Should seller(s) be present for a home inspection?
There are very few situations that can interfere with a home inspector’s routine like a scowling seller. In fact, I have had sellers follow me around during the home inspection, asking me frequently what I was writing up. And even arguing by stating there is nothing wrong with that item that I’m inspecting. Most people are proud of their homes and you can’t blame the seller for being upset that you are writing up every little defect. A seller being present during the home inspection isn’t always a negative thing, it’s situational, dependent on who else is also present.
When the buyer does not attend the inspection, it’s generally not a problem if the seller is present for the inspection. In many instances, it’s convenient to have someone to talk to or even ask questions about the area or home. Most inspectors like talking to people. I, for one, ask a ton of questions and like to build a good rapport with seller. Often times the seller will then use our company to inspect their next home. I even had one such instance where the client showed up and said “Home Spectors! I hated you guys when I sold my home, but I knew I had to use you when we bought”.
In situations where the buyers will be attending the inspection, which is the majority of the time, most home inspectors would appreciate the sellers leaving. A home inspection can already be a nerve-racking time for the seller. Then enter the buyer, a stranger, walking around the home and pointing out defects. Sellers can become angry or defensive, and often times can’t help themselves from interjecting while the inspector is speaking with the buyers. Sometimes the sellers will begin to challenge the home inspector in front of the buyers which can make for a very uncomfortable situation.
In most cases, the inspector will stand behind their recommendations and opinions, but it’s a huge waste of the client’s time if the inspector spends half the time talking to the seller. The sellers should not be present during the home inspection for all the same reasons the sellers aren’t present for showings. Buyers will often have questions about defects during the inspection which can only be answered out of earshot of the seller, as the buyer owns the information from the home inspection.
The most common reason that I’ve heard agents advise their sellers to be present during the home inspection is so they can answer any questions the inspector may have. The simplest solution that I have for this is for the seller to leave their phone number and/or a note with any information that would be beneficial for the inspector or buyers to know.