Residential Property Inspectors, I Question Their Motives?

San-Diego-Home-SaleOh, the struggles with selling a home!   We listed our house on March 1 and experienced an overwhelming amount of interest, having close to 75 agency showings in 45 days!   Sounds great huh?  Well it is, except for the fact that once they realized their was no basement in the house, most of them moved on to the next listing.  We did disclose the fact that the house didn’t have a basement, but that didn’t keep the tire-kickers from stopping by.  Maybe they were looking for design ideas or maybe they really loved the location and the exterior of the house, and felt compelled to see what the inside had to offer.   Not sure, but one thing is for sure, the real estate market is red hot and it is most certainly, a buyers market!  Greg at Club Thrifty so eloquently points this out in his post about Mortgage Rates, read it here.   With low interest rates and a huge pool of inventory to choose from, buyers are in the catbird seat.  That said, I am happy to inform that we did get a contract and are set to close on June 4th, so I am stoked about that.  It’s funny how things turn out.  The buyers put in a contract on another house with a basement, but with all the rain we have had, that basement flooded which caused them to ultimately pull the contract.  As a result, they decided they wanted a house without a basement, and ours was the perfect fit!  So we are grateful to be moving on, but we have had some interesting things happen with the negotiations, and they will likely continue until all the inspections are complete.  The buyers are apparently very eager to get to closing, as they have 3 kids are are living with inlaws, so I feel for them.  We have done all we can to accomodate their desired closing date, it just cant happen in the month of May.   So we are all on the same page with the buyers to close on June 4th.

I guess you are wondering why I am sharing this story with you….  Well, I wanted to share my opinion of the residential property inspector trade, which I have come to realize through this process.  The buyers hired an independent inspector to go through every nook and cranny of our house, which is smart, I would have done the same thing.  Our house was completely renovated in 2007, so I felt, how could we possibly have any issues?  Well, we did! according to their independent inspector’s assessment you would have thought that we lived in a shanty ready to be condemned!  He pointed out things like the kitchen sink drain seal was warped.  He said that the insulation was inadequate due to uneven distribution, that the bathroom vent was not flush with the drywall, that the hardwood floors were in rough condition likely due to dog paws.  Keep in mind this was all new in 2007.  Most of grades we received were “fair”.  That means that our house, virtually new in 2007 falls below “good” and “excellent”.  No part of our house received a grade of “excellent” for that matter.  How is this?  Many of the “fair” grades were accompanied by the statement “expect maintenance requirements in the future”.  What the he#@ does that mean?  Everything requires maintenance in the future, doesn’t it?

My assessment:  The residential property inspector is doing his best to justify his expense.  They must provide a thorough analysis of the property, but are they being too thorough?  Are they being so thorough that it scares less seasoned buyers from making a good purchase?  My cynical side says; if the residential property inspector discourages someone from making a purchase, then they have to look for another house.  In doing so, they would likely want another inspection and have to pay another $400.   I hate to be cynical, but I know our house is in wonderful shape, and the fact that most of the grades we received were ‘fair’ makes me think there is something more that meets the eye.  So seller beware!

What are your experiences with Residential Property Inspectors?

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10 Comments

  1. Debt RoundUp says:

    What a pain. Our market is very much a sellers market. There is not enough inventory for the amount of buyers. Sorry to hear about the inspection. You never know what the are going to say.

    • Jim says:

      That is for sure Grayson, just thought the inspection was a bit over the top, maybe I am just to emotionally attached to the home. Who knows!!

  2. From another point of view the inspectors could very well work with the realtors to overlook items that SHOULD be brought to the attention of the potential buyer but is not so they sell a house and move on to the next buyer where they team up again. Referral systems in this sense bother me. Next house, I’ll inspect it but I’ll call in some mates who work in the trades to check the electrical and foundation etc…. something they spent years learning to do.

    • Jim says:

      That is an interesting perspective! Kinda you scratch my back, I’ll pad your pockets deal, I hope for the integrity of the market that is not the case. Thanks CBB!!

  3. We had a similar experience, Jim, when we sold our house last fall. Our gorgeous, well-cared for 15 year old house, according to his report, was a total POC. We blew off those buyers after they insisted we make several thousand dollars worth of “repairs”. This, after we’d given them nearly $10k in seller paid closing costs. They ended up cancelling the contract, and we sold less than a week later for $6k more in cash. Then, on our buying end, we had an inspector (realtor recommended – BIG mistake) who we swear was either completely incompetent or was paid off by the sellers. Oh well, you live and you learn.

  4. Jim says:

    I agree Laurie, there is something fishy about the whole thing, I am certainly glad that you made out with 6k more by finding a new buyer, funny how things work out!!

  5. JNieto says:

    I think the whole concept behind the inspector is for them to find enough wrong so that you can knock off, at a minimum, the cost of the inspection when you close. I’ve gotten at least $1000 back in a closing credit with the results of the inspection (and I’ve had to give credit back when selling in the past). It’s all part of the game!

    • Jim says:

      I am afraid you are right Jose, I dont remember it being like this 7 years ago when I last sold a house?

  6. Kaathy says:

    I think the home inspection industry came about for two reasons. 1) People who purchase homes and don’t have any idea how to inspect it themselves. and 2) HGTV. How many times to you watch that show where the buyers are only concerned about the size of the closets or about the granite counters but don’t ever bother to flush the toilet or look at the age of the furnace? I get that many people are not property experts, but a little common sense goes a long way. When we sold our house 4 years ago, we had an inspector say that a particular item was functional and up to code but “he’d rather” it be a different way. Since when did the inspectors decide things had to be better than code? Anyway, since then we’ve sold 4 investment properties and we always put in that “inspections are welcome but property is being sold ‘as is'”. That way we don’t get the buyers coming back asking us to fix things that don’t need fixing. You are right, the inspectors have to justify their existence.

    • Jim says:

      Well said Kaathy, you are so right about HGTV, seems like as a society we are getting less independent, relying more on paying someone to solve a problem for us. Kind of sad, we need to shut off the TV!

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