Why I Don't Usually Attend Home Inspections

There is a lot of debate among Realtors, lawyers, brokers, and home inspectors about the appropriate role of a real estate agent during the inspection period. Personally, I choose not to attend most home inspections for several reasons.

Primarily, I do not want home inspectors to feel like I’m pressuring them to ignore defects or soft-peddle real problems. I want home inspectors to speak freely with the client and highlight any and all serious issues. Home inspectors often rely on referrals from agents and I think there is a perverse incentive because of this. A home inspector might be afraid to be blunt about problems with the home because they’re worried it will cause the sale to fall through. If the sale falls through, the agent doesn’t get paid, and maybe this will encourage the agent not to recommend the inspector to future clients.

There are many ethical, legal, and professional norms prohibiting this kind of behavior, but we all know that there is a conflict of interest in this situation, so I can understand why some home inspectors would be concerned about this.

I want to minimize my influence during the home inspection so the inspector feels comfortable speaking freely without thinking about their business relationship with me at all. I always recommend inspectors who I believe are professional, knowledgeable, and competent. I want them to help my clients understand the current condition of the home as well as the potential future maintenance costs.

The other reason I usually do not attend inspections is that I want the clients to ask the inspector questions regarding those things that concern them the most. If I’m there, I will ask questions to satisfy my own curiosity but sometimes these questions are not the most useful for the buyers. My clients already know what I think about the property, they don’t need me to add in my two cents during the inspection. They’ve hired a knowledgeable professional to help them get a better understanding of the property they’re about to buy, so they should definitely get their money’s worth by asking the inspector about everything!

That said, if a client specifically asks for me to attend an inspection and wants me there, I will of course be there!

Jay Villella