Just when your buyer client thinks the hard part is done – they found what seems to be the perfect home for them, they have a number of other things to consider and look after, one of which is often a home inspection. More often than not, a buyer’s home purchase will be conditional on a satisfactory home inspection.
There are two issues that sometimes arise with respect to home inspections:
1) Can or should the buyer’s representative be present during the home inspection?
2) Can the buyer bring additional people (family members, etc.) to the home inspection?
When a buyer has a home inspection condition, his or her representative will typically make an appointment to gain access to the property for the inspection through the seller’s representative. Typically, the buyer’s representative will request that the seller not be present during the inspection, which means the buyer’s representative will access the property using the lockbox or by picking up a key. The Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) expects the buyer’s representative to be present during the home inspection because it is he or she who is responsible for access to the property and the care of it during the inspection. It is inappropriate for the buyer’s representative to open the property and then leave the home inspector and buyer alone. If the buyer’s representative is unable to stay for the entire home inspection, they need to first ask permission from the seller’s representative to leave the buyer and the home inspector in the property alone.
Some industry professionals may believe the buyer’s representative should not be present as he or she may “influence” the inspection. The fact is, though, home inspectors have standards they must follow – and a real estate professional’s attendance at the inspection will not influence them. Additionally, a buyer’s representative should stay for the inspection in the event the buyer wants guidance on how to proceed once the inspection is complete.
So, a buyer and his or her representative should always be present at the inspection – but what about additional people? The issue of having additional people present at a home inspection may seem harmless, but it can lead to problems. While buyers are often excited about their purchase and anxious to show their new home to those closest to them without having to wait for the purchase to close, having additional attendees is inappropriate without permission from the seller (obtained through the seller’s representative). What happens if one of these “additional” people touches something belonging to the seller and breaks it? What happens if they “test” something (a toilet, faucet, furnace), and something goes wrong? Who will take responsibility for any damage that may result? The fact is, it is not yet the buyer’s home and it is not up to the buyer to decide who should have access to and can view the property; it is only a seller who can make that decision.
While the home inspection itself isn’t the responsibility of the real estate professional, the real estate professional is responsible for safeguarding the property while it is in their care during the inspection.
For more info regarding industry members and home inspectors, be sure to check out the RECABlog