Should The Seller Attend The Home Inspection?

By
Home Inspector with Structure Tech Home Inspections

 

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 received a lot of comments on a member-only post last week that made me realize that many real estate agents don't agree with me.

When the buyers aren't there, great.

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 actually nice because I 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 sometimes make for an uncomfortable inspection.  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 the inspection justifying my words and actions to a 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 on sticking 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


 

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Re-Bloggged 5 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Maureen McCabe 09/28/2010 07:33 AM
  2. Donna Wall 09/29/2010 04:59 PM
  3. Bob & Leilani Souza 09/30/2010 12:11 AM
  4. Sandy McAlpine 10/01/2010 09:44 AM
  5. Barbara Michaluk 01/08/2011 03:31 PM
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Anonymous
cathy

REally!  Im the seller.  inspection was done 3 days ago-never notified.  GOod thing I went to the property in Decmeber-the inspector shut my furnace off and never notified me or my agent!!!!

December 20, 2011 10:23 AM
Rainmaker
229,341
Reuben Saltzman
Minneapolis Home Inspections
Structure Tech Home Inspections

Cathy - It sounds like that could have been a major insurance claim for the inspector.  I'm glad you caught it.

December 20, 2011 01:15 PM
Anonymous
Steve Kelly

I am a seller and from all I have read I will not attend the inspection. The only issue I have is the buyer's agent wants to let the buyer and inspector in the house and then leave. I don't know either the buyer or the inspector, so I don't like the idea of leaving them in my house alone. If the buyer's agent is there to let them in and stick around then I don't have a problem. The buyer's agent should have an interest in protecting the house.

February 12, 2012 03:59 PM
Anonymous
Lisa

As a buyer who went through a home inspection yesterday with a seller present, I can say it wasn't horrible.  Our inspector wouldn't speak loudly or say too many bad things about the house when he thought she could hear.  Most of the problems found were quietly pointed out and later, at our vehicles, discussed in length. 

However... We paid for the inspector out of our pocket to check the house.  He was working for us, not them.  If the seller wants to know what we found out, they should pay for it too.  I don't think I should pay for them to know what we found.  If they want to know, maybe they should pay me half of the cost.  It's only right.  I also believe that the selling agent should not be there.  If they want a copy of the report, they can pay me for it or get their client to do an inspection.

 

March 15, 2012 08:01 AM
Anonymous
Lois

Im selling my mobile home inspection was today paid for by the buyer.  I had a realtor his contractor, an inspector, a termite inspector, a cleaning lady ( buyers realtor friend) another general contractor and my realtor.  I should have been told not to be there I overheard the cleaning lady point out dirty areas in my house, I know my cleaning is very through and often, well she needed a job. what is she going to say oh its so clean you don't need me, same with termite guy he said there were a few droppings on one side of the house but it will cost me 1500 anyway...at this point I'm thinking of backing out to much troubl..

 

POIN BEING SELLER SHOULD BE TOLD NOT TO BE THERE, I WAS NOT

September 10, 2012 08:32 PM
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Rainmaker
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Reuben Saltzman

Minneapolis Home Inspections
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Home inspection topics in the Minneapolis / Saint Paul area.