In the vast majority of home inspections performed, the inspector’s client is the home buyer. The client hires the inspector and the client and the inspector have a legal business relationship in the form of the inspection agreement (contract). Since buying a home is likely the client’s biggest purchase in their lifetime, it is only reasonable that the buyer would hire a qualified home inspector to thoroughly inspect their new home.
The client definitely should attend the inspection, if at all possible, so they can learn about their new home. In some cases, the client may only be able to attend part of the inspection due to other commitments, such as work or travel. The inspector can work around this with no problem, however. The inspector should still perform a thorough and detailed inspection, provide the report within a few hours after the inspection, and can talk to the client over the phone or email after they read the report to answer any questions.
I occasionally have clients who have no interest in attending the inspection. That is the client’s prerogative, however, by not attending, they are losing an important opportunity to experience the home through the eyes of the inspector in real time. The inspection report should be detailed and thorough enough to explain all of the inspector’s findings and recommendations, but nothing beats being present during the inspection.
The average home takes approximately 3 hours to inspect. The inspector needs the client’s full undivided attention due to the incredible amount of information that gets presented continually during those 3 hours. This is one reason why the inspection is not the time for the client to bring friends and family to see the home. A house-warming party after closing is when that should occur. The PA Agreement of Sale (real estate sales contract) specifically states that only the buyer, the buyer's real estate agent, the inspector, as well as the listing agent and seller, may attend the home inspection.
The inspection is a learning experience between the client and the inspector. I’ve had clients show up to inspections with parents and friends and the inspection then essentially turns into a free-for-all. The inspector is doing his work to inspect, not to house sit and monitor what everyone beyond the client is doing in all corners of the home. A few times over the years, I’ve had tag-alongs show up with the buyer only to lounge on the seller’s furniture with their dirty shoes, go through the seller’s drawers and belongings, and in a few cases, I’ve even had reports that some of the seller’s belongings were stolen or damaged by people who shouldn’t have even been in the home. Of course, whomever opens the lockbox (the home inspector in almost all cases) is responsible for what occurs in the home.
From my 15+ years experience inspecting homes, I find that the buyer attending the inspection and asking questions provides the most beneficial opportunity to be fully educated about their new home, how to maintain the various systems, how to minimize future maintenance, and how to keep their utility bills as low as possible.
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© 2018 Matthew Steger
Matthew Steger, owner/inspector of WIN Home Inspection, is a Certified Level 1 Infrared Thermographer, an ASHI Certified Inspector (ACI), an electrical engineer, and a US Dept. of Energy Home Energy Score Assessor. He can be reached at: 717-361-9467 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WIN Home Inspection has provided a wide array of home inspection services in the Lancaster, PA area since 2002. This article was authored by Matthew Steger, ACI - owner of WIN Home Inspection in Lancaster, PA. No article, or portion thereof, may be reproduced or copied without prior written consent of Matthew Steger.