REALTOR Responsibilities for a Home Inspection

Recently a Home Inspector in Minnesota, Rueben Saltzman of Structure Tech Home Inspections, posted on his ActiveRain Blog an interesting comment offering his opinion about REALTOR responsibilities regarding the Home Inspection.  Judging by the response, over 100 comments so far, some agreeing with him and some not, Rueben may have struck a nerve.  Please see his comments below.  You can read all the comments at his BlogSite at http://activerain.com/blogsview/1863518/dear-real-estate-agent-this-is-your-job .

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Dear Real Estate Agent,

This is YOUR JOB.  While I could spend my time explaining all of these things to you while scheduling every single inspection, I feel that as a real estate professional, you should already know this stuff.  I shouldn’t have to tell you.  Most real estate professionals do know this stuff and follow through, but certainly not all.   I come across offenders almost daily.

Tell your seller to leave for the inspection.  The seller should not be home for the inspection – it’s uncomfortable for everyone present to have a home inspector pointing out defects while a seller winces or gets defensive.   If I show up to a house and the seller isn’t planning to leave for the inspection, I politely ask them to take a hike.  Sellers are usually very accommodating, but I always think to myself “Why the heck am I telling them this?”

Tell your seller that the buyers will also be attending the inspection.  I could personally care less, but it’s always funny when the sellers obviously thought it would just be the inspector, and they didn’t bother to clean up the house.  Here’s how it goes: the buyers have already been through the house twice, and the house looked immaculate both times.  Now the inspection happens, the buyers are there, and everything is a mess; there are dishes in the sink, dishes on the counters, clothes all over the floor… it’s always quite a shock for the buyers.  The sellers should clean up their house for the inspection the same way they do for a showing.

Schedule more than an hour for the inspection.  There’s no reason why the seller should be coming home an hour in to the inspection and asking me why I’m not done yet.

Tell your seller to lock up any animals or take them with.  Please don’t expect the home inspector to be in charge of not letting the cat out, not letting the cat in the crawl space, not letting the cat in to the attic… etc.  

Tell your seller to give the home inspector access to everything.  The home inspector will need to check the crawl space, the garage, the attic… everything.  If the garage is locked, leave a key.  If the attic access is blocked with stored stuff, please move it.  This is just basic stuff that many sellers don’t think of.   I’m not ‘special’ when it comes to needing access to these items – every home inspector needs this.

Tell your buyer about radon.  The first time your buyer hears about radon shouldn’t be at the time the home inspector asks them if they want a radon test with the inspection.  I can understand not mentioning radon if it doesn’t exist in your part of the country, but here in Minnesota, it’s huge.  New houses can’t even be built without a passive radon mitigation system. 

Make sure the utilities are on.  If the water, gas, or electricity isn’t turned on at the time of the inspection, this severely limits what the home inspector can check.  I’m not a real estate agent, so I don’t get involved with this, but I’ve been told that the purchase agreement will typically specify who is responsible for getting the water turned on.  If the home buyer calls me, the home inspector, and asks if I will contact the various utility companies to get everything turned on, someone else isn’t doing their job.

Supervise your clients during the inspection, if necessary.   The home inspector is there to inspect the house, not babysit the buyers kids and keep them from messing up the sellers house.  If you know your buyer has unruly children, tell your buyer not to bring them.  If your buyer lacks basic social graces like not stealing food from the seller or not trying on their clothes, you damn well better attend the inspection.

Tell your buyer that the home inspection is not a stick to beat the seller over the head with.    I cringe when buyers tell me they want the sellers to fix every little thing that I find.  Settle down.  It’s a used house. 

While I could email this list to all involved real estate agents for every home inspection that I schedule (and I know home inspectors that do), it would be much easier if agents could just do this stuff without being asked.  You’re the real estate professional.  You’re supposed to do this stuff.

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections – EmailMinneapolis Home Inspections 

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So where do you come down on these points?

Thank you,

Richard Acree

Comments in this blog posting are the copyrighted intellectual property of Richard Acree, President, HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC,  and are intended to educate and otherwise assist home owners, sellers and buyers, building owners, sellers and buyers, realtors, real estate investors, property managers, and lenders in the process of owning, buying or selling homes or commercial buildings.  HABITEC is a residential (home) and commercial building inspection company serving Middle Tennessee including Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Mt. Juliet, Hendersonville, Dickson, Belle Meade, Columbia, Spring Hill, Lebanon, Gallatin and more!  In addition to building inspections HABITEC offers Environmental Services for mold assessments, radon testing and water quality analysis.  Additional information about HABITEC can be found on our website at http://habitecinspections.com, or call 615-376-2753. 

Richard Acree is the author of  the HABITEC Home and Building Inspections blog at ActiveRain, WordPress, and Blogger, and Founder of the ActiveRain Group Tennessee Home and Building Inspectors.  All are welcome to join and comment on those blogs and group.   You can also follow HABITEC on Facebook and Richard on Linked.  Thank you!

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