Choosing Your Real Estate Team

Home buyers and sellers today are better informed than they were ten years ago. Thanks in part to the internet and in part to friends and family members sharing their home inspection experiences. These savvy consumers want people in their real-estate transaction who are on their side. Home buyers and sellers today want a team approach with professionals committed to making the transition go smoothly. To this end, ZINN Inspection Services wants to provide you with some advice to help you pick one of the most valuable members of your team; the Home Inspector.

  • In the state of Illinois your Home Inspector must be licensed. This is the absolute minimum. You can check for current licensure at the Department of Professional Regulation.
  • Pick a home inspector who is a member of ASHI.
  • Ask around for referrals from friends and family. Co-workers, people from your church and neighbors are always willing to share their experiences with home inspection, good and bad.
  • Don’t base your decision on price alone. Cheaper is not always better, and rates vary depending on the circumstances of each house. Specifically for ZINN Inspection Services, some of our competitors charge less than we do; and they should. You are ultimately paying for a home diagnosis, which requires a certain level of experience, training and education. Some inspection services are better than others, sometimes that shows up in the fee scale.
  • Don’t be fooled into thinking on site reports are better. They may be a little faster but often contain many errors. After all, faster is fine for a drive thru burger; but is faster what you really want for an evaluation of the home you are buying?
  • Ask your prospective inspector what kinds of continuing education they are pursuing. Be sure your home inspector is staying informed.
  • Watch for fly-by-night inspectors who last month were drywall installers and the month before that were handymen and the month before that were something all together different… you want a professional committed to this industry.
  • Don’t be put off from attending the inspection and don’t put up with rude office staff.
  • Look out for someone who promises to find EVERYTHING. Home inspections are visual and prohibit us from taking things apart. No one has X-ray vision.
  • Your inspector ought to be able to fit in most crawlspaces and climb a ladder without passing out. If your inspector looks like he hasn’t seen a gym in a decade, you just might want to keep looking.

As far as other members of your home buying team go, we do have a few suggestions about them too.

Always have a buyers’ real estate agent that you trust and works for you only. Whenever you can, get referrals from friends and family for the person to fill this essential position. Real-estate agents are a combination of diplomat, sales person, negotiator, and sounding board. A couple of notes on real-estate professionals and home inspectors though:

  • A good buyers agent should never try to talk you out of getting a home inspection (even on new construction); it’s unethical for them to do so.
  • Your real-estate agent should be okay with you hiring whichever inspector you want; if they say things like: “We’ve had trouble with that inspector” or “that inspector is too picky” or “a deal killer,” what they mean is you’ve landed on a home inspector who will actually inform you of the problems with a house. This is a GOOD thing. This is what you are paying them to do. Because commissions are involved, some real-estate agents are not happy when we do our jobs well.

Real estate attorneys are good to retain. Hopefully you wont need one to get you out of a jam, but if you’ve got one looking out for you, a lot of money and heart break can be saved.

Mortgage people can be confusing. Pay attention, get out your calculator and follow along. If you need more advice on this your buyers agent is a good source of information. Referrals from friends and family who have gotten recent home loans may give you some insight on how to proceed.