What I'm Seeing Now


"You Don't Need a Home Inspection..."

Yesterday I had an inspection with a concerned, very nice young single mother who bought a 4 year old foreclosure.  She moved in about a week ago.  She noticed things with the house.

Her agent told her that since she was obtaining a Veteran's Administration loan, the VA would do an "inspection" and she didn't need to have a home inspection.

The VA inspector/appraiser told her the same thing.

Well, she should have had an inspection!  Had she my list in hand for the VA guy he could have required lots of things for the bank to do prior to her occupancy.  Things apparently he knew nothing about.  Now, they are all her problems.

I spent a lot of time with her teaching.  She needed it.  There are many fixes needed and she should get right on them.  Her family can help, so she is in luck there.  Fortunately she lives only a mile from us and my wife will make sure she is taken care of.

At the end of the inspection I got a hug and kiss on the cheek!  She called me "awesome!"  That does not happen very often.  She now knows what she needs to do and where to go for help.  And she can count on me...  Peace of mind is worth a million bucks!

My recommendation:  get a home inspection!

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 49 commentsJay Markanich • November 29 2008 02:09PM


Wow! Jay, you were the upright guy doing the right thing. I think that is shameful that others told her not to get an inspection. I've also worked with agents who think they will be "liable" if they attend an inspection with their client and again, I think that flies in the face of the kind of counsel we are to provide clients. Janice Roosevelt, Ecobroker, ABR, e-PRO KEeller Williams

Posted by Janice Roosevelt, OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker ( Keller Williams Brandywine Valley ) about 12 years ago


I think a lot of agents confuse the VA appraisal (which requires certain inspections) with a full inspection.

It's not good risk reduction to advise a client to forgo a full home inspection, but plenty of agents do it.

Posted by Fred Pickard, Hershey, PA (Fred Pickard Innovations Realty Inc) about 12 years ago


Posted by Richard Shuman, Real Estate Broker - Orlando Area - Love Referrals (The Only B.S. I Have is from the University of Massachusetts) about 12 years ago

I tell everyone of my clients to have inspections. Its the little nickle and dime stuff that adds up to big money.

Posted by Chip Jefferson (Gibbs Realty and Auction Company) about 12 years ago

Good Morning Jay,

My clients did have a home inspection. That inspection from someone that who has performed several inspections for me and my clients. So I know his work.

When the VA Appraisor came to the house. Much to my surprise, many of the items that the inspector called the appraisor slide over. Things like a roof that is worn out. A garage entry door that is not 20 minute fire rated and also damaged.

Least to say, it did not go the way I expected.


Thanks for your article

Posted by Val Rensink (HomeSource Lamoreaux Group) about 12 years ago

You should always do an inspection, its not worth the risk. Great post I have heard of a similar story, its sad..

Posted by Kacem Benali Bethesda & Rockville REALTOR (Rockville & Bethesda Homes for Sale, I can help sell ur home) about 12 years ago

Jay, It really seems as if bank owned properties are the worst. The house has been neglected because the bank is not going to put money into it and the home owner is not, so you wind up with one mell of a hess...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) about 12 years ago

What kind of agent would advise such a thing?  A VA appraisal is not an inspection.  Period.  I also hear/read agents advising clients banks will not make repairs, which is another urban legend.  I have had no problems negotiating repairs on REO properties; it's best to prepare your client for worst case, of course, but I'm constantly appalled at the lack of representation many clients have when they are entering into a home purchase with agents who either don't know what they are doing or prefer to avoid negotiations of any kind. 

IMHO, if someone cannot afford a home inspection, they cannot afford to buy a home.

Posted by Susan Haughton, Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results. (Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545) about 12 years ago


Posted by Mike Klijanowicz, Associate Broker @ Cummings & Co. Realtors (Cummings & Co. Realtors) about 12 years ago

Everyone needs a caring realtor like yourself guiding them.  They also need to take the advice of the professional only looking out for their best interests.  Most will, a few will not!  They pay the price on occasion.

Posted by Valerie Springer, Home Loan Officer AL, FHA, VA, Conventional and Re (Benchmark Mortgage nmls 2143) about 12 years ago

Excellen post, Jay.  Its hard to believe some people would make their largest investment WITHOUT an inspection.  And doesn't it feel great to be called, "Awesome"?

Posted by Kris Kombrink ~ The Kombrink Team (RE/MAX Excels - Chicago's Western Suburbs) about 12 years ago

Preachin' to the choir here! A good inspector is key to every real estate transaction ...perhaps I will blog that!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) about 12 years ago

Jay - My company actually has an additional form that we get signed that is all about inspections and why you should get one done.  On a foreclosed property I would want one even more if I were buying.  Foreclosures have had a lot of nightmare stories of owners doing some terrible things to the house before the bank took possession (ever hear about the homeowner's who were flushing dry conrete mix down the toilets?).  The VA does "inspect" their homes well, looking for their peace of mind, but I still wouldn't classify it as an inspection and would still seek an independent third party inspector.  Its good to hear that you're looking out for her and teaching her.  I think consumers can always use a bit more education on what we all do and why we do it.

Posted by Matt Stigliano (Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME) about 12 years ago

Keep in mind, that with many bank REO, you're buying AS IS.  The inspection is critical BEFORE you make your offer.  Once the bank accepts your numbers, good luck getting them to back down for finding something after agreement, but before close.  Once your closed, its now your problem.

All in the name of saving a few hundred dollars! 

Inspections are the cheapest insurance out there for exisitng homes.


I build new "green" homes, and I counsel my clients to get the soils tested and the foundation engineered to match the soil and house design.  Again, cheapest insurance.  Sure, it adds several thousand dollars, but it ensures that the house will be solid.

Good post.

Posted by Mick Michaud, Your Texas Lifestyle is Here! (Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107) about 12 years ago

Jay- Good piece. I agree that just about everybody should have a home inspection, and I encourage all my buyer clients to do so. I think part of the reason, and this is just my opinion of what I see, why some agents discourage them is that home inspectors try to play real estate agent. "Had she my list in hand for the VA guy he could have required lots of things for the bank to do prior to her occupancy." For me I'm not a home inspector, so I'm not going to tell my buyers the condition of the home, but I also don't like home inspectors trying to give negotiating advise to my buyers. Great work for your client!

Posted by Josh Holt, Southern Maine and NH Real Estate - Your Source of Info on the Berwicks (RE/MAX Coast To Coast~ Dedicated to You!) about 12 years ago

In California, we have a form as pages 9 -10 of our purchase contract that is titled "Buyers' Inspection Advisory."  It explains all the reasons that you should have an inspection, and just stops a little short of saying that you are stupid if you choose not to!

Posted by Vicki Lloyd, (619)452-9798, Real Estate San Diego California (The Lloyd Realty Group) about 12 years ago

I dont know why an agent would tell her not to get one no matter if the VA is doing one or not.

Posted by Shane OnullGorman, Eau Claire Wisconsin, Real Estate Agent & Realtor- Buy or Sell (Eau Claire Realty, Inc.) about 12 years ago

As a buyer it's always a good idea to have a home inspected prior to purchase. It is their (buyers) choice. However, making that choice based on mis-leading information from inexperienced or irresponsible agents adds yet another problem to the situation. Although V.A. appraisers sometimes believe they are inspectors and sometimes do make completion of the appraisal conditional on repairs they are not inspectors.

Gene Quinney

Posted by Gene & Kim Quinney (Northwest Equity Home Sales) about 12 years ago

Hi Jay:

Good job!  Now you are the realtor that she will tell all of her friends and family.

Absolutely, always have a home inspection. 

We actually have a form that needs to be signed off on, if a buyer chooses not to have one.  I clearly states that everyone should have an inspection, etc. etc.


Posted by Toula Rosebrock, Broker/Sales Associate, Realtor, Lacey Township, (Diane Turton, Realtors, Forked River, NJ) about 12 years ago

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, obtain a Whole House Inspection. Even if the seller is your best friend, brother, sister-in-law, boss, minister, son's baseball coach, stylist, dentist, child's principle, yes even your mother. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, obtain a Whole House Inspection. Yes, most buyer's use the ispection to obtain additional knowledge of the property they are buying and usually will use it to have the seller replace/repair defects in the home. You don't HAVE to do anything with the information the inspection provides you. If the seller is your sister-in-law or your mother etc. you probably won't request any "fixes" by them. You can simply use it as your fix-it list. But at least you have much better knowledge of what you are buying. They also may uncover something VERY wrong with the home, in that case, I'll let you tell mom.

Posted by Scott Baker, Realtor Homes for Sale Cincinnati/Dayton Ohio (www.eHomeReports.com Coldwell Banker West Shell) about 12 years ago

I would never sell a house without a home inspection.  I also attend home inspections whether I represent the buyer or seller.  It is part of our service as a Realtor!  A good home inspector is a Realtors best friend.  Thank you for doing the right thing.

Jan Brown

Associate Broker,GRI

Keller Williams Arizona Living Realty

Posted by Jan Brown about 12 years ago

EVERYONE needs a home inspection. EVERYONE!!!  


Posted by Angela Clark, CRS, Realtor, Broker (Tony Clark REALTORS) about 12 years ago

For the last few years we have insisted that our clients have the home inspected during the due diligence phase. Then we pay for it at closing instead of a gift of some kind.

When listing a home we strongly encourage the sellers to have an inspection and fix the things that can be fixed and then evaluate the other items so that the listing price reflects their concern.

Revealing the repaired items, and acknowledging the homes flat spots with a deduction built into the price has become an effective marketing technique.

Thanks Jay for reminding all of us that it's not just about listing and closing. There are important steps in between.

Posted by Corie Seymour about 12 years ago

I'm a real estate broker and that's my advice too.  GET AN INSPECTION.  In fact when clients buy without one, in my office, they will signing a hold harmless letter saying they went against our advice and choose not to have an inspection.  CMA

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) about 12 years ago

Oh my Jay..... Who would ever tell someone they don't need a home inspection.... That is just as bad as someone saying you would not need title insurance.  I recommend the home inspection just as I do title insurance. Both are important

Posted by Roland Woodworth, eXp Realty (eXp Realty) about 12 years ago

I think that any buyer should get a professional inspection, even if your buyer thinks they "know it all", a second set of experienced eyes looking over the home is the only way to go.

Posted by Rob Kelly, Louisville Colorado Realtor (RE/MAX Alliance) about 12 years ago

Jay, in my real estate career I only remember two instances where the buyer did not have an inspection. Both were investors who knew what they were doing and essentially did their own inspection.

For new construction, I often advise people to wait six to nine months and then have an inspection and use it to take advantage of the builder's first year warranty. This approach also gives them the opportunity to discover possible faults themselves. Builders here in Texas have also been advising the same hoping to get a coprehensive one time list and be able to fix everything at once rather than getting a call a week for an individual item from the buyer. For build jobs I usually advise that the buyer consider having a framing, electrical,plumbing and HVAC duct inspection prior to sheetrock. Sheetrock can cover a multitude of sins.

Posted by Ted Jernigan about 12 years ago

Jay, I agree, they should get a home inspection BEFORE buying, not after.  Even if it's a new home.

Why in the world would anyone spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for the biggest purchase of their life and not even get it checked out first?  That's beyond me.  

Join my NEW group for professionals who work from their home office at http://activerain.com/groups/virtualoffice

Regina P. Brown
Allison James Estates & Homes

Posted by Regina P. Brown, M.B.A., Broker, Instructor (MBA Broker Consultants) about 12 years ago

Even if the bank is not going to do a single repair, it is always best to get a full professional inspection so you know what you are getting into.  The only time I've never had a client do an inpsection was when they were in the contracting business and new everything that was wrong with the house anyway.

Posted by Susan Manning (Realty Executives) about 12 years ago

Oh my -  we always recommend a home inspection -- no matter what.

Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) about 12 years ago

I think it easier for the VA guy to get away with his comment but definitly not too cool for the Realtor to say something like that.  I would rather err on the side of caution then to find out there were problems that would have been easily detected by the home inspector...Always recommend a home inspection!  You guys who do this job honestly are worth your weight in gold!!!

Posted by Sara Homan, Realtor, Homes, Farms & 55+ (Coldwell Banker Ellison Realty 352-209-4044) about 12 years ago

Jay, congrats on the feature----the first of many I am sure.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 12 years ago

Those agents who do not know the difference between an inspection and an appraisal is just another indicator of how far down the rabbit hole we have gone in the way of education and professionalism.

It is true that the home must conform to "certain" criteria when a VA loan is being obtained, the appraisal is in no way an inspection of the home.

Even though the property was a foreclosure and it is extremely unlikely that the Bank would have repaired anything, the Buyer should have been walking into the home with her eyes open and aware of the items needing attention, and she should have had the right to terminate her contract if those items were too big for her to handle or be comfortable with.

Of course that would have meant the starving agent dealing with her could have lost his/her commission which should probably be taken into account if she chooses to look for damages.

Come-On Agents,... the public deserves better than this,.. they trust us and our advice,... let's each of us resolve,.. from this point forward to be the kinds of people deserving of that trust

Posted by Randy G. Morley (The Home Brokers, Inc.) about 12 years ago


This is an epidimic!

People who want to skimp on "paying" for an inspection will ultimately pay on the back-side(literally).

Sorry folks, inspectors are not mere middle-men, but lifelines to the truth.


Posted by M.A. Payne/Inspections Business Owner about 12 years ago

Wow this story really lit my fuse!  What terrible advice from an agent.   First of all, this buyer needs to call the agent on the carpet for such costly advice.  Second of all, for anyone who may be confused about this issue, there is no  such thing as a "VA inspector/appraiser".   The appraiser is only approved by VA to perform appraisals based on VA guidelines.  The appraiser DOES NOT WORK FOR VA!!  Appraisers are independent contractors who receive orders for appraisals from lenders.  The appraiser may also be performing appraisals for FHA loans and conventional loans.    There is NO inspection by the appraiser.  NONE.  EVER!   The agent may have been confused about FHA loans where the appraiser was required, in the past, to do a "mini inspection" of the home, but this is NO LONGER required either.   Lastly, an inspector is licensed (at least in Texas) to perform INSPECTIONS.  That's what they do.    Appraisers are licensed to value properties NOT inspect properties.   FYI when doing a VA loan, you may NOT select your appraiser.  The lender submits the order to the VA system and the next  VA approved appraiser on the list gets the order.  Luck of the draw.  Get an inspection, period.  Never advise someone to buy without one.

Posted by Mary Ann Daniell Realtor, Delivering Successful Results Since 1999 (Coldwell Banker United, Realtors - Subsidiary of NRT LLC ) about 12 years ago

Awesome is right. Everyone, every buyer, should get a home inspection. There are issues even with new construction, sometimes serious ones.

Posted by Vickie Nagy, Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate) about 12 years ago

Have you heard of this firm: <a href="http://www.therealestatepro.net" title="">The Realestate Pro's</a>

Posted by Mark about 12 years ago

Mark, Just curious...why do you ask?

Hi Jay!
I can't imagine a Realtor that would give such poor advice.  I do think the buyer should give the agent's broker a call...the broker needs to know the kind of liability the agent is putting him/her in!  Inspections are a must...and I always tell my clients that their "best-friend" contractor, their "handy" dad or their buddy is NOT an inspector.  They need to hire a professional.

Posted by Paula Swayne, Realtor-Land Park, East Sac & Curtis Park -Dunniga (Dunnigan, Realtors, Sacramento (916) 425-9715) about 12 years ago

A story with a happy ending. I can't believe how many buyers still aren't convinced to get a home inspection.

Posted by LS Rogers Realty (LS Rogers Realty) about 12 years ago

I suggest inspections for everything!!!  Condos, new construction, commercial....  Why wouldn't you?

Posted by Jean Groesbeck, Broker, CRS, e-PRO, ABR, ASP, CNE, IMS (Compass) about 12 years ago

I hear that line all the time, but from buyers...I can't believe an agent would ever say that!

Posted by Pat Tasker, Your Milwaukee Metro Area Agent (WI) (Shorewest Realtors) about 12 years ago

I've bought two VA foreclosures...and I got inspections on both. I ALWAYS push my clients to inspect. Most of the time, they are very glad they did. IF nothing is wrong...they can buy with peace of mind. IF something is wrong...we can get the seller to address it. WIN WIN!! GBU~

Posted by Elizabeth Nieves, Bilingual Raleigh - Durham North Carolina Real Estate Team (The Elizabeth Nieves Realty Group) about 12 years ago

Hi Jay,

Good post.

If somebody is kaing a couple of hundred thousand dollar investment, how can they not pay $400 for an inspection.

This is just good business sense. :)

Posted by Mark MacKenzie about 12 years ago

I agree that everyone that buys a house should have it inspected. It's one of the biggest investments of a lifetime.

Posted by Anonymous about 12 years ago

As a broker, you want to know if there are hidden defects..so welcome the home inspection! Better before the sale rather than a phone call after it closes..oh oh....sinking feeling comes in as the laundry list of problems spill out that you did not catch!

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) about 12 years ago

Act in haste, repent at leisure. ALWAYS have a home inspection with an experienced inspector!!

How much she must have appreciated someone like you!

It always amazes me that someone will not do any research on an inspector for the biggest investment they can make. Sometimes the difference in cost is the price of a pizza.


Posted by Barb Corsa, Helping you keep in touch (SendOutCards ) about 12 years ago

I have not met a VA appraiser who is qualified to be a home inspector or one who even does a home inspection.  Heck most of them in my area are VA appraisers because the banks would never use them.

Posted by Randy L. Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) about 12 years ago


This is so true, we hear this about VA appraisers time and time again.  Especially with foreclosures that are often neglected and not taken care of, it is necessary to get an inspection.  It is amazing that people often skip one of biggest steps in the homebuying process that is in their very own interest.  Great story, that woman is one of the lucky ones!

Posted by Ray McMurdy about 12 years ago

Thank you everyone for your insightful and pertinent comments!  I am overwhelmed at the response!

I am very busy and have been and I apologize if I do not get back to each of you individually.  I did not know that the VA does not provide bona fide inspections.  Now I am even more disturbed by my client's circumstance.  She mentioned who her realtor was, but I did not recognize the name.  But I think that barn door was left open.  Here she is...

My understanding is that in my area approximately 70% of homes are inspected prior to occupancy.  I would have thought it higher, but that is what I understand.  There are more problems with new homes, in my opinion, than most older homes.  Foreclosures are very unpredictable as to condition.

Thank you again.  I have been on AR for 5 weeks or so.  It is a very enjoyable experience.  I have met some wonderful people and have read some wonderful posts.  Thank you!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 12 years ago

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