Troy Palmquist is an indie broker in California with more than a decade of experience. His regular column, which covers a range of helpful tips for agents and op-eds on industry happenings, publishes Thursdays on Inman.
Property inspections are like the final stitch in a bespoke suit. If done properly, it keeps the sum of its parts intact. If done poorly, it begins to unravel, and the whole thing falls apart. And the tailor is always there for the final fitting.
Property inspections are a critical piece to the homebuying and selling puzzle; yet it still amazes me that proper representation during the inspection process is often misunderstood or underdelivered.
I recently came across an article asking if a buyer’s agent should attend property inspections — the conclusion being, yes. I am in agreement, but I think we can take the concept a step further and recognize that the listing agent, the buyer’s agent and the buyer, should be present at inspection.
I know it’s a stretch for some, but hear me out. There are several reasons this is important.
A listing agent with my firm recently had an inspection come up for a 2,800-square-foot four-bedroom home with a pool. Our agent, who is representing the seller, attended the inspection, as I encourage all the agents to do, and guess what? Neither the buyer nor the buyer’s agent were present.
The listing agent also informed me that the inspector was only at the property for about an hour. I’ve had studio inspections take twice that long!
The point is, that at the very least, both the listing agent and buyer’s agent should have been in attendance. Being at the inspection helps the listing agent gain first-hand knowledge of findings and presents an opportunity to ask questions and get a solid understanding of the results.
Here, I list five reasons a listing agent, buyer’s agent and the buyers should all attend the property inspection.
1. Agents can learn so much valuable information at inspections
They not only aid in a better grasp of the inspection itself, but they also offer up general knowledge that agents will carry with them throughout their career.
2. Being present at an inspection also helps with the repair request process
Now is your chance to weed out the real issues from the ones that aren’t. Seeing the process first-hand, not simply reading about it in the report, gives you the ability to push back on items, knowing that the inspector said it wasn’t a concern.
3. Home inspections can be written a number of different ways
Being there helps when representing the seller because home inspections can be written different ways depending on a number of factors, such as how much of a seller credit there is on the table or the list of repairs the buyer wants.
4. Red flags can often be inflated or used to benefit one side or the other
Sometimes home inspectors write a report with all sorts of red flags. Agents try to use this as a way to get the seller to give them what they want, so the buyer doesn’t cancel, and then the seller ends up having to start all over with a negative inspection report.
5. Everyone can, ideally, end up on the same page
All of the above are important factors that can make or break a deal. And getting everyone in attendance at an inspection gives all parties on both sides of the transaction, a clear picture of what to expect and how to proceed.
As a longtime Southern California broker, I always recommend to have the chimney, sewer and septic inspected at the same time of the general inspection for a full picture of everything that’s going on with the property.
In today’s workplace, agents are mobile and should make themselves available to attend inspections, which provide a wealth of insight, especially since the success of the escrow typically depends on the results.