Hiring home inspectors?

    Some home inspectors may fear if they speak too openly about the flaws in a home they will anger the realtor and never get another referral. Good Inspectors don't "kiss up" to the agents or builders. It is necessary to work WITH both groups. A good inspector will never work FOR either. Most inspectors do however market to agents in some form because they can provide referrals. The worse agents try to find new inspectors who are still green and naive to the agent's possible tricks. Some inspection companies actively purchase expensive booths / tables at realtor "rallies" to get on the good graces of the realty companies. This is not to say that they do poor inspections, but that their alliances may not be Independent of the needs of the client, who should never be the real estate agent. This is an area that might be a signal of a poor judgment. A few inspectors have bragged about their newly created income by being the agent's best ally. This is not the kind of inspector you need to give an unbiased viewpoint. Most real estate agents are very aware of this situation. The worse agents try to manipulate the dependant inspector in some form to fit the agent's immediate needs.

I have written previously about how to choose a competent home inspector but it's really no different than picking your beautician, your dentist, your gardener or your attorney. Ask around. Learn what questions to ask. Interview several. Do your homework. Take responsibility. Beware the lowest bidder. Trust your instincts.

    You'll be rewarded for your diligence...with whom you give your trust and dollars.

Diligent Inspections represents the interests of families purchasing homes. You need to have your property inspected before closing to safeguard your interests. The inspection report and review give you a change to have your "eyes open" in relation to the property conditions. Call (281) 480-3388 now to set up an appointment.

You deserve to know about a potential new home in detail before the closing. A       Diligent inspection provides Insight to the property. Call 281-480-3388       for an appointment.

    Some reality companies / organizations want to make money off the inspectors by selling ad space and lobbing influence related to realtor backed legislation.  The directors of one large regional organization will not allow inspectors to become members of the "lock box" or supra program that would allow the entry into a property. If an inspector has a supra "lock box" key they are also a real estate agent that subscribes to the service as a realtor. They want an agent on site, to possibly protect their interests from comments that might be a deal killer. Actually opening the house for the inspection is the only currently viable reason for an agent to be at the property. Often their comments are extremely poorly informed related to building codes or standard of practice. The only certainty of  the agent comments is that they are often primarily aimed that protecting the interests of their commission. The obligations to the client become secondary. 

In relation to the state of the lobbying the state legislative, changes in the law often are not consumer based because the intent of many laws is to protect the interests of the lobbyists and their wealthy clients. Such an obvious case exists in that there is NO State license for builders, general contractors and a wide range of property repair companies or individuals. Getting such a law passed to building general contractors to force compliance to standard building codes would be a difficult task. Most builders in this area are extremely filthy rich. That is not to say that some do not produce quality homes, but many actively try to avoid having their properties inspected by governmental or Independent inspectors.  There are many tricks they have to avoid having a full slate of appropriate building permits and code compliance reviews. A quality builders welcome the opportunity to improve their workmanship and the procedures they use in every area. The building / construction industry makes little effort to police itself.

Correspondent Sara James has reported on a "Dateline NBC" hidden-camera investigation that examines whether professional house inspectors are providing objective evaluations of homes.

       While many good inspectors give objective, complete inspections, others may fear if they speak too openly about the flaws in a home they will anger the realtor, and never get another referral. BAD Realtors want to close the sale and ignore the inspection reports and the Buyer's interests. Beware of agent's tricks! They might try to undermine the inspector's comments and some try to force the sale by intentionally misleading the buyer. No home is worth receiving the pressure of a pushy real estate person. If an agent tries to coerce you into anything you do not agree with, it time to find a new agent. It is advisable that the real estate agent leave the property immediately after opening the door. It is not a requirement that they return to hear the verbal inspection reviews.  Some demand that they get a copy of the inspection report from the inspector directly. If appropriate, the buyer or inspector together can decide whether or not any agent gets a report copy. Sometimes dishonest real estate agents try to use the inspection report to force the sale by using the agent's interpretation not the inspector's advice related to repairs. Don't be bullied by any agent. 

    Also don't let an inspector mislead you into thinking that a house is perfect. There is no such thing as a perfect house and very few are actually built to current building code. Every house has problems. Some of the problems are design flaws put in by the architect or builder. When realizing that there is no such ting as a perfect house, also realize that the inspection report usually does not deal with cosmetic issues, such as normal wear and areas of repair where the workmanship is above average and thus not needing additional repair attention. The critical area here is safety and whether a specific areas is performing adequately. The intent of the inspection is to reflect the general condition of the property and any major repairs necessary. The report is not specifically intended to be a hit list of repair items that are to be used as a tool for the buyer to force the seller to lower the price of the house. Real Estate agents never want to lower the property price because it lowers their commission. Some of their tricks can come into play when dealing with repairs. For example, some buyers force sellers to put on a new roof just because they want the new roof and might have to place the current one in a few years. The roof may be performing very adequately.
       
Not all inspectors are as well educated, experienced, qualified, customer oriented, or Diligent. That is not to say they haven't performed a number of inspections or have their (ego / humility) balance in check. Some refuse to do anything that is outside the "minimum inspection" as required by the guidelines. These are the inspectors you want to totally avoid. 

The nature of the business has many sides that require a fine honed professionalism and ethical stance that 100 % legal and in complete accordance with the standards of practice as stated by the Texas Real Estate Commission. 

You should also be careful to have a Professional inspector not a "real estate inspector" or "apprentice inspector" do the inspection. Licensed professional inspectors can opt to have a subordinate make the inspection instead of doing it themselves. The subordinates can charge the same amount as a professional inspector but don't have the same level of experience or knowledge. The Texas Real Estate Commission requires that a professional licensed inspector have a minimum 144 hours of specialized "college" training and be able to pass the TREC professional level test before being allowed to practice. Many of the "old time" inspectors are poorly formally educated and came from construction or pest control fields. Some of these old timers want new blood in the inspection business. Some have tried to force the Texas Real Estate Commission to eliminate the education requirement in favor of an apprentice program that indirectly controls the number of inspectors. The idea of apprentice program is a good one for some who need to learn the trade from a senior inspector. Few inspectors want the many problems associated with apprentice worker's liability.  Thus the number of inspectors is limited by broad unspoken intent and overt competition. 

Important Remarks:

It is possible for a home closing to be postponed due to the debate over possible repairs that may be necessary before the closing date. Fixed price estimates are really the only solution to these situations. The closing date can be moved back to accommodate the construction repairs or the sales price reduced to accommodate repairs by the new owner after the closing date. It is important that the buyer and seller feel that they are treated fairly by all parties involved. My personal experience is that many buyers or sellers may not be able to find qualified professionals capable of actually making these repairs in a short notice. Repairs also can take more time and be more costly than anticipated. It is thus a valuable function to be able to anticipate these costs and delays before an opportunity is lost.

I do NOT Recommend Any Contractor NOR Do I Provide ANY Repair Services. Inspectors who do this might be in a conflict of interest in reporting accurately any inspection.

Pests and Pest Control NOTE: Observations by a home inspector, who is not otherwise specially qualified, regarding evidence of pests is not a substitute for inspection by a licensed Pest Control Operator or exterminator. This report includes comments on current visible conditions only. By law, only a licensed Pest Control Operator can render a valid opinion regarding the identification, causes and remediation of pest conditions. TIP: Review of a current pest control report for further information is recommended. If a current report is not available, a pest control inspection should be performed to confirm the presence or extent of wood destroying organism and pest activity. NOTE: Our observations regarding evidence of pests is not a substitute for inspection by a licensed pest control operator or exterminator. I report current visible conditions only and cannot render an opinion regarding their cause or redemption.

Thinking About a Home Improvement?
Don't Get Nailed

If you are thinking about making improvements to your home, selecting a contractor is the first and most important step in the process. The Federal Trade Commission offers the following tips and checklist to help you along.

  • It would be great if you could deal only with licensed contractors. BUT there is NO license for builders or repair people in Texas. The builders and many others do not want to be controlled by ethical enforcement practices.
  • Don�t assume that all contractors who advertise in the "home improvement" section of the Yellow Pages have a valid license or that they�re reputable. Check out licensed contractors with the  Better Business Bureau. You�ll find out if there are any unresolved consumer complaints on file.
  • Ask friends, relatives and co-workers for recommendations. Ask contractors if there�s a charge for an estimate before allowing them in your home. Get written estimates from at least three firms. Ask for explanations for price variations. Don�t automatically choose the lowest bidder.
  • Be skeptical of contractors who come to your door unsolicited or offer reduced prices because they�ve just completed work nearby and have materials left over.
  • Beware of contractors who ask you to pay for the entire job up front. Your down payment should not be more than one-third of the total price. And remember, only licensed contractors and salespeople can require and accept any payments before the job is completed. Pay only by check or credit card, not cash.
  • Be cautious about using your home as security for a home improvement loan. If you fail to repay the loan as agreed, you could lose your home.
  • Have a knowledgeable friend, relative or your attorney review the contract before you sign. If you get a loan to pay for the work, consider having these documents reviewed as well.
  • Be aware that you have cancellation rights. Under Federal law, you have three business days to cancel the deal if you sign the contract in your home or at a location that is not the seller�s permanent place of business. The salesperson must give you two copies of a cancellation form (one to keep and one to send back) and a copy of your contract or receipt. The contract or receipt must be dated, show the name and address of the seller, and explain your right to cancel.

You deserve to know about a potential new home in detail before the closing. A Diligent inspection provides Insight to the property. Call 281-480-3388 for an appointment.

Check Out Your Contractor

Ask the contractor for the following information. Use it to check out the contractor with appropriate authorities and previous customers. If the contractor is reluctant to give you this information, consider doing business with another company.

  • An unsigned copy of the contract

  • A copy of the estimate

  • Contractor�s name

  • Street address (no P.O. Box)

  • Telephone Number

  • Name under which any possible license is filed

  • Number of years contractor has had a specific license

  • Names, addresses and telephone numbers of previous customers. Ask them about their experiences with the company. If possible, visit a completed job.

 
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