Many variables affect who attends a home inspection. In most cases, however, Buyers hire the home inspector as their private consultant, which means the Buyer should have the last word on who should attend their home inspection.
Real estate agents usually coordinate who attends the home inspection, but circumstances often override their preferences. In some cases, Buyers are unable to attend because they live out of the area or are not able to get time off from work. In those instances, Home Inspectors may be accompanied by the Buyers agent or a representative on the Buyers side. The Sellers agent will gain access to the home and usually supply the home inspector with the Sellers disclosure and/or the listing sheet. This Agent then stays out of the picture for the remainder of the inspection. The Buyers agent will accompany the Buyer to the inspection most of the time. There are situations that arise in which the Buyers agent will send an assistant to answer any questions the Buyer may have. In most cases, Buyers will attend all or part of the home inspection. This may occur with or without his/her Agent, or it may also include contractors and possibly some relatives and friends.
Whether Sellers should attend the inspection is more complicated. Buyers cannot forbid the Sellers from remaining during the inspection. Some Sellers willingly leave for a few hours, some remain without involving themselves in the inspection, and still others become actively involved, engaging the buyers in lengthy conversations or shadowing the Home Inspector on every step. It’s always best to have the Sellers leave for the duration of the inspection, as I’ve ran into situations in the past where my clients became very upset because the Sellers remained in the home during the inspection. I (personally) do not like to see Sellers present during my home inspections.
Many Real Estate agents attempt to prevent direct communication between Buyers and Sellers, especially during the home inspection. They want to prevent emotional exchanges that might hurt the sale. Often, however, attending the inspection fosters goodwill among all parties. Each case is distinct and hinges on personalities, rather than protocol.
While I’m talking with my client’s and reviewing my inspection findings, they often prefer a private consultation, without the Sellers present. In some instances, Sellers instinctively understand this and offer the Buyers and myself a private spot to meet in the house (I prefer the kitchen area).
The worst of all arrangements is when the Buyers agent advises their Buyers not to attend the home inspection and appoint themselves as intermediaries. Agents who suggest such arrangements are not acting in the best interests of their clients. I (myself) will not conduct an inspection solely with the Buyers agent unless authorized by the Buyer.
As a Buyer, keep in mind that you have hired the home inspector to be your advocate. The home inspection is paid for by you and presented for your benefit. There are home inspectors who have a reputation for thoroughness, and most of them refuse to let anyone else set the rules on their home inspections.
My last piece of advice to home Buyer's.....Please try to keep your attendees down to a minimum. The less people that are there during the home inspection, the more you have the ability to concentrate on what the home inspector has to go over with you. This home inspection day is a very important fact finding day for your prospective hard earned investment and you wouldn't want your head spinning during this important few hours with the home inspector.