Should Real Estate Agents Attend The Home Inspection?

Home Inspector with Structure Tech Home Inspections


Many real estate agents don't attend their buyer's home inspection because someone has told them that this increases their liability.  I completely disagree.  It's their conduct at the inspection that puts them at risk, not their presence.   About 75% of the agents that I regularly work with attend at least part of the inspection, and almost all of my clients attend the entire inspection.  I've identified several different types of agents throughout the years, and I''m going to give my two cents as to whether they should attend or not. 

The Annoyed Agent
These agents act like they're doing their client a favor by selling them a house, and they're obviously annoyed with their client.  They moan and sigh every time I talk about something that needs attention.  They always want to write up an addendum to the purchase agreement and have the client sign it while we're still at the property, before they've even seen my report.  Stay home.

The Know-It-All
These agents have a background in construction or they know a lot about houses, and they want to make sure everyone knows it.  Sometimes they do more talking than I do at the inspection, and they'll often downplay or disagree with items that I say need attention.  These agents give bad information, they seem to be working on their own agenda, and they're exposing themselves to a lot of liability.  Stay home.

The Critic
These are the agents that don't know me, and they're scared as heck because I'm not their 'usual inspector'.   They're afraid that I'm going to say something that will blow the deal, they look over my shoulder the whole time, and they try to question everything I say unless it's positive.  These agents clearly have their own agenda in mind, and they act bitter because the client picked me.  Stay home. 

The Other Inspector
This agent attends the home inspection and tries to point out anything the home inspector might have missed, and tries to be a second set of eyes.  This agent has good intentions, but if a home inspector needs this help to produce a solid  inspection it might be time to find another home inspector.  While these agents have their client's needs in mind, they could be giving their client the idea that they're just as qualified to inspect the home.  An attorney might tell these agents to stay home - see the note at the bottom of this blog.

The Rookie
These agents may have never attended a home inspection, and they haven't sold a lot of houses.  They learn a ton about the inspection process, and they use this information to help their current client and their future clients.  These agents should definitely be there to learn.  Come along.

The Moral Support

These agents show up at the inspection because they're working with first time home buyers that need their hand held throughout the entire process.  They introduce me to the client, and they tag along for the whole inspection to provide moral support.  They don't get in the way, and their clients usually appreciate them being there.  These agents have their client's needs in mind.  Come along.

The Inspectors Assistant
These agents attend the entire inspection, and they often ask more questions than the client does.  They offer to adjust the thermostat, they go back inside while we're inspecting the outside to make sure a fan is turned on, and some have even been on the roof with me (I know I'm going to get crap for this one!).  These agents have their client's needs in mind.   Come along.

The Professional
These agents show up because they feel it's their due diligence.  They don't tag along with me much, but they want to know about any big issues that come up, and they usually want to understand the issues and see them firsthand.  These agents have their client's needs in mind.  Come along.

The first three types of agents that I talked about are the type that either have been sued or should be sued.  They're doing a disservice to their clients by attending the inspection, and they don't have any business being there.  I don't work with a lot of these agents, because they don't refer me.   Most of the agents that I work with truly have their client's best interest in mind, and I see no reason for them to be afraid to attend the inspection.  Maybe I'm too much of an optimist, but I've never subscribed to the phrase "No good deed goes unpunished".

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections - Email - Bloomington Home Inspector

PS - About the "Other Inspector" - I read an article about this agent at the NAR web site, thank you Laura Parris for finding it for me!  I think this article might be one of the largest factors in agents not wanting to attend home inspections.   My interpretation of this article is "Rotten client does a rotten thing to real estate agent."  The whole premise of this tale is despicable.  I followed up with the author of the article because the article never tells how the story ended.  I asked if the agent had to pay for the repairs, and the author said "The insurance company paid".




This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Home Buying
Ask the Home Inspector
Home Inspectors across the country
Home Inspector's Corner
Professional Home Inspectors
who should attend the inspection

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

I have been with all those types otf agents or variations of myself. Thank goodness most fall with in the latter catergories. The others can make fo a long inspection.

Apr 14, 2009 12:02 AM #1
Laura Parris
Real Estate Professionals - McDonough, GA

sigYou are very welcome Reuben! I was glad to help. This is an excellent blog, one that I will certainly share with my agents. It made me re-evaluate my position and attitudes over the years and I admit to being every one of these agents at least once in my career. Now I'm the professional agent. Thanks for sharing your insight.

Apr 14, 2009 12:40 AM #2
Tad Petersen / Home Inspector, Mpls
Safeguard Home Inspections, Inc. - Watertown, MN

Hey Reuben, I've had a lot of "Moral Support" agents lately due to the overwhelming first time buyers hiring me. I've also had "The Critic" recently and this person I will not soon forget.

Apr 14, 2009 02:06 AM #3
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Reuben, I find that these harder times has weeded out many of the agents that don't fit into the last three categories.

Apr 14, 2009 03:03 AM #4
Dan Callahan
Callahan's Home Inspections - Casper, WY

I found out through the grapevine here in my area that if the seller is offering a "Home Warranty" the buyers agent is talking the buyer out of a home inspection because they don't want the deal to fall through. Anything to get the commission I guess!!!

Apr 15, 2009 01:07 AM #5
Dana Bostick
True Professionals, Inc. - North Hollywood, CA


Thisis a huge liability for the agent!  If one looks into the "Home Warranty" game they will soon find that the HW companies are in the business of collecting premiums and trying as hard as they can to avoid paying any claim. Not really any difference than ANY inusrance company I guess.

Relying on a Home Warranty to make repairs is a fools game IMHO.

As a Home Inspector with many thousands of inspections to my credit, the HW companies are a Pain in the A** and create more problems than they are worth. LOL


Apr 15, 2009 04:10 AM #6
MC2 Home Inspections
MC2 Home Inspections LLC - Denver, CO


EXCELLENT post!!! Man you hit the nail on the head with every one of them! Kudos!

Apr 15, 2009 06:16 AM #7
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Delivering the Unbiased Truth.

James - you're right.  Very long inspections, and like Tad said, often ones that you don't forget.

Laura - that's big of you to admit!  Thanks again for digging up that article.

Tad - I still remember 'critics' from many years ago.  You're right, you won't forget.

Charles - maybe it's just you.  Seriously.

Dan - Get out of here.  That's ridiculous.  I blogged about my opionion on warranties a few months ago.

MC2 - thanks!  I had someone in mind for every one of those.




Apr 15, 2009 02:39 PM #8
Scott Patterson, ACI
Trace Inspections, LLC - Spring Hill, TN
Home Inspector, Middle TN

If a home is occupied I require the agent to be present.  They can sit on the sofa or in their car, but for my liability I want them at the inspection.  If I recall, MLS or the lockbox company requires them to be present if it has a lockbox on the home and they open it up.

On a vacant empty home, I don't care it they stay around.

Apr 16, 2009 08:52 AM #9
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Delivering the Unbiased Truth.

Scott - interesting.  Here in MN most inspectors are affiliate members of the realtor's associations, so we have our own eKeys and let ourselves in.

Apr 16, 2009 02:07 PM #10
Gene Allen
Fathom Realty - Cary, NC
Realty Consultant for Cary Real Estate

I like to be there so that I can understand the problems that come up and help the buyer understand waht is options are.  I sit and watch and only ask amplifying questions on itmes I think the buyer would appreciate knowing more aboutg.

Apr 19, 2009 12:40 PM #11
Winston Westbrook
Westbrook National Real Estate Co - Victorville, CA


Good stuff . Thanks for posting this up. It's always good to read these blogs every now and again to pick up some good tips. I hope I never become one of these dorky agents lol


Apr 22, 2009 08:16 PM #12
Erby Crofutt
B4 U Close Home Inspections&Radon Testing ( - Lexington, KY
The Central Kentucky Home Inspector, Lexington KY

Funny stuff.  Sad that it's true on some of the first ones on the list.

But, life goes on.  Most realtors around Kentucky don't attend citing liability issues.

Jul 15, 2009 10:04 PM #13
Jean-Paul Peron
The Outer Banks Real Estate Copmpany - Corolla, NC
Carova Beach - Living & Working in 4-Wheel Drive

I do make it u point to come along. Hopfulley I fall in one of the last three categories.

 I just had a deal go south, and it was the first time no one but the inspector showed up. I'm now going to make it a rule that if the buyer's agent is not going to show up, then I will as the seller's agent.

Oct 19, 2010 12:43 PM #14
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Delivering the Unbiased Truth.

Jean-Paul - sorry the deal fell apart.  As I learned from several of the comments on my blog about sellers attending the inspection, there are lots of 'buyers' agents that don't want the 'sellers' agents to attend.  

I wouldn't really care.

Oct 19, 2010 02:40 PM #15
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Reuben Saltzman

Delivering the Unbiased Truth.
Ask me a question
Spam prevention

Additional Information