After two failed home inspections, I showed up for round three.

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119

I always encourage my buyers to have a home inspection. The inspectors who work with me are a very select group that I've hand picked based upon certain criteria in they put in their reports. I've fired a few in the past when they deviated from that criteria, but overall, I'm very thankful for the crew that works with me. Even though I'm a real estate broker, I teach a home inspection course for my state. That came about because I'm also a state contractor with 36 years as a contractor and 46 as a tradesman. I know what I'm doing, and I have zero patience for sloppy error laden home inspections.

Last year, I had a home go under contract twice only to fall apart because of home inspections. In both cases, the home inspectors were wrong, but the buyers believed them. One told the buyers that none of the three chimneys in the house were lined. He estimated it would cost $2800 per chimney to repair. I asked the buyer's agent if the home inspector climbed up on the roof and looked down in the chimneys or did he run a camera through the chimneys, and she said no. I asked how he knew they weren't lined. She said, "He's a home inspector. He just knows." Deal dead. I had the chimneys inspected by a local company and all three are lined and in good shape. 

The second deal fell apart because the home inspector told the buyers there was an active leak in the second floor master bath shower. I asked the buyer's agent if the inspector had seen the leak or if he had used a moisture meter to determine if the area on the dining room ceiling was wet. No. Why not? He just knows. Ah, that's the criteria? That was one of my former home inspectors. He violated my criteria I use for inspectors and he's gone. I have zero tolerance for errors in this area.

The reality is that the previous owners had bought the home 31 years ago and the dining room ceiling had a stain on it from a previous leak that had been repaired. The drywall repairman was not qualified to make the repair. He had fixed the ceiling poorly and painted it, but he did not use Kilz on it to get rid of the stain. So, the home inspector assumed it was active. It wasn't, but neither was the deal. I had a friend remove the drywall on the ceiling, run the shower for 30 minutes and check for leaks. No leaks, and after installing new drywall, it looks awesome. But, in both cases, the home inspectors killed two deals and in both cases, they were 100% wrong. 

On this third contract, I required that I be present during the home inspection. Ironically, on the day of inspection, I was tied up and couldn't make it. The buyer's agent text-ed me to try to get me there, and finally, I was able to break-away and show up. It was a meeting made in heaven. The buyer's agent, who is awesome, allowed me to walk the buyers through the property explaining the history of all repairs and upgrades. I explained to them the details of what the previous inspection reports got wrong and how I knew they were wrong. I showed them receipts where I had professionals in to confirm the inspectors were wrong.

I think their inspector was there was a bit offended that I was there speaking to the buyers, but I didn't deviate for a second. When the day was done, the buyers were happy with their purchase and the sale is heading to closing in a few weeks. 

I told my inspectors that I see a day coming when buyers-sellers-and agents are going to sue home inspectors for poor quality reports that cause sales to fail. A lot of local Realtors forward their home inspection reports to me for review before asking for repairs and a lot of listing agents do the same before they accept a repair request. On a recent one, the inspector pointed out 15 things on the electrical portion that were wrong and needed to be repaired. The buyers were going to walk because of fear of an electrical fire. Ironically, the home was six years old and in near perfect condition. I took that portion of the report to the house, reviewed the write up and found that the inspector was wrong 74% of the time. How is that even possible? On another one, the inspector missed four blatant electrical code violations within 20 feet of what he considered a major inspection issue. 

Don't be afraid to have professionals look at the reports you receive. Make sure the things cited are actually wrong. Before your clients sign off on repairs, make sure repairs are needed and don't be afraid to say, "No." I recently asked two of my listing clients to trust me in the home inspection requests and they agreed. One request wanted approximately $6000 in repairs and the other one wanted a new water heater and few other things. I rejected the first request straight out. I sold the house to the buyers four years ago and we made the repairs needed at that time. The buyer's agent wanted us to fork over money so the buyer could upgrade things that weren't necessary. I rejected the request and the deal closed.

The second one, the buyer's agent wanted the water heater replaced because it was in bad shape and might go bad right after the buyer moved in. I went by and looked it and looked brand new. It's not, but where the water lines and the tank meet there was a bit of corrision where dissimilar metals met and caused a fluffy looking reaction. I literally vacuumed it off, brushed the connections with a brass brush and cleaned it up. It was in excellent shape, and no repairs were done. In this case, the houses closed a few weeks later. Don't be afraid to say no if the reports are not accurate. You're responsibility is to protect your client, and this is just another arena where they can be taken advantage of. Don't let it happen.

 

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Rainer
392,616
Edward Gilmartin
CRE - Boston, MA

Sometimes it's worth it to have sellers hire an inspector before home goes on market to make sue small things won't come up later and spook buyers.

Feb 06, 2020 05:18 PM #1
Ambassador
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MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
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Thank you for keeping us updated on what's happening in your market.

Feb 06, 2020 11:59 PM #2
Rainmaker
3,102,269
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Morning Mike.

No doubt about it, some inspectors must have been taking a nap or texting when I see some of their reports.  

Feb 07, 2020 02:30 AM #3
Rainmaker
5,269,348
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Good morning, Mike Cooper, GRI  I think that was a case of the inspector covering his butt in case he called it wrong by saying it's an old stain..... either way, all he had to do was what you did.... run the water for a period of time and see what happens.....

Feb 07, 2020 03:47 AM #4
Rainmaker
3,371,332
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Hi Mike... I had a deal go south a few years ago when an inspector said there were structural issues in the crawl space... just one problem...  he wasn't authorized as a whole house inspector to opine on structural issues. My sellers got a structural inspector in who gave the crawl space a clean bill of health and told us we had been the victims of an over-zealous inspector. Fortunately, we sold the house shortly thereafter at a higher price. And I have never used that inspection company since... and it was one I'd used for at least 15 years.

Feb 07, 2020 05:09 AM #5
Rainmaker
1,527,770
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Inspections can be a tricky thing, because of poor inspector quality/reports, or because buyers are looking for a reason to back away, or because there really are issues that were not known.

I totally agree that we should say "no" if there are inaccuracies, or even crazy things. For example, I was the listing agent for a home that was in great shape. The seller was a stickler for perfection. I was sure the inspection would be seamless. Then the buyers agent sent a big list of things they wanted "fixed." With one exception (an outlet that was not GFCI and should have been), everything was a 'no.'  For example, they wanted the seller to place concrete posts in the garage in front of the heating unit "just in case they were driving into the garage talking on their phones and smashed into it." I kid you not, that was the reasoning. Um, no.

Feb 07, 2020 05:16 AM #6
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Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

You want an inspection to be fair and in Oklahoma we have state law that helps out. If an ionspector sees something wrong and cites it they cannopt estimate cost or recommned who should fix it. They have to say get a licensed expert unless they are specifically licensed for the kind of defect they are citing. We also have a system for complaints about the inspector.

Feb 07, 2020 06:26 AM #7
Rainmaker
3,815,765
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Mike. I once had a seller with a bad back in bed during a home inspection so I was there. The buyers agen did not show. The inspector actually asked me if I had a ladder? Hello. Terrific post. 

Feb 07, 2020 07:07 AM #8
Rainmaker
2,679,989
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Your story is a testament to how an unqualified home inspector can become a real deal breaker.  It is important to use those who are qualified and have experience.

Feb 07, 2020 04:55 PM #9
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Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Mike Cooper, GRI 
Hope you and the wonderful Queen of your life are doing well. Have an inspection coming up this week on a rental home owned by our family.
Time to sell!  I know everything is OK. It will be interesting to see what shows up in the report! All the best - Lynn

PS  I left one thing I need to fix. Curious to see if inspector picks up on it. L.

Feb 08, 2020 09:59 PM #10
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Mike Cooper, GRI

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