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Do You Attend Home Inspections?

By
Real Estate Agent with YouShouldOwn.com

I've seen many agents in other states argue or debate this subject. I've seen many say "No, we don't get involved here. That's up to the buyer."

Typically in Ohio, or at least the Cleveland area, agents attend the home inspection. We do this as a benefit to our buyer and to be there as representation. It's quite standard and expected. Taking notes, understanding the flaws, and preparing for negotiating. I've learned SO much from home inspections it makes me a better and stronger agent all together. I'm able to explain things and have a good understanding of estimated cost of repairs and ages of mechanicals, what to look for, etc. I'm careful of course not to come accross as a home inspector, but my knowledge shows and buyers adore it. They actually feel I'm useful and a great tool to have in their shed.

I don't just open doors and smile... I assist and help as though I'm a family member. Afterall these buyers are future sellers and their real family will hopefully be contacting me one day.

Some argue that home inspections are a private, personal decision made by the buyer and independently contracted outside of what our roll includes. They feel stepping inside that arena somehow involves them and that's the last place they want to be seen, (with the home inspector)

Overkill, or just an excuse for laziness?

I admit, I don't like spending 2-4 hours in a vacant home twiddling my thumbs while the crawl space is being torn apart. I don't like standing in sometimes cold homes in the winter with no heat only to watch the breath of my buyers and myself filling the kitchen. I do however feel it's not only a great way to gain even more rapport and strength with your customers, but a great way to learn more, and show you care.

So... how does your area practice? Do you attend them? Do you let the home inspector take that part over and you just review the report and go from there? I'm interested in seeing your take and involvement. (Please include the area you serve.)

Cecilia Sherrard
YouShouldOwn.com - Cleveland, OH

-- Tim, I agree... we are able to clarify scary comments and shocking facial expressions from buyers that just don't understand some of the minor issues in a home as being *minor* Some inspectors will exaggerate it seems and others will belittle an issue...

 

-- Melissa... Oh my...It seems like this is the time to pull weight with your buyer and make them understand the reality of the situation. That's a real shame. Stong comparables and letting them know it's no place for the inspector to be appraising the house... I hope they come around for you. That seems like a real waste. They could potentially own a wonderful home and have a solid investment for the future. I hope you're able to keep them on your side and make them see the light. Good luck...

It's interesting to see Re/Max on the side of not attending in Ohio... This is what I was looking for. I've seen many on the south say this but not Ohio until now.

Sep 04, 2007 03:04 PM
John Cundiff
HomeWise Building Inspection Services - Fairview Park, OH

Well- I suppose it's time for an inspector to chime in.

First and foremost, a note to Melissa- please do not let one bad experience taint your opinion of home inspectors, and certainly do not let this experience cause you to stray from your broker's protocol. Without a doubt, the inspector you mentioned has broken an intra-industry mega-rule. He is not a professional and like I ask everybody who has complaints about inspectors- who is he???  I teach many home inspectors throughout the state. If anything is beaten into their heads, its when to keep their mouths shut. Whats more, as most of you know, there are many inspectors who view Realtors as coming from the other side- an enemy of sorts. I think this notion is bizarre. Sure, there are Realtors who overstep their role and attempt to dilute or a taint an inspection, just as there are bad inspectors. What I preach is that we (the industry) need to cull our bad apples. If we don't, then some quick-shooting law maker will build a legislative wall between us. It's my firm belief that such a condition would cause a great disservice to our mutual client.

Celia, it is an excellent post. From my point of view, it is absolutely appropriate for a buyers agent to be present during an inspection. Of course, the agent must exercise restraint- especially when their opinion differs from that of the inspector. Once the inspection has ended, the client is all yours- help them digest the report and prioritise the issues. By all means, offer your opinion. That is your job and my students are trained to know and respect that. On the other hand, I have had agents who were so vocal during the process, I had to ask them to leave, or see the inspection ended.

As far as the listing agent being present, I really think it's a bad idea. Of course we're working to the same end, but even the simple spirit of fairness allows for the client to have an unfettered hour or two with their hired consultant. If a listing agent must be present, then I urge them to busy themselves somewhere away from myself and the client.

When you get down to the nitty gritty, the client is entitled to an inspection vis-a-vis, the purchase agreement. Without it being written, one can suppose that the inspection would be performed in accordance with industry standards. The Standards of Practice and the Code of Ethics of all three major home inspection organizations, as well as the requirements of the states that have licensing, specifically state that the inspection and the report are the client's property. Therefore, the person having the right to specify who may or may not attend, is the client.   

John Cundiff, CMI

HomeWise Building Inspection Services

Adjunct Faculty, Hondros College   

Sep 07, 2007 01:18 PM
Cecilia Sherrard
YouShouldOwn.com - Cleveland, OH

Awesome comment Mister Cundiff. Well put and well received. As long as there are ethics involved and made priority, there shouldn't be any issues outside of the home's flaws if any.

I remember being in a popular forum a while back and hearing an outpour of agents arguing the two sides. It appears, though only a small amount have commented that most agents tend to show face and show grace.

This industry needs more good agents, inspectors and professionals. As it stands now we're positioned just above a used care salesperson. I believe the respect and view of our professions could be lifted by minor changes and a proud unity.

Inspect on,

- Cecilia

Sep 07, 2007 01:41 PM
John Cundiff
HomeWise Building Inspection Services - Fairview Park, OH
Thanks Cecilia! I just visted your web site- impressive!
Sep 09, 2007 07:39 AM
Mike (Inspector Mike) Parks
Inspector Mike - Circleville, OH
Inspector Mike

i do not understand why ALL Realtors do not attend the inspection.

Most of the ones that use me do. Why?

So that they understand the inspection. The report sometimes makes things sound worse than what they really are.

Attend, Attend, Attend.

Better yet why would you not attend?

Sep 09, 2007 08:54 AM
Cecilia Sherrard
YouShouldOwn.com - Cleveland, OH

Thanks John! I have a new forum on the site and I'm looking to build it and have experts in the field share their advice and help. It is brand new but hopefully with strong word of mouth it will grow and help those in out of state make their home here in Ohio. http://www.youshouldown.com/forum

I agree Mike...Buyers often don't know what the deal is with anything pertaining to the home or its mechanicals. Experienced* agents can help make sense of what they're up against and are able to turn all the scary things into a realistic plan of resolve. Newer agents can also greatly benefit as there's always something to learn. Each new inspection will shed light on something previously unknown.

I appreciate the comments. Nice to see inspectors here sharing their opinion and take. =)

Sep 09, 2007 09:06 AM
Scot Thrapp
Coastal Palmetto Realty - Conway, SC
I usually attend Home Inspections and let the Inspector go over with me everything on his list, sometimes I have him call me when he is done.  If someone has never been to one they need to go now, you can learn a lot!
Oct 05, 2007 03:15 AM
Mark H. Roe
BeSure Home Inspection Service - Lancaster, OH
BeSure Home Inspection Service
I agree with Mike, I also ask the Realtor to attend, and I always ask that if all possible that the buyer plan on attending. This is one of the best ways for the buyer and the Realtors to see what the home is all about. It is like said above, sometimes the report reads worst than what the home really is.
Oct 07, 2007 12:06 PM
Brenda & David Wakeman
Russell Realty - Strongsville, OH
I always attend our Buyers Home Inspections.  I take the time to introduce everyone and then I make that everything is turned on and ready for the inspector.  I then try to stay out of the way, it is the Buyers time to learn about the home.  I make sure to listen in on the final summary and then review everything with the buyer and complete the contignecy removal.  If there are issues, they are fresh in everyones mind at that time and if not, then it's time to remove the contigency so that the sale can proceed without delays.
Oct 15, 2007 12:44 AM
Sue Gabriel
Cleveland, OH

I've only had one inspection so far, and I didn't hesitate to be there with my buyer.  We need to be fully informed if we're to help in the negotiations.  But then, I'm also in the Cleveland area, as you know.  : )

And it really helped to read an inspector's point of view - thanks John!!

 

Nov 03, 2007 01:17 AM
Elaine Reese, REALTORĀ® in central Ohio
Real Living HER, Powell Ohio - Powell, OH

Cecelia: when I started in the business (99) most agents attended the inspections. I found it to be wonderful learning info plus it helped in writing up the remedies. But several years ago, Peg Rittenour (OAR legal person) spoke to our Board and told us that their recommendation was that agents should NOT attend an inspection due to a recent law suit.

The buyers had sued the inspector for not finding something, and because the agent was physically there, they sued the agent (and broker) because they felt that the agent was also acting as an inspector and should have known of the condition.

Based on the OAR recommendation, my broker requests we not be there. However, I do go at the end to have the inspector show me the critical issues so I can better understand how to write the remedies. But even though I might be there for only 15 minutes, the inspector still checks the box "agent attended inspection". That bothers me.

Nov 03, 2007 03:19 AM
Michael McColgan
Home Diagnostic - North Olmsted, OH
Agents, read the inspectors contract and make sure there is a clause in it to protect you from being sued. Mine does.
Nov 16, 2007 06:47 AM
John Cundiff
HomeWise Building Inspection Services - Fairview Park, OH

Mike- explain this clause.

IMO, A contract can spell out anything the author chooses. However, in application, only the signatories are effectually protected or exposed for actions arising from the instrument. The only thing that would protect an agent from liability is "third party coverage", if purchased by the HI. Indeed, this is something Realtors should demand of inspectors they may refer. Of course, the real benefit is that this would cull out HI's that are uninsured- which is the majority of HI's in Ohio.

Nov 17, 2007 09:15 AM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Hi Cecelia:  The one reason I keep hearing as far as the reason agents should not attend inspections... is agent liability.  I am there at the beginning of the inspection... then I leave, and return at the end... usually for a copy of the inspection, and for an explanation of any of the items after I read the inspection.

I have seen instances where items were overlooked during the inspection, then after closing the new buyers/now owners got quite upset when they discovered the "missed item"... and then accused the agent of distracting the inspector so the item wouldn't be found.  It could go either way... but that's one side to consider.  Thanks for bringing up the question...

Nov 17, 2007 05:37 PM
Anonymous
Anonymous

Elaine,

After reading your post concerning how inspector will still check off that the agent attended the full inspection. My inspection reporting program has that box. But I now make a statement in the report if the agent just opened the door and left, or if they showed up at the end of the inspection. I fully understand the liability that the Realtors have and I see no reason to place that liability on them when it is not there. I hope other inspectors will do the same.

 

Nov 18, 2007 12:31 AM
#26
Anonymous
Mike McColgan

Hey John, my lawyer and I call it the Hold Harmless Clause signed by all parties.

Client agrees to hold all real estate agents involved in the purchase of the property to be inspected harmless and keep them exonerated from all loss, damage, liability or expense occasioned or claimed by reasons of acts or neglects of the Inspector or his employees or visitors or of indepedent contractors engaged or paid by the inspector for the purpose of inspecting the subject home.

Nov 19, 2007 01:59 AM
#27
John Cundiff
HomeWise Building Inspection Services - Fairview Park, OH
Unless the realtor is signing it as well, then they have no practical protection from litigation.  If you have Realtors become a party to your inspection agreement, I think there are way too many problems to even list. A lot of language is included in contracts to disuade people from taking leagal action ie: limits of award equal to the amount paid.." When the rubber meets the road, such language means very little except to make the idea of a law suit seem like a waste of time. 
Nov 19, 2007 02:41 AM
Anonymous
Anonymous

I am a new agent and have attended my first home inspections.  I learned volumes by walking through the house with my buyers and the inspector.  Being there for the whole process is very important in making a good impression.  They will talk about their agent to other friends and family, how they were every step of the way.  Also, being there as a representive or a mediator if the sellers are there is very important.  I will now make a point to be at all my inspections.

 JANEEN

Nov 20, 2007 05:25 AM
#29
Sean Dreznin
NAI Tampa Bay - Sarasota, FL
Commercial Investment Real Estate Agent

Cecelia,

I sell commercial and more often then not, apartment buildings, and I almost always attended and complete the inspections.  I want to know and see and understand exactly what the Buyer may ask for or if I am representing the Buyer, then I want to see and understand potential problems.  I view agents who do not partiipate in this exercise as simply waiting to cash a check.

Sean

Dec 28, 2008 08:23 AM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Cecilia:  First of all, sorry I misspelled your name in my first comment.  After seeing all of the comments, I still feel it is wise to attend the inspections... regardless of whether it is your buyer or your seller.  Take care...

Dec 28, 2008 01:23 PM