Real estate agents and home inspection go hand in hand these days. A home inspection can make or break a sale. Buyers can learn that their dream house needs thousands of dollars in repairs, or that the house isn’t structurally sound or even safe. Real estate agents and home inspectors who trust and understand each other can better serve the client, because everyone is committed to the same goal – ensuring that home buyers have the facts to make what is probably the biggest purchase of their lives.
As a home inspector, it’s important to have a good relationship with real estate agents. Not only will they give you referrals for future inspections, but understanding their job can also help you do your job better.
When Does the Home Inspection Happen?
There are two kinds of inspections in the sale of a home. The buyer’s inspection happens after an offer, but before closing. This inspection acts as a very important safeguard for the buyer, because if the inspection reveals that there is a lot of structural damage or the home needs thousands of dollars in repairs, the buyer can walk away from the sale. It can also reveal that the house is in great shape, and the buyer can move forward with the purchase of their dream home.
The second inspection is the seller’s inspection, which happens before the house is even listed. While this inspection isn’t required, this gives the sellers an opportunity to get ahead of any issues and make repairs before the home goes on the market. It can also give peace of mind when a buyer requests an inspection, because the seller will already know what to expect and it shouldn’t reveal any major issues that they’re unaware of.
For additional information about when home inspections might occur, you can check out our blog post, “When Is a Home Inspection Required?”
Do Agents Usually Attend Home Inspections?
An agent isn’t required to be at the inspection, but it can be helpful. Some of the benefits for an agent attending your inspection include:
- Being able to see your work, so they can recommend you to future clients
- They’ll know what happened at the inspection should their clients have questions about the report
- They’ll get to see first-hand how a home inspector goes through the house, allowing them to better communicate with their clients about what was looked at/for
It is important for a real estate agent to attend at least a few inspections to understand how they work, what’s being looked at/for, and so they can know why the inspector noted what they noted. You can expect to do at least a few inspections with a real estate agent tagging along for the process.
What Happens If I Find a Problem During an Inspection?
There are a few ways a sale could go after a problem is revealed, depending on the severity.
- The buyer accepts the house as-is. If the problems are minor, such as cosmetic issues, the buyer may not bother negotiating and just accept the house in its current state.
- The buyer renegotiates. If it’s more than just cosmetic, the buyer may ask the seller to either make repairs or lower the purchase price to cover the cost of repairs.
- The buyer walks away. Depending on the circumstances, the buyer has the right to walk away from the deal. Your client should save this option for serious problems, such as major structural issues, termite infestations, or extreme water damage.
The state of the housing market can also play a factor here. If it’s a buyer’s market, they can probably ask for more allowances. And if it’s a seller’s market, they can more easily refuse. While these aren’t be-all, end-all options, they are worth noting.
Real Estate Agents Can Help Boost Your Business
It can be easy to assume that a home inspector and real estate agent are working together just to get a sale, but a home inspector doesn’t work for a real estate agent. Real estate agents give their clients several home inspector recommendations for them to choose from, which is why it’s important that you build relationships with agents so they can recommend you.
Reputable real estate agents want a home inspector who will do the job the way they were trained to do it. This means taking their time, reporting every detail, and not cutting corners. Agents want their clients to have all of the resources available about the condition of the house they intend to buy, and a good agent won’t push clients to overlook certain problem areas of an inspection just to close the deal.
The Bottom Line
Home inspectors and real estate agents work together for the buyer. A good home inspector isn’t going to exaggerate a problem just to make a buyer walk away from a home, and a good real estate agent isn’t going to prevent a home inspector from doing their job.
The home inspector/real estate agent relationship is important, as one can’t do business without the other. For this reason, it’s important that when working together, you respect each other’s authority and expertise. Building relationships with real estate agents can be a great way to acquire clients and grow your business.
If you’re thinking about becoming a home inspector, we can help! ICA School is an industry leader in home inspection training. To learn more about some of the requirements, you can read our blog post, “Do You Need a High School Diploma or GED to Become a Home Inspector?”
If you’re ready to sign up and become a home inspector, you can visit our website to register for our online class or live classroom course. You can also call us at 888-374-4096, or email us at [email protected].