Include a home inspection clause in an Offer to Purchase, and the typical real estate agent reaches for the cellular phone to cancel this year's vacation to Bermuda. The deal is dead! As a Certified Home Inspector, I have experienced both good and bad relationships with real estate sales representatives. Here are some of the issues.
New or old, no house is perfect. Many first time buyers, and some move-uppers expect perfection in the houses they buy. After all, it is their Dream Home. They are often overly cautious to a fault, and feel that the house they have chosen should be absolutely perfect. Of course it never is, and sometimes even minor defects can turn the potential buyer off the property.
It's the only thing! Although an ethical and objective home inspector should never discuss the price of the property with his client, the fact remains that some houses with major defects sell, while others with no major defects don't. This can only mean that the price is out of line with the property. Or, if the offer falls through, the clients have found a better deal somewhere else. Some buyers do use the home inspection clause as a cheap way out of a deal!
Some home inspectors consider themselves "The Equalizer", saving their clients from the clutches of unscrupulous real estate reps, whose only objective is to close the sale and get the commission! If the "inspector" turns out to be Uncle Charlie, who once had a summer job as a bricklayers' helper and knows all about houses, the deal is certainly dead. As an "expert", he will certainly find something "wrong" with the house. If you recommend a home inspector, recommend one who belongs to a recognized home inspection association like the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors, The Provincial Association of Certified Home Inspectors or the Canadian Association of Home Inspectors.
The most common problems with the resale house are poor maintenance, and well intentioned but poorly executed home renovations. I have seen do-it yourself home renovations that were truly laughable, and others that posed a danger to life and limb to the unwary home buyer, and in some cases, the home inspector! These renovations never saw a building permit.
I have inspected houses only ten or fifteen years old, where lack of minor maintenance such as painting the window frames would have prevented the exposed wood from rotting. This is particularly true of caulking. First-time buyers are often intimidated by what appears to be a lot of work on the house, where in fact, are routine, do-it-yourself projects. Doesn't anyone watch "Home Time" anymore?
The sales agent must understand that an ethical home inspector represents the home buyer, not the vendor or the real estate agent. Unfortunately, the home inspector often relies on referrals from the agent, and runs the risk of losing future business if the deal falls through, for whatever reason.
As the real estate agent should leave the inspection to the inspector, so should the inspector leave the selling to the sales agent. If the client insists on asking the inspector if he should go ahead with the deal, the reputable inspector should again review the report with the client, and let the client make the decision.
The home inspector and sales agent might never really become friends. Nor should they. Instead, each should develop mutual respect for the two legitimate professions. The alternative could result in the home inspector becoming the Realtor's enemy. His worst enemy!