What I'm Seeing Now

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"The Inspector Broke The Dishwasher"

This was the text the agent who sold a house I recently inspected received just as we arrived to pick up the radon.

In full it was something like:  The inspector broke the dishwasher and because of that we aren't fixing anything on your addendum.

Yeah, right, the inspector broke the dishwasher, probably on purpose, and left it in a heap in the cabinet knowing that nobody would notice.

And to receive that message days after the inspection, and just as the listing agent knew we were arriving to pick up the radon is a bit much.

Not only is the dishwasher accusation phony baloney, but to "use" it as a reason not to fix addendum items smacks of more phoniness.

Here are my personal rules for home inspections:

1.  I never enter a house without an agent present.
2.  If the agent cannot make the time appointed for the inspection, and cannot send a replacement, I will reschedule the appointment.
3.  If the appointment cannot be rescheduled so an agent can be present, I will not do the inspection.

Why?  So sellers cannot reasonably accuse that I did this or that, or broke this or that.

Why?  Because I want the buyers, and agent, to shadow me throughout the inspection and watch what I do, and provide me that protection.

In this case the agent read me the message and texted back, "I watched him turn on the dishwasher.  That is all he did.  We all* saw it and he did not break the dishwasher."

That's pretty clear.  What if the agent had not been present?  That would have made it very difficult for me to absolve myself by proving a negative.  Can negatives be proved anyway?  How can I prove that I did NOT break the dishwasher?

Now, never mind the fact that the dishwasher was old; not properly attached to the counter top or cabinet and moved around on its own (incorrect); had a service line that came from the bottom of the cabinet, curled on the cabinet floor, and went straight up to the disposal (incorrect); and that the house had many, many problems created by a finished basement without a permit, numerous other amateur work, and a multiplicity of HOA violations for other things they did (unprofessional).

SO I AM GOING TO BE THE REASON THEY WON'T FIX ANYTHING?  I'M THINKING NOT!

My recommendation:   Attend the home inspection.  Watch what the inspector does.  Be the "agent" of information if any problems arise.  And be a witness.  It might just help you in a circumstance or two!

The agent, two buyers, both buyers' parents and the agent's husband (who many of you probably know).



 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 110 commentsJay Markanich • August 09 2011 10:33AM

Comments

Well, I'm old school and I believe that it's the agent's job to manage the home inspection.  To do that, you have to be present.  The trend for agents not to attend home inspection because of "risk" is just so much nonsense. 

Your practice are quite correct and good risk management.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 9 years ago

I agree Lenn.  I have been left booby traps so that I COULD be blamed later.  I had a seller once have a broken hose behind the washing machine, unnoticed by me even when looking behind, that leaked and gave him an insurance claim.  That was probably planned.  I had a seller accuse me of stealing a TV and another that my daughter broke something, who stayed the entire time with the selling agent's daughter, at the kitchen table the entire inspection.

So, it's with the agent present or no inspection!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Our attorneys tell us not to go on inspections.  I always go as support for the buyers.  If we watch what the inspector does that makes us liable.  We are told to sit at the kitchen table and not interfere with anything.

Fun picture of the dishwasher.

Posted by Patty Clark, Helping Families Move with Care (Morningside Homes, LLC 720-231-5200) about 9 years ago

Jay....we are ALWAYS at the home inspection.....even if the buyers' agent is there, we are there...we are in charge of that house and what happens within those walls....no mistakes on our watch....that's my rule.

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired ) about 9 years ago

Well, C&P, I'm not sure I understand that because you are the "agents," but if there was no shadow for me during my inspection I would not be your inspector!  How you could have liability simply watching the inspector is beyond my understanding.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Thanks Barbara!  You would be a welcome addition to my inspection "team."

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Jay, I agree that it's incredibly important for the agent to be present at the inspection and your post is one of the reasons why... There are certainly a number of others as the commenters have pointed out.

Posted by Shannon Jones, Long Beach CA Real Estate (The Shannon Jones Team) about 9 years ago

All I can say is WOW.. It's just sad to see unprofessionalism.  As a listing agent I always ask about the appliances, especially if they're staying with the home, and offer a Home Warranty.  On all my inspections for my buyers, I attend or if I can't make it, I'll send another agent from my office.

Posted by Graziella Bruner, Associate Broker - Serving Wayne & Oakland County (NCS Premier Real Estate) about 9 years ago

That's HORRIBLE!  I would be tempted to find a way to report that agent on MLS violations.  Not to mention the homeowner for the unpermitted improvements. 

Posted by Kate McQueen, Tailored service for your real estate needs! (CB&A Realtors) about 9 years ago

I think so too Shannon.  There are probably many reasons.

Graziella - often agents send someone else when they cannot come.

Kate - not my purview!  I think things are being worked out now, but I don't know to what extent.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

I always attend the home inspection for the same reasons mentioned by others but also to “be there” for my buyers.  It is an opportunity to support them and have discussions about what the inspector is finding. 

Posted by Larry Craven, Realty Direct, Inc (Realty Direct Loudon County) about 9 years ago

Once the home inspector broke the electric in one of my listings.  I do not remember if the buyers agent was present for the inspection, I called the inspector and he went back over and the seller with the three little kids had electricity again... 

I think home inspectors are wise to require an agent be present to manage the home inspection.

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) about 9 years ago

This is obviously someone who wants a freebie.  I feel for you guys, you get blamed for everything.

 

Posted by Morris Massre, Real Estate Instructor Broward County Florida about 9 years ago

I agree with Lenn and you Jay---the agent and/or buyer must always be present at the inspection.  I understand sometimes the buyer cannot be---but the agent must always be there and is required in these parts with huge fines if they are not there.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 9 years ago

For an agent to absent from any part of the deal makes no sense. We are the glue that holds things together until we let go. Ships sailing without rudders are subject to currents and winds. You need someone at the helm

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 9 years ago

So I HAVE to be at the inspection on Friday for our mutual clients?  Just kidding.  Of course I would never NOT be there for an inspection.  And pay close attention to the dishwasher on that home.  I'm not kidding. 

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) about 9 years ago

I've only had three agents present during home inspections and they were the buyers agent. I have yet to have the listing agent present. Even when the agent met me at the inspection they never stayed for the entire thing. Their feeling is that they don't have 4 hours or better to spend following me around. I guess things are different depending on where you are.

Sounds to me like this seller doesn't want to make any repairs and is looking to make you the scapegoat. Pretty sad people would actually resort to such under handed tactics to save a buck.

Posted by Suesan Jenifer Therriault, "Inspecting every purchase as if it were my own". (JTHIS-Professional Home Inspection Team) about 9 years ago

It's my job to be present at my buyer's inspections - if we have a fiduciary duty to our clients, then I feel we are not fulfilling our duty if we don't attend.

Posted by Tim Tanz, St Louis Real Estate (Platinum Realty) about 9 years ago

Jay....unbelievable that they were using you as an excuse.  I prefer the listing agent to be there with me.  I recently had a home inspection where we found water in the basement - it had rained the night before (lucky for us).  The Seller tried to say the home inspector made it up.  As the buyer agent, of course I was present & saw it myself.  The listing agent was not present & had he been there it would have solved 95% of the problems that came from the home inspection. 

Posted by Christine Smith, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA (Buyers Brokers Only LLC - www.BuyersBrokersOnly.com) about 9 years ago

Jay

I recently had my buyer's  chosen inspector (who came highly recommended but whom I don't know and have never used) tell me that the agents he's worked with usually just give him the keys, let him in, and he he does his inspection alone. And then the buyers come towards the end during which time he walks them through the property to review his findings. He actually seemed surprised and offended when I insisted that I have to be present and so should the buyer throughout the inspection.

Your experience underlines the wisdom and importance of being present.

Posted by Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA (Alain Pinel) about 9 years ago

You know I've never left an inspector alone at a house for safety reasons.  What if he fell or got hurt..., I never thought of myself as a witness.  Perhaps some video would be in order. :)

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) about 9 years ago

Isn't it funny how there is always someone else to blame? They have a torn up crappy dishwasher and want to blame it on you? That is low and it is phony. Jeeeez.....

Posted by Nathan Tutas, Your Central Florida Real Estate Expert (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) about 9 years ago

An excellent example of how you cover yourself...smart man, this inspector guy from VA!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) about 9 years ago

Larry - that is a good attitude to have!  And another good reason.

Maureen - I don't know what he could have done to turn off the electric!  Maybe he bumped the main breaker when putting the cover back and didn't notice.

Morris - there surely is a little of that out there!

Charlie - there are no fines here, obviously, but it sure does prevent a lot of what might go on.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Good analogy Richie.  You are the dealer holder togethererer.

Chris Ann - yes, and dishwasher?

Sue - sometimes the listing agent here will show up at the end of things to see what's up.  But I don't have too many actually attend the inspection.

Tim - and yet I hear often about agents who are told not to go.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Jay, I wouldn't even consider missing a home inspection. And now you've given me one more reason. Thanks!

Posted by John M. Scott, Broker / Owner San Francisco Bay Area (BRE # 01442690, Scott Keys Properties) about 9 years ago

Christine - good for you.  And it doesn't make any sense for a home inspector to make anything up.

Pacita - I can say honestly that that has never happened to me!  I would never just have people "show up" at the end.   The buyer is the process!

Thanks Tammy.  And that happens!  People are people.

Nathan - the home inspection is the least expensive part of the transaction, usually, and the most blamed!

Gary - life experience can be a cruel, but effective, teacher.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

And thank you John!  Glad to help!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

I have always been p-resent at every inspection ;)  As for the agents, the large majority of the time they are there for the entire inspection.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 9 years ago

Those unscrupulous people probably think your insurance will buy them a new dishwasher or whatever. I'm with you, wouldn't go in there without the agent as witness.

Posted by Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker ((831) 626-4000) about 9 years ago

I think that's probably the best policy Jim.

On both counts!

Hella - the deductible on my insurance is more than a dishwasher costs!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

As a buyers agent,I always attend a home inspection.  If I am the listing agent, I do not attend.  This depends on whether or not my client ordered and is paying for the inspection.  Actually, as a buyers agent, I have never had the listing agent in attendance

Posted by Jim O'Donnell (Raleigh Cary Realty) about 9 years ago

Jay - absolutely to cover yourself, requiring someone's present is a good idea. We usually ask our buyers to be there for the inspection so they can shadow the inspector and ask all the question they may have. Benefit both parties.

Posted by Mike Yeo (3:16 team REALTY) about 9 years ago

Same here Jim.  It's very seldom that the listing agent attends.

Mike - I think the buyer is the process, so the buyer and selling agent should all both be there.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

it it is obviously always the inspectors fault because you are the closest and easiest to blame.  Sometimes things happen 

Posted by Highland Beach Condos David Serle, Boca Raton Agent David Serle (RE/MAX Services) about 9 years ago

Jay - I always walk the inspection with the inspector, but I'm careful never to render an opinion about anything.  I'm there to protect him, the buyer, and myself.  I make observations only.

Posted by John Davison, Raleigh-Cary-Triangle NC (Coldwell Banker) about 9 years ago

You should quit breaking dishwashers! That is not very nice!!Lol. No but I was always told that I shouldn't go to the inspection for liability issues either. It is very untypical here that an agent does go. I do although go to the after inspection when my clients show up to see what was found though! It is amazing how much different things work real estate-wise across the land!

Posted by Rosalie Evans, The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale (Meritus Group Real Estate) about 9 years ago

Our broker locally does not allow us to attend inspections. We are only allowed to open the door, and then leave. It is best when buyers are present however that does not always occur. Our E&O says they don't want us becoming 'experts' and believes that by the time we attend 300 or so inspections, we open ourselves up to additional liability because we have enough knowledge to 'shoulda, woulda, coulda' known about this or that defect in the property...

Just an interesting opposing viewpoint I thought I would share. I personally liked attending my inspections because if something did come up, I could call the listing agent right on the spot, and usually resolve something   before anyone got cold feet. 

Posted by Christianne O'Malley, Exceptional Service - Delivering Results in Reno! (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates) about 9 years ago

Jay - It's my job to attend the inspection I say... maybe that's just us but I can't even think of not ever attending one. After all I learn so much at them.... just my two cents

Posted by Robert and Lisa Hammerstein -201-315-8618, Bergen County NJ Real Estate (Christie's International Real Estate ) about 9 years ago

Great post and suggestion, Jay.  Thanks.

Posted by Dianne Deming (RE/MAX Realty Group) about 9 years ago
Being there for meetings as an agent is part of seeing the job done smoothly.
Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com) about 9 years ago

David - we are easy to blame!  Nobody actually sees what we do!

That's the best plan John.  Observation is also a great way to learn.

Rosalie - it is interesting.  It's interesting also to see how home inspectors work region to region.  Different strokes!

Christianne - wow, why 300?  Why not 200 or 500?  You are a real estate agent, and as to inspections why shoulda or woulda you do or know anything?

L&R - it is a great way to learn stuff.  I learn listening to agents counsel their buyers!

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Thank you Dianne!  Glad you could stop by and feel welcome anytime!

Cheryl - certainly!  And a really, really fun part!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

It sounds very practical to do as you say, and have an agent present during the entire inspection as to provide you and the owner with the protection of a third party being watchful of the process.

Posted by Eileen Hsu, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 9 years ago

Thanks Eileen.  I am afraid to do one without an agent present.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Jay:  We all need to take precautions unheard of years ago.  Things have changed, without a doubt.  You are smart .. and right ... to take the measures that you do.  You are acting responsibly.  Will love to hear how this little scenario eventually plays out ... keep us posted ...

Gene

Posted by Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi, 708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience (NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656) about 9 years ago

Gene - actually I just heard.  You probably won't be surprised to find that the dishwasher isn't broken!  I will say more later.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

I am always at the inspection to protect the inspector as well as myself even if I am on the listing or buying side.  Doesn't matter.  Times are hard and people can be cheap and think they can get away with blaming the inspector or the agent so I love your protection plan!  Sorry, someone tried to nail you "again".

Posted by Barb Van Stensel about 9 years ago

Jay, you make the Boy Scout motto look good.  :)

Keep up the good work, Scoutmaster!

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, C.O.O., Winslow Homes (Winslow Homes) about 9 years ago

Having others preset for the inspection does help protect when issues like this arise.

Posted by Rodney Mason, VP of Mortgage Lending - AL, FL, GA, SC, & TN (Guaranteed Rate NMLS# 2611) about 9 years ago

Jay, 

We are at all inspections - except if we are out of town on vacation!  Even while on vacation, will take a phone call from inspector!  Just talked to Jake while outside Rockafeller Center in NYC two weeks ago.  It killed me not to be there. 

I can't imagine skipping it because of possible liability.  We have so much liability in this business, if you are liability adverse, this probably is not the business for you. 

Because we are out for the best interests of our clients, we've never had a whisper of a liability threat.  I plan to see that that continues. 

All the best, Michelle

Posted by Michelle Francis, Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease (Tim Francis Realty LLC) about 9 years ago

Good evening Jay. Seems these days everyone is looking for someone to blame and inspectors look like good targets. Little did they know you had a posse and they will need to blame the appraiser. lol

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) about 9 years ago

I always attend my home inspections! I have only missed one so far and I was out of town for a family death.

I can't believe they tried to pin that on you- like you would break the dishwasher but running it to test it! Sheesh!

Posted by Kristi DeFazio, Colorado Springs Rea lEstate 719-459-5468 (RE/MAX Advantage) about 9 years ago

I am present on all home inspection. The ones for buyers to protect the buyers and the home inspector. And the ones for a seller, where I want to know what's going on and protect the seller.

Posted by Brian Madigan, LL.B., Broker (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)) about 9 years ago

Thanks Barb, and it didn't work.  And it's a plan that works!

Jeremy - thanks, and a dose of experience doesn't hurt either!  You think Baden-Powell would be proud?

Erica - and a lot goes on usually!  Why miss it?

Rodney, yes and that is why my rules are in place.  I don't break them.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Thanks Michelle.  Your take on adverse liability is at odds with some of those commenting here today!  They think there's liability if they ARE there!

Randy - I may have turned the tables on them and nobody will be blamed for anything.

Kristi - it wasn't broken when I tested it!  For sure.

Brian - that is a policy a lot of agents follow.  Here the listing agents, if they show up at all, will come at the end.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Jay ~ As I see it, the home inspection is paid for by the buyer and it is their time to have unfettered access to the property to look for potential issues, so the listing agent shouldn't be in the property with the selling agent and buyer(s).  I usually show up for the access and at the end to see if there was any significant problems.  This has served me well, with the exception of one time... the home inspector showed me the recorded arcing in the electrical panel on his cell phone and then insisted on doing it live... for a total of 3 arcing in a electrical panel that required significant repair.

Had he presented this properly after the first instance of arcing, it would have gone over better, but to replicate it for recording purposes and my visit was an abuse of the inspection process in my opinion.

just our $0.02...

Posted by AJ Heidmann ~ CRS, YOUR Alexandria & Arlington, VA Real Estate Expert (McEnearney Associates, Inc.) about 9 years ago

Jay -- I have NEVER not attended an inspection with my buyer(s) and whoever they may bring along.  I can't believe your comment about booby traps! 

Posted by Barbara Altieri, REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale (Kinard Realty Group Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate) about 9 years ago

Jay,

I always attend home inspections. One time I stepped outside to take a call at the end of an inspection and the inspector stepped through the ceiling in a vacant home. He was inspecting the attic. He never said anything, and his company denied that it happened. I ended up paying the seller, and they never got any more business from me.

Rich

Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) about 9 years ago

whats next?... you agents are going to tell me you attend every appraisal... and you follow the appraiser home to watch him write the appraisal... and you must have quite a scheduling problem to try to work behind the title companies employees... at least in my area (austin) inspectors can join the board and get a supra key to access the property... they have the legal right to be there by themselves... and i think they have the right to do their job in peace and quiet - without a buyer or agent tagging along!... i ask the inspectors to call me and my buyers when they are almost done with the inspection... then we all meet... i could fill your screen up with "nightmare" stories about buyers and sellers... does that meen that i refuse to meet with buyers & seller by myself?... heck no!.... BTW... i would think that inspectors have as part of the written agreement they have the buyers sign a clause that explains that the buyer can not hold the inspector liable if something actually does break... and that the buyer agrees to shoulder any problem that may arise from the physical inspection... man up.

Posted by Lenny Schwartz (TexasRealty.us) about 9 years ago

AJ & Jodee - I agree.  I think the buyer is the process and should be a big part of the inspection, unfettered as you say.  That is the word I use too!  As to that electrical panel presentation - that was way, way beyond the scope of what that inspector should have done!  If finding it the first time was an accident it was probably best not to replicate it!  Had someone else seen that arcing the first time it would not have gone further.

Unfortunately Barbara, booby traps are out there!  People are looking for angles these days.  It's sad to me.

Rich - and you (and everyone in your office) never called that inspector back I imagine!

Lenny - well, things certainly are different in each of the many regions of the country!  And I don't have those clauses on my agreement, but I can't speak to other inspectors.  Once a buyer knocked over an antique spinning wheel and broke it.  They were walking around while I was working on the report and I heard it happen but did not see it.  It was me who contacted the seller and I paid for the repair.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Hi Jay,

It is so important as a buyer's agent to attend a home inspection.  I myself, feel more comfortable, when the listing agent is present too.  I can't tell you how many listing agents show up to let us in the door and then leave.  That is one service I would think the Seller would expect to have their agent present for.  Your dishwasher experience reminds me of the one I have with the proverbial whirlpool tub in the master bathroom.  I have yet to see one work properly.  In fact, most times I warn the home inspector to look for the leak while the tub is filling.  Most of the time the seals are dried out from lack of use and the ceiling down below gets soaking wet.  I think I am four for four on those.

Don't get discouraged.  Desperate times creates desperate people.

 

Laurie

Posted by Laurie C. Bailey-Gates, ABR, SFR (Robert Paul Properties) about 9 years ago

Thanks Laurie.  See my post today!  It's okay with me if the listing agent shows up, but please keep out of the process and let me work!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Hey Jay, maybe it's SOP in your area for real estate agents to attend home inspections, but for me, they attend about half the time, and even then, it's usually not for the entire thing.  I have an electronic key which I use to let myself in to the property; as an affiliate member of the Realtor's Association, I'm allowed to be in the house by myself.

I don't recall someone ever accuse me of breaking something, and it being a hassle.  If someone accuses me of breaking something and I didn't break it, I say "prove it."  It's never gotten any further than that.

While it's anecdotal, here's an example.  At a recent inspection of a house with a basement water problem, I lightly pushed on the drywall in the basement and my hand went right through the wall - the drywall was complete mush, because everything was soaked.  The listing agent said the seller was very upset with me for punching a hole in the wall, so I told her to have the seller call me about it.  He never did.  The end.

I'm sure you're very set in your ways, and I'm not going to change your mind... but I really think you're creating a lot more hassle and a lot more work for yourself by insisting that the real estate agents always be there.  Just sayin' ...

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 9 years ago

I had an agent call me a few days after an inspection asking "Did you leave the breaker for the freezer off?". 

I was able to provide date stamped photos of before and after I had inspected that panel. The photos prooved I had left everything 'on' as I'd found it.

I now specifically unsure that before and after shots are taken of any equipment I inspect like that.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) about 9 years ago

I love you Reubs, as you know, but disagree.  Of course I can go into any house by myself.  I choose not to.

As to the hassles, my policy has created many, many fewer hassles since implimented about 10 years ago.  I implimented it because once I turned on a washing machine and dryer and we went upstairs to see the bedrooms.  Coming down for a tool, I found the first level inundated with water, which went into the basement office and damaged lots of things, including computers.  They later claimed $30K in damages.

The agent saw it all and called the other agent.  The listing agent said that the seller had mentioned, in passing, that the washing machine was broken and needed to fix it.  He never did.  When my client's agent called the seller to say what happened, he accused me of breaking the washing machine!  Booby trap!  Had the listing agent not said what she did we would not have known.

Had the selling agent not been there and called the other agent, I would have been cooked.  Knowing he was caught, he seller still went so far as to have a lawyer contact me demanding licensing info, and whether I was in compliance with my insurances, business taxes and such.  Had I not been, they would have come after me anyway.  You know how it goes when lawyers are involved.  I was insured and they would have defended me, but if you are talking about hassles, THAT IS ONE!

You can go alone if you wish!  That's fine!  But, as for me and my house, two or three witnesses shall establish the truth of all things.  (that's two scriptures cleverly combined...) 

And I AM a little angel.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

I don't do all the photos Robert.  I just demonstrate to my peeps that all is well when I close the door.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago
Jay it seems that we all have to take both hands and CYA, we had a similar issue but because I was there with the inspector it was diffused quickly. I attend all inspections, not my favorite part of my job but it sure does prevent false accusations from being made. Bill
Posted by Bill Jones, Realtor (403-701-1739) Airdrie & Calgary Area Homes and Condos (Discovery Real Estate Ltd. - "Homes By Jones") about 9 years ago

Jay, I think Richard Pryor did a great job on Lying, here is the link.  If ANYONE reads this, click on the link, its a great 1:29.  Not one curse either!! Alternative Compensation, Ala Carte Real Estate, Rebating

http://youtu.be/WWWgCvvITUM

Posted by Glenn Freezman (Nucazza LLP & Home Buying Evolution, & Family Abstract, Inc) about 9 years ago

I primarily handle Nashville TN short sale listings so I rarely work on the buyer's side directly.  I do not attend any of the short sale home inspections.  The buyer agents seem to attend some inspections, but definitely not all.  Personally, I don't think the buyer agent should attend the inspection.  The buyer should attend the inspection and receive direct information from the home inspector without any input from the buyer agent.  After all, the buyer agent is not a home inspection expert so just let the home inspector do their thing properly.

Posted by Jim McCormack, Nashville Short Sale REALTOR - Stop Foreclosure (Nashville Short Sale Specialist - Jim McCormack - Edge Advantage Realty, LLC - 615-784-EDGE (3343)) about 9 years ago

This is a viewpoint I hadn't thought about. I have always gone to inspections for my buyers and you have given me an additional reason.

Posted by Jan Stevens (Coldwell Banker Pittsburgh) about 9 years ago

yes I attend all home inspections.  Home inspectors are not perfect....mine got distracted in a large home with many people asking him questions and he flooded a bathroom when testing the shower pan!  Be their extra set of eyes and ears!

Posted by Jason Nenadov, expert advice and services to buyers and sellers (EQUITY ASSETS REAL ESTATE) about 9 years ago

Goood article to remind us to not believe that everyone is 'good hearted' in these transactions!

I learned my lesson on this years ago with appraisal inspections too.   Good reminder!

Posted by Richard D. Ferris, Florida State Certified (FHA) Appraiser (AmcAppraisalsinc.com) about 9 years ago

What a bunch of hooey. Glad you brought along your witnesses.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) about 9 years ago

I never understood agents who do not attend the home inspection, whether it's the buyer's agent or listing agent. We belong there. On my last close the buyer's agent formally requested on behalf of his buyer that I NOT be there. Even the inspector had not encountered such a request. According to the buyer's agent, she did not want me to "interfere". I dropped off some paperwork, was assured that the buyers agent was present (sans his buyer) and left.

On the report the inspector wrote up that the dishwasher was not operating. Knowing that it had 2 weeks earlier when it was tested, I stopped by the house and turned it on. The inspector had not known how to operate it. Dishwashers don't run if you do not shut the door all the way!

Clearly, for me it's the last time an inspector gets to do his thing without either the seller or myself present.

Posted by Sylvia Jonathan, Broker Associate, SFR (Coldwell Banker Platinum Properties) about 9 years ago

Reasonable and valuable, especially for the buyers agent to validate the seller's TDS. Anything new are issues that should be resolved by negotiations.

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) about 9 years ago

Bill - I think that is a good policy!

Thanks for the laugh Glenn.  See today's post!

Jim - I am interested in witnesses, not input.  And agents seldom give any input.

Jan - again, I think it's a good policy!

Jason - things happen!  But when people are there to see it, things are more easily explained.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Richard - life is life and experience can be a cruel teacher.

Thanks Lyn.  See today's post?

Sylvia - sometimes things are not typical and fool even the experienced!  It's good to follow up too!

Kimo - I agree.  And that's where the agent comes in!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Jay, I'm certain that Baden-Powell would be proud!  And yes, experience certainly does help!

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, C.O.O., Winslow Homes (Winslow Homes) about 9 years ago
I can't imagine not attending an inspection. My clients will have questions and it helps if I know what was done. And I ask the inspector to review his findings with me before he leaves so I can get an idea of which findings are material and which are incidental. Then I can arrange for contractors to give estimates if necessary and we'll be well informed to make any request for contribution to repairs.
Posted by Susan Neal, Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker (RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks) about 9 years ago

I always go to home inspections.  Firstly, in support of my buyers, secondly, to confirm things I already have told them would be found, thirdly, to add to my knowledge, but most importantly to make sure the language between the inspector and the buyer is such that it doesn't scare the bejeezus out of the buyer.  Most inspectors that I work with are excellent communicators with buyers, and are able to point out minor deficiencies, even semi-serious ones and at the same time assuage any fears the buyer may have by explaining various options to correct the problem economically, and whether it is necessary to do right away or down the road. 

I have run into some inspectors that emphasize problems way out of proportion to their real import and make them seem so serious and gigantic that the poor buyer (often first time homeowner) trembles with trepidation and wants nothing to do with the deal. 

Why they do this in this manner, I can only speculate that it somehow makes them feel more important (they already should know they are) than necessary.  I guess it's an ego problem or inferiority complex LOL.

Anyway, I think the inspections go smoother and the buyers feel more comfort with their agent around.  If they look perplexed I will ask the inspector to explain more fuller or in simpler language, outlining the possible consequences and probablities.  Usually, he will do this and take his cue from me indicating the sophistication of the buyer in terms of his understanding of such matters.

I usually become friends with most inspectors I have worked with, and see ourselves as a team with the mutual goal of having a happy and more informed buyer.

Posted by Ken Anderson, Broker in Burlington, Ontario (Apex Results Realty Inc., Brokerage) about 9 years ago

I too always accompany the home inspector during the insepction and urge my clients to be there for the entire inspection.  Always learn new during the inspection.  I know that some agents say it is a waste of time but in our area, most all buyer's agents attend the inspection and most every home is inspected.

Posted by Ann Wilkins, Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont CA (Golden Gate Sotheby's International Realty) about 9 years ago

I attend all inspections and think agents should.  

Posted by Michael Singh,Broker (Singh Real Estate) about 9 years ago

This is exactly why I go to all inspections. Most times there are no unknown issues by the sellers. They live there so they know. I think that is just an excuse.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max By The Sea) about 9 years ago

Jay, good post and great comments.  I always try to attend the home inspection if at all possible.  If I can't make it I make sure the buyer is there.

Posted by Kent Dills, Real Estate 817-495-8028, Bellingham, Washington (Broker, Dills Real Estate) about 9 years ago

I agree with you 100%. I attend every home inspection and review what is going on as he 1) leaves the attic 2) leaves the roof 3) inspects the exterior grounds, and 4) when he inspects the kitchen and baths.  I'm asking questions as we go along for my protection as well.  I need to know ASAP what is going on with the house so as not to waste anyone's time.  Thanks for a great post.  Love the pic!

Posted by Jan Green, HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN (Value Added Service, 602-620-2699) about 9 years ago

The lawyer who teaches and writes most of our real estate law in CO says that we, as agents, should be present and keep our mouths shut.  That we cannot point out anything, nor can we comment on anything.  Just smile and look pretty . . . oh, and maybe read a magazine.  You are so right . . . hard to prove that you DIDN'T . . .

Posted by Mimi Foster, Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor (Falcon Property Solutions) about 9 years ago

I try to be at my buyers inspections whenever possible.  But, I think the juy is out as far as which, if any agent should be ther, or what they should do if they are.   It seems as if in different parts of the country there are different rules &/or different expectations, so who am I to say what is best.

Posted by Jirius Isaac, Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA (Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage) about 9 years ago

Jay, I am thinking of blaming you for the curling roofing shingles on the back corner of the home my client is planning on purchasing, OK?

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) about 9 years ago

I go to all the inspections I can, that is where I learn about houses!

Posted by Melissa Woycechowsky (John Arquette Properties) about 9 years ago

Hi Jay- I agree with Barb and Lenn. Our job is to be "on the Job" for both our buyer and seller- I don't give a crap what some 'attorney' says about not being there for liability reasons. What a bunch of hooey!! and an agent who claims you broke something.. UGH! Really?? Oh yeah, that's your job right? because you get kickbacks from the repair company guy...  I had a listing agent sarcastically accuse me and my buyer of having something to do with a water heater that was stolen out of an REO after inspections and before close- Maybe that will make the REO agents STOP using the combo boxes and keep a better eye on their properties. I have seen MANY MANY REO's with open/unlocked doors and windows when I show them. I lock up and CALL the agent to report it. Too many peeps have access and these vendors can 're-use, recycle the same appliances in and out of homes and bill away for 'new items'. I am seeing it done!

Posted by Deb Espinoza, GRI, Broker, SRS,ABR ePro, SFR, CNE (Stage Presence Homes, San Diego Real Estate) about 9 years ago

I attend all inspections...plus it helps me learn more about homes!

Posted by Sean Williams, Your Louisville Realtor (AcklesWilliams of Semonin Realtors) about 9 years ago

I think I mentioned once before that in the area I served somewhere around 1% of Realtors attended inspections. I felt that was sad.

One note about showing up at the end of an inspection as some Realtors and clients want to do.  If an agreement defining the limitations of the inspection has not been executed prior to the start of the inspection the E&O insurer is under no obligation to defend the home inspector or Realtor. This is true of the four companies I have worked with in the past.

Posted by Marshall Brown, BSEE, CHI (Mid America Inspection Services, LLC) about 9 years ago

I always advise my clients to be at the property during inspection and learn or ask any questions they have.

Posted by Loreena and Michael Yeo, Real Estate Agents (3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co.) about 9 years ago

Remember that saying "Buyers Beware"? Well that's only half of the saying, there is another part of it and it goes something like this. "Buyers beware the Sellers are hiding something" and don't forget this one "Buyers are liars and Sellers are cheaters". I always attend home inspections that way we both are covered when a false claim or accusation is made, besides I learn something new about homes everytime during that brief break from selling Real Estate. The Inspector is the expert in the inspection field not me, so I make sure that my buyers are present for their home inspections so that they (buyers) can ask him/her (Inspectors) the questions they have about the inspection so there is no confusions and their questions get answered from the expert. It adds another layer of protection to the Inspector and myself and it also gives me a heads up on what is more important to get fixed during those hard negotiations. I think every agent should attend their clients home inspection. Great post.

Posted by Keith Costley, Realtor®, US Army Retired , Chesterfield VA & surrounding Cities (Long & Foster REAL ESTATE®) about 9 years ago

Interesting to read the reasons why agents agree or disagree with your position on this.

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) about 9 years ago

Thanks Jeremy.  He was an interesting man.

Susan - all those are good reasons for attending!

Ken - there was another comment from your state with the opposite view!  So regions can vary too!

Ann - it's good that it's a learning experience for you.  It is for me too!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

That's a good practice Michael.  Thanks

Bill - I am sure there are many reasons.  This post represents just one!

Kent - for me another agent representative is important in addition to the buyers.

That's very complete of you Jan.  I am sure your inspector appreciates that.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Mimi - there are those here who do all that too.  And that is fine with me, so long as they are there and see stuff!

Jirius - and that is all a great practice.  Good for you.

That's fine Chris!  I can probably slide off of that one.  Glad to help.

Melissa - it is an ongoing school!  Things change too, so there is always something new to learn.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Debbie - I have yet to understand the liability angle.  I think we are all to litigious conscious.  Too much so.  There is a problem with theft here too.

I think that is always the best practice Sean.

I hadn't heard that Marshall, but thanks.  My insurance covers realtors and brokers who refer me.

I agree Loreena.  It is their time and I think buyers are the process.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Keith - sounds like you have had a long and very complete experience with all kinds of home inspections!

Marte - they may not disagree as much as they have differing practices.  But certainly there are those who do not favor being there!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Yeah, I didn't think I would be able to change your mind.  I guess it all comes down to which method creates less hassles for you.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 9 years ago

The listing agent is an a-- or has a client that is.  The ploy is so obvious it makes me sick.  I think it is very important for the buyer and the buyers agent to attend inspections.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) about 9 years ago

I have been advised on several occasions not to attend home inspections as a Buyer's Agent. It's easy advice to ignore....After all, I can be sued while sitting at home in my pajamas. Much rather see the issues first hand, making them much easier to negotiate.

Posted by Fred Hookham (Keller Williams) about 9 years ago

No biggie Reubs!  Life experience is a cruel but effective teacher.

Gene - it was a ploy.  He folded.  I was very nice too, so it wasn't intimidation. 

Fred - I agree.  We are all a little too litigation conscious I think.  Get your hands dirty!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

I gotta believe the buyer is not as trusting of the seller(s) and listing agent as before.  So, the end result of the game was a loss of trust, surely, can't be warm & enriching process for anyone moving forward.

I tell my buyers I will be going to the inspection with them.  It sure makes it much easier for me to understand what is going on when an issue pops up.

Keep us posted on the rest of the story as it develops.

Posted by Claude Labbe, Realty for Your Busy Life (Real Living | At Home) about 9 years ago

Claude - it did unfold further!  My next post tells what happened next...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Roger - you gave me points.  Bye.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

I have no problem being there with an inspector. I learn more each time and it is safer to have two or more people in an occupied residence to protect against just what you mentioned and more.

Posted by Gerard Gilbers, Your Marketing Master (Higher Authority Markeing) about 9 years ago

I agree Gerard.  The agent is kind of my bodyguard!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

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