Q: This is a comment, not a question. Real estate agents work for the seller, not the buyer, that’s how they make their money. Home inspectors work for the real estate agent and themselves. Neither usually has a background in home maintenance.

Neither real estate agents nor the home inspectors give advice to the home buyer why they shouldn’t buy the house. An apartment maintenance person would know more about the mechanical aspects of a home over both an agent and mechanical inspector.

My advice: Don’t trust either the home inspector or real estate agent and get an second or third opinion before buying a home.

A: That’s a pretty cynical view of the real estate industry and I’m not sure I agree with it.

First, real estate agents know that if they don’t provide value and help someone make a good purchase, that buyer won’t come back when it comes time to sell the property. And, the buyer won’t be a good source of referrals — which is key to the success of any real estate agent.

A professional home inspector worth his or her salt will be honest about the physical condition of the property because they don’t want the home buyer coming after them with a lawsuit if they glossed over something serious in order to get the deal closed. Also, home inspectors like real estate agents depend on referrals to plump up their business.

While there are real estate agents that may make referrals only to inspectors who won’t “kill” a deal, there are still many others who want what is best for their clients and will try to get them a good inspector at a reasonable price.

Home Inspector Helps Buyer, Real Estate Agent

Again, while there may be real estate inspectors who are willing to gloss over some problems in a home in order to make the deal for the real estate agent who got them the referral, there are still many more that would rather make sure the home buyer knows what he is buying and understands the problems with the home purchase over their desire to keep the real estate agent happy.

The best agents will hand a home buyer a list of top inspectors, lenders and attorneys and it will then be up to the home buyer to chose the one that he or she thinks is the best.

It sounds to me as though you’ve had a perfectly awful experience either buying or selling a home. I’m sorry about that. But you’re right about one thing: It is always a good idea to think through a home purchase carefully before you sign the paperwork.

Jan. 19, 2009.