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Reuben Saltzman

Should The Seller Attend The Home Inspection?

I’ve written about buyers attending the home inspection and I’ve written about buyer’s agents attending the home inspection.  I’ve never written about home sellers attending the home inspection because I thought this was a no-brainer, but I recently learned that there are many real estate agents that feel the seller should be present during the home inspection.

When the buyers aren’t there, no problem.

If the buyers aren’t going to attend the inspection, I have no problem with the seller being home for the inspection.  In fact, sometimes it’s nice to have someone to talk to instead of just talking to myself.  I can ask the seller about mysterious stains, I can ask why they installed something this way when it’s usually done that way… come to think of it, when it’s just me and the seller present, I ask a ton of questions.  I get to know the sellers a little, and I often get a call from them later when they’re ready to have their next house inspected.  I’m all for it.

But when the buyer attends…

On the other hand, if the buyers are going to attend the inspection, which is what happens with the majority of my business, I would much prefer that the seller take off.

On the rare occasions when the seller is present, it can make for an uncomfortable inspection for both the buyers and sellers.  It’s tough for a seller to have some stranger walking through their house pointing out defects.  Many sellers get angry or defensive, and oftentimes can’t help themselves from butting in with defensive comments or challenging me.  I stand behind my recommendations and opinions, but it’s a huge waste of my client’s time if I have to spend half of my time at the inspection talking to the seller.

I typically show up to inspections about fifteen to twenty minutes early, often before the seller has left yet.  If I get the impression that the seller isn’t planning on leaving, I’ll usually ask a few pointed questions.  “So, are you planning to stick around for this inspection?” If the answer is yes, I’ll say “Ok… did you know the buyers are coming too?”  At this point, the seller typically gets a shocked look and says they had no idea that the buyers would be coming, and they rush to get out of the house.

On the rare occasion that the seller plans on staying, I feel out the situation.  If the seller says they’ll leave me and my clients alone, great.  If the seller answers the door with a scowl and tells me they’re not going anywhere, I politely tell them that I respect the fact that it’s their house and they can do what they want, but I would prefer they leave.  If they still don’t want to, that’s their business, but most buyers are very uncomfortable with the seller being home for the inspection.  The sellers should be gone during the home inspection for all the same reasons that sellers are gone for any showings.

The most common reason I’ve heard for people that do want the sellers present is so that they can answer any questions that the home inspector has about the house.  I have a very simple solution: have the sellers leave a phone number.  Done and done.

Note To Home Inspector

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections

        

 

 

No responses to “Should The Seller Attend The Home Inspection?”

  1. Betty Jung
    September 28, 2010, 4:47 pm

    I am so in disagreement with your article. This is the buyer’s inspection, the buyer pays for the inspection and according to our earnest money agreement it is the buyer’s time to perform due diligence in regards to the condition of the property. Further, any interference (at all) could harm future negotiations about repairs between the seller and the buyer.

  2. Reuben Saltzman
    September 28, 2010, 7:15 pm

    Betty – what are you in disagreement with? I had two main points: if the buyer is not going to attend the inspection, I don’t mind having the seller there. If the buyer IS going to attend the inspection, I don’t want the seller there.

    What don’t you agree with?

  3. Betty Jung
    September 29, 2010, 2:38 am

    The seller should never be there during a home inspection that is paid for by the buyers. It is the buyers right to have a home inspection whether they are there or not. It is the buyers right to perform due diligence for a home they are purchasing – the right they have as a result of the earnest money agreement written that has been signed by both parties (document) . Regardless if the buyer is there or not, their buyers agent should be there and never a seller. If the seller is there, they would be curious as to what you the inspector would find, or you would tell them, which would jeopardize any negotiations a buyer has the right to have with a seller over required or needed repairs. It is the buyers inspection and the seller should not be a party to that inspection while it is occurring.

  4. Barb
    February 21, 2013, 1:33 pm

    What if the inspector is the buyer’s dad? No current law in UT that this is can’t happen but I still don’t like it

  5. Reuben Saltzman
    February 21, 2013, 2:30 pm

    Hi Barb – I don’t see this as being much different from a real estate agent representing a family member.

  6. Darren beecham
    February 21, 2013, 11:15 pm

    Personally,it was a very timely article for me to read…because of the process….and if you can complete an inspection with the seller there it’s most definately a great opportunity to build relationships and maybe a follow up sale..:)

  7. Kate McQueen
    May 11, 2013, 1:38 pm

    It is a RIDICULOUS idea for a seller to attend a home inspection. The buyer is obtaining and PAYING for the inspection and the seller should have no part in the process or discuss ANY issues in the home with the buyer’s inspector. Further, since home inspectors are culpable for any missed defects that could later cause a problem for the buyer, inspectors often overstate minor defects in a home. When the seller is present and/or VIEWS the home inspection report, they become burdened by the duty to disclose what is often unimportant and petty fixes that the buyer’s agent can request through an amendment.

  8. Annie Gavran
    July 3, 2013, 10:02 pm

    Agree to some degree, but sorry, if my agent isn’t attending, no one is going through MY house with me not there or my rep!!! I will wait in the car, go in the backyard in a corner, stay out of the way, no probs…I have a right as well! still my house!

  9. Kevin Paffrath
    July 30, 2013, 3:51 pm

    Sorry, I forgot to link to the post! Hah. Here it is:

    http://www.meetkevin.com/sellers-present-home-inspections-bad-idea

    Thanks,
    Kevin

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