Why I love my deal killer and you should too

By
Real Estate Agent with Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon

tantrum"You know I really think that this report is nit picky, alarmist, and just flat wrong," said the message on my answering machine. "Some of the things in here were just uncalled for."

Thanks Jim.  Thanks a lot. 

Deal killers...the name that real estate agents have given to home inspectors who "kill deals" by being good at what they do (okay granted their are a few inspectors that kill deals because of incompetence, but that is another blog).  Since most agents don't get paid until the deal closes, some agents get a little over focused on the close and forget that an entire process has to happen first.  Enter the deal killers...

 

 

buying a homeFor buyers, the reasons for loving a deal killer are obvious.  No home is perfect because they are built by human beings on earth that moves.  Nature doesn't stand still for us and our homes, which means that all homes need some repair at some point.  Solid building and engineering can minimize this, but it always exists.

Deal killers will point out all of those issues big and small to you.  Each state has a slightly different practice when it comes to home inspections and repairs.  In Oregon we have as-is contracts.  The point of the home inspection is for the buyer to satisfy themselves of the condition of the property. It is not to negotiate repairs, but that is often a consequence of it.  Some things are really obvious when you walk into a home, that you can take into account when you write an offer.  The rest is for an inspector to help buyers sort through.

 

For sellers, the reasons should be obvious why you want a deal killer, but most seller's don't see it that way.

I closed on a listing I had a couple of weeks ago.  The buyer was unrepresented (I don't practice dual agency) but had asked who I refer people to:  "Jim Allhiser," I said. "He's fantastic."

After the buyer got the report they called me to ask why I referred Jim to them.  "I figured you wanted someone good." 

"Weren't you worried that they would kill the deal?" they asked.

 "No.  I'm protecting my sellers," I replied.

Yes, I was protecting my sellers.  Let's face it.  Misrepresentation is a huge source of lawsuits in real estate.  Deal killers protect all parties including agents, which is why you should love them. A home inspection is a snapshot, but an important snapshot.

For example, a buyer hires a deal killer who notes the 1/2" piece of deteriorating siding, the slightly leaky hose bib, and the one dead outlet in the house.  Six months later the house has mold and the buyer thinks the seller knew about it.  The buyer wants to sue.  In my opinion, deal killing home inspection reports help to protect sellers from future litigation.

 

broken houseWhy I love my deal killer?  He protects me.  It's that whole misrepresentation and failure to disclose thing.  Sellers sometimes do those special DIY projects that are "custom carpentry work."  Yeah...Let's face it, sellers sometimes do "weird fixes" to their home that make sense to the seller, but not to anyone else.    Seller's often forget about these fixes since they did them ten years ago and so they forget to put them on the disclosure form.  It's not their intent to misrepresent, they just forget. Deal killers can find these special gems, and start a dialogue between both sides.

Now a home inspection is a snapshot in time of the home.  I have had listings where garage door openers and thermostats worked during the home inspection and went kaput the next week.  A home inspection can't protect against these things, but a really good thorough home inspection can help to prevent future lawsuits for buyers, sellers, and agents alike. 

Me, I love my deal killer and you should love yours regardless of what side of the transaction you sit on.

 

Now...off to deal with that message on my answering machine...

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Rainer
5,378
Jennifer Lamm
The Loan Gallery - Sunland, CA

I think that it would be good for the seller to get a home inspection before the house is even in escrow... seems like that would save alot of emotional stress once you get into the process....

Jul 31, 2008 01:11 PM #146
Rainer
7,180
Brandon Yeager
Greensburg, PA

I've been on both sides of the fence.  I've been on the buying side of over 100 residential transactions, as a principal.  I.E....my money is in the deal !

I've also sold about 90% of them so far.

I don't mind an inspector who does a good job.  It's beneficial for everyone.  What irritates me is the "know it all" type inspectors...who will make a comment that my beautifully renovated brick home...does not have weep holes...and not make a comment that it is typical for 95% of the homes.

Saw someone up above mention Hose Bibs.  You know...unless it's newer construction (within last 15 years)...95% of homes do not have hose bibs.

Then to start the reports off stating that the home appears to have had significant renovations...and go on to allude along the lines that that oftentimes rehabbers hide defects...of which they can't comment on...of course to legally protect themselves.  I feel discriminated against in that case.  I always try to make a nice/safe/functional home for a new homebuyer.  MY reputation is on the line.

Anyway...I've seen the good...and the bad of home inspectors.

Jul 31, 2008 01:13 PM #147
Rainer
6,612
Barry Adair
ADAIR INSPECTION - Dallas, TX
TREC#4563

Melina,

Kudos to you! I commend you for having the brass to even post this.

I really wish more agents thought like you did and realized the value a thorough inspector can provide to all parties involved.

Pre-listing inspections would make a lot of these "deaths" go away as owners/sellers could usually do a lot to improve their properties before they hit the market. Thus getting more bang for their buck instead of walkers, delayed or cut rate negotiated closings.

"Houses are like high school dates. Just because the make-up is on doesn't mean they are ready." "What do you really have after you put the lipstick on a pig?"

As an Inspector I've never killed a deal in my entire career I've had a number of homes commit suicide upon my arrival

Really folks/realtors is this how you discuss inspectors around the coffee pot at the office? I don't think so from the actual agent/broker e-mails I've seen about inspectors.

But there is always hope for a new breed or maybe it's just a left coast thing.

Aug 01, 2008 10:22 AM #148
Rainmaker
259,527
Melina Tomson
Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon - Salem, OR
Principal Broker/Owner, M.S.

Brandon, I think that is why buyer's need to walk through with the inspector.  GFCI's are a big one out here.  Required for code now...not in the 70's.  Get noted on all reports.  It's pretty rare that someone asks something to be brought up to code just for the sake of code.  If it's a remodel that's one thing.

Barry, I had no idea this would be such a hot issue for HI's.  Jim and I were laughing during a home inspection the day before I wrote this about how a long time agent called him a deal killer and then I had that message from the seller of that house.  I never got the deal killer concept myself and thought it was more of a joke than a pervasive problem.  Shows how much I know...

Aug 01, 2008 11:01 AM #149
Rainer
478,183
Not a real person
San Diego, CA

Hey, Brandon.

In 43 years in real estate, I've never seen a home without at least one exterior hose bib, excepting condominiums, of course.

Are you talking about vacuum breakers on the hose bibs? If that's the case, then I can agree with you.

Aug 02, 2008 02:52 AM #150
Rainer
43,037
Thomas Hargreaves
TriStar Financial Services - Eugene, OR

Way to go Melina,  not only are you a fellow Oregonian, but a woman with integrity.  If I had no integrity, I would probably be doing better with my mortgage business.  It is all about the benefit of the clients that matter.  good blog.

Aug 03, 2008 07:01 AM #151
Anonymous
John McKenna

Most Realtors never call me except when they want an inspection on the house that they or their family is purchasing.  I am the deal killer you write about.  Thank you for having the integrity to do the right thing and seeking the best inspection possible for your client.  I'm impressed.

I also noted that your favorite deal killer inspector uses thermal imaging during the home inspection.  For those who want to know more about this technology, you can watch a good video here.

The name of the video is called... "A Consumers Guide To Infrared Thermography"

A Consumers Guide To Infrared Thermography

Aug 03, 2008 12:51 PM #152
Rainmaker
259,527
Melina Tomson
Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon - Salem, OR
Principal Broker/Owner, M.S.

John-I love the Infrared technology.  Like everything it is not an end all be all, but another useful tool in the inspector hat.  If I'm being a good agent, Jim let's me play with the camera as a reward :)

Seriously, it's a great addition to the HI arsenal.  I know there is some controversy about it, but in good hands, its a good tool.

Aug 03, 2008 01:22 PM #153
Rainer
8,313
Jason Pastucha
Realtywnc.com - Keller Williams Asheville - Asheville, NC

I think of inspectors as an important partner in the real estate transaction process.  They are supposed to be a competent "on site" pair of eyes to disclose issues.  Disclosure of anything relevant to property value is fair dealing and good business, hopefully avoiding future liability.  Also=too.  Thanks, JP 

 

Aug 04, 2008 10:08 AM #154
Anonymous
Stephen L. Guardino

As a home inspector I appreciate referrals from realtors. Not long ago I inspected a home for an elderly couple. Because of all the defects the elderly couple did not purchase the home. The agent who is also the broker never used me again to do her home inspections. Her agents in her office who referred me all the time stopped referring me. Talk about unethical.

I have to sleep at night. I run into clients while shopping in town. Any agent who would do this is not worth his or her referrals. God Bless the honest hard working agents.

The truth is what goes around comes around and it will bite her in the end.

Aug 05, 2008 11:30 AM #155
Rainmaker
259,527
Melina Tomson
Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon - Salem, OR
Principal Broker/Owner, M.S.

Stephen I don't get that mentality myself, but I guess some people like the stress of lawsuits...

Aug 05, 2008 02:41 PM #156
Anonymous
Stephen L. Guardino - Flagler Home Inspections, Palm Coast, Flor

Funny thing is I run into her all the time and she acting likes she's my "BEST FRIEND". Oh, HI Steve, How ya doin???

I wonder what power she has over her agents to make them not referre me?

I hope she reads this forum, she knows who she is. Very unprofessional indeed.

Like I said "God Bless" the "HONEST" hard working agents. They should learn by this forum.

Aug 06, 2008 05:43 AM #157
Rainmaker
259,527
Melina Tomson
Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon - Salem, OR
Principal Broker/Owner, M.S.

Well maybe she isn't doing any business in this down market?

Aug 06, 2008 10:51 AM #158
Rainer
478,183
Not a real person
San Diego, CA

I've learned over the years to either not question why someone doesn't use my services (some people just won't like me because I'm too tall, too skinny, drive a black foreign car, or whatever) or to ask them why. I've found that when I ask them, I get some good feedback that can be valuable in building my business in the future. Sometimes it was because I followed up in four days whereas the other guy followed up in three days. "Time is of the essence," someone once said (probably some attorney somewhere). Other times might have been the result of confusion, misinterpretation, etc. I know in the home inspection business, almost everyone assumes that Realtors don't use a specific inspector because he's too nitpicky or too thorough. I know that happens, but in the instances where I have found it here, it was the Client's lack of education, or my failure to educate him (I do fail at something occasionally. LOL) them, and not the fact that I documented the actual condition of the property at the time of the inspection.

I'm often puzzled when I go to the ASHI/CREIA dinner meetings or seminars and hear some home inspector proudly proclaim, "I was doing an inspection and saw [insert anything here] and told my Client and the Realtor that they should run away now." I sincerely hope that he didn't say such a thing, and I have no reason to believe that he's lieing, but if I had been a Realtor and he had said such a thing at an inspection for one of my Clients, I'm pretty sure I would not use him again in the future. There's no way that I, after spending just a few hours with my Clients, can possibly know what is on their minds in purchasing any specific property, so I just do my job and try to arm them with knowledge to make whatever they are trying to do easier for them.

Aug 06, 2008 07:35 PM #159
Anonymous
george b.

Trying to buy a house in CT.  Our Century 21 representatives continue to flip-flop over what we should ask for in way of repairs per the inspection report.  Example:  Century 21 agent was there during inspection of house.  Verbally noted a water stain discovered by the inspector was coming from a upstairs bathroom and into garage and had to be fixed.  The inspector found the presence of rodent activity in house.  The septic inspection uncovered that the system was not in town code and also a broken pipe.  The inspector recommended that the water pump was not cycling correctly and the furnace overflow valve needed to be repaired or replaced.  The inspector also discovered Radon at the 3.8 level, acceptable by E.P.A. standard but the inspector noted he would have that corrected immediately.  When we as the buyers requested repairs, we were told by our Century 21 agents "We were asking for too much".  The sellers verbally (not to us) agreed to repair the septic system (nothing else).  Our Century 21 agents thought this was great because she really didnt have to do this.  But that is not true. By town code these repairs had to be done.  On the disclosure form the sellers did not state that ever had any water damage or rodent problem either.  But now we are told that the seller now remembers something had overflowed in the bathroom and was "chalked".  Also the seller has told Century 21 that a  rodent deterrent system was installed.  Our Century 21 agent now  informs us that it doesnt matter what the buyers put down on the disclosure statement, if they repair things they do not have to tell us or disclose anything like the leak from the bathroom into the garage and just because the house has a "few rodents" doesnt mean its infested"! 

Aug 12, 2008 09:06 PM #160
Rainmaker
259,527
Melina Tomson
Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon - Salem, OR
Principal Broker/Owner, M.S.

George,

This is your house, not the agents. You should ask for what you want.  If the seller's say no, then you can decide if you want to move on to something else or not.  The point of the inspection is to satisfy yourself with the property. Are you satisfied?

Generally it is true that if something is repaired you don't have to disclose it. Can you imagine how crazy disclosure forms would be "Hinge was lose and I fixed it 10 years ago."  All states are different.  In Oregon even if a roof has leaked and been repaired it has to be diclosed.

 

Aug 13, 2008 12:57 PM #161
Rainmaker
430,916
Frances C. Rokicki
Fran Rokicki Realty, LLC - Bolton, CT
Broker-Mentor,CRS

I like a good home inspection.  Everyone should.  I, also, advise my sellers, prior to listing a property, to have a seller's home inspection.  It gives them good insight about their home, sometimes things they didn't know where in need of repair.  Makes for a much happier outcome when the buyer does their home inspection:)

Aug 14, 2008 06:36 AM #162
Rainmaker
1,115,798
Jim Frimmer
HomeSmart Realty West - San Diego, CA
Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist

Considering that NAR, as well as our local SDAR, continually reports that homes that have pre-listing inspections sell faster, for more money, and with fewer problems, I'm still amazed that pre-listing inspections have not overtaken the world. Ah, well. Sometimes there's no accounting for logic.

Aug 14, 2008 05:54 PM #163
Rainmaker
259,527
Melina Tomson
Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon - Salem, OR
Principal Broker/Owner, M.S.

Prelists are still rare up here. I do them on all my listings, but I really don't get why every listing doesn't have one.  It make the process so much smoother.  Yes home inspectors find different things at different times, but it all tends to be small stuff.

Aug 15, 2008 03:29 AM #164
Rainmaker
176,535
Jim Allhiser
Perfection Inspection, Inc. - Salem, OR
Salem, Oregon Home Inspector

Wow!  Melina way to go!  What a poignant and concise post.  I am proud to be referred by you and the inspiration of this wonderful thread.

Aug 24, 2008 10:29 AM #165
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