Realtors depend on referrals
I was really surprised by the information you provided ("Is your inspector working for you or the real estate agent?" 10/28/2013) and a little disappointed you didn't have local home inspectors or real estate agents involved in your story.
I certainly cannot speak for our entire industry, or even for all of Northwood, but I can share how I run my business.
Real estate agents depend on referrals for business and if we do not have happy clients at the end of the day, then we certainly will not receive business. It's not in our best interest to partner with a home inspector to "get the job done" with the least amount of issues discovered. In fact, Northwood encourages us to give either the American Society of Home Inspectors Wheel to our clients for them to do their homework, or for us to give at least recommended three names of home inspectors for our buyers to contact. We are also not "allowed" to be at home inspections so we don't have any influence with the buyers or inspector when issues are discovered. Most often, I don't have any contact with the home inspector unless I need clarification after reviewing the report.
I want all of the issues in a property found so my buyer can make a sound decision regarding the purchase. I don't sell property; I educate my clients and help them make the best decision possible based on the information available, and a complete and thorough home inspection is a huge part of that.
However, there are home inspectors that I do not refer to because they do tend to sabotage deals. It's not that they are finding anything different than another inspector; it's how they present the information to the buyer. They tend to add personal or alarmist commentary instead of being neutral. Issues come up at every inspection ... I've never had a transaction involving a perfect property. However, if a home inspector "scares" a buyer over issues instead of sharing information about the issue, then I will not refer to them. I expect a level of professionalism with home inspectors and there are many who are competent and professional.
If an agent has the "whatever it takes" mentality to close a transaction, which includes using an inspector that glosses over issues, I assure you they will not be in business long. They will have many unhappy buyers and a poor reputation. It just doesn't make good business sense for an inspector or agent to minimize or hide issues; it opens both up to too much liability.
At the end of the day, it's about having a buyer who's happy and excited about their purchase. A happy buyer is good business.
Northwood Realty Services