Inspector Selection: A Real Estate Agent's Duty

Home Inspector with Master Inspector Certification Board CMI
The seller has accepted your clients' offer and now, with your help, your clients must choose a home inspector.   Should you steer them toward the inspector who writes the softest reports?  Should you steer them toward the inspector who pays to be on your office's preferred vendor list?  Should you help them find the cheapest inspector?  The answers to these questions are of course No, No, and Hell, no.  
You have a fiduciary duty to your client and, therefore, must recommend the very best inspectors.  If you recommend a patty-cake inspector, an inspector who indirectly pays for your recommendation, or a cheap inspector, you violate your fiduciary duty to your client.   The National Association of REALTORs defines your duties in their Code of Ethics.  Article 1 requires you to protect and promote your clients' interests.  Article 6 requires you to disclose any financial benefit you may receive from recommending related real estate services (this also includes any benefit to your broker).  
Because most real estate agents get paid only if the real estate transaction successfully takes place, your personal interests and your fiduciary duties already conflict.  Don't make your situation any worse.  The best way to avoid negligent referral claims, to operate ethically, and to fulfill your fiduciary duty is to help your client find an inspector based solely on merit.  And although no real estate agent can guarantee the thoroughness of any particular inspector, there is a strong correlation between an inspector's fees and his/her competence (in other words, you get what you pay for).  Helping your client find a cheap inspector for the purchase of their lifetime is a violation of your fiduciary duty.  When in doubt, shop price, and seek out the most expensive inspectors for your clients.
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Bob "RealMan" Timm
Alliance Real Estate - Minot - Minot, ND
Bob Timm, Broker Associate, Alliance Real Estate

There is an inspector here that I admit to avoiding because his 200 page reports scare the pants off of clients even though much of the time the 200 pages find nothing serious to be addressed.

Dec 30, 2016 01:02 PM #1
Michelle Carr-Crowe-Top 1% Diamond Certified Real Estate Team Sells Cupertino San Jose Homes-Just Call 408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

All of my inspectors are also reputable general contractors so I know they are competent.

Dec 30, 2016 01:07 PM #2
joe hagarty

You can be the most reputable builder / contractor on the planet...
It is not about the reputation of the Builder.
It is about the deficiencies of the building materials.
- Aluminum Wiring
- Fed Pac Electric Panels
- Zinnsco Electric Panels
- UFFI Foam
- Stucco....
- Polybutylene (PB 2110)
- Goodyear Entran Plumbing
- Certain Teed Horizon Shangle
- LP Siding
- etc....(List goes on and on...)
It is not about being the best Contractor...
It is not about the great Builder.
It is about finding material defects that the installers may not even be aware of...

That is what Home Inspectors do...
Joseph Hagarty

Cell: (484) 883-7018
Boulder, Colorado

National President / NACHI (2003-2004)
NACHI Education Committee Member
PA NACHI Certified Inspector # 01102902
PA Licensed Radon Inspector # 2080
PA Licensed Pesticide Applicator # 700884
Delaware Licensed Home Inspector # H4-071

Dec 30, 2016 08:24 PM #3
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