Building a repository of professionals to help with any aspect of a home sale from painters and plumbers to electricians is a key task for any agent or broker building a successful real estate business.

A key to every sale is the home inspection. Agents always must recommend that their buying clients obtain one. They also should ensure that the inspector is good at what they do.

“Often, simple things can come up on a home inspection that can become much more complicated when the clock is ticking under a pending offer. You want to attack tricky repair items on your own time frame,” said Dylan Chalk, a home inspector who’s done 5,500 inspections since entering the field in 2003.

Every agent would rather have an inspector raise a red flag about a problem than to hear about an issue after closing from the buyer’s lawyer.

A licensed inspector is good, but it doesn’t ensure quality. Some states, including California, don’t require a license. To select a quality inspector, you could look for some sort of professional validation such as certification.

Doug Gartley, an associate broker at In-House Realty, said an inspection is a must for buyers.

“Spend the extra money to have a professional home inspection look at the house,” Gartley noted. “In the end, it will pay for itself and could save you from going down a path of issues down the road.”

The next question is, who are they are certified by. In some cases the insurance company may name which certifying organizations are acceptable; but, in others, the choice is left to the agent or broker. The insurance company just wants to know the inspector is certified.

Just as possession of a license to do something is not guarantee of quality, neither is the fact that someone has been certified.

Some certifying agencies are undoubtedly quite rigorous and good; others, not so much.

As an agent or broker, what should you do when it comes to choosing or referring a home inspector?

Obviously, in a state where licensing is required, then a license is a must. Secondly, despite what has been said, an inspector should be sought out who has membership and training through one of the professional societies.

One of the most important things that an agent can do — that most consumers are just not in a position to do — is to ask around amongst one’s peers. Don’t ask who the “deal killers” are. Sometimes that reputation just means that they are thorough, which, as a fiduciary, is just what you want.

There are many specific questions to be asked: “What are their reports like?” “Do they welcome buyers being present at the inspection?” “What is their level of experience?” “Do they carry professional liability (Errors and Omissions) insurance?”

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