Trusting Your Agent & Inspector
There is an Old Wives Tale in the home inspection industry where home buyers are not to trust an inspector recommended by their real estate agent. The theory is that they are in cahoots with each other, and the inspector will not provide a detailed and truthful report to you. The scheme is that both are so intent on completing the sale that the inspector will gloss-over serious defects so the transaction will move forward.
I find this sad – mostly because it is sometimes true. The laws of probability dictate that there are certainly some agents and inspectors who are so ethically challenged that this scenario is their typical MO. The agent is so anxious to close the deal that they pressure -- or signal – the inspector to slide past some obscure defects that might otherwise kill the deal. I can only hope this is the rare exception.
What this has done is to push home buying clients to search for inspectors online where they hope to find a competent and trustworthy inspector not related to their agent. In their digital search they will certainly find a homogenous list of inspectors who all have glowing credentials, similar services, and hand-picked references. From this list they will apply their personal filters and select an unknown inspector who will likely do a good job.
Yet, this relationship is rather thin as Google has now become your agent. There is no sense of trust or loyalty between you and the inspector. It’s like you have met on an online dating app; and if the inspection tour and report are merely average, there may not be a second date or even a heart-felt referral.
I find this all counter intuitive. I believe the opposite is true. With no scientific evidence other than my own personal experience, I find myself being more focused on the details of the property when I am working for a client referred by one of my trusted stable of agents. The last thing I want is to miss some defect that will not only harm our mutual client, but one that may come back as a lawsuit against both myself and the agent. That is no way to get repeat business.
Also, I find these referred clients to be better informed about the general procedure of the home inspection and of my specific technique. There is less confusion and misunderstanding of what to expect from the tour and report. When defects are discovered, I know the agent will support me as I describe the effects of the problem, rather than dismiss them as extreme. In general, I produce a better product.
Now don’t get me wrong; I do appreciate the clients that find me online. I try to give them the best service I can every time. But there is no substitute for the thoughtful referral from a trusted colleague.