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Home inspectors face ethical dilemma with referrals

Many rely on real estate agents for business

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Dear Barry, I am a newly certified home inspector and have a question that involves professional ethics. When I attended home inspection school, my instructor told the class that we should not be "deal-breakers," or real estate agents would not refer us to their clients. I thought that home inspectors were supposed to disclose substandard property conditions and other serious defects for the benefit of home buyers. How can we perform this function in a competent and ethical manner without losing the support and recommendations of agents? --James Dear James, You have invoked the most sensitive and controversial subject pertaining to the home inspection business. A central concern among professional home inspectors everywhere involves our relationship with real estate professionals. Home inspectors are consultants hired by home buyers. In essence, we are paid consumer advocates and should always perform our work for the benefit of our clients' financial interests. But the majority of our...