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[#1] Posted: 07/18/2012 - 09:18:58 AM
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Mildly interesting, if only that it's a reasonably balanced article emanating from realtors, of all people.

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WorkingRE
[#2] Posted: 07/18/2012 - 11:00:08 AM
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You need to read "About the Author" at the end of the article. It's from a guy hawking E&O insurance, not a realtor.

At least it was more interesting than the comments.

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[#3] Posted: 07/18/2012 - 11:02:18 AM
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It's nice that the article concedes there are some sleazy RE agents and inspectors. However, the vast majority of agents if they are around long enough know exactly who they do not want doing their home inspection. It's all typical REA smoke.

"As far as there being a conflict of interest when it comes to agents referring home inspectors, Greenburg says, "For that concern to be valid, you'd need at least two people to ignore their duty to their client - the agent and the preferred inspector. While it's certainly not an impossibility,..." blah, blah, blah, pleased pass the manure.

I have one RE agent who has stuck with me for 10+ yrs. She gets me 5 or 6 jobs a year. I'm not sure what is wrong with her. She actually wants me to find problems. I have 2 or 3 others who have stuck with me for the last couple years but these relationships inevitably become strained.

And then there are the thousands and thousands and thousands of other agents who all ask for your business card because they are always looking for good inspectors, (don't you wish you had a buck for every time you heard that?), but who refer someone else out of the best interests of their clients.

There is no balance to this issue.

These opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of TIJ.

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WorkingRE
[#4] Posted: 07/18/2012 - 11:17:41 AM
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Well, that's silly. No balance. Black and white. Good and evil.

Who in here doesn't have a realtor or two that refers them? Who actually believes HI's wag the dog?

It's an article that at least recognizes the conflicts, and concedes there's a problem. In a real estate rag. Unthinkable 10 years ago. Of course it's written by someone flogging something else; it's called blogging.

I didn't put it up to enflame the pious, it's just a little content, with the emphasis on little. Never underestimate an HI's ability to get worked up over nothing.


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[#5] Posted: 07/18/2012 - 12:18:28 PM
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Quote: Our favorite inspector has ?killed? several deals for us, and we and our clients were grateful.?


No he didn't. You or your agents lack of negotiating skills killed the deals. Overcoming objection is sales 101. Train your people to work with what they have and keep their fingers pointed at themselves.

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[#6] Posted: 07/18/2012 - 3:27:49 PM
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It isn't a balanced article for my part of the country. 9 yrs has consistently revealed just how commonplace it is in my area for a buyer to be betrayed by an agent/inspector relationship.

Only confusion can result from the use of the term 'killed the deal'. No party actually set out to kill, or stop, the sale. The negotiations simply didn't result in a mutual agreement to purchase/sell.

An inspector works for the client or he doesn't. He's objective or he isn't.

Marc

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[#7] Posted: 07/18/2012 - 4:02:35 PM
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Quote: Originally posted by gtblum

Quote: Our favorite inspector has ?killed? several deals for us, and we and our clients were grateful.?


No he didn't. You or your agents lack of negotiating skills killed the deals. Overcoming objection is sales 101. Train your people to work with what they have and keep their fingers pointed at themselves.

It's just a term, Gary. Of course everything is fixable, even if it involves a bulldozer, swamp draining and more money than the house listed for. However, not every buyer wants to deal with that. And, no, we don't get to actually kill any deal. But, we do provide much of the ammunition that gets used in the gunfight. If, at some point, a buyer decides they don't want to proceed, whatever they base that on, I would hope that their agent would listen rather than using awsome "overcoming objections" skills. This is a home that will have to be lived in for many years, not a used car that might break down occasionally. They are very different.

The next thing Greenburg is quoted as saying, in the same paragraph, is "Our commission comes from our clients, not a particular deal, and it has never made sense to jeopardize a client relationship by recommending an inspector who would do less than serve his client's needs."

And the following paragraph...
As far as there being a conflict of interest when it comes to agents referring home inspectors, Greenburg says, "For that concern to be valid, you'd need at least two people to ignore their duty to their client - the agent and the preferred inspector. While it's certainly not an impossibility, those are the same agents who bend or break the law and code of ethics as a matter of routine. The answer is to clean up our act by getting rid of them, not by limiting the service we provide on the presumption that we're all like them," says Greenburg.

I can be as cynical as anyone, but I also try not to view everything from a high horse. I really can't find fault with any of Mr Greenberg' words. He sounds like one of the good guys. The article was a bit lightweight (what isn't nowadays in the time of Twitter) but I thought it was a good piece.



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[#8] Posted: 07/18/2012 - 5:20:01 PM
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Richard, I recently "killed" a deal that was resurrected by a chance happening of the seller and buyer meeting because the buyer had a motorcycle for sale in his front yard. The two of them talked about the report, the seller invited him back to look at the repairs, and they cut a deal before the agents knew what had happened.
Meanwhile, the seller's agent spent her time knifing my back and blaming me for the "dead" deal. A little habit of hers. That is, when she can't get away with talking a client out of an inspection in the first place. She didn't know the seller and I were friends. She doesn't seem to know how many people I do know around here. It gets back to me all of the time.
Bottom line is they saved the deal the agents both walked away from, but still ended up being payed for.

You are right about a house not being the same as a used car. First of all, everyone knows what a mistake it would be to take a referral for a mechanic from a car salesman. How dumb could you be? Everyone also knows, they're a whole lot safer buying a car than a used house because car dealers may be the most closely watched businesses there are. Somebody's always got an eye on those nasty devils.

It doesn't matter whether you're selling pencils, cars, or real estate. Salespeople are all under pressure to produce in order to keep a job. It's in their best interest to close the deal in any way they can.

How long do you think their bosses are going to pat them them on the back and tell them it's going to be ok and to not worry about sucking a draw out of them every week until things go their way?

To you, it's just a term. To me it's an insult.

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[#9] Posted: 07/18/2012 - 5:41:57 PM
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How does one get through life if this is the new definition of "insult"?

For the first time in 25 years, this stuff is getting press from a few 'zoids. If anyone's been around long enough to see change, this is change.

Those not inclined to understand change, won't see it.


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[#10] Posted: 07/18/2012 - 6:54:07 PM
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Quote: Originally posted by kurt


How does one get through life if this is the new definition of "insult"?

For the first time in 25 years, this stuff is getting press from a few 'zoids. If anyone's been around long enough to see change, this is change.

Those not inclined to understand change, won't see it.



I think that's great. Change comes very slow to the players in this little corner of nowhere. It's just the right size for a few lazy, liars to make a big impact on someone's reputation and livelyhood.

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[#11] Posted: 07/18/2012 - 7:21:58 PM
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Quote: Originally posted by gtblum

Quote: Originally posted by kurt


How does one get through life if this is the new definition of "insult"?

For the first time in 25 years, this stuff is getting press from a few 'zoids. If anyone's been around long enough to see change, this is change.

Those not inclined to understand change, won't see it.

I think that's great. Change comes very slow to the players in this little corner of nowhere. It's just the right size for a few lazy, liars to make a big impact on someone's reputation and livelyhood.


Yeah. It's a bitch, ain't it? Fact is, I stay in this little corner of nowhere because I like what I do. I don't get knifed by 'zoids anymore cause they all know me by now and walk past. It's a small city I work in. And I combat 'zoids who capitalize on HI's desperate for sales by broadcasting the mechanics of this CoI (and about 3 others like it) to clients, classrooms filled with home buyers (4 times+ per year) and whoever will listen every chance I get, to the chagrin of 'zoids and even some HI's all around me. Progress does comes slow.

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[#12] Posted: 07/18/2012 - 9:15:53 PM
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It's all good. Just keep on doing what you do best and, most important, stay in touch with your past clients. A post card or e-mail now and then to remind them that you're still around.

While several realtors regularly refer me, I get most of my business from past clients and those smart enough to find their own inspector (through my website & other marketing means).

I don't spend much time worrying about those around me who don't really matter, i.e. the inspectors and agents who pat each other on the back while sticking a knife in the client's back. They're gonna do what they're gonna do.

I think the best part of the article was right here:
Quote: Of course, not all real estate agents/brokers are honest and ethical, so perhaps the best route a home inspector can take is to diversify. Work closely with and market to real estate agents/brokers and find the ones who want ethical work, while also building up other avenues of business through direct marketing to home buyers, building a presentable website and working to optimize it on search engines, engaging in online marketing, and other marketing techniques that directly target the home buyer. This is the best safeguard against an inspector becoming too reliant on agent-referrals by building a diverse business that is arguably more sustainable and profitable in the long run.


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[#13] Posted: 07/19/2012 - 12:15:22 AM
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Erby has the right idea.

Concentrate on the client, not the agents.

I hardly acknowledge agents' existence anymore and I'm turning away 4 to 5 times more inspections every month than I can do. I get a fair numer of referrals from agents that "get it." I don't market to them, send them thank you cards or do any of the other inane things I was taught to do in order to garner business from them and keep their business; so I have to conclude that the reason that they keep referring clients to me is because they want an honest and thorough inspection.

Realtors that know me know that I won't beg for referrals and they know that I won't ever pull my punches to get referrals. They continue to refer me anyway. Realtors that don't know me will often still try to send me signals but I've become very adept at ignoring them when they do that and most of them eventually throw in the towel and go sit down somewhere.

Bottom line, I'm grateful for the referrals that I do get from agents; but if agents stopped referring clients to me tomorrow I wouldn't give that fact too much thought and I think they know that too.

By killing the deal do they mean telling the unvarnished truth? Not two weeks ago about halfway through the inspection of a POS house I looked at my client and said, "How much patience do you have with things when they break down?" "Not much," he answered. "Are you ready to spend the next few years trying to get this house where you want it to be at great expense?" I asked. "Hell no," he answered. "Well then," I said, "If you've got some running shoes you had better put them on and run like hell away from this deal or two years from now you're going to wish you had." The agent heard the whole exchange. She didn't say a thing but I could literally feel her holding her breath.

He mulled it over for about ten minutes while I continued my work and finally said, "Hey Mike, let's call it a day," I'll call you when I find a better place." Inside I let out a sigh of relief that he'd listened to me and was walking away from that nightmare.

I collected my fee and left. The next week he found another home and booked another inspection.

We are in the business of telling folks things about the houses they've chosen that they don't necessarily want to hear about but must hear about. I don't give two hoots for negotiating skills or balanced reporting. I tell them the truth as I see it and let the chips fall where they may. If an agent doesn't like the fact that I do that, the agent is free to simply open the door so I can do my thing and then the agent can go sit sown someplace and read a book so he/she doesn't have to hear me tell the client about all that not-so-complimentary stuff.

We inspectors have come a long way from the days of being the toady. More of us need to start exerting control over our inspections and make it clear to agents that as soon as we pull up in our vehicle we are taking over and aren't there to help them sell the home. Don't let the agents treat you like some kind of consultant hired by them (agents) to explain to the client how good a deal the client is getting. Look the client in the eye; show interest in the client's needs - not the realtor's - and take as long as is necessary to do the job thoroughly and correctly and don't let an agent try to rush you or direct your activity. You the inspector are in control.

My standard answer these days when an agent is studying his/her smart phone screen and trying to plan his/her next appointment and asks me, "So, how long do you think this inspection is going to take," is "At least four hours; maybe longer. It could even go as long as six hours; that all depends on the house, the client's understanding of the house and how long it takes me to ensure every one of my client's questions is answered. I have two speeds - slow and careful."

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Mike

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[#14] Posted: 07/19/2012 - 04:55:18 AM
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Judging from the content in this thread, the west coast is more evolved than the east coast. Gary and I are 60 or 70 miles apart and my average client lives in a city and I bet his doesn't but one thing is the same; almost all of the agents here will turn their back on their client for a commission check.

A few weeks ago, a female agent winked at me as I was describing a soon-to-fail brand new tiled shower to our client. Then, a few minutes later as I emerged from a crawl she said "how are things in there" and she winked at me again. Finally, at the end-of-inspection verbal summary, she said "let's hear the bad news" and she did it again. The third wink pushed me over the edge and I asked her if she had something in her eye. The client who hadn't missed any of the innuendo listened to the summary, declared he was not buying the home and he then fired the agent in my presence.

Mike Lamb's comment about the agent asking for a business card then stating "I can always use a good inspector" is spot on. They ask for the card at the beginning of the inspection to try to temper the product.

I agree with Kurt though; the article indicates change in the market place and a growing awareness that the agent's BMW is paid for with cash garnered from a relationship based on trust or possibly, betrayal.

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[#15] Posted: 07/19/2012 - 06:25:41 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by Chad Fabry

A few weeks ago, a female agent winked at me as I was describing a soon-to-fail brand new tiled shower to our client. Then, a few minutes later as I emerged from a crawl she said "how are things in there" and she winked at me again. Finally, at the end-of-inspection verbal summary, she said "let's hear the bad news" and she did it again. The third wink pushed me over the edge and I asked her if she had something in her eye.


Chad,

She just had to be "hitting on you"!


I had an agent (in the past month) go over the edge and said I would never work in DFW again unless I lowered my fees and do what her clients wanted. Her comeback was "all about her" and all she had done for me over the years.

She had been complaining this past year about all the technical negative items in my reports and why couldn't I instead focus on the positive aspects of the home. Hummm?? !!!

It never ceases to amaze me how they can turn on a dime, never look back and never consider the the whole picture. In 'many' cases it simply boils down to their commission check.



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[#16] Posted: 07/19/2012 - 08:25:11 AM
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The only reason I put up the article was, simply, shock. 28 years ago the entire RE industry worked to put us out the door, and now there's articles in real estate rags that offer a modicum of balance.

It's hard for folks to see, but as puny as it is, it's progress. Multi-billion dollar apple carts don't get pushed over; they slowly rot away.


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[#17] Posted: 07/19/2012 - 12:45:48 PM
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It's all good. Home buyers are more savvy now that ever. They expect to see details in the report, IMO. The better realtors don't try to hide the bad. If the house is right, it will sell.
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[#18] Posted: 07/19/2012 - 9:44:50 PM
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Quote: Originally posted by kurt


The only reason I put up the article was, simply, shock. 28 years ago the entire RE industry worked to put us out the door, and now there's articles in real estate rags that offer a modicum of balance.

It's hard for folks to see, but as puny as it is, it's progress. Multi-billion dollar apple carts don't get pushed over; they slowly rot away.


But the article isn't from a real estate rag. Working RE is the magazine published by OREP -- they're an association of (mostly) appraisers and home inspectors. The whole purpose of the organization is to form an insurance pool, much like FREA. They're got almost nothing to do with real estate agents.

That aside, I agree that there is change afoot. It's just slow.

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[#19] Posted: 07/20/2012 - 06:19:53 AM
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HAHAHA.....

Shows how close I look. I thought it was a real estate rag. .....


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[#20] Posted: 07/21/2012 - 8:33:49 PM
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Quote: Originally posted by Jim Katen

That aside, I agree that there is change afoot. It's just slow.


Slow? Sometimes it seems more like glacial. I'm amazed at the utter cluelesness of some.

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[#21] Posted: 07/21/2012 - 9:34:43 PM
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Is that shit for real?

As it turns out, change might actually come quicker to those of us who live in the thousands of "East Podunks" of this country, than for you big city boys.

I did a house for a contractor yesterday, who said he did his homework on me without the help of his "uneasy" agent. Cool. Knowledge is power.

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[#22] Posted: 07/21/2012 - 10:23:16 PM
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Quote: Originally posted by gtblum

I did a house for a contractor yesterday, who said he did his homework on me without the help of his "uneasy" agent. Cool. Knowledge is power.
I had something similar happen. About a week ago I had a client speak up in front of her agent, as if she were trying to send a message to the agent, that she'd actually been following my commentary here and that was one of the reasons she'd chosen me. Then yesterday's client, a blue collar type from Mexico who the agent had referred to me said that he'd been given a list of five inspectors by the agent but had chosen me only after researching me on the internet first.

The internet allows people the ability to check us out easily. The guy who's using those suckup ads that were posted above might be getting referrals from agents and getting hired by folks who haven't yet learned to use the net; but I bet folks who are net savvy are avoiding him like the toady he is.

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[#23] Posted: 08/30/2012 - 1:50:09 PM
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I was hired this week by a couple who were told at a credit union first time buyers class, to NOT take a referral for a home inspector from their agent, and why they shouldn't. About time the banks took an interest in their own investments rather than trusting the fox with the chickens.

I'm jumping all over this. Hopefully, I'll be doing a presentation at the next one.

It's real hard to prove tortious interference in a court of law. Not as hard to side step it if you look for a hole.

   
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