The home inspection is a major part of the homebuying process. According to an article on Inman.com, DC and Baltimore metro edition, real estate agents should represent their clients in all parts of the real estate transaction — including home inspections. Following are some pros and cons of attending the home inspection according to members of Lab Coat Agents, reported by Iman.com staff writer Marian McPherson and author of “7 reasons listing agents should/shouldn’t attend home inspections.”
Listing agents should attend inspections:
1. To prevent misunderstandings.
Florida Realtor Gail Bass said in the article she attends buyer inspections or will send a team member on her behalf. That typically prevents misunderstandings, increases the seller’s comfort level and keeps inspectors on their toes, she said.
2. To address inspector competency and prevent blindsided sellers.
Billy Rugen said he will often have his sellers ask that he be there so they’re not caught off guard by issues that could halt the deal.
“I’ve had a few sales ‘fail’ inspection when I didn’t attend, only to find out the issues were either illegitimate [or] greatly exaggerated,” he said.
3. Because there’s no guarantee the buyer’s agent will be there.
Or, they are there and then they’re not.
“My challenge is the buyer’s agents who let everyone in and then leave[s] to do other things,” Kendyl Young said. “The last one I caught doing that (she let the buyer in for an unscheduled appointment — we just happened to do a site inspection on that day) had left the buyer and contractor alone in a vacant listing.”
Listing agents should not attend inspections:
4. Because it infringes on a buyer’s rights.
“I think the presence of a listing agent is not only a waste of their time, but also off-putting to many buyers,” Ryan Hukill said. “It’s their inspection, and their time to explore and investigate the property uninhibited. They shouldn’t have to worry about the stranger in the corner watching their every move, or butting in with their opinions.”
5. Because no agents should attend inspections
Tom Riggins said that neither the listing nor buying agent should be at the inspection.
“I tell new agents there are [five] things we are not: inspectors, appraisers, bankers, lawyers or closing agents,” Riggins said. “Each of these roles is filled by someone more skilled than I am, and I will do my best to help my client better understand what each of these professionals is offering to them in reports, advice or documents, but with the understanding that only the professional in that field can give them the most accurate answer.”
6. Because they should be holding their own independent inspection.
According to the article, some agents believe a listing agent shouldn’t be present at a buyer’s inspection because they should be holding their own, independent inspections. These would typically be performed before the house is listed.
“I usually do a pre-listing inspection at the seller’s expense,” Debbie Miller said. “I use the seller’s inspection results to … gauge whether the buyers are taking advantage of the situation and want to get more than is warranted.”
The 7th item on the list refers to the notion that listing agents should check their state laws and then decide what to do.
Attendance at a home inspection should be carefully considered. Some states have laws preventing listing agents from attending the home inspection. If you’re not sure of your state’s laws, it may be best to forgo the inspection, according to the article.
“Here in Ohio, we do not want our listing agents at the home inspection in case they overhear something. It becomes disclosable,” Nancy Daniels Leirer said. “We never want to see the actual inspection report either.”