Disclosing Defects to a Difficult Realtor As a Home Inspector

If you have been a home inspector for very long you have undoubtedly come across a difficult realtor who wants to undermine, down play, and argue against many of the defects you discover during your inspection. The more defects you find in a home, the more negotiations that may be required to finalize a sale and the realtor doesn’t want any speed bumps in the way of their commissions. Don’t let a bad real estate agent get in the way of you performing the best home inspection possible for your client.

As a home inspector your job is to disclose any defects you encounter and to educate your clients to the best of your ability about the conditions of the property you are inspecting. All you’re doing is notifying the person who hired you about exactly what they are considering buying, properly negotiating the terms of the sale based on the condition of the home is up to the buyer and seller.

Failed negotiations based on the findings of the home inspector can mean more work for the real estate agent in finding a different home for the buyer, but if the buyer and seller can’t come to agreeable terms for the home then it’s just the realtor’s job to keep trying with a different home.

While the agent will usually not volunteer this information, some agents have a vested interest in your client buying a specific home because they are both the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent. While this is a conflict of interest most agents will show their clients the homes of the sellers they represent first because if they end up purchasing one of those homes the agent will get double commissions.

It is good to simply educate a difficult realtor on the moral and legal requirements that a home inspector has to disclose all defects in the report to the client. Home inspections can potentially have legal ramifications if the inspector does not report defects, especially if they down play or ignore defects on purpose to please an agent for future referrals.

If you end up in a position where you must confront a difficult real estate agent you should do it constructively and politely. Let the agent know that the safety of your client and the quality of the home are of the utmost priority and you will recommend or point out anything that may endanger them, even if the danger seems like it may be from a past event or may not be necessary according to building codes (for example; questioning dried moisture damage or recommending GFCI upgrades even if they weren’t required at the time the home was built).

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