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Are Realtors Inspectors??

This will likely upset a few of my fellow realtors, but it needs to be written to protect the young buyer, first time buyer or the individual who happens to think that realtors know all things pertaining to homes and or property. Let me start out with a couple stories before I enter into my rant, just for context.

In the summer of 2022, I was contracted to inspect a home for a first time home buyer. The inspection was set up by a realtor who was located more than 60 miles away, the realtor had some qualifying questions for me and told me that he would attend the inspection walk thru to best inform his client. Well here's a bunch of red flags right out of the gate. Anyway, about 30 minutes before the inspection ended the realtor showed up and began asking questions, to which I had to defer his questions until I was done. We chatted about some of the inspection results prior to the arrival of the client. Once the client arrived and we began our walk-thru, I was focused on informing the buyer of what was going on in the home and the realtor was focused on down playing everything I pointed out. When we got to the termite damage (massive) I began to talk about what it would take to fix the damage. The realtor kept saying the same thing, "it's all negotiable." To a point he was correct, but with a first time buyer I just can't see trying to keep this one together. Anyway, as you can see from the attached photos, this place was ate up with termites. The deal went through and the buyer told me about 6 months later that they were able to negotiate some. So I ask you, should the realtor in this case pushed for this deal to stay together?

A couple months ago I inspected a home for a young lady going through a divorce. The home was in very rough shape and her realtor should have talked her out of making an offer, but the realtor was also the list agent. Inspection showed about 50k in repairs would be needed to get the home in decent shape. The realtor in this case continued to push forward with the deal, but the buyer wisely decided to bail out.

I use these two examples to stress the point that sometimes realtors push to hard for a deal to stay together by down playing an inspection report. The home inspection industry came into existence because realtors in the 70's and 80's were being sued because of home defects that they had no knowledge of. Fast forward 40 to 50 years and realtors are trying to make themselves the experts in areas they aren't.

All this to say, do your research on your inspectors. Don't go with the realtor referral without looking that company up, checking their website and reviews. In Indiana anyone can get a home inspectors license by taking a course and passing a test. Actually, I would guess that 80% or more of inspectors in Indiana have no building experience. The inspectors who have years of building experience can tell you why systems fail, what could/should have been done, the best possible fix and a rough idea on costs. The guy with no experience will just write things up and refer you to a professional.

Not only should you get an inspection before you buy, but you should also consider an annual inspection. These are typically discounted, but most importantly can catch something before it becomes costly.

Thanks for reading

Steve Holland


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