed professionals to come look, evaluate, and write an estimate -it would have cost me less than the home inspector charged in the first place (which was $300.00)! And oh not to mention the time I spent with the inspector (2 hours)!  

Here's what I learned...Next time I will offer to pay licensed professionals and get reliable information on issues and an estimate at the same time! 

Think about this. Realtors are home inspector's biggest business. My inspector does between 3-5 inspections a day (that's $300 [low end cost] x 5 inspections for a total income of $1500 per day that he works)! That's great income -and for what? To tell everyone "hey, I see something, get a licensed person who knows more than me to figure it out if it is really a problem or not!" I pretty sure my lawyer doesn't make that much money in a day! (Well...maybe). And if an inspector missed something -they are only responsible for the cost of their fee if a buyer sued (because guess what? They said hire a licensed whoever to check what they found)! OMG!!!

I think Home Inspectors should go by the way of a covered wagon (bye-bye) OR they should be required to really know what they are saying (i.e., you have bad plumbing, that polybutelene pipe is .50 a foot to replace...yada yada it will cost you $25's your estimate, that double wire tap requires a $25 separate breaker and there's room for it, labor is approx $100 per's your estimate)!!! Make inspectors worth what you're really paying them for! And they act like they are so important! PLEEZE!!

Ok, I feel better now! 

And yes, if you keep reading my blogs, I will obviously lay into more issues and also have some solutions. And you may ask, does she ever have anything good to say? Of course I do, and I may write about some of those things as well. Stay tuned. Thanks for caring! Have a super evening!

BTW, I didn't end up getting that condo. 




Comments (6)

Teral McDowell
Referral Patners LLC - Murphy, TX

Susan, you make some good points some that I am sure any real estate agent has scratched their heads over too.

Jul 08, 2015 09:51 AM
TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029

Good Wednesday evening Susan. And so the love/hate relationship goes on between agent and inspector. I do my best to help folks to understand that we are like general practitioners. We are not licensed tradesmen. The first thing an attorney will ask are you a licensed ___ (fill in the blank. They will hang them out to dry. I am sorry that you do not feel we are worth our money.

Jul 08, 2015 09:52 AM
TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029

Good evening Susan. Thank you for the blog topic. Here is my response to your post. In all respects, make it a great day.

Jul 08, 2015 10:54 AM
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
HomeSmart - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Susan - What you get from the home inspector is exactly what you pay for. They are not licensed to tell you anything else, and certainly cannot quote you any pricing estimates. If you have ever gotten estimates for anything to do with your home, you know they could vary by hundreds of dollars for the simplest things. So you need to get your own estimates.

What you should learn from the home inspection is whether there are major issues with the home that may cause you to lose interest in buying it, or things you can live with or repair on your own, or things that need attention, but you still want the home. All of these things become negotiable items with the seller at that point.

Sorry to hear you lost your condo.

Jul 08, 2015 11:08 AM
Fred Cope
Reliant Realty in Nashville, TN - Nashville, TN
Looking For Homes With A Smile

Hello Susan.  Honestly, I see things quite differently.  That home inspector may not do a single thing I am not capable of doing, but HE is my best friend as a buyer's agent.  Even as a sellers' agent, I value his input.  How many times have you pleaded with a seller to get the house ready for market, and find yourself being ignored.  Guess what.  That home inspector just told the seller the agent knows what he is talking about!

Back to the buyer.  The buyer wants information, and someone to explain things, right?  I can, and do; BUT, do I want them depending solely on my recomendation?  NO!  That is the stuff lawsuits are made of.

As for skipping a home inspector, and ordering inspections from licensed contractors, HOW do you know which contractors to call?  Again, you put yourself in the direct line of fire for a lawsuit.  Specialists: Plumbing, HVAC, Electrical, Mold & Dampness Mitigation, Structural Engineer, Pest Control Technician, Health Dept. for Septic and Well Water, and there are roofers, insulation engineers, Energy Efficiency Engineers, not to mention installers of windows and doors, etc.

I spent 25 years in mortgage finance, and can assure you that it is seldom that a home inspector does more than two inspection in a day with any regularity.  That inspector invest far more hours in research, study and compiling reports filled with photos than is spent walking through a property.

I doubt a REALTOR® can honestly say he/she works harder for his/her paycheck (dollar for dollar) than the appraiser, legal processor, home inspector or lender's staff.  I make no assertion that REALTORS® do not work hard nor earn their check; but I do know that IF I had to do all that they do, I would not have time to do my job.  I have spent days riding shotgun with home inspectors [mostly FHA/VA], appraisers, attorneys, mortgage insurance reps, as well as REALTORS®.  I've seen good, bad and indifferent among them all.  I have spent years working with underwriters and loan processors of all stripes, and I stand in awe of each and every professional in our industry.  We all have days when we deal with incompetence, but most days we get to work with devoted, honest and hardworking professionals.  We need them all, and I salute them.

Jul 08, 2015 12:16 PM
Winston Heverly
Coldwell Banker Access Realty - South Macon, GA

I really liked your post today, very good points that are so helpful these days.

Jul 08, 2015 02:55 PM