Your clients are buying a home, and just as they did when they were house hunting, they look to you for advice on choosing a home inspection professional. Instead of just asking for a referral, however, they also ask whether they should go with a professional home inspector or individual specialists to inspect the chief areas of the home.

“It might seem like a simple question to answer, but in order to serve your clients fully, you must first understand the why behind it,” Austin-based Realtor Shannon Ensor wrote in the article “Home Inspector or Specialist?

According to Ensor, the cost of a home inspection may be the deterrent. Home inspections can cost upwards of a few hundred dollars, and buyers may not want to put any more cash toward the transaction before closing. Contrarily, specialists often provide free initial appointments to provide an idea of the work the home needs.

“For buyers on a budget, the specialist route will seem appealing, and, as their real estate professional, you need to alert them to the dangers of using ‘free’ work,” Ensor wrote.

• Remind buyers that home inspectors are licensed (in some states) professionals who check the entire home. Because they don’t do repairs, they are unbiased in their findings and recommendations. On the other hand, specialists have a vested interest in anything they find wrong in the home because they can bid to fix it.

“First they hire an inspector to do a full examination of the home; then they bring in the specialists to confirm the report and provide quotes on what it will cost to perform repairs,” Ensor wrote. “Only the paid-for, unbiased opinion will result in the buyers accurately learning about the home.”

• The home inspector’s job is to uncover deficiencies in all areas of the home. Buyers need to learn if there are any shortcomings so they can feel more confident in their purchase, according to Ensor.

“A specialist who works specifically with HVAC systems day in and day out may seem like the more knowledgeable source to your buyers. But they need to realize that a home is a system, and all the parts need to be examined to understand if they’re working together properly,” she wrote.

• Don’t just suggest buyers go with a home inspector without giving them additional information on how to choose one. Agents should provide buyers with resources about inspectors, including licensing requirements. Ensor also suggested agents ask their favorite inspector to provide a write-up of their inspecting duties so buyers can feel more confident with the inspector’s work.

• Provide at least three home inspectors and, if they ask, three specialists from each field.

“If you only send your buyers to your preferred inspector, when he or she misses something wrong with the home (as they all eventually do — they’re only human), you’ll be added to the blame list because you gave the recommendation.”

Agents who take the time to educate buyers on the home inspection process will certainly reap the benefits.

“The more you educate your buyers about the inspection process, the better they will feel about the entire purchase,” Ensor wrote. “The better they feel, the more referrals they will send you!”