Seller’s Agents: Tips for a Smooth Inspection
Seller’s anxiety associated with the home inspection can be greatly reduced by the cooperative involvement of the Seller’s Agent. Here are our top recommendations to ensure a smooth and successful inspection experience for all parties:
Provide the inspector with the proper access code for any lockbox. Make sure that the code operates properly by testing it in advance. Many times our inspector will try to gain access to a property only to find out that the code doesn’t work.
Make sure that all utilities are “ON”. In order to allow the inspector to inspect all areas of the property, coordinate with the seller, bank or other entity to have all utilities on for the inspection. Utilities that are “OFF” are an impediment to successful completion of the inspection and will likely cause delays in closing.
Advise your client that the inspection is a thorough activity. Most inspectors are on site for 2-4 hours and likely longer, if the house is very large, has detached garages, “out buildings” or contains a pool or spa. It is much easier for the inspector to complete the inspection if nobody else is on site during the inspection. Families that use the kitchen during the inspection are actually an impediment to the smooth completion of the inspection.
Provide the inspector with any other useful information about the property such as descriptions of non-operable components or systems, pets that live on site or tenants that live on site. Keeping the inspector informed leads to cooperation and cooperation leads to a smoother inspection experience. Most of us own dogs and cats, but we can’t be held responsible for animals that bolt when doors are opened. If Fido or Whiskers are prone to run out of the house when the doors are opened, they should be removed from the premises for the inspection.
Provide unobstructed access to the service electric panel, water heater and all attic openings and crawlspaces. Advise the seller to move their car(s) out of the garage if there is attic access in the garage. We must be able to inspect the water heater, which, if located in the garage, is often hidden by personal belongings.
Move or protect clothes in any closet that houses an attic access or crawlspace scuttle. An inspector must open a scuttle and has no idea what is inside. Attic insulation comes in many different forms. Blown-in insulation is particularly troublesome because it falls on everything underneath it. Moving clothes out of the closet is the responsibility of the seller, not the inspector.
Advise the homeowner that the inspector may choose to test appliances, fireplaces and heating, ventilating and cooling systems. If laundry equipment is going to stay on site after the home is sold, it may be operated during the inspection and we recommend that the machines are empty of clothes.
Inform the inspector if other vendors are scheduled to visit. Inspectors try hard to supervise the property while they are inspecting it. Knowing that a landscaper or roofer is scheduled to show up helps the inspector to plan out his exterior inspection.
Please note: In most states (and under the American Society of Home Inspectors Code of Ethics), the inspector is not allowed to disclose inspection results to anyone except the client, unless he/she is provided specific client approval. Inspectors, at their own discretion, may disclose immediate safety hazards to occupants.
The written inspection report is typically provided to the seller and the Broker by the buyer. The verbal summary conducted at the end of the inspection is an important activity for the prospective buyer to be able to freely discuss the findings of the home inspector. Sellers and Seller’s Agents should never assume that it is appropriate for them to attend. If so desired, the Seller’s Agent should contact the Buyer’s Agent and ask for permission.
Before You Buy or Sell, Inspect-It 1st®