Notes From Readers: Home Inspections Should Come First

A collection of letters from readers of REALTOR® Magazine this month.

February 1, 2010

The first paragraph of "Home Inspector’s File" (January 2010, page 14) sums it all up! Too often, a deal is in the home stretch, the mortgage is approved, and the settlement date is set—only for a home inspection to throw everything off track. Why let this happen? As REALTORS®, we should be smart enough to catch potential surprises up front. The rule should be that no property is listed for sale unless it has been properly inspected with a report for all potential buyers to see. Sellers should certify their property, not merely with a disclosure statement but with a certified inspection. That would eliminate a lot of headaches.—Mark J. Parker,, Mount Laurel, N.J.

NAR Has Inspirational Leader

Your January profile of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®’ 2010 leader, Vicki Cox Golder ("Fresh Off the Ranch," page 17), was well done and inspiring. Vicki is certainly someone to admire and has obviously worked hard to achieve all she has. I want to wish her the very best in her year as president.—Wendy Selditz, CEO, Greater Idaho Falls Association of REALTORS®, Idaho Falls, Idaho

Appraisals Need Consistency

I’m writing in regards to the article "In Defense of the HVCC" (January 2010, page 13).  My big problem with appraisal management companies is a lack of consistency from one appraiser to the next. In two of my recent experiences, AMC-approved appraisers came back with inaccurate data (such as the wrong floor listed on a condo) and outdated comparables (in which case the appraiser was reprimanded after a complaint was filed). AMCs should hold appraisers to a certain standard of practice. It’s frustrating that something like an accurate appraisal, which used to be expected, is now a game of chance.—Corey Atherton, project manager, Creston Community, Black Mountain, N.C.

Not Impressed With New GFE Form

I enjoyed "10 to Watch in 2010" (November/December 2009, page 12), and agreed with all except the new Good Faith Estimate form. Unfortunately, the new GFE seems to miss its goal of simplifying closing costs. The "Total Settlement Charges" don’t include some important offsets, yet do include items that are historically paid by the seller. Monthly payments also are confusing—on the first page it addresses the monthly payment in two sections, one concerning only principal, interest, and mortgage insurance, and the other addressing only escrows. Everyone in this business understands that taxes, insurance, and HOA fees can add hundreds to the monthly payment, yet they’re not dealt with clearly. The fact that a three-page document has 42 pages of explanatory handouts is not a good thing.—Wesley P. Cordeau, Texas Supreme Realty, Texas Supreme Mortgage, Houston