“Deal killer” is a belittling term used by some real estate agents to unfairly taint home inspectors who give their clients an objective and unbiased evaluation of a building. Home inspectors work for the buyer, not the real estate agent. As such, we perform a detailed review of the property and state facts as to what was observed.
Phrases used by agents to persuade home buyers from using a home inspector who performs thorough assessments include: "That inspector always finds something", "He is too picky", "That inspector spends too much time finding things", “we’ve had trouble with that inspector”, “we don’t allow that inspector to inspect any of our listed properties”, and "His reports are too long".
More times than not it seems like an inspector uncovers information that may lead the buyer to renegotiate the price of the property, or to look at other properties. Many real estate agents view these “deal killers” as obstacles to sales commissions, closing rates and closing times. Sales commission loss due to renegotiated the building cost hurts the realtor’s pocketbook in the short term. However, the other two items may be even more important because they are used by future clients to determine if the realtor is the one they want to use for property transactions: A realtor who sells more houses per year with shorter closing times ranks higher than one with fewer annual sales and takes longer to close a deal. A thorough home inspector could slow the home buying process down which hurts the realtor closing rate, but the future buyer appreciates the piece of mind that each system of the building has been inspected and commented on. Additionally, a detailed inspection could provide information to the buyer which would cause them to seek another piece of property. This really can take a toll on the realtor’s closing rate because when realtors spend time showing many houses to a single buyer it takes time away from showing many houses to many different buyers.
Realtors may refer to detail-oriented home inspectors as “deal killers” and recommend the buyer hire an “easy” inspector so the building “passes” (although there is no “pass” or “fail” in a home inspection). By doing this, serious safety issues may be missed by the “easy” inspector. Items include: missing grounding at the service panel, improperly sized electrical breakers, double taps in the electrical panel, missing GFCI outlets in wet locations, reversed polarity in outlets, bathroom fans venting into the attic (possible mold issues), improper flashing which can lead to structural damage, improperly piped TPR valves, non-functioning (or missing) carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, missing firewall between the attached garage and the living space, inadequate insulation and ventilation in the attic (resulting in ice dams and water issues in cold climates), insufficient removal of water from the site by means of gutters and site drainage, tripping hazards, deck railing defects, deck support issues, improper plumbing venting, missing handrails, and improperly spaced balusters, to name a few.
If your realtor tries to sway you from using a “deal killer”, don’t be easily swayed; that inspector may be the one who will serve you best.