Should the Seller Be Present at a Home Inspection?

Should the seller be present at the home inspection?

The home seller owns the home, so should they be present at the inspection? Should the seller be made aware about all the inspection findings during a home inspection?

Let’s talk about the pros and cons of the seller attending the home inspection. At the end, we will weigh our options and decide.

Why Should the Seller Be Present at the Home Inspection

Discussing this part first might trigger some home inspectors, Realtors, or buyers, but ultimately I feel it is important to always see both sides. So what are the pros of having the seller attend the inspection?

It Is Their Home

It is still the seller’s home and Realtors, buyers, or home inspectors cannot physically remove them. All they can do is ask. That being said, the seller should feel comfortable and in some instances, the seller may not be comfortable with leaving their home open to people they do not know.

What if the seller has animals? There might be logistical reasons why the seller cannot leave the home open for a few hours due to pets.

A Transparent Deal

We have seen and heard of it before… a totally transparent real estate transaction occasionally happens. Obviously, there are cons to this like a lack of negotiation power. On the other hand, having a total transparent deal where the seller attends the inspection and hears the information might make everyone more at ease.

Furthermore, having the seller aware about the issues ensures clarity that all deficiencies are “on the table” so less stressful negotiations can happen.

Is the roof leaking? Is the seawall failing? Well, everyone knows the concerns and can properly compromise on a fair deal.

Inspector’s Access

It happens all too often that the seller has personal items blocking critical inspection access to items like the electrical panel. Rather than rescheduling the inspection, or paying for a re-inspection, the seller can easily move items that are in the way.

Home inspectors are not allowed to touch personal items and rely heavily on the Realtors, as well as, the sellers to properly prepare the home for the inspection. In some instances, it is worth noting the Realtors can move personal items if they are willing to accept risks.

Home Knowledge/Paperwork

Sometimes inspectors may not know if something was renovated or may look for paperwork on permitting or even shutter documentation. Having the seller attend the inspection can assist the inspectors with documentation or knowledge about when renovations were made.

Moreover, this section can also include if the inspector cannot properly operate a component of a home. For instance, if the seller has put their irrigation together themself, or remotes are needed, or if there is a particular “trick” to get the window to open. If an inspector cannot operate a system it simply cannot be inspected.

How awkward would this be… “Seller, can you take our picture?”

Why Should the Seller NOT Be Present at the Home Inspection

Negotiations

Negotiations are still underway during the inspection period so having the buyer and seller together could potentially cause conflicts for negotiation.

Inter-Personal Conflict

This can happen where the seller and buyer just simply do not get along. The buyer could very well HATE how the seller has designed the house all while the seller could want everything to stay the same/be insulted if the buyer wanted to “change” things.

Get In The Way

Some sellers just do not understand that this is the buyer’s inspection and may ask questions that the inspector can’t answer for confidentiality reasons, or they may get in the way of the inspection process. This can be difficult to deal with since the seller is technically allowed to be there, and a Realtor/inspector might have to politely tell the seller to go away.

Buyer Feeling Comfortable With Their Inspector

Since it is the buyer’s inspection the buyer should feel 100% comfortable with asking the questions they want. Occasionally with having the seller there, the buyer may feel uncomfortable asking questions that could be interpreted as insulting to their home.

Expert Insight from Realtors

Christian Sidwell, a Realtor from St. Petersburg, Florida.

The Journey Partners Team

Christian recommends first and foremost to understand your buyer/seller. Having the seller there to help rectify issues might be helpful, however, if the seller believes their house is in perfect condition it can be a huge conflict. In most circumstances, he recommends the seller should not attend the inspection, but the buyer should most certainly attend.

Christian Sidwell, Realtor. | Facebook

Christopher Freyre, a Realtor from Tampa, Florida.

Christopher Freyre

No to sellers because the buyer pays for the inspection and it is the buyers property until they are willing to share the inspection with the sellers when something arises (something needs replacement or repair). There has been a couple of instances where we did let the seller stay around due to their age and work schedule but for the most part the buyers speak a bit more freely when the seller isn’t around. 

Christopher Freyre, Realtor | Facebook

Crystal Brady, a Realtor from Tampa, Florida.

Crystal Brady

As a listing agent I always advise my sellers to vacate for Home inspections and treat it like a showing where we give the buyers privacy. It makes buyers uncomfortable to have the seller around but also if the seller is present for inspection sometimes they will say things they shouldn’t, commit to repairs or make inappropriate comments. Since it is an as-is contract and they are not required to do anything in terms of repairs it is best if they are not present making verbal comments. Also, there may be items discovered on the home inspection the sellers were not aware of. If they are present and now know about these items than they are required to disclose them if the current deal falls through.

As a buyer’s agent I also prefer the seller is not present for the home inspection. Often times they can be defensive or make an inappropriate comments. They typically want to hear the recap of the Home Inspection which makes buyers feel uncomfortable. It’s never a good idea to have the buyers and sellers spending several hours together because real estate can be a very emotional transaction for people. So I feel like it is best to keep them separate and keep it professional. After the home inspection if we have concerns about that inspection the appropriate way to address it is to go through the listing agent and then have them address the seller.

Seller’s often feel entitled to know the home inspection results and in reality the buyer is the one paying for the inspection and doing their own due diligence. Its an as is contract most of the time so technically the seller is not really entitled to anything in terms of seeing the report or knowing the results unless the buyer chooses to share that information

Crystal Brady, Realtor | Instagram

So…Should the seller attend the home inspection or should the seller leave the inspection? The answer: …Yes.

Have a question or something to say? Give your thoughts below!

You can also check out these other home buying articles.

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