Working with Realtors
I highly recommend all salespersons be familiar with the inspection information provided on the services page (Link) specifically what is and is not provided in an appraisal. A little information can go a long way.
New inspectors are looking for work & are scared of losing respect with the realtor so they may gloss over items and may even overlook some defects while stating the property condition.
Agents can help their clients select a home inspector from various sources. Some refer to lists made available by their brokers, while others simply stick with inspectors they’ve worked with in the past, feeling satisfied with the results. Others make no recommendations or referrals at all, at the behest of brokers who insist on avoiding any potential conflict of interest.
If you’re just picking out of a phone book, you don’t know what you’re getting. If you’re a real estate agent and sincerely trying to help your clients, you’re going to want to make a recommendation of someone who is going to do a good job for them.
On the same token, if I were an Inspector that depended on referrals I get from Realtors for my livelihood do you think I would do something to annoy that Realtor? Of course not, but I would not jeopardize my integrity to appease anyone. The ultimate goal of the Home Inspector is Consumer Protection.Bottom line, be the very best at what you do and treat every client as you would want to be treated.
What should be done to prepare the home for an inspection?
“Seller shall permit Buyer and Buyer’s agents access to the Property at reasonable times. Buyer may have the Property inspected by inspectors selected by Buyer and licensed by TREC or otherwise permitted by law to make inspections. Seller at Seller’s expense shall turn on existing utilities for inspections”. (Excerpt from Paragraph 7A of the TREC One to Four Family Residential Contract No. 20-7)
For an inspector one of the biggest disappointments is getting to the home and we can't perform the inspection or perhaps some portion of it for the home buyer. They have probably taken off from work and have only days to get the inspection done. Having the property ready for an inspection can prevent unnecessary delays. For liability reasons, inspectors do not move personal property. Inspectors I am familiar with can't afford to block time on their schedule and return to complete an inspection without charging an additional fee to inspect items that were not accessible or couldn't inspect because one or more of the utilities were off.
The number one issue we see is the water service is not turned on, remember the meter does not belong to the owner. Because water meter boxes is owned by the city or the organization providing the water, owners typically are not allowed to enter the meter box and home inspector are specifically not authorized to. There may be an active water account but we have no idea. We are not going to turn the water on an risk being accused of unauthorized use of water, cities can call that theft.
In my younger days I have turned on the water at the meter after verifying an active account only to find that there was a reason the water was off, a leak. At that point the inspector is liable for any water damage. Few buyers are informed of defects because it can discourage the sale. I still carry towels in my truck for the occasional valve that starts to leak after being turned on.
Simple checklist for the home
The buyer/seller and/or Realtors should confirm that:
- All utilities (electric, water, gas) are on
- All pilot lights are lit
- All locks are removed or unlocked from areas that may prohibit inspector accessibility such as attics, doors, etc.
- Attic access is clear
- Crawl space (if provided) access is clear
- Electrical panels are accessible and not locked
- Water heater is accessible
- Furnace is accessible
- Cooling system is accessible
- Built-in kitchen appliances are accessible and ready to operate
- Pets are secure