Should The Buyer Attend The Home Inspection?

Home Inspector with VICO Home Inspection NACHI07070602

Greg revisits a post subject that has been blogged  about many times.  It happens to us all on a regular basis.  It seems different areas and different people handle this matter as professionally as possible but in the end it is for the client so that they might be best equipped to make the most sound decision of their lifetime.  Please stop by and give Greg a comment on his blog.

Original content by Greg Nino 0524642

Shadowing the home inspectorShould the buyer attend the entire home inspection? Is it in their best interest to be there throughout the entire process?

I say no. Let me explain why...

The photo to the left is from an actual inspection report. The man holding his arms up with the camera is the home inspector and the lady standing one foot away is the buyer. She shadowed him throughout the entire inspection asking questions, opening doors and at one point reached for his flash light!

Many buyers would simply assert that this was about to be the largest purchase of their adult life and you can bet your britches they're going to watch every single thing the inspector does. They deserve to know!

I can't say I don't understand and slightly agree with that attitude, but at the same time you can't shadow someone who is working for you and expect them to do a great job. No mechanic, inspector, doctor, CPA or brick layer want's you standing over their shoulder talking, asking questions and pointing out things before the professional can get a chance to do them.

There's a reason people waive banners, scream and squeal their noise makers before the kicker attempts to make a field goal. It's to distract them. The difference here is that Home Inspector aren't paid athletes. They're every day people like you and me. And MOST buyers do not attend the full inspection. An inspection can take 2-4 hours depending on the complexity of the subject property and of course its size. You being there can add hours depending on how it goes.

An inspector could miss a defect if he's busy responding to questions or being distracted.

The photo in this blog is from an inspection some 4 years ago. The lady in the photo is my Aunt. She didn't take my advice. She followed around my inspector like the paparazzi. She called me several times during the inspection to let me know the inspector was "missing things."

It's best to attend the last 30 minutes of the inspection to review the report, pay the inspector and even take time to view some of the bigger ticket items that may be detrimental to the transaction. In any case, the inspector is going to email the report to you and the agent you're working with. Would you perform your job better if your customer stood over your shoulder for 4 hours?






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Posted by

InterNACHI Certified Inspector
Vince Chinell
VICO Home Inspection
Affiliate Member of the Tri-Lakes Board of Realtors

Comments (21)

Frank Laisch
Orlando, FL
"The Insurance Guy"

I agree, having a shadow for 2-4 hrs while trying to do your job can be annoying. But at the end of the day, They are buying their largest purchase and it is important for them to get a good look at their purchase.

Jan 17, 2013 07:11 PM
Clint Mckie
Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections - Carlsbad, NM
Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586

Hi Vince,

In most cases here in my area when I perform a home inspections, the Realtor wnd the buyer will show up at the last 30 minutes or so.

Then as explained in the post we can go over any issues. Oh Yes.....most buyers run when I raise the camera.LOL 

Good re post. Have a great weekend in Branson my friend.

Best, Clint McKie


Jan 17, 2013 08:00 PM
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

IMHO * YES * my sister is in contract to purchase a home I currently manage....her agent is insisting on her being at the inspection....YES!

Jan 17, 2013 08:06 PM
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

Good post Vince, and I agree. You want the Inspector you hired to miss something? Distract him... that will do it. They are trained professionals, they will find it! leave them alone, let them do their job, and most will spend as much time with you as you wish at the end going over what he found or answering your questions. 

Just come near the end folks, nobody likes to be told how to do their job... you are not helping, you are hindering!

Have a great day.

Jan 17, 2013 10:07 PM
Vince Chinell
VICO Home Inspection - Branson, MO

Bob, Usually when I go around the house the second or third time, most see how much "fun" our job is and start to measure rooms or furniture awaiting a recap at the end.


Frank, Right you are as long as they know it will take 2-4 hours.


Hi Clint, Many Realtors in my area suggest the approach you spoke about and it seems to work quite well.  Have a great day, my friend!

Wallace, Most definately the buyer should be present.  They often have questions that begin with, "What if..."  Those questions need to be addressed.


Fred, Thanks for your comment.  It seems everyone does it a little different, most important, that the client gets the best information possible.

Jan 18, 2013 01:01 AM
Cheryl Dickson
Retired Realtor / Retired Home Inspector - Oklahoma City, OK
Retired Realtor, GRI / Retired Home Inspector

As a Buyer, I would insist on attending the inspection, but I would respect the fact that the inspector must be able to concentrate on his job, and I know that distracting him is of no benefit to me. So I would be present, but not intrusive during his work. Wish all buyers understood this.

Feb 18, 2013 11:52 PM
Vince Chinell
VICO Home Inspection - Branson, MO

Cheryl,  You are exactly correct.  Too bad you are retired.  The industry is missing a wonderful, smart individual.  I hope you are still riding.  There's a big rally in Branson in June.

Feb 19, 2013 12:20 AM
Dan Tabit
Keller Williams Bellevue - Sammamish, WA


In my area, if I open the door, I must be present for the inspection unless I have the owners written permission to leave.  I generally encourage my buyers to be present, but I don't let them harass the inspector. Sometimes, since I have to be there I run interference for the inspector.  I do what the inspector to personally review the findings with the buyer and answer any questions about the issues uncovered.  I try to use inspectors I know well who are thorough, thoughtful and reasonable in their explanations. 

Mar 10, 2013 10:13 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

The inspectors may not wish for the buyers to be present because it will usually mean a longer process.  

I see the inspection as part of the education needed by the buyers.  The inspectior can explain what is normal and what should cause concern.  A good inspector can help create a positive situation for the buyers.

Mar 10, 2013 11:22 AM
Vince Chinell
VICO Home Inspection - Branson, MO

Dan, I could not agree with you  more.  Often the decision for a particular often is determined by price.  Unfortunately the client often thinks a few dollars in savings will get them an equal inspection.  Not always the case.


Roy,  Nice to hear from you.  You know what it's all about.  Thank you for your comment.

Mar 10, 2013 10:25 PM
Sondra Meyer:
Colorado Springs, CO
See It. Experience It. Live It.

Hmmm. You've provided a perspective that I've never considered.  Although I've always been a huge advocate of both myself and the buyer attending the inspection, which was the norm for my area; I suppose the last 30 minutes would work. 


Mar 25, 2013 02:25 PM
Vince Chinell
VICO Home Inspection - Branson, MO

Sondra,  I do expect to buyer and Realtor to be present.  This slight change in arrival times makes everyone's job and use of time more efficient.

Mar 25, 2013 09:15 PM
Chris and Dick Dovorany
Homes for Sale in Naples, Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida - Naples, FL
Broker/Associate at Premiere Plus Realty

Very interesting.  We have always told the customers to be there for the inspection.  Now that I am learning that inspections are merely visual, I think it's even more important.

Mar 25, 2013 11:08 PM
John G. Johnston
John G. Johnston & Associates, LLC - Westcliffe, CO
An Exclusive Buyer's Agent ~ Westcliffe, CO

Vince  Great re-blog.  I am an Exclusive Buyer's Agent and I have recommended one inspector for about 12 years.  I clearly tell my clients they may hire anyone they want but I have a great relationship with this inspector.  I have explained (years ago) that I want the facts, just the facts.  If it kills the deal, so be it.  (Matter of fact, he has killed 2 deals in the past 12 years.)  My rule is I had rather deal with a known problem now than in 6 months later in court.  Typically, I show up to let him into the property and spend about 10 minutes chatting while he sets up ladders, whatever.  Once he is ready to go to work, I'm gone.  I'm not in training to be an inspector and he is not a trainer.  I get accurate reports and very seldom has he had to re-inspect a property to verify the work was done correctly.  If I had to guess I would say twice in 12 years he wanted to show me something that required my returning to the property.  Most all my clients are out of state.  I have never thought about attending the last 30 minutes.  Good suggestion.

Mar 27, 2013 12:57 PM
Vince Chinell
VICO Home Inspection - Branson, MO

Chris and Dick,  always good information for your client, now our client , to be at the inspection.  


John. It just seems a great way to get any questions answered by the ispector without distracting them during the process. Oh by the way, your State while driving a motorcycle, is the greatest.  Have a good day. 

Mar 27, 2013 09:56 PM
John McCormack, CRS
Albuquerque Homes Realty - Albuquerque, NM
Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me!

Good morning Vince and good choice of re-blog.  Thanks for dropping by today it's always good to see you my friend.  Make it a great day in all you do.

Apr 10, 2013 10:22 PM
Clint Mckie
Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections - Carlsbad, NM
Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586

Hi Vince,

Just stopping by to say a big THANK YOU for making it to the Active Rain Meetup in Russelleville on Tuesday.

I am back home now and really tired. I do have a bunch of inspections that have added up when I was gone.

Now it's back to work.

I will try and pick your brain a little later.

Have a great day in Forsyth.

All my best, Clint McKie

Apr 17, 2013 10:29 PM
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

I always tell my buyer to come for the last half hour so the inspector can get his job completed.

Apr 28, 2013 06:23 AM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

So true.  I like to encourage buyers to show up near the end of the job too, and get a look at any big issues, but not to be in the way.  Great topic!

May 01, 2013 12:55 PM
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Hun... - Huntsville, AL
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource

Vince, I tell my buyers it's their option to show up for the home inspection, but I encourage them to be there.  I tell them it's ok to ask a few questions, but to let the inspector do his/her job and that the home inspector will verbally sum up his findings at the end before sending out the written report.  

Aug 24, 2013 01:43 PM