Reuben's Home Inspection Blog


I didn't kill the deal, the house did.

I received a phone call from a home seller last summer complaining I killed the deal on his house. I inspected his home for the new buyers, and they decided not to buy it after I inspected it because there were so many issues identified at the inspection.  A few of the issues included an improperly built deck, a roof in need of replacement, and improper flashing at the exterior.  The owner called me and said that I went overboard with my comments, and wanted to make sure I knew that it was my fault that the buyers backed out of the deal.  That call drove me nuts.Disconnected Plumbing Vent


The angry homeowner told me that one of the items I called out was not a problem because the  building official had signed off on the home when it was built.  I actually felt my ears get hot when he told me that - if you've read my blog on New Construction Inspections, you know that a ton of stuff gets missed during new construction, and it's always a good idea to have new houses privately inspected.  Even if the home had been properly built 11 years ago, it's my job to tell the new buyer that houses aren't built this way any more because problems can occur. I told the angry homeowner in a passionate, yet professional manner, that just because a building official signed off on something 11 years ago doesn't make it ok with me.  I should have ended the call instead of getting dragged in to a conversation about my inspection, but I couldn't help myself - I'm proud of my work, and I stand behind it.


Deck Pulling ApartBefore ending the call, the angry homeowner wanted to know if I would have bought the home.  That's a loaded question that I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole.  I told the homeowner that I don't know what his home is selling for, what the terms of the purchase agreement are, or what the property is actually worth.  Without carefully going over all of those things, I wouldn't know if a property was a good buy or not.  A home inspection is never a pass / fail, and I never give advice on whether or not to buy a house.  My job is to make sure the buyer is making an informed decision. 



Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections - Email - Minneapolis Home Inspections




New Construction Inspections


Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections


Comment balloon 7 commentsReuben Saltzman • February 22 2009 12:54PM


Reuben, regardless of the seller's response--and it's of course understandable--I'm sure the potential buyer appreciated your help. The seller, once they are in the market to purchase, will also use information just as you provided on their home to help them make a decision on their next purchase.  You did what you were hired to do.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru ( over 11 years ago

You are accountable for your services. You did the right thing. Think of the flip side, say you didn't call out the issues and the buyers went forward. You might end up with an angry buyer call.

Your job is to provide the services of an impartial 3rd party...and that you have done.

Posted by Vickie Nagy, Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate) over 11 years ago

You have to list what you see and if there are issues the buyer cannot deal with , or they do not want to continue, then that is just the way it is and their choice.

Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) over 11 years ago

Hi Reuben, You know you did your job.  Most every home will have "something".  That is your job to find "something".  It is the decision of the buyer if that "something or somethings" is okay with them.  Is it going to be a deal breaker for them?  Every-ones comfort and skill levels are different - what may bother some may not bother others.  Also, as a reminder every sales contract is different when it comes to what a buyer can ask for after the home inspection is done.  Ours is somewhat specific when it comes to home inspections. 

Posted by Kimberly Thurm, Broker / Relocation Consultant ABR, CRS, GRI, SFR (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff, Naperville, IL) over 11 years ago

I'd much rather have a call from an unreasonable, angry seller than an unhappy buyer!  You absolutely did the right thing and good for you!

Posted by Susan Haughton, Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results. (Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545) over 11 years ago

This is a problem within the industry and remember that the seller is just venting and they are going after the messenger.  Glad you kept professiona.

Whenever I get the most asked question (even by buyers) "Would you buy this house?"  I simply tell them that "I am not in the market for a house and cannot answer that question.  Only you can answer that question by taking into consideration what you are paying, what you are looking for, what it appraises for and how much it is worth to you in its current condition".  That usually gets the conversation going in a different direction.


Posted by Jeff Remas, Inspector Jeff (Advanced Code Group) over 11 years ago


There is a saying another inspector coined a long time ago when asked if he ever killed deals. he said, "I have never killed a deal, but I have had a few houses commit suicide right before my eyes". I use that phrase any time I am asked.

The two most asked questions are: Would you buy this house? and Am I getting a good deal.

When I am asked if I would buy the house I say NO. Wait a second, then continue with, "I have a house, I hate packing, and I'm not looking to move".

As far as getting a good deal, you pretty much covered it, don't know how much it's selling for, or how much it's worth.

Sellers get pissed all the time with inspectors, or appraiser, or loan officers, or title companies, or termite inspectors, or the mailman, or, or, or.... Most of the time they are pissed at someone or something else and just using us as the target at that time. I let them vent, bite my tongue, and get off the phone or turn around and drive away.




Posted by Jack Feldmann (Clayton Inspection Service, Inc.) over 11 years ago