I really do think it is important for the buyer to be at the inspection—for lots of reasons. The buyer and “assorted others” can be a problem however.
I have had this happen as well and can attest to what a juggling act it can be for all parties involved. It seems that this can be especially difficult for the agents to handle and most seem to do a pretty good job of it. Usually I will get some sort of “warning” from the agent that “Uncle Vinny” will be at the inspection or “Dad” will be at the inspection. This will usually be followed by Uncle Vinny’s and Dad’s “qualifications” so I will at least know whether I am dealing with an engineer, architect, general contractor, electrician, plumber or professional wrestler.
These “inspector-inspectors” are most common with first time home buyers—-especially when the buyer is a single woman. Dad is almost always around to “protect” his princess. As a dad myself, I can certainly empathize—-although I would not make a distinction between my daughters and my sons—-being an equal opportunity protector.
For me this kind of “outside interference” has yet to ever be a problem during an inspection. Most of the damage that I hear about is aimed more at all the kibitzing that goes on “behind the scenes” that ruin transactions. For example: when the buyer goes back home and they have to counter the objections and advice from everyone in their lives—-all of which know “better than they do” and certainly know better than their agent or inspector.
I am not really sure there is any easy way out of this dilemma. However, the more that the agent and the inspector can instill trust in the buyer and the more that trust gets conveyed back to the “entourage” the smoother things will go.
A few months ago I did an inspection for a single woman. Dad the builder was at the inspection with his daughter and it was a great inspection. It took maybe 20 minutes before Dad disappeared and the daughter and I completed the rest of the inspection together. I found out later that once the dad saw that his daughter was being properly taken care of he didn’t need to hang around.
This is not an isolated incident and I hear the same from other inspectors. Most buyers (and their parents) don’t really know what a modern home inspection is all about. There are other parents that perhaps remember the mediocre inspection they got on their own homes and they don’t want to see their children suffer the same fate. Once the inspector-inspector sees all that is actually involved in a thorough home inspection, their fears are usually greatly relieved.
If the agent and inspector both focus on seeing to it that their buyer is well taken care of, everything will go along more smoothly—-including the entourage getting on board—-even if occasionally the deal itself falls apart.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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