Should You Hire A Kick-Ass Inspector?

 

kick ass.gif

A while ago I featured a guest post on how to select a home inspector. However, the one aspect of this task that we didn't cover is whether or not you want to hire a kick-ass inspector - otherwise known as a deal killer.

So maybe these somewhat pejorative terms seem to reveal a bias that I and other realtors (geez, I'm putting myself in the same group as other realtors?) have towards these inspectors. However, the most famous Chicago deal killer (that's how he's known among realtors) actually marketed himself for a while as a "kick-ass" home inspector. He even had a cartoon similar to the one above on his Web site but it's not there now. Maybe he decided it wasn't good for his image. But his blatant use of this term reveals everything about his attitude towards the inspection process and therein lies the problem.

Don't get me wrong. A buyer has the right to hire whatever inspector he or she wants and the goal of the inspection is to uncover all the material problems with the home the buyer is about to purchase. God knows that Chicago has a ton of crappy housing stock. However, the issue with these inspectors is that they have something to prove, they lack balance in the reporting of their findings, they are confrontational, and the first time buyer that uses them may not ever buy a home. The reputation of the deal killer is so bad that we've had some listing agents choose to walk away from a deal rather than let him on the property. I myself have decided that if he ever shows up on one of my listings I will just tell the buyer's agent that the inspection findings will all be discounted by 50%. Just to give you another example of how bad the reputation of this guy is...when you call a listing agent to find out why a previous contract was cancelled on their listing all they have to say is that _________ did the inspection and you immediately understand the problem.

My own experience with the deal killer working for one of my buyers was extremely unpleasant. I went into the inspection assuming we were working on the same side. Apparently he didn't see it that way. The first time I asked him a question he didn't even look up from his work and simply said "I can't talk to you without permission from the buyer". The only thing is that the buyer was standing right next to us and he could have very easily asked the buyer for permission. Instead I had to turn to my buyer and tell him to give the inspector permission to talk to me. What an idiot! Then every time I asked a question he would challenge me with "Are you trying to minimize my findings?" My response was always "Nooooo. I'm asking a question." In the end the listing agent confided in me that she had never seen an inspector act so rudely before.

At one point he was inspecting the furnace in the basement and he noticed some water stains along the side of the intake duct and declared that the basement had flooded. Except I pointed out to him that water stains from a basement flood would be along the entire base of the ductwork and not along the side. I suggested that maybe this was in fact condensation. He conceded that point to me and from that point on he treated me with a bit more respect.

In addition, his final report recommended that the house needed a new roof. Later we brought in a roofing expert who concluded that $500 worth of repairs would do just fine.

Get the picture? You can hire this guy to do your inspections but you need to understand what you are dealing with.

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  • Gary,

    Your pejoratives do reveal a bias, as does the rest of your post.

    The most common connotation of the phrase

  • No doubt this is a controversial topic. I've been postponing this post for a long time trying to figure out how to handle it. I decided to run with it after the most recent incident where our buyer wanted to bring this guy in to do an inspection and the listing agent advised his client to refuse and walk away from the deal if necessary. The reason for their position was that they were afraid that he would make a mountain out of a mole hill (as I've seen him do), kill the deal, and then stigmatize the property for future buyers. It was ultimately the seller's decision, not the agent's.

    My issue is that the guy I'm talking about is clearly an alarmist and unnecessarily confrontational, which is not in anyone's best interests. Yes, we are compensated differently but I can assure you that if I put buyers into homes with serious problems I won't be in business very long.

    BTW, the roofing expert in my example was selected by the buyer, not me or the listing agent.

  • Let me remind you, Gary, with all due respect, that you

  • Anyone with a reasonable amount of intelligence can tell when someone's logic is flawed. If I ask an inspector a question and his first response is to try to avoid answering it and upon further questioning it becomes apparent that his conclusions don't follow from his observations then I can reasonably conclude that he's an alarmist. People exercise this level of judgment every day in dealing with people who have more expertise than them in a variety of areas.

    You note with interest that I've clarified the points of my post twice. Big deal.

    Whether or not you consider my opinion on the brokerage industry illucid or not is irrelevant to the topic at hand but a lot of people share my disdain for this industry. Also, a lot of people share my opinion on Union Row and I stand by that opinion.

  • Gary,

    Considering your points in reverse order

  • Union Row: The main fact on the ground there is the railroad tracks and that proximity of the development to those tracks. Your comments on that post demonstrate nothing other than that you are biased by virtue of the fact that the developer pays you.

    You have also failed to demonstrate that I draw sweeping conclusions on insufficient knowledge.

    The clarifications that I made on the post above hardly constitute corrections of errors and have no bearing on the main point of the post.

    The inspector did try to avoid answering my questions repeatedly. Go back and reread the post. Several times instead of answering the question he challenged me with "Are you trying to minimize my findings?" The guy is extremely confrontational and that's putting it mildly.

    The logic I use in understanding the conclusions of any professional can hardly be called abstract. I expect a professional to be able to articulate their point of view in a manner whereby conclusions logically follow from facts and the basic laws of physics. I don't need 20 years of contracting experience to know that water doesn't climb straight up the side of metal ductwork.

  • Buyers will hopefully read our exchanges in their entirety and draw their own conclusions about the validity of your assertions.

    You indicate that you were put off at the outset of your dealings with this individual:

  • Actually, Joe, I consider his behavior unprofessional. My point is that a true professional would have turned to the buyer and asked for permission. This guy had a bug up his ass and was looking for an opportunity to make a point. I've attended many inspections and have never had an inspector pull this stunt before. Apparently, neither did the very experienced listing agent that considered his behavior to be extremely rude.

    In your comments on your own post on this topic you actually answered the question I was about to ask: "How do you know we are talking about the same individual?" As you put it "Everyone knows who I am talking about." In other words, there is exactly one inspector in the entire city of Chicago that behaves like this and has this reputation. Does that mean that all other inspectors are hacks? This is the only guy anyone should deal with? I find this hard to believe.

    You have made the unsupported assertion that I only deal with hack inspectors who allow my deals to go through. I'd like to set the record straight on that point. Let me tell you about 2 inspectors on my referral list. The first time I met one of them he killed the deal in the first 60 seconds on the property by noticing a critical problem. I went home and added him to my list. The first time I met the other inspector he came up with a laundry list of problems that almost killed the deal but allowed me to negotiate about $20K in additional concessions from the seller. I immediately added him to my list also.

    Joe, you accuse me of unsubstantiated rants but it looks like you're the one engaging in it - except you get personal.

  • You admit to being ignorant of the guy

  • I never admitted to being ignorant of this inspector's obligations. I just don't treat a home inspection as a deposition. I'm standing there less than 1 foot away from both the buyer and the inspector and there is no reason why we can't have a civil conversation while still respecting the intent of the law.

    Since you want to be quoted let's review a few of your quotes: "Only a hack would talk to you about his inspection results without his client

  • You may not think you

  • Before I respond myself I'm going to post a comment that was emailed to me by John Reim of Bee Sure Home Inspection:

    "In most cases when a deal goes "haywire" due to an inspection it is in my experience due to the actual condition of the home and its systems as opposed to the overzealous inspector. As Gary has suggested, there are certainly some homes out there that are simply in lousy condition and in need of many major high dollar repairs and replacements. Thus the importance of hiring a good and reputable inspector. But there are unfortunately some really "gung ho" inspectors out there who feel their single purpose in life is to make mountains out of molehills and continuously "stir up the hive". What they feel they have to prove is beyond me. 20 years ago this inspector would not be in business. Inspectors relied completely upon direct referral from real estate agents back then, and conducting his or her business in this manner would have been suicide. Today with the internet and other marketing means available to all businesses, the savvy homebuyer can literally shop for almost anything without leaving the home or even picking up the phone. From their real estate agent, to inspector, to moving company, to mortgage lender, etc. You want to chose an inspector who is not working for the agent or that is in the agent's pocket, but also you want to hire one that is respected and proven amongst professionals in the real estate industry, be it agents, lenders, attorneys, etc. This is a topic I could go on and on for quite some time so I will just end it here.

    Also, one problem I see here was the inspector mentioning that the house needed a new roof. It is not the role or responsibility of the inspector to make such a bold and blatant statement. If deficiencies are found with the roof and its systems, the inspector is not to criticize and offer his or her opinion, but instead should recommend further evaluation by a trained specialist, in this case an evaluation by a qualified roofing professional should have been what the inspector reported, not "oh gee the roof is lousy and needs to be completely replaced." By making this statement the inspector has now assumed the role of a professional roofing contractor, which he or she is not. Keep in mind home inspectors are generalists. They are not experts in any one system of the home in most cases. They do not carry licenses in plumbing, electrical, etc. The best way I have heard this summarized was by my inspection instructor years ago...."home inspectors are jacks of all trades and masters of none." We have enough training and knowledge to recognize potential problems or issues and it is our duty then to recommend further evaluation by qualified professionals. If someone wants an inspection with "experts or specialists" in every area of the home then they are looking for what is called an "exhaustive inspection". This is outside the scope of a general pre-purchase home inspection, takes days to complete, and costs thousands of dollars. Much different than a 2-4 hour inspection costing $300-$500.

    Also, the inspector should not have concluded that "the basement flooded" without fully taking into account all of the evidence first. This was a poor decision on his or her part. Chances are if in fact the basement had flooded there would be other signs and evidence of this elsewhere. It's like walking into a dark room and saying the lights don't work. Then someone turns on the light switch....

    I have also never heard of an inspector (hired by the purchaser) who is not willing to speak to the buyer

  • Gary,

    Note the quote:

  • Come on, Joe, none of my paraphrasing of your statements materially changed what you were trying to say.

    As for the law...I don't deny that the law is what you say it is but you also need to consider how it is realistically interpreted on a day to day basis. Consider the following definition in the real estate license act: "Agency" means a relationship in which a real estate broker or licensee, whether directly or through an affiliated licensee, represents a consumer by the consumer's consent, whether express or implied, in a real property transaction.

    In addition, the real estate training book produced by the state has the following statements in it. Fiduciary (which describes the responsibility of a real estate agent) is defined as "the relationship in which the agent is held in a position of special trust and confidence by the principal." In addition, the book goes on to say under a section entitled Reasonable Skill and Care that "The agent should know all the facts pertinent to the principal's affairs, such as the physical characteristics of the property being transferred..."

    My point is that there is an implicit understanding in the industry that the inspector is authorized to speak to the realtor who is the trusted representative of the buyer. I can't even imagine a scenario where a buyer wouldn't give this permission if requested.

    What I find interesting though is that this inspector had no issue with disclosing his findings (which is what the law is talking about) in my presence but he made an issue of the law when I asked him a question.

    BTW, I found the following section of the ASHI code of ethics to be very interesting: "Inspectors shall be objective in their reporting and not knowingly understate or overstate the significance of reported conditions."

  • BTW, I just pulled up the inspection report for that property and in the roof section he underlined the word Replaced and next to it wrote 10,000 - 15,000. I also noticed with amusement that he recommended replacing the south side patio concrete because it was a trip hazard. This is another great example of exaggeration. a) it wasn't that bad b) the entire city of Chicago is a greater trip hazard than that patio by his standard.

  • In reply to LucidRealty:

    A trip hazard must be reported. This is a safety / liability issue. Even if it was "minor" in appearance. In a sidewalk for example all it would take is one slip/trip from a postal carrier or UPS carrier with resulting injury and bam...lawsuit. Agreed there are thousands of hazards in and around the city which are way worse...but in this case best to err on the side of caution and protect the client. Another question to raise would be whether or not the entire patio needed replacement? Could repairs be made by qualified concrete repair specialists? Would a simple mudjacking attempt alleviate the hazard? Without seeing the patio firsthand I cannot make any judgement here, but this approach would be far less costly than complete replacement.

  • Well, Gary, the inspector we

  • In reply to joezekas:

    Your information on NACHI is offbase. I am not going to start a debate on the merrits of NACHI v.s. ASHI v.s. NAHI as this point is really moot. All inspectors worth their weight should have some type of professional affiliation with a recognized national organization such as those mentioned above. All of these organizations it should be noted require their members to go above and beyond the state standards for inspection requirements.

    NACHI inspectors are not necessarily any less or more qualified than those affiliated with ASHI or NAHI, etc. I can say the requirements for NACHI affiliation are more involved than "requires only passing a 3-part online quiz, with no verification of who

  • In reply to joezekas:

    Galen at the Dugs,
    Nice comment! I am a home inspector. I 100% agree that we work for you and you only, not the seller, listing agent or buyer agent. I too have been called a "deal killer" by several agents when the deal fell through based on the inspection. I recently had buyers that needed to run from a home that had extensive water intrusion in behind walls and structural support issues. I made it clear the home needed extensive repairs and had evidence of even more water intrusion that was not visible. In my opinion "run".. I also made it clear that they would have to ultimately make the decision of what they feel they can take on! SO did I "scare" them or give them what they pay for, an honest straight forward look at the home. The listing agent came at the end and the buyers had already left half way through and made mention that they were probably going to keep looking. The listing agent sounded surprised when I explained some of my findings and wanted me to send her a copy.. I explained to her that the buyers would have to authorize me to do so and I would be happy to forward it to her as well. She seemed a little put out, but said she would just get it from them. Everyone needs to understand. I have a reputation with "some" agents and I exclusively work with other agents that want me to find everything wrong with the home for their client, regardless, and express the significance of those findings. Some agents even call me and say, "that is pretty bad isn't it?". The agents that do not want us to say the truth or as we say "sugarcoat" the findings are the ones to stay away from. Notice Gary said "neutral"! Neutral is code for sugarcoat what you find... If it is really bad, down play it, do not say what it truly is..This belief scares me! and Realtor should not be allowed in the process in my opinion. I had a completely rotted roof that one listing agent and seller had a "friend roofer" come out and say it was fine to discredit me.. I challenged everyone, including the seller and roofer, to walk on the roof and specifically in the areas I said.. Neither took my challenge or took me up on hiring a licensed structural engineer for a second opinion... Be careful of the agents, like the one who wrote the story, that want "neutrality" you will not get a true honest inspection! BAD IS BAD!! no sugar coating that..

  • In reply to joezekas:

    Where did I use the word neutral? Just did a search of the entire page and didn't find it. I can assure you I do not look for a sugar coated inspection. In fact, when it comes to water damage I am all over it before the inspector even gets there. I'm usually pointing out evidence of it to the inspector and then I recommend a mold inspection.

  • In reply to LucidRealty:

    Balanced was the term you used! Means the same as Neutral. You all want us to Balance our reports in turn causing them to be neutral... I will not "balance" a report just to offset the negatives.. If the house sucks!! then it sucks... As far as water damage, I challenge you on that. I find most of mine before you would ever see it!! I USE THERMAL INFRARED, as every inspector should.. I see what you can not!! Do not pretend to know even a fraction of what I do!

  • In reply to Homeguy:

    In your mind balanced = neutral = sugar coated. Not in my mind. I am not looking for sugar coating. What I am looking for is someone who says "the patio is cracked" vs. "the patio is a trip hazard and needs to be replaced" - unless there is like a 2 inch (for example) lift on one slab vs the other. BTW, when an inspector brings up something like that I step out of the way and let the buyer decide what they want to do. At that point all I can do is lose credibility so the most I do is suggest they get a roofing specialist to come in - for instance. In this case the buyers ignored the patio issue since it was blatantly obvious to them before the inspector showed up and they opted to believe the roofer over the inspector.

    I don't know what you are all in a huff about. What are you challenging me about? That I look for water damage on the first visit of the house? That I ask the inspector what every discoloration in the basement is? I never claimed that I know as much as you do.

  • In reply to LucidRealty:

    Again, you state what I knew about you. The requirement for a trip hazard is a lift or displacement of 1/2 inch or more. This can cause elderly and children to trip potentially causing serious injury. We have to report such a lift as a trip hazard. You want 2 inches.. then you assume all responsibility in writing for any injuries and lawsuits that happen after the fact when their kids friend is over playing and trips on a 1 inch lifted crack... AGAIN, you want something sugercoated... To say it is just cracked when it may have a 1 inch lift and displacement, not to mention what is actually causing that concern is likely it was not built correctly with proper reinforcement. By you stating you want someone who states "the patio is cracked" instead of detailed how much and the potential hazards (WE HAVE TO REPORT POTENTIAL SAFETY HAZARDS) you are one of those agents that wants a neutral-balanced-sugercoated report... Your own statement proves your ignorance and you should not pretend to know how to report or what to report on a home inspection...

  • In reply to Homeguy:

    You know I was afraid you were going to jump on my 2" statement, which is why I put "for example" in parentheses. I was not claiming that 2" should be the standard but that there should be a standard. I'm glad there is an objective standard. My recollection is that the patio was merely cracked but frankly I can't be certain of that so I'll have to check it out next time I'm in the area.

  • In reply to Homeguy:

    Gary,
    My guess is you love checklist reports!! Very "balanced" with no actual meaning.....

  • In reply to Homeguy:

    My guess is you like to make conjectures about what other people are like.

  • In reply to joezekas:

    Note to commenters

  • In reply to joezekas:

    I did get a chuckle out of the comment about paraphrasing. However, there is an important distinction here. I was not attempting to quote you and the difference between

  • In reply to LucidRealty:

    Get real, Gary. When you put quotation marks around words, as you did, anyone will assume you're quoting. What you think you were attempting has no relevance to that.

    The words "in the business" are material, unless you think there's no difference between real estate people and everyone. The difference between "talking" and "ranting" is material.

    When you put quotes around words and say that someone said them, every single variation is material.

    The world doesn't revolve around your interpretation of things, and you don't get to decide whether your words are equivalent in meaning to mine. "Gary thinks" is an approach you've taken consistently in this discussion, minimizing the opinions of anyone who differs with your interpretation, no matter how off base it is.

    Rather than simply chuckling at my comment you might have tried to act on it. If I had misquoted you I would have immediately admitted error and apologized. That's what professionals do.

  • In reply to LucidRealty:

    Here's a video I shot with a home inspector suggesting how real estate agents interfere with home inspections:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhGHa4LPMgY

  • In reply to joezekas:

    More on the same topic from my interview, and a riff on the deficiencies of buyers agents.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HMzjkdv2MQ

  • In reply to joezekas:

    First, I totally support inspecting the common elements of a condominium building. And I don't deny that some agents will recoil in horror at this thought and maybe throw up intentional roadblocks. However, I can see a few stumbling blocks that are occurring. First, the inspector tells the buyer what he needs and the buyer tells their agent who tells the listing agent who tells the property manager and maybe the association gets involved and maybe there's a building engineer. So now you have the telephone game. For example, "common elements" becomes "common areas" and then confusion ensues. From the inspector's perspective the agents dropped the ball but it could just be a misunderstanding. It would be best if there was a handout explaining exactly what kind of access was being requested.

    In addition, I could understand an association or a property manager getting very nervous about this kind of inspection, which they don't usually see. They're probably worried about the inspector damaging something.

  • In reply to LucidRealty:

    "They're probably worried about the inspector damaging something."

    That's going to stand as the laugh line of the year for some time to come.

    Is't this blog called "Getting Real?"

  • In reply to joezekas:

    You don't think they are worried about the inspector taking something apart and damaging it in the process? Why do you think they want to see the guy's insurance policy?

  • In reply to LucidRealty:

    Gary, Gary, Gary.

    Get yourself familiar with the imits on what an inspector is alllowed to do. I'll let the inspectors answer this one for you. Or you can read the state law and regs.

    The only thing likely to be damaged is a building's reputation once defects are discovered.

  • In reply to joezekas:

    limits, not imits ...

  • In reply to joezekas:

    InterNACHI inspectors are the best trained home inspectors. InterNACHI's FULL SET of requirements can be found at http://www.nachi.org/rigorous2006.htm

    ASHI is a known diploma mill that anyone can join online in less than 30 seconds with nothing more than a valid credit card. Look at diploma mil ASHI's online application: https://www.homeinspector.org/join/application/default.aspx

    The ASHI logo is the inspection industry's symbol of shame.

  • In reply to InterNACHI:

    That's a slimy, dishonest attempt to tarnish the far more demanding and recognized organization. You're not fooling anyone.

    Here are the requirements for basic ASHI membership:

    http://www.homeinspector.org/join/categoryreqs.aspx

    Your members ought to be embarrassed by your behavior.

  • In reply to InterNACHI:

    John, Joe and Gary -- I'll suggest that while most buyers are hopefully savvy enough to get a home inspector, most of us are not savvy enough to know the difference between ASHI and NACHI. They're not exactly household names or commplace around the corporate water cooler.

  • In reply to InterNACHI:

    No matter what organization you are with has no bearing on your ability to be a proffesional home inspector. I'm a member of InterNACHI and NACHI Chicago, and I can say we all have a different way of presenting ourselves to our clients. The issue here is, this inspector must have a reputation of not knowing how to assist his clients in the decision process. We are hired to educate and be an unbiased set of eyes to help our clients to make a purchasing decision. I find it hard to beleive that more than one realtor's exaggerating. Many realtors have had similar stories of past inspectors doing the same thing. Seems there's some of us that treat our clients and their realtors with respect.

  • In reply to sbowdish:

    It's hard to treat some Realtors with respect when they sit at office-wide meetings and agree to boycott an inspector simply because he discovered a defect they didn't want discovered or disclosed.

    I saw that repeatedly years ago, and have seen a concerted effort on the part of many Realtors to put this individual out of business based on his integrity. If he's developed an attitude toward Realtors, it's easy to understand why. Just look at Gary's approach to this, where he wants to put his judgment on a safety issue above the inspector's.

  • In reply to sbowdish:

    Unbiased, how can you say that! that would be like a Realtor representing both the seller and buyer. Home inspectors represent the buyer! You are there to fine pick the sellers home.. PERIOD! That is and should be your bias, remember who hires you, not the Realtor- THE BUYER! If that is how you operate than shame on you! Or maybe you get all your references from Realtors, I get majority of mine from past clients.

  • In reply to Homeguy:

    I don't believe by "unbiased" that he was referring to his relationship with the buyer or seller. Rather his decision of how and when to report on an issue? Steve please correct me if wrong...

  • In reply to sbowdish:

    Please guys, grow up! ASHI has benefits and so does InterNachi, I belong to both. WHY? I get much better support from InterNachi with agreements that can be signed electronically, education that is free, courses readily available and a large presence and links to my site. ASHI does have certain requirements and a well known reputation in the community! They both have discounts available. But the big reason is that my customers win if I am associated with as many organizations and get the best education possible. PERIOD!

  • In reply to Homeguy:

    I don't think anyone is questioning what benefits NACHI has for home inspectors. That's for each individual home inspector to decide.

    The relevant point for home buyers is that NACHI means nothing, and ASHI certification provides some assurances as to the home inspctor's qualifications and experience.

  • In reply to joezekas:

    Once again I'm not following you. The main benefit NACHI provides its inspectors would be access to education. And an educated inspector should certainly be something a home buyer should desire. An educated inspector IS a qualified and experienced inspector.

  • In reply to jrinspect1:

    Online experience and credentials are not the same as qualifications and experience.

    How about updating your profile to let us know who you are?

    Cynics like me want to verify your ASHI and NACHI membership, and have zero confidence in anonymous claims.

  • In reply to joezekas:

    Addressed to Homeguy ...

  • In reply to joezekas:

    I have nothing to prove to you! I run a business and one very important fact you should know if actually running a business is to "say it, forget it"- "put it in writing regret it". Arguments on websites are just that. I know I am a member of these organizations and so do my clients, you are not my client! So believe what you want, I do not care if you believe me or not! Like my memberships, my points are valid....As a matter of fact, you are not a member of ASHI or NACHI, so what do you know about it! How can you state something that you know nothing about, especially not being a member, I guess I should have zero confidence in anything you say!

  • In reply to Homeguy:

    Unless maybe your last name provided is anonymous!!!

  • In reply to Homeguy:

    First of all, your friend is wrong about conflict of interest! I solicit to realtors to give services to their clients to help them understand what they are investing in . I give realtors nothing but an educated client! You and your friend belong together, both of you generalize that what he experiences, every home inspector experiences, and that simply is not true. Also, buyers are not our only clients. Some are known to have sellers as clients along with investers, banks, mortgage brokers, and even realtors! Yes, even they buy and sell home! There's contractors, builders, people wanting maintenance inspections, there are all kinds of inspections performed. May I suggest you talk with other home inspectors before you put this kind of damaging material out. You are simply uneducated on the rolls of inspectors and associations. Thank you for this waste of my time.

  • In reply to sbowdish:

    BTW- WHO IS YOUR STATEMENT (STEVE) ADDRESSED TOO?
    I have done all sorts of inspections as you mentioned. Again, do not assume my statement to mean that the buyer is your only "type" of client. Just remember who you are working for when you perform whatever inspection it is. If the seller hires you, the seller is who you owe obedience too! If a buyer, then the buyer! Not a bank, Realtor so on!.. We should abide to the same principles as the ethics requirements that a Realtor is suppose to follow, but unfortunately many do not!. By providing a substandard checklist or very monotone report, we are simply not providing the service the industry expects!! I just find it a shame that many unscrupulous inspectors rely so heavily on the Realtor to provide the income. Which also suggests a lack of referrals from past clients! I think every state should require licensing, full insurance. This will get rid of quite a few guys with pickups and a flashlight!

  • In reply to sbowdish:

    You wasted your time because you don't seem to have understood what you saw. You're certainly not accurately reporting its contents.

  • In reply to sbowdish:

    Anyone who actually watches the video will see that your statements about generalizing aren't true.

    My friend has all of the types of clients you suggest he doesn't.

    In 1987, along with a group of local inspectors, I co-founded the now-defunct ISHI (Illinois Society of Home Inspectors), and wrote its by-laws and Code of Ethics, one of the first in the country. Having worked with dozens of trade associations throughout the country prior to that, while I was practicing law with a large law firm, I think I was well-qualified for that role.

    I've known many inspectors over the years, as advertisers and as friends.

    If you don't think that you have a conflict of interest when most of your business comes through Realtor referrals (if it does), then you simply don't understand what a conrflict of interest is.

  • In reply to Homeguy:

    People can easily check me out to verify my credibility. For all anyone knows you're the NACHI guy who showed up earlier in this thread.

    Legitimate businesses don't regret putting things in writing. And I've run a business for nearly 25 years with some of the larget newspapers int he country for clients.

  • In reply to Homeguy:

    I agree with you, it was intended for Joe.

  • In reply to joezekas:

    NACHI accepts all state approved education courses toward the NACHI CE requirements. Many NACHI inspectors seek educational opportunities in the classroom or with hands on training, not just online.

  • In reply to joezekas:

    Wow. Lotta crazies on here.

    @DarkAngel, they are not a team. They are two different people who work for you. Take responsibility. When the inspector says they need your permission, say, "granted" and listen to the answer. Is that hard? For me it is not . . .

    @WestLooper, if you are the buyer this inspector is awesome. They work for you. You can ask them ANYTHING you want. You can say things like "this patio doesn't seem like that big a deal to me. Am I missing something?" If they say yes, it is built on a live reactor, so be it. Otherwise, be in control.

    You know, all of the pissing on here is about an agent being too big for his britches and an inspector being an ass about it. However, both are being paid by you, so crack heads.

  • In reply to joezekas:

    I'd rather hire a "kick-ass inspector" than a Realtor ANYTIME.

    Realtors are worthless.

    Even if an inspector is nit-picky, at least you have an idea of what you're getting into.

    The only thing most Realtors do is smile and get a check at the end of the process. They are worthless.

    Oh, I'm sorry. Am I being too harsh?

    The reason we're in the economic mess we're in nationally is in large part the result of Realtors - many of whom let their clients buy homes that were historically WAAAAAYYYYYY over-priced.

    I didn't. But I did buy a house that was badly inspected by an inspector who was LOVED in the community of Realtors. He came recommended by several Realtors I worked with during my years of house hunting before I finally purchased the place I bought.

    To boot: the garage door didn't work; the furnace and water heater needed to be replaced within 3 years; the washing machine didn't work; there were problems with the roof and even one of the toilets didn't flush.

    Bottom line: Realtors are worthless. Get yourself a kick-ass inspector and do all of the other work yourself.

  • In reply to TelltheTruth:

    This is a great example of how it doesn't make sense for a realtor to recommend a poor inspector. You've probably told 10 friends not to use this realtor. I hope you've shared this feedback with your realtor so that he/she knows a) you are not happy and b) his/her inspector sucks.

    But don't conclude that all realtors are worthless. Only about 80% are.

  • In reply to TelltheTruth:

    Do conclude that Realtors should not reccomend home inspectors at all, and that any home inspector recommended by a Realtor is immediately suspect.

  • In reply to joezekas:

    Once again I think you're being a bit extreme. Shocker. A realtor, if they are going to recommend an inspector, should offer their client more than one option. At least two or three recommendations would be preferred. Realtors should stress that the client is not obligated to use these inspectors, and that client should do their own research and interview the inspectors before making a decision. The fact of the matter is many homebuyers, especially newbies, have no clue where to start when it comes to choosing an inspector. Where to look? What to ask? There is nothing wrong with a realtor pointing a buyer in the right direction. The client should have the ultimate say in who they choose to do their inspection, however to say that ALL inspectors recommended by a realtor are suspect is simply untrue. Shame on you Joe. There are inspectors who get referred by realtors that put the interests of their clients first. Contrary to yor beliefs, they do exist.

  • In reply to jrinspect1:

    And if the realtor is worth a crap they will understand and be happy if a deal falls apart due to a bad inspection. There are plenty of properties out there to look at, and what realtor wants a pissed off client down the road? That's bad business.

  • In reply to joezekas:

    I agree with you, John, that there are inspectors recommended by Realtors who are not beholden to Realtors and value their clients above all.

    That doesn

  • In reply to joezekas:

    Sounds to me like you just contradicted yourself. There are inspectors who get recommended that do value their clients, but ALL recommended inspectors should be considered suspect? You are so goofy.

    I agree there are too many licensed Realtors out there who are strictly focused on the check and do not put the interests of their clients first. But there are a good number of Realtors that actually don't fit that bill as well. To lump sum them all together as some type of enemy and practice "Realtor Bashing" all over cyberspace is just unproductive and confrontational.

  • In reply to jrinspect1:

    Think about it. No contradiction at all.

    I'm not a Realtor basher. I've made my living from serving Realtors for decades and know a number of great ones.

  • In reply to joezekas:

    Anyone who has read this blog or visited your website can plainly see that you are not a fan of Realtors. Shall I share some examples of your rhetoric?

    "I

  • In reply to jrinspect1:

    You don

  • In reply to joezekas:

    I disagree, I know a few inspectors who went immediately out and became ASHI members without the logo and some that just started, read a few books from AHIT and took the NHIE and have ASHI logo use. They have relatively no experience and can say they belong to ASHI.. ASHI is no guarantee either!! You can say you are a member of ASHI just by paying the membership... What guarantee is that? And NACHI does require education and training to continue. Yes they do an online test which is much more than most! At least you have to take several tests before you can call yourself a member of NACHI (besides it is InterNachi now) where you do not have to do anything to call yourself an member of ASHI only logo use requires more!

  • In reply to Homeguy:

    If I've failed to make that clear, I was referring to ASHI certifiction, which requires far more than InterNACHI.

  • In reply to Homeguy:

    Homeguy I am with you. This is why I tried to snub this debate from the get go. Seems a statement on my website has been misconstrued and blown out of proportion by Mr. Zekas to be a diss against other inspection organizations, which is not the intent of the statement. And once again was not the original topic of debate with this blog...

  • In reply to jrinspect1:

    Tell me how that statement can be construed any other way than how I construed it. It was a cheap, dishonest shot at anyone who's not a NACHI member.

  • In reply to joezekas:

    Joe if that is how you interpret that statement then I guess that's your opinion. I will make it known here and now publicly that this is not the intent of the statement, to slam other inspectors or organizations. I have already explained here that I personally think any inspector must be affiliated with a professional group, whichever one that may be, as long as they are active members who fulfill the organization's requirements. I know many inspectors who are not NACHI affiliates and consider them to be fantastic inspectors. I do not believe one group is better than any other, it depends entirely on the individual inspector and what they are looking for in an organization. Being that you are not an inspector, you may not fully understand this. My intent was NEVER to start a debate or war over this topic, but apparently you are hell bent on continuing to be an instigator on this issue. So quite frankly I'm done responding to you. It is apparent to me that you are very confrontational and your relationship with this "other inspector" has biased your opinions. Good day.

  • In reply to jrinspect1:

    What your statement says is not a matter of opinion. It's a matter of clear, unambiguous English.

    If you're serious, you'll clarify the statement on your Web site. You will do that, won't you?

  • In reply to jrinspect1:

    What your statement says is not a matter of opinion. It's a matter of clear, unambiguous English.

    If you're serious, you'll clarify the statement on your Web site. You will do that, won't you?

  • In reply to joezekas:

    If it would put a cork in your big trap I might just do it.

  • In reply to jrinspect1:

    As a seller, the inspector in question sound likes a nightmare. As a buyer it is harder to tell -- on the one hand you want to know all the issues, but on the other hand you want someone to prioritize the issues and certainly do not want them to jeopardize a deal if there aren't big issues.

  • In reply to InterNACHI:

    Apparently no one took it to heart when I said this was not the place to debate ASHI vs NACHI. Instead of fighting over the requirements and demands for membership in each organization and arguing over which one is better, can we not all agree ASHI inspectors are biased to ASHI, NACHI inspectors biased to NACHI, etc.
    The bottom line is a home inspector should be affiliated with a professional organization which sets standards for its members that have an objective of educating inspectors and providing home buyers with a pool of inspectors who are knowledgeable, ethical, and well trained. It is my opinion and that of many other real estate professionals that both organizations serve this purpose well.
    Come on guys. This argument is ridiculous and irrelevant. It's like a Bears fan arguing with a Packers fan. Oh dear, I may have started something with that comment...:-)

  • In reply to jrinspect1:

    You

  • In reply to InterNACHI:

    Mr. Zekas. My link shows that ASHI has no entrance requirements. Your link shows that ASHI's highest "certified" membership level is awarded for those who pass the beginner's exam (NHIE), the very same exam used by several states to license newbies fresh out of school. Thanks for clearing that up. LOL!

  • In reply to InterNACHI:

    Unfortunately for you, readers can cut through your claims and see the membership requirements for each organization, and what claims members are able to make as a result.

  • In reply to InterNACHI:

    No, seriously, whose is bigger?

  • In reply to joezekas:

    Thankfully I've avoided the alphabet soup debate below.

    Regarding your cheap shot about how good I am at real estate: I'm not licensed in law but I am licensed in real estate.

    As I've pointed out below there was no material distortion of anything you said.

    As for whether or not I am qualified to judge the exaggerations of an inspector...it's not just me, Joe. According to you there is only one inspector in the city that many, many agents think exaggerates his findings. My buyers who hired him apparently came to the same conclusion (without my input) regarding the roof and the patio.

  • Gary,

    Am I missing something or were you free to pit your credibility about the significance of the roof and patio issues against the home inspector

  • In reply to joezekas:

    As I just pointed out above, in the end, without my input, the buyers concluded the patio was a non-issue and they settled for a moderate roof credit. As I also explained in here somewhere, when an inspector issues his report I don't try to discount it with the buyers. That would be suicide. I ask for clarifications during the inspection and afterwards when necessary.

  • Okay I have to chime in here, as a potential seller/buyer in this terrible real estate market. First, I've never met either of you though I follow Gary's blog, have seen some of Joe's video clips and have seen both of your comments on Crib Chatter.

    Joe has one point, inspectors get paid whether or not a deal is made, whereas the realtors only get paid if the deal goes through. However, it's apparent this isn't a blog about inspectors in general but a particular one.

    I don't know how the situation actually went down but If I were the buyer and I had my realtor and this inspector in the same room and he pulled the "I cannot answer that question without permission" bit instead of acting like a normal human being, I'd fire him on the spot. I consider my realtor and my home inspector to be part of the same team since they make money off me directly or indirectly. I'm paying for a professional inspection and I expect the inspector to conduct themselves as a professional. They don't have to like each other or like what the other person says but they have to work together.

    Now if this inspector lacks some social skills and his way of asking the client "can I answer that" was by being a robot and stating the rules, that's another issue.

    Finally Joe, referring to Gary as "Clueless" and "ignorant"...come on. You should be able to make your argument without lowering yourself to name-calling.

  • DarkAngel,

    I did an extensive series of videos with Gary in University Village because of his knowledge of the area. Wouldn

  • Thanks DarkAngel for chiming in. In reading your comments it occurs to me that this post devolved into a discussion of one particular inspector. That was not my original intent. I was just using my interaction with this guy as an example of what can go wrong with an over zealous inspection. My assumption going into this was that there were others like him. Maybe not.

    I'll respond to the rest of Joe's comments later. I only have so much energy for this in one day.

  • Mine's 7 inches...how about yours?

  • As a homebuyer (although not in Chicago) who did kill a deal in which both realtors and especially the seller were certain I was making a mountain out of a molehill, I have to say I appreciate when inspectors go in with a "kick ass" attitude. I'm not obliged to follow any of their advice or suggested repairs, and can take what I want to negotiation, but I absolutely need to know all the information. As a risk-averse buyer, knowing that the risk of buying that home *maybe* would require 25% of its purchase price in repair costs someday simply wasn't worth it.

    I'm not paying an inspector to confirm what I can see, or make me feel better about a deal. I'm effectively hiring him to kill the deal. Tell me why this house sucks. Tell me how it might collapse. Tell me what will explode. I want it if the inspector can't do that.

    Then for all the stuff they do point out, I need to consider likelihood of repair versus cost, and work it out with my own personal preference for how much risk I want to assume for the place in which I live. His job is to give me the worst-case scenario, and then my job is to weigh it with all the other factors in negotiation. I could see it being more of a problem for people who will automatically take an inspection report as gospel truth, but for me, I hire an inspector specifically to doomcast and then weigh the opinion appropriately.

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