Should I stay at home for the home inspection?

 

Often times sellers ask me if they have the right to be at their home inspection.  The answer is “yes” they have the right but my recommendation is for them not to be at the home inspection.      There are a few reasons why I recommend this for my sellers.

1.   This is the buyer’s opportunity to really get to know the house.   Most likely they only saw the house 1-2 times and spent less than two hours at the home.    A typical home inspection is 2-4 hours and this is really their moment to be introduced to the home.    When the seller is home the buyer has to worry about offending the seller or they may not ask all every question they have to the inspector. This may lead to doubt and uncertainty.  You want the buyer to ask as many questions about the house at the inspection.  When that does not happen the buyer may feel less comfortable moving forward.  Lack of information always means lack of certainty and could lead to the buyer asking for more repairs or backing out of the contract.

2.  Emotions are high for both buyer and seller at this time.  Negotiations just finished and the inspection is usually the biggest hurdle in the process.   When both parties are at the home inspection it is a recipe for an emotional explosion.    Give the situation space.

3.  The seller may end up saying something that causes the deal to fall apart or be sued.    I want to share with a story about this exact situation for one of my past clients.

Fred, a seller of Laura Strunk, decided to stay at the home inspection even though it was not recommended.  Fred had a full price cash offer on his home.   The home inspection was almost complete with no major issues.    The inspector goes up into the attic and comes down and says “I found mold in the attic.”  Fred then makes the following comment “Oh I knew something was up there.”     The buyer’s agent calls Laura Strunk the next day and explains what happened and what the seller said.  The agent then says the buyer is sending over a release and is considering suing the seller because he did not disclose this to the buyer.   When Laura questions Fred on what he meant he explained that he had seen a small spot last Christmas but had the roof checked out and there was no leak and he never knew what it was.    Even though Laura explains this to the other agent the damage is done.  The buyer has no interest in buying the home and does not trust the seller.   If Fred had not been there then this outcome most likely would have been avoided.  Fred was willing to fully remediate and fix the mold which he did and then sold his home for much less. 

4.   It is very hard to sit through 2-4 hours hearing all of the negative things about the home you own and most likely love.    Remember the inspector is not paid to tell the buyer all the great things about the home but instead what is wrong with the home.   Often times sellers will get defensive, offended and/or their feelings hurt.  It is just best to avoid the situation and review the report objectively if and when repair requests are made.

 

So my recommendation to all sellers is use this time to see a movie or go for a walk.  It will have a much better outcome than if you stay at the home inspection.

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