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Should the Seller Be Present at a Home Inspection?



Home inspections are very beneficial for buyers as well as sellers. Many sellers come across buyers who hire professional home inspection personnel to conduct a thorough inspection of the house before they make a purchase. But is it really okay to let someone investigate your whole house? Do you need to be there during the inspection?


There are different opinions when it comes to sellers attending the home inspection. So the question at hand is, should the seller be present at the home inspection? Let’s take a look at both sides of the situation and derive a conclusion together. Before that, we will cover some basics.


What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is a thorough investigation of a property to determine its true condition. There are licensed home inspectors who will carry out the inspection and prepare a detailed report for you. The report includes all the pluses and minuses of the house and also all minor details. If your home inspector belongs to a reputed firm, they may even add images to the report for better comprehension. Some inspectors also go above and beyond to explain the report to their clients.


How are home inspections carried out?

A home inspection is scheduled by either the buyer or the home seller. A buyer’s inspection helps buyers to understand the minor and major issues of the house they are interested in. Whereas a seller’s inspection allows the seller to rectify any issues in their property before listing it.

Many realtors suggest conducting a home inspection as one of the most important things to do before selling the house.


Home inspection process

You can get in touch with a good home inspection firm or ask your realtor to arrange one. Once the appointment is scheduled, the home inspectors will arrive at the property to inspect your house.


They do a thorough inspection to find out even minute details. From the roof to the foundation, everything is checked. Don’t worry, they won’t break the walls or cause any damage to the property. They follow the guidelines laid out by InterNACHI, which don’t allow them to damage the property or move certain things like furniture, appliances, etc.


So if they are not going to move things, how will they inspect the property? They carry the necessary equipment with them to inspect the property. They use some equipment like moisture meters, carbon monoxide detectors, electrical testers, voltage indicators, microwave testers, and more. They also make use of infrared cameras to check abnormalities in the temperature inside the property.


While they are checking the house, they make an inspection report for the buyer/seller. A typical home inspection should be completed in a few hours (4- 5 hours).


Depending on the home inspector firm you employ, you may get a special explanation of the report, or you’ll be handed over a detailed report to study and make a well-informed real estate decision.


What is checked during the home inspection?


Home inspectors will check the house from A to Z. Here is a list of things that will be inspected during the inspection.

  • Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning System

  • Foundation

  • Ceilings

  • Roof

  • Doors and windows

  • Insulation

  • Water leaks and cracks in the wall or floor

  • Garage door

  • Kitchen countertops

  • Cabinets

  • Electrical panel

  • Plumbing system

  • Basement

Do you really need to carry out a home inspection?

Say you are buying apples. You'll check all the apples you buy thoroughly, right? If there is even a small hole, you'll not buy it. Also, if the apple vendor sells damaged apples, no one is going to buy them from him. Finding faults in apples is easy, but in a house? A defect like excess moisture behind drywall is impossible for ordinary people to detect. It requires enough experience to detect such damage and the correct equipment to verify the degree of the damage. Homeowners usually believe their house is the best in the world and there is no chance for any buyer to reject it. However, a simple home inspection report might just reveal that the house is damaged from the inside. An inspection helps both buyers and sellers to detect such faults in the property. It helps to keep the deal fair and transparent. If the seller is not willing to repair the damage, the buyer can ask to reduce the price of the house.


Carrying out a home inspection is not mandatory. However, it has a lot of advantages for buyers as well as sellers. Let’s take a look at some.


Advantages of conducting a home inspection for the buyer


Get an unbiased opinion

When you go for a house tour, the seller’s agent might convince you that this property is the best house you will ever find. You will be overwhelmed by the information they give and the looks of the property that you’ll end up agreeing to whatever the real estate agent says. A home inspector is a third party. They have nothing to gain by siding with either the seller or the buyer. They make an unbiased report that will help you make better and informed decisions.


Make the right investment

Investing in a property that looks pretty on the outside but is damaged from the inside will prove to be a bad investment. Buyers need to avoid investing in a property that has major damages, especially if they are planning to shift to that property with their loved ones. Apart from putting the safety of their family in jeopardy, buyers will also add to their expenses (which would already be too much) if major repairs and replacements are needed. A home inspection report can help you make the right investment in a property that is in its pristine state.


Negotiate for price

If you find out that the property has some damages, instead of rejecting it, you can propose a lesser price. The damages shown in the report are a great tool to negotiate for a better price.


Anticipate the cost of repairing

In case you decide to buy the property despite the damages, the report will help you anticipate the money you will have to spend to repair those damages.


Advantages of conducting a home inspection for the seller


Conduct repairs before the buyers complain about it

Many sellers conduct home inspections to find the flaws in their property before the buyer does. It can be too difficult to find the right buyer if the property is not in its best condition. Losing that buyer because they found some flaws in your property will delay the home selling process even further.

An inspection report from a licensed firm gives buyers assurance

Most buyers look for a new house on online listing platforms. Trusting online sources, be it images or information given by the seller, can be challenging for many buyers. However, if you provide a report prepared by a certified home inspection firm, buyers will be more likely to invest in your property or at least initiate a conversation without hesitation.

Increase the price

Say you come across some flaws in the property during the inspection. What you can do is, rectify those issues and demand a higher price for your property.

Sell home faster

Selling your home is a bit of a hassle. Sometimes sellers don’t find a buyer for months and then have to meet the listing agent to relist the property and give a better deal to attract buyers. With a home inspection report that buyers can view, it is easier for buyers to trust the seller and also to make their decision faster. If the report does not report any issues with your property, the price your ask for is also justified. A home inspection is quite helpful for sellers to sell homes faster.


Who all are present during the inspection?


A home inspection is attended by the home inspectors, the buyer, the buyer’s agent, and the seller’s agent. It is not mandatory for the seller to be present at the inspection. It is up to the seller if they want to attend the inspection or not. However, it is not recommended for the seller to attend the inspection. Why? We shall take a look at the reasons below. To keep things transparent, we will also look at the reasons why the seller can be present for the inspection.


Why sellers should NOT be present on the day of inspection


The seller can become an interference

The buyer pays for the inspection. There are certain things that the home inspector has to keep confidential. If the seller is around during the inspection they might be interrupting the inspection process.


The buyer might get uncomfortable

A buyer will have many questions they would like answered by the home inspector they hired. However, seeing the seller hovering around the house along with them can make them uncomfortable. The inspector and the buyer may not be able to have a good conversation with each other with the seller being around.


The seller might influence the perception of the buyers regarding the house

The presence of the seller can have a psychological impact on the buyer. They might fail to see the drawbacks of the property.


Sellers may act suspiciously, creating a bad impression

The seller might refrain inspectors from moving something or touching something. It might just be that they don’t want some strangers to touch their belongings. However, it may appear that there is something suspicious about the property. The buyer might not want to invest in the property, and your sale will get affected.


Avoid arguments

Homeowners are emotionally attached to their homes. Imagine some random person comes to your house and says, this interior is so old fashion. It is not easy to maintain composure in such situations. The seller might get into an argument trying to defend their beloved property.


Buyers may not feel like they are in their new home

Did you know many real estate agents suggest removing any personal belongings in the house like a photo frame? This is done to make the buyer feel like they are in their new home. Many buyers, after they enter the house and take a look at it and its surroundings, they start imagining staying in that house with their family. This imagination is what will motivate them to buy the house. A seller being present during the home inspection can hinder this lovely imagination process of the buyer.


Why can sellers be present on the day of a home inspection?


Because they are the owners

The seller can be present at the home inspection because after all, it is his house. The seller is always cautious that the home inspector might damage the house. Let me assure you that home inspectors don’t cause a mess in the house. They are not authorized to do that by InterNACHI. Still, if you think you should be there, you can be. There is no rule stopping you.


The seller knows the flaws in the property

If you are present during the inspection, you will also know all the flaws in your property. So if the buyer doesn’t buy the house, you can make the repairs before you list it again. Alternatively, you can offer to make the repairs so that the price of your house is not reduced.


Inspectors can seek permission from sellers to move certain items

Home inspectors are not allowed to move the furniture, and carpets among other things. But they might want to move certain things to check the house properly. If the seller is not there, they will have to seek permission from the seller and reschedule the inspection. Buyers can prevent this hassle if the seller is there.


So, should the seller be present at the home inspections or not?

The final conclusion of this discussion is that it is not a compulsion for the seller to be present during the home inspection, possibly with a buyer’s agent as well. However, if the sellers want to, they can. It is advised that the seller should be absent during the inspection. Buying a house is a practical decision but is also motivated by emotions. The seller’s influence might make the buyer uncomfortable. It is better to have the middlemen, the buyer’s agent and the seller's agent, and the home inspector to deal with the inspection process.


Quick Recap

  • A home inspection is a thorough investigation done in a house to determine its condition.

  • A home inspector conducts a thorough inspection to find out even minute details. From the roof to the foundation, everything is checked.

  • Carrying out a home inspection is not mandatory. However, it has a lot of advantages for buyers as well as sellers.

  • Advantages of conducting a home inspection for the buyer

  1. Get an unbiased opinion

  2. Make the right investment

  3. Detect any malfunctions or damages

  4. Negotiate for price

  5. Anticipate the cost of repairing

  • Advantages of conducting a home inspection for the seller

  1. Conduct repairs before the buyers complain about it

  2. An inspection report from a licensed firm gives buyers assurance

  3. Increase the price

  4. Sell home faster

  • Reasons why sellers should not be present during the home inspection:

  1. Sellers can become an interference

  2. The buyer might get uncomfortable

  3. The seller might influence the perception of the buyers regarding the house

  4. Sellers may act suspiciously, creating a bad impression

  • Reasons why sellers can be present during the home inspection

  1. Because they are the owners

  2. Sellers will know the flaws in the property

  3. Inspectors can seek permission from sellers to move certain items

  • The final conclusion of this discussion is that it is not a compulsion for the seller to be present during the home inspection. However, if the sellers want to, they can. It is advised that the seller should be absent during the inspection.


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