When working with buyer clients, I always strongly recommend a home inspection. In addition, I have worked with quite a few different inspectors, and I have found one that is stellar, and another who is very good. I recommend the first one every time and if my clients want a few inspectors to call, I recommend two.
Why do I recommend my favorite inspector every time?
Because he is responsive, thorough, professional, a non-alarmist, fairly priced, and he provides an extremely detailed inspection report with pictures by the end of the same day as the inspection. My clients will know exactly what kind of issues exist with the home they are purchasing so that we can put together a plan of next steps. There is nothing in the recommendation for me, except for the fact that I know this part of the home buying process will move forward smoothly.
My buyer clients don’t always take my recommendation.
About half the time, my clients will decide to use another inspector. Sometimes they find someone less expensive, sometimes they use a neighbor/friend, sometimes they just want to do their own thing. I’m always a little concerned since I know the one I recommend is great. However, it is my client’s decision and since I’m always on the lookout for another great inspector, I approach the new person with an open mind.
And how’s that been working?
Most recently, my clients hired a different inspector than the one I recommended. The inspector showed up on time in a company truck with nice business cards and a great big smile. I was feeling positive vibes.
He then proceeded to do his inspection. He pointed out a few things that FHA would probably have a problem with, but other than that he just walked around outside and inside looking at things. Besides a flashlight, I saw no testing equipment, no camera, no tools. At the end of the inspection, the inspector talked my clients into paying for an additional test to see what kind of mold was in the basement (there is visible mold on a few ceiling rafters) because he claimed you needed to know what kind of mold it was prior to fixing it. I hadn’t heard of this before, but hoped he knew what he was talking about. It was a fairly expensive test that would be done a few days later and oh, the same guy would be doing it. After they paid for everything, he handed them their inspection report on the spot and left.
I asked my clients to send me a copy of the report so we could review it and decide next steps, and after I left I did some research on the mold testing, which apparently is NOT necessary per the EPA. Basically, the mold needs to be remediated and the source identified and repaired. That’s wouldn’t be that difficult in this case. So I contacted my clients, who did their own research also and decided to cancel the mold test they had ordered. We also reviewed the report. The report was very unhelpful with no pictures and just check marks saying things were good or not and a few scribbled comments.
Use of other inspectors is not working too well:
So in this particular instance, the inspector was certainly punctual and responsive, but was not thorough, did not provide a useful report, and tried to get my clients to purchase an unnecessary test. They did not get a good product for their money.
In another instance, a different inspector for different clients spend the first 15 minutes talking about how wonderful he was, and how he had great credentials, and how he didn’t do very many inspections because he’s so great at all these other things, and how he can’t go on the roof, not because he weighs 200 pounds (understatement to put it mildly) but because the roof was unaccessible. Then he wandered around saying, “ohhhh, so interesting, I love homes like this.” My clients saw the final report and were happy with it, but the entire inspection concerned me (and I shared my concerns).
And I have other examples, where the results were similar.
Why didn’t they call my recommended guy?
When I asked my recent clients why they hadn’t used the guy I recommended, they indicated they just sent a bunch of emails to as many inspectors as possible, including the recommended inspector, and used the one that responded first. My takeaway is that in the future, I should find out the reason for their selection prior to going on the appointment. Had I known up front why they selected a different inspector, I would have explained the need for a great inspector before the appointment and would have pointed them in the better direction.
So what’s the bottom line?
To my future clients: when I make a recommendation, please take my advice – I have your best interests at heart!