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Inspecting my blood pressure

By
Real Estate Agent with Jameson Sotheby's International Realty

While perusing one of those online Realtor groups today I came across a conversation about home inspections.  The agent proffered that she had recently attended a Keller-Williams sponsored workshop that strongly recommended that buyer's agents should not attend the home inspection with their buyers, nor should they even view the report, as it's a serious legal liability.

[pausing to count to 10]

Bunches of agents jumped in and said "oh, yeah... that's right... serious legal liability... I wouldn't attend the inspection... why would you want to... I just show up at the end... blah, blah, blabbity, blah, blah, blah" (you know the arguments).

(can you tell where I'm going to land by the way I just described their responses?  I'm soooo transparent).

I'm definitely old school, and have been attending inspections with my clients since the early mesozoic era.  I'm a strong believer that as a buyer's agent it is a very important part of my job, nay my obligation, to attend the inspection with my clients.  I bring the benefit of having attended a myriad of inspections and having learned, at least, one thing at each and every one of them.  I know what the inspectors are looking for, and likely what they will find.  I can spot a good inspector partly based on which flashlight they're carrying.

I like to follow along, and sometimes I'll interject a question. I'll point to the obvious pipe that leads to a buried oil tank in the basement that he's just walked past and ask: "Is that something we should be concerned about?"... or ask a question that the buyer seems too timid to ask.  (Sometimes the buyer will pull me aside and say.. "doesn't the basement smell damp to you... do you think there's water leaking in?")... and I can ask the inspector.. "Can you make sure to pay particular attention to look for water intrusion?"  I can see the buyer's sigh of relief when he replies: "I've looked around

After the inspection is complete, I'm there for the summary.  And once we receive the report we will review it together and discuss what is, and what is not an actual inspection issue that we can raise (or that we want to raise).  In our local contracts, the clause (see inset) specifies that the inspection is not for items that are currently working... just for those things that are actually broken... and asking or a credit or repair on something that does not meet that standard could actually void the contract and open us up for unilateral cancellation.  So in this Seller's market of multiple offers, we have be very circumspect as to what we request.

I've been doing this a long time.  And I have always accompanied my buyers to inspections, and until they change the rules to prohibit that (and I wouldn't put it past them)... I will continue to do so.  I haven't had to line up the corporate suits, yet, and I have a bevy of happy buyers.  I'm good with that.

Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®   
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Jameson Sotheby's International Realty, 2934 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
Office: 847.869.7300      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email: Almay@aol.com

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois

   

Comments(26)

Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

As fiduciaries, it is an agent's responsibility to do whatever protects the client. Taking on legal responsibility is a big part of that.

Mar 27, 2024 07:51 AM
Alan May

You'd think so, wouldn't you?

Mar 27, 2024 08:27 AM
Gloria Todor
Premier Property Sales & Rentals - Springfield, PA
& Doug Durren (484) 431-3686 in SE PA

Alan,  I've never heard that attending inspections is a bad thing legally. Our first broker stressed that we should be at all inspections with our buyers to see first hand any issues that a buyer might have and understand what is written in a report. To me that is a good thing. Like you mentioned, we will also ask questions on things an inspector has overlooked.  I always thought it was out of laziness that buyers' agents do not attend home inspections....

Mar 27, 2024 07:53 AM
Alan May

To be honest, sometimes I think it is due to laziness.  Would I love to have those 2.5 hours of my life back?  Sure I would, but my job requires (at least in my humble opinion) that I be there.

Mar 27, 2024 08:29 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Alan May, I am with you! I wouldn't say I would like to receive a reply from an inspection as per paragraph 5 of the inspection report repair  1-6. I am not an electrician or engineer  agent who did not go, so they have no idea what the inspector is calling for, and I do not either --

I go to my home inspections  and have for 40 years, so we can discuss issues that arise, and we can put them in writing so the selling agent and seller understand what the buyer is asking  to be repaired or replaced without confusion 

Mar 27, 2024 09:19 AM
Alan May

I don't know what "a reply from an inspection as per paragraph 5 of the inspection report repair  1-6" means.  That must be something specific from your contracts.

But I'm glad that you attend your inspections as well.

Mar 27, 2024 09:22 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Alan- I remember hearing some agents discuss this years ago. Not being there didn't make sense to me. One- as a seller, I would appreciate having an agent there in my absence. Two-as a buyer, an agent's knowledge and experience would be welcomed. 

Mar 27, 2024 07:14 PM
Alan May

One way or another, there should be at least one agent present to protect the property.  So minimally, if the buyer's agent wasn't going to be present, at least the listing agent should.  But as I mentioned, I strongly believe the buyer's agent needs to be there.

Mar 28, 2024 02:47 AM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

So this thing... I was in a class when I was getting my instructors license and let me tell you about "liability"  ... the instructor said "buyers don't know how to read an inspection report or what to ask to have repaired", "I do that for them".  I really had a hard time keeping the top of my head from blowing off.  That being said, I read, attend and pass along inspections.

Mar 28, 2024 08:35 AM
Alan May

Yep.  That would cause the top of my head to boil, too.  i would never deign to tell a buyer what they should, or shouldn't ask for.  I give them the parameters of the contracts that we've signed, and the impact our request might have.

Mar 28, 2024 09:20 AM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

Most First Time Buyers and Second Timers are one major Repair from Financial Calamity !

Mar 30, 2024 08:50 AM
Alan May

That certainly might be true.

Mar 30, 2024 02:14 PM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
The Grit and Gratitude Agent

I attend all inspections, but wait until the inspector is finished before we communicate. Hopefully the client is there and can walk through the house with the inspector.  Often in the initial walk through/tour with the client, I will point out certain things just to provide some insight as to what the inspector and later on the appraiser (if loan is involved) might take issue with.

Mar 30, 2024 10:26 AM
Alan May

I try to keep my comments to myself, until/unless I see something that I feel the inspector needs to address.  I'm not going to wait until the inspection is finished to bring it up.

Mar 30, 2024 02:17 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Alan:

I remember seeing that discussion about inspections and reading many of the comments.

I have always attended my buyer clients' inspections, and the final walk-through summary and discussion - it's part of the value I bring to the buyer's transaction - and have no intention of stopping unless directed to do so. 

Jeff

Mar 30, 2024 10:57 AM
Alan May

Clearly, I agree.. and I think it's a big value that we offer.

Mar 30, 2024 02:18 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good evening Alan,

I'm glad to see Carol Williams featured your post in her Saturday Series. I've been gone this week so catching up. I ALWAYS attend the inspections with my buyer and we go through it at the end asking any and all questions of the inspector so we have a clear understanding of the report.

Mar 30, 2024 03:26 PM
Alan May

moi ausi, Carol.

Mar 31, 2024 11:06 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Alan May 

I am curious if other brokerages have this same philosophy. Do they recommend that the buyer agent NOT attend? Is attending a liability mentioned anywhere?

Maybe we are getting too litigious to work with buyers or sellers.

 

Note: I go to all my home inspections, whether buyer or seller. 

Mar 31, 2024 07:28 PM
Alan May

I don't know... I see this philosophy primarily online.  I've never heard/seen it in person locally.

Apr 01, 2024 02:17 AM
Liz and Bill Spear
Transaction Alliance 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
Transaction Alliance Cincinnati & Dayton suburbs

Alan, It's always puzzled me that we as an industry can be so risk averse that we significantly reduce the capability that our clients actually hire us for in the first place.

Must recommend 3 of this and 3 of that.  Don't do this or that.

In our area inspectors are treated same as agents in regards to home access.  They set the inspection appointment and are allowed solo access with their clients without the listing agent or buyers agent present.

I do want to be there and have a direct conversation with the home inspector about any significant issues found and to understand any concerns my buyers may have.  Far easier to explain something I've eyeballed vs. trying to interpret a photo from an inspection report.

Mar 31, 2024 07:39 PM
Alan May

Hmm...that's interesting treatment of inspectors in your area. I wish that were the case in ours.  While a handful of years ago we did require that inspectors had to be professionally licensed, we still have a little bit of "the wild west" regarding inspectors, so you never know who's going to show up... so I'm not sure that would work here.

Apr 01, 2024 02:21 AM
Frank Rubi
Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC - Metairie, LA
FrankRubiRealEstate.com

As One who does check his blood pressure on a daily basis due to my meds this post caught my eye. They are pushing Show Your Value. What value is it if you don't show up for your buyer's inspection? This is way out of control, and I see more Realtors getting sucked up in lawsuits in the future. 

Apr 01, 2024 07:30 AM
Alan May

I agree... it would certainly diminish your value in your client's eyes as far as I'm concerned.

Apr 01, 2024 11:05 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

One of the team leaders at my old brokerage was a big believer in not attending the home inspection. Whilst he does a heck more business than me, I still believe I should be at the inspection. I want to hear what they say, because what a report says and what the inspector actually said are often two different things. And sellers often forget what the inspector actually said.

Apr 01, 2024 01:33 PM
Alan May

I wish I believed that I shouldn't be there.  I'd love to reclaim that time.  But I firmly believe it's part of my duty/obligation to my clients.

Apr 01, 2024 02:45 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

You’ve certainly been doing this a while, and I certainly wish you all the best and continued success in everything!

Apr 01, 2024 11:20 PM
Alan May

It has been a minute or two.

Apr 02, 2024 04:20 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

I am a keller agent and I have never heard anyone tell me not to attend the inspection with my buyer.  In fact, in the mid-Atlantic area, I think most realtors feel that the buyer agent absolutely should attend to make sure that the house is respected, nothing is broken, nothing walks out.  Many listing agents will be angry if the buyer agent isn't there with the inspection.   In addition, I think it is my responsibility to keep the buyers calm and to hear what the inspector is actually saying rather than what they think he/she is saying and to ask for clarification as appropriate.  It also is much easier to ask for repairs if I actually understand the defect that we are asking to be fixed.   I am fascinated to imagine what liability the buyer agent is protecting against as opposed to the liability that is being left open. 

Apr 02, 2024 06:03 AM
Alan May

... and that sounds like a logical approach.  In fairness, I don't think many listing agents would like inspectors and buyers in the home without an agent present.  If that were to happen, I would hope that at a minimum, the listing agent would show up to defend the home and make sure it was respected.

Apr 02, 2024 06:11 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH@properties - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Alan, like you I'm Old School.  Um, really, really old school. And in all of my decades selling real estate, attending an inspection has never shown up as taking a legal risk, but avoiding one. 

Apr 06, 2024 06:16 AM
Alan May

I'd tend to agree.  Although I don't do it to avoid the legal risk.  I do it because I feel it's a part of my job.

Apr 06, 2024 11:33 AM
Francisco Romo
Strong Tower Home Inspections - Chino Hills, CA
Home Inspections you can trust in South California

Woah! As a home inspector myself, I always encourage Clients and Client's agent to be at the inspection, even if it is the last 30 mins. In my experience , it usually creates an atmosphere of honesty and rapport within all the parties involved.  I would assume is less liability, even for the inspector. 

Apr 06, 2024 09:39 AM
Alan May

Unless the client becomes super annoying and starts pestering the inspector with question after question, I can't imagine why any professional inspector would object to the client being present.

Apr 06, 2024 11:35 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH@properties - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Alan, This post is included in today's "Last Week's Favorites" posts. Thanks for writing it!

Apr 07, 2024 07:11 PM
Alan May

awwww, shucks.  Thank you, Ms. Kennedy

Apr 08, 2024 05:41 AM
Kris Collis, Associate Broker
Smart Way America Realty - East Stroudsburg, PA
Professional Results you Expect 570-801-5525

Well said. Your point of view is well supported. This post should be requires reading for those KW agents.

Apr 11, 2024 09:00 PM
Alan May

Well, at least well-supported here.

Apr 12, 2024 04:25 AM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA
ePRO, SRES, GRI, PMN

In the past, I have made it a point to attend inspections, especially if I represent the buyer. It gave me a better understanding of the subsequent written report. I urged my clients to attend, also.

What is so different now is that most listing agents and sellers arrange for inspections before putting the house on the market. Doing so gives the sellers information about any possible problems and discloses to the potential buyers those issues, also. In this market of so many bidding wars, upfront inspections are an important factor in getting the best offers.

Apr 12, 2024 09:58 AM
Alan May

I know agents who recommend getting a preemptive inspection, as well. There are positives and negatives to that approach.

Apr 12, 2024 02:36 PM