Recently I was the “victim” of a problem that has occurred once or twice over the last 3 or 4 years.
It is not unusual for an agent to call me prior to a deal being signed around in order to find out my availability to do an inspection on the property.
It seems that in order to get the offer viewed in a more favorable light by the sellers, agents like to put short inspection contingencies in the offer–like 3 to 5 day inspection contingencies.
While this might seem like a good arrangement for the agent and the seller, it can be a lousy arrangement for the home inspector–and in some cases not the best thing for the buyer either.
Here is the scenario that has been happening.
“Agent Klosetoadeal” calls me to see if I am available for an inspection a week from this coming Wednesday. I say, “Sure–what time?” “Well, morning, but we don’t have all the paperwork in place yet–can you hold the time for me and I will let you know as soon as I can?” asks the agent. Being an agent that uses me frequently I say, “OK.”
This arrangement lines up the inspector and makes it possible for the agent to use a shorter inspection contingency. If they waited to call me after the deal was signed around, they would likely NOT be able to get me within the 3 to 5 day inspection window. They would then have to put in a LONGER inspection contingency and risk not getting the deal because of competing offers that were able to offer the shorter inspection contingency–or they might even be forced to recommend a different inspector.
Sort of a “Catch 22.”
Now, on my side of the equation, because of the “tentative” booking with Agent Klosetoadeal, I end up turning away other inspections—even ones “subject to inspection.”
When Agent Klosetoadeal’s deal never does get signed around, I am left with thinking about all those other inspections where I said, “Sorry–a week from Wednesday is already booked.”
Now imagine this scenario playing out 3 times in a row and you get a picture of an inspector with a lot of blogging time on their hands.
Since I cannot control whether an agent is going to write longer inspection contingencies into their contracts, I think it leaves me with only a couple of alternatives.
Just say, “NO” to reserving inspection slots–or perhaps: “OK–but if I get another call that is ‘subject to inspection’—-I will have to take it.”
Any other ideas out there?
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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