What Part Of The House Don’t You Want Me To Inspect?

Home Inspector with Complete Home Inspections, Inc. TN Lic#050

I got a call from a real estate agent, whom I did not know, over the weekend asking if we can do an inspection for her clients next week. I said sure, I’m booked for the next few days and the earliest available would be Wednesday afternoon. After going through some chit chat about how several agents in her office have used this company and think that we do a great job etc, we got on to the price of the inspection.

I gave her the price; she thought a few seconds and asked if I give discounts? I chuckled and said, “Yes! What part of the house don’t you want us to inspect, the attic, crawlspace, how about the framing?”

She was astonished and said, “Well, we would want you to inspect the whole house!”

I politely told her that to inspect the whole house was X number of dollars. She was very persistent. “My clients are first time home buyers and they are tight on cash.”

My thought immediately was either this person is trying to “Who Do” me or the clients are buying too much house. If they are that tight on cash, they do not need to be buying that property, maybe they need to purchase something that would fit their budget and therefore the home inspection. I told the agent the same.

Her reply was that “ON PAPER” they can afford the house and the payments. They need some assistance on the price of the home inspection.

ON PAPER? Just what the heck does that mean?

In all sincerity, I told the agent, “As a house warming gift, why don’t you have the client pay X amount of dollars and you make up the rest? Wouldn’t that be a great gift for your clients?

She hung up on me.

I have to ask the real estate community a question. If you are not willing to cut your commission, then why ask a home inspector or any other service provider to cut the price of their service? Really, will 25 – 50 bucks off the price of the home inspection or any other service provided really cause “hardship” on your clients? If so, I think that you need to look within. Are you really providing the service your clients need or are you looking out for #1 – You!

Home inspectors and other service providers across the country take on a huge liability when inspecting a home or doing what they do during a property transaction. Any omission or error can cost them hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Home inspectors and other providers are being sued at an alarming rate. Far too often, real estate agents look at service providers as a commodity rather than being an asset. The good service providers work hard for you and your client. Are we not worth our money too? What we charge is fair and equitable in our market area. Why can’t we just play well together?

Have you joined my birthday alarm? It is fast painless and the best part of all, you will be helping me out.

Thanks, Michael

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Complete Home Inspections, Brentwood TN 615.661.0297


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Rick Belben
Belben Realty Group - Orlando, FL
Orlando Real Estate - Belben Realty Group

Grat response back to the agent. Trying to save a few bucks on the home inspection is not the smartest thing to do. Sometimes you get what you pay for. I am sure you are worth your full fee!

May 12, 2008 07:17 AM #33
Jesse & Kathy Clifton
Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS® - Fairbanks, AK

I just noticed the little gold star... congratulations bud.

May 12, 2008 07:26 AM #34
Melina Tomson
Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon - Salem, OR
Principal Broker/Owner, M.S.

It has never occurred to me to ask an inspector to cut his fee.  I guess I need to be more hard nosed about it!

I am a firm believer that if they can't afford a home inspection they should not be buying a home.  It costs money to maintain a home.  Maybe a few more months of saving money would be more appropriate,

May 12, 2008 08:08 AM #35
Guy Berry
Real Estate Expert Witness Support - San Jose, CA
Real Estate Broker and Legal Expert

In defense of agents,  how do you suppose they got like this.  I can tell you after 30 yrs in the biz.  We learned it from our affilaites who were all too willing to prostitute themselves to get our business and the existing culture.  It might be a stupid cup, print our flyers, take us to lunch or give us a FREE seminar.  What other industry works like this?  We expect FREE seminars and are they offended when the speaker tries to sell us his products to make us more productive.  We pick our lender or title company based on what they give us.  Why are we surprised by the results??

May 12, 2008 08:15 AM #36
Patricia Festino
Coldwell Banker WPB - West Palm Beach, FL

I never make an appointment for the inspection. I give a list to the customer and then it is their job to make the appointment. One could be legally liable if the inspector misses something.

May 12, 2008 08:16 AM #37
Mitchell Captain
AllSpec Professional Property Inspections Inc - Fort Lauderdale, FL
Home inspections in Broward, Dade, and Palm Beach


Great post.

May 12, 2008 08:43 AM #38
JoEllen Stranger-Thorsen
Eustis, FL
Lake County, FL

Love your response to this "agent." I set up home inspections for my clients when they request it. Before I set it up I remind them payment is due at the time of the inspection and the approximate cost. I never thought about asking for a discount and certainly don't promote this type of thinking.

The home inspection is an insurance policy on their investment, if they can't see the value then they need to be educated. I have had only one instance where I offered to pay for the inspection and it was because they wanted to use a fly-by-night inspector for the septic to save $50. If they can't afford an inspection they have no business purchasing a home.

May 12, 2008 08:51 AM #39
Tom Burris
NMLS# 335055 - Baton Rouge, LA
Texas/Louisiana Mortgage Pro - 13 YRS Experience


You nailed that agent..... You basically asked her to cut hers instead of you cutting yours. LOL

Her response made my day....


May 12, 2008 08:58 AM #40

Cuddos to you. I have never asked an inspector to give a discount. I always leave it to the buyer to schedule the appts. They choose from a list and they decide if one fee over the other is better.

I never ask anyone in any kind of business to discount their fees. Everyone needs to make a living.

May 12, 2008 09:30 AM #41
Kevin O'Shea
Coldwell Banker - White Plains, NY
White Plains, NY Real Estate

Hi Mike,

I hate to tell you this, but she was just trying to do her job, get the best deal for her client.

She went about it the wrong way and you felt insulted.

She might have already reduced her commission (I doubt it)

If she had phrased it differently:

Hi Mike, I have a young first time buyer couple, and was wondering if you could cut your fee for them and I will make it up to you by referring you more future business, it might have sounded better.

We all get a little righteous sometimes and say the wrong thing.  If you had said:

I'm sorry Ms. Realtor, things are a little tough right now, I won't be able to cut my fee.  Or

It really wouldn't be fair to cut my fee, I charge everyone the same thing, even the Realtors who send me a lot of business.

You might have kept the inspection and gotten future inspections from her.

When I teach new agents I tell them to keep the goal in mind.  For you that might be doing this inspection and getting referrals from her.

I hope you don't find this offensive. (My goal is for you to see another point of view, not to insult or offend you.)

All the best!

May 12, 2008 09:47 AM #42
Bob Schenkenberger
Colorado Realty Professionals - Greenwood Village, CO
Denver Real Estate

I find it amusing that Kevin thinks the agent was doing their job and trying to get the best deal for their client.  That's a joke.  The best deal does not alway equate to lowest cost, nor does it mean negotiating with trusted service providers! 

How about some other great advice to save some money, hire your step-brother-in-law who is familiar with construction to give it the once over.  I'm sure they would get a great deal then!

May 12, 2008 10:57 AM #43
Rick Belben
Belben Realty Group - Orlando, FL
Orlando Real Estate - Belben Realty Group

Michael,  Great Post.  I loved your response really good. 

May 12, 2008 12:40 PM #44
Paula Hartwick
Royal LePage Gale Real Estate - Kanata, ON

I can understand how you would be upset about the agent asking you to reduce your commission (no one wants to take a pay cut) but really, was there any real harm in her trying? It sounds like she was just trying to go above and beyond for her clients (plus, imagine how good she would have looked to them if she was able to pull it off). She has every right to at least ask, and you have every right to politely decline. That's business!! However, the way in which she handled your response (i.e. hanging up on you) was rude, unprofessional and quite unnecessary.

May 12, 2008 01:02 PM #45
Susan Hilton
CENTURY 21 Beal, Inc. - College Station, TX
Texas Aggie Real Estate, College Station Bryan Texas Real Estate

I agree 100% - NEVER should we cut our fees and we should not ask our inspectors and vendors to do it either.

May 12, 2008 02:45 PM #46
Atlanta's Home Inspector, David Lelak IHI Home Inspections
IHI Home Inspections 404-788-2581 - Canton, GA
Experience the IHI Difference

Michael, looks like you hit a strong point, good job on standing strong on your fees.  The amount we sometimes make doesn't make up for the risk sometimes.  I have to agree with you and your points. 

May 12, 2008 02:48 PM #47
0000 0000
Suwanee, GA

Michael-- Great post...

Paula / Kevin--let's face it the agent was just plain rude... if she really was looking out for her clients she could have easily kicked in $25-$50 bucks to reduce the inspection. Her attitude was "it's fine if it comes out of your pocket, but don't dip in mine". She probably would have spent this much on a house warming gift anyway... 

However, I do agree Kevin with one thing, though. There is always a way to phrase a request in a more apealling way so that everyone can win. But it does not sound like she did that...

May 12, 2008 05:50 PM #49
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes

That sounds like a really rude agent. Sounds like you did the right thing. She could have kicked in the $50 bucks or whatever it was if these over extended clients were unwiling or unable to afford that. But seriously you are right. If this small amount made different in what the client could afford, then they were way over extended.

May 12, 2008 06:19 PM #50
Harold "Hal" Place
A1 Connection Realty, Inc. - Sun City Center, FL

Morning Michael,

Another great post! But, really, man, I can't understand why you wouldn't help those kids out! LOL

I know your feeling, when I owned the Home Improvement business many an agent would want me to cut my price because their client was on a limited budget. I would reply, "so am I, my suppliers wond cut their prices, my hired help won't take a pay cut nor will my insurance company of the gasoline company reduce their rates and prices.

Sometimes I got the job other times I did not. Our prices were in line, fair and reasonable for the quality of workmanship. I slept well every night, as I am sure you do!

Have a great day.

May 14, 2008 12:48 AM #51
Melissa Grant
A Serendipity World - Greenbackville, VA
The Law of Attraction In Life & Business

Micheal, you said : I have to ask the real estate community a question. If you are not willing to cut your commission, then why ask a home inspector or any other service provider to cut the price of their service?

A good compromise would have been you and I both split the extra $50 or so for the clients. Besides, if I am cutting mine I would expect you to cut yours as well....

HOWEVER, I STRONGLY believe if the client wishes to have a home inspection they need to have the money to pay for it...period !!!!!!!!! You cannot go and buy a house and expect everyone to pay for you...if they can't come up with $300 for a home inspection how on earth does anyone expect them to pay that $500 ( or more ) mortgage ! And everyone wonders why we are in the market we are in ! Duh !!!!!!!!

FYI - I don't cut my commission unless there is no other option and I have never asked a Home Inspector etc to cut his fee's...just bad practice I believe ~!

May 15, 2008 11:26 PM #52
Hector Pinto
At Home Inspections - Long Beach, CA

That;s a typical Realtor-for you---they want everyone to discount their commsions but when it comes to their own---the get insultated!

Jul 31, 2008 06:18 PM #53
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