Who Should Attend The Home Inspection. . .

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Realty Services

Today I had a home inspection.  I was there with the inspector and the buyers.  I don't do much other than let everyone into the house and answer questions about what the seller is obligated to do as per our MAR contract.  That is about it.

The last inspection I went to, the same group of folks, me, the inspector, and the buyers.  However, the inspection I had last week the listing agent was also present.  I didn't think much of it at the time, but as I was driving back to the office I started to remember that the last few inspections I have had when I have sold homes from this particular company, the listing agent has been present?  I will have to ask the listing agent the next time, but wondering if this has become a company policy?

While I don't really mind them being there and 9.5 times out of 10, I have a great relationship with an agent I do a transaction with, I think it hinders my buyers inspection?

I know that the inspector did not speak as freely as he normally does when a listing agent is not present.  While there are no hard and fast rules that I have read on the contract, I don't think the seller nor the listing agent should be present at the inspection.  I am sure if the company has a policy there is a reason, but I don't think that the buyer or the inspector feels as open during the inspection if someone is there "watching over" them. 

I have read on some posts, where in some areas it is not customary for anyone but the inspector to be at the inspection so the inspection is not influenced in anyway.  To that train of thought, I think it is good for the inspector to show buyers preventive maintanence  items and helpful homeowner hints.  If the inspector finds something, I think it is important for a purchaser to be there with the inspector so that the purchasers can see the item in question.

When I am the listing agent, I tell my sellers that they should not be at the inspection.  I find that the seller takes everything so personal anyway.  I tell them what they are responsible for in the contract and that the inspector is going to find something wrong with the house, it is their job to find defects, not to take it personal

I believe the if the buyer pays for the inspection that they have the right to be present at the inspection and shoudl expect some privacy during the inspection. 

Comments (16)

Liz Moras Migic
Chilliwack, BC
Chilliwack, British Columbia - Realtor

Interesting..........here typically - the listing realtor will be there to let the Inspector in......if the Vendor isn't home.....The Inspector does 80 % of the inspection before the Buyers arrive.....for the last 1 hr the inspector reviews anything that might be of a concern with the Buyer and the Buyers Realtor. but the bulk is done with a power point presentation in the home if seller/and their realtor aren't there........in a restaurant or office if they are...........? 

Mar 21, 2009 04:26 PM
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI

We all try to let the inspector 'do his thing' for the majority of the inspection so as not to interrupt and cause a longer than normal inspection. (there can be a difference of an additional couple of unneeded hours if everyone is there). then the buyer/agent come the last 1/2 to 1 hour to go over the report, home etc with inspector.  We all tell the seller not to be there...and it is not advisable for the listing agent to be there either. It's not like the inspector is going to share anything with them.

Mar 21, 2009 04:34 PM
Mike Saunders
Lanier Partners - Athens, GA

Audrey - I try to attend all my buyers inspections, but not my listings. I encourage me sellers to not take part. Interestingly, JL Boney has a similar post a couple below this.

Mar 21, 2009 11:24 PM
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate

Audrey, As a listing agent, I do attend home inspections. No company policy either. I let the inspector know that I'm the listing agent and he/she shouldn't be dealing with me. I stay out of the way but do believe that it's part of my fiduciary duty to the seller. I've never had any problems and will probably continue the practice. Rich

Mar 21, 2009 11:28 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Audrey, I don't know what the protocol is here but I would hope an inspector would do and say exactly what he feels to be honest to all parties present.  I don't know if they would be that comfortable...but I would hope.

Mar 21, 2009 11:48 PM
Audrey June-Forshey
RE/MAX Realty Services - Darnestown, MD
GRI, Gaithersburg, MD

Liz, That is so interesting.  I always like finding out what is customary in other areas.

Sally, that sounds about like how we do it, but if I am the buyer's agent, I am there through the inspection from start to finish 99.9% of the time.

Mike, you sound like me.  I don't subscribe to JL, I will have to go over and read his post.  So funny, when I have something I want to write about, think I really go something good here, I will log onto AR and viola!   Someone else just posted it.  I guess great minds . . .

Rich, I am so glad you responded.  When the listing agents have been at my inspections, they were nice and stayed out of the way for the most part.  There were no problems.  I am a queen for doing what is in my clients best interest, I don't go to the home inspection.  If you are there for the seller's best interest, are you there to answer questions about the house, or sort of "negotiate" if the inspector finds something?  Are you there in case the inspector does something wrong?  I just wonder, for my own practice, how am I not protecting my seller from an inspection?

Carole, the inspector I work with will tell everything.  Not only is it their job and obligation, but they have a license to protect as well and liability.  I found that when the listing agent was present, the inspector feels like he needs to speak lower and more privately to the buyers I guess as to not "upset" the listing agent?  I just know the inspector I use the most just tells everything.

Mar 22, 2009 02:30 AM
Kristin Moran
Owner - RE/MAX Access - KristinMoran@Remax.net - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio,TX - Real Estate - 210-313-7397

Our Broker suggests we are not present @ inspections.  It leaves it open for interpretation of what the inspector sees/finds.  I do suggest my buyers be @ inspections to ask the inspector questions directly. 

Mar 22, 2009 03:25 AM
Audrey June-Forshey
RE/MAX Realty Services - Darnestown, MD
GRI, Gaithersburg, MD

Kristin, That is interesting?  So as a buyer's agent you do not attend the inspection either? I can see your broker's point.  You know stuff can turn into he said, she said. 

Mar 22, 2009 04:07 AM
Jennifer Fivelsdal
JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571 - Rhinebeck, NY
Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection

Audrey - Listing agent or seller should not be present.  I lost a sale once because the seller would not leave the housem this did not go over well with the buyer.  A problem can also arise when the buyer does not attend the inspection but ask some else to do so.

Mar 22, 2009 10:45 AM
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

I will disagree with you on this one Audrey. The listing agents job is to represent their client. They should be there to hear what the inspector points out. I don't endorse interfering with the inspection just be there to be the sellers ears.

Your point that the home inspector will not speak freely is curious. Do you mean the inspector will be less likely to be a drama queen? LOL Lets face it in every business there are good and bad people. I have been on thousands of inspections. There are some inspectors who are excellent. There are others that make a buyer feel very uneasy about the simplest things that need repair.

Another reason a listing agent should be there is to listen to exactly what is said. I have been on plenty of inspections where the inspector is very clear that something is a very minor issue but the buyer has turned around and tried to make the issue seem like it is an enormous problem. Many try this even when I am there. I can not imagine what they would try to get away with if I wasn't.

In Massachusetts most buyers and sellers agents attend an inspection to represent their respective clients best interests.

Mar 22, 2009 01:26 PM
Audrey June-Forshey
RE/MAX Realty Services - Darnestown, MD
GRI, Gaithersburg, MD

Jennifer, I know that I have had sellers that would kill their own deal if they had been at the inspection- for sure.  It is not customary for the seller or listing agent to be present at the inspection for the buyer in my area.

Bill, I think inspectors might not want to "offend" if the other party is there. But Lord knows I have sat through inspections where every little thing was so over the top, they killed the deal.  That is okay too, the buyer picks and makes the decisions, I give my advice and we go from there.  I think Kristin's broker's policy is interesting too, that the listing agent should not be at the inspection so they would not be called to interpret anything?  I understand your point too for sure?  I guess I could argue both sides.  If the listing agent wants to come, I have no problem with it.


Mar 22, 2009 01:34 PM
Sylvie Conde
Sutton Group-Associates Realty Inc., Brokerage - Toronto, ON
Broker, Toronto Real Estate

Here, the buyer's rep opens the door for the home inspector.  The seller and seller's agent are not usually there (they are not supposed to be there).  Sometimes the inspector arrives a half hour or so before the scheduled appointment and go through the outside, but they don't start the interior inspection until the buyers arrive (usually; unless for some reason the buyers can't be there for the whole thing).  The buyer's agent is present for the duration of the inspection.

Once the inspection is finished, they sit down at the kitchen table with the buyers and go through the report in detail.  This can take 2-4 hours, from beginning to end.

The buyer is paying for the inspection report; and this is private between the home inspector and the buyers, and the home inspector cannot share this information with the sellers or sellers' agents, whether in writing, or verbally, that's why the other side should not be present.

If the sellers want to know about the inspection or the issues with the inspection, they can get their own report.  The report the buyers paid for, is not shared in any way, unless the buyers want to share (which is rarely or never, as they paid for it and can use it to negotiate the price, if anything major was found).


Mar 23, 2009 12:01 PM
Tom Boos
Sine & Monaghan Realtors, Real Living - Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
Providing the very best of service to Sellers and

Personally, I wouldn't, as the Listing agent,  attend a Buyer's home inspection.  I think it rude to "crash their party".  There have been instances where I've been asked to "stop-in" to discuss some repair issue, and of course, I do.  But generally no.

Mar 24, 2009 02:22 AM
Denny West

Bill Im Glad I dont live in MASS . as A home inspector it can be very stress ful to have everybody there at the inspection when i arrive . to many questions and to many people looking over my back erritates me . When I do and inspection here in ohio 95 % of the time the listing agent and the buyer agent will not even show up . some times the Buyer  agents know that It takes me 3 to 4 hrs to complete my inspection and they show  up when I am finished with the  client to go over my findings . We are not allowed under law and contract to share those findings with a listing agent or the seller . its up to the buyer to share that information as each report has a copyright clause .  I hav e actually canceled and inspection ecause the seller was presnt along with their family agent and friend . then the buyer agent shows up with the buyer and their family and a nother Inspector  just to make sure I caught every thing . When the seller agent aske d if I did this and did that  I handed fer my clip board and said this when you are done with the inspection please let me know so I can record your findings . I apoligized to my clients and asked that they either reschedual or hire a nother inspecctor. After a phone call they understood  iDid the inspection the next day and no one was there except the clients that Hired me . they gott a good clean report and had some issues repaired and bought the home  and I have had 7 referals from that couple alone .

Mar 26, 2009 12:02 AM
Rick Bunzel
Pacific Crest Inspections - Anacortes, WA

As a home inspector I really don't care who attends as long as the client and myself get space so I can do my job. Listing agents can be helpful or be defensive and occasionally I will have to enlist the buyers agent to run interference.

I do feel strongly about the sellers attending the inspection. Usually I will limit what I say at the inspection and most of my comments will be folded into the report or I will save them for the "driveway summary." I believe its less stressful for the seller to not attend the inspection. In the greater scheme of things they usually have little to add to the inspection and if we do have questions the buyers agent can present them all at once.


Rick Bunzel, CRI
Pacific Crest Inspections

NAHI Member of the Year 2008

NPSAR Affiliate of the Year 2006-2007
Fax 360-588-6965

Toll Free 866-618-7764


Mar 29, 2009 10:32 AM
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Delivering the Unbiased Truth.

Great topic, great post. I'm going to write a similar post about whether the buyer's agent should attend or not. 

Here in MN it's very rare for the listing agent to attend the inspection - I've only done a handful when the listing agent was there, and they stayed out of the way.  I didn't care that they were there, and I didn't comment any differently. 

The seller, on the other hand, has no business being there.  Way too much emotion.  I did one inspection for an out of town client where the buyer's father and the seller attended the inspection.  The seller followed me around the whole time acting annoyed with everything I said, and even complained to someone on the phone while I was in the same room that I was checking 'every single window.'  I vowed to never let that happen again. 

Mar 29, 2009 03:16 PM

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