What makes a good home inspection?

Every once in a while one of my buyers has a home inspector that they have had recommended to them by a friend or relative.  That is rare.  Most often my buyers look to me for ideas.  I was taught early in my career to always give at least three names and let the buyers choose.  Actually that was advice about any vendors or suppliers that I referred my clients to.  Then, at a seminar conducted by an attorney he had a discussion about that and asked the question, “If you were helping your mother choose an inspector would you also give her three names or do you really think you know who would do the best job and give her that one name?”  That put the question in a different light.  He went on to say that if you have a legal obligation to do the best by your buyers is it really in their best interest to give them three names or the one name that you think is most effective like you just agreed you would do if it were your mother?

That made us all squirm just a little as the advice on three names was actually more of a “cover your behind” philosophy than one of really giving the best advice.  Ever since then I have given out the name or names of the inspectors that my experience has shown me is going to do the best job of both educating and protecting my buyers!

I am familiar with one inspector in my area who has gained a reputation as being overly alarmist in his reports and conversations.  He likes to portray himself as a super hero swooping in to save innocents from dire consequences.  My experience is he can take the same situation as another inspector, point out the salient truths and possible consequences but come to radically different conclusions!  In each case he points out how lucky they are to have asked him rather than another inspector who might not have been so careful.  He also goes on to say that Realtors don’t like him because he is too good.  He finds too many problems.  Consequently he says, we avoid him.

I can’t speak for all Realtors but for myself, and most of those that I know we are in it for the long haul.  You don’t stay in this business and expect to have transactions over and over with people or be referred to their friends, family and neighbors by recommending shoddy inspectors.  I WANT my clients educated and informed.  I tell them the home inspection is one of the most important things they will do in this whole purchase scenario.  In fact being there for as much of the inspection, in person, is almost a requirement for me!  Shed light on everything, just be realistic and common sense about it.

This whole rant just came about because I just received a message from my most recent buyer this morning saying how impressed they were with the inspector I recommended to them.  “He sure knows his stuff” was his comment.  I love that!!  He does know his stuff!  AND he shows it all to them in great detail all the while taking time to point out what is critical, what is normal and what is not.  He is not an alarmist.  He plays the role of educator in a very critical classroom.  Super hero?  Nope, not needed.  Level headed educator?  Yes please!


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Fred Adams