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  1. #1
    Keith Allison's Avatar
    Keith Allison Guest

    Default Realtor Presence

    I am a Realtor. I just completed a section of training for the GRI and seem to have been way off base with one of my rountine practices when acting as a buyer's agent. I ALWAYS attended my buyer's home inspection...for it's entirety. I have been known to be on my belly in crawl spaces and nosing around most anywhere there might be something detrimental to my buyer's well being in his transaction. The home inspector I most often use seems to welcome my presence and it has been a mutually beneficial relationship.
    According to the GRI instructor, I am wide open for liability. He says to unlock the door for the Home Inspector and get out. He advises that sometimes it isn't even good to exchange with the home inspector in any fashion, often to the extent that I shouldn't even read the report! He advises that the Home Inspector should deal exclusively with the buyer so that I could not be accused of influencing the report.
    Interestingly, I get the impression that lawyers like to leave the impression that Realtors' first priority is making the sale, getting the commission and doing that at any cost. That is not so in my case and I indicated this to the instructor...his response..."but the lawyer will go to any length to inplicate you as a source of influence."
    I LIKE representing my buyers and helping in any way I can. I regret having to give up this practice, but if I am leaving myself open to be sued, then it looks like something I need to give up.
    I'd sure appreciate the input of those with greater experience than I!

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Southwest US

    Default Re: Realtor Presence

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Allison View Post
    Interestingly, I get the impression that lawyers like to leave the impression that Realtors' first priority is making the sale, getting the commission and doing that at any cost. That is not so in my case and I indicated this to the instructor...his response..."but the lawyer will go to any length to inplicate you as a source of influence."
    I'm with the lawyer. Any of us would be hard pressed to to say under oath that we are not doing this for the money, that we are doing it solely to help the client. That is essentially what you are saying and it is not true.
    As for the inspector, I imagine he "puts up" with you rather than enjoys having you there. Again, he appreciates the referrals and is doing it for the money. Leave the guy alone,let him do his job. If you want to be a home inspector, get some training and a license.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Plano, Texas

    Default Re: Realtor Presence

    Unfortunately, in today's world your lawyer is correct. The best agents (my personal opinion of agents that protect their clients interest at any cost) I deal with show up at the end of the inspection and listen to my findings along with the client and rarely ask for clarification and NEVER restate what I am saying to downplay the defects.
    If the agent is the one to write the request for repairs, how can you accomplish that without reading the report? Quite common for the listing agent not to want to be there or see the report (gives them plausible deniablity) but the buyers agent will out of necessity need to see and understand the report.

    The best defense in my opinion is to recommend the nit-pickiest deal killer of an inspector you can find and copy and paste the repair request directly from the report or at least reference it and send the entire report to the seller (not that they will want to see it.)

    The agents I hate to see are the ones that think they can get me to deliver a "soft, non-alarmist, fair to the house" report. Especially when they are there trying to restate everything I say, those agents deserve to get sued when they interfere with the inspection and minimize things to their clients detriment.

    Protecting your clients interest should be paramount, good for you.

    Jim Luttrall
    Plano, Texas

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN

    Default Re: Realtor Presence

    As a former Realtor and GRI, I don't agree with the agent leaving the home especially if it is occupied and full of the owners stuff. If you are the buyers agent, I would think that your liability would be increased by not knowing what is found during the inspection. You have a fiduciary duty to your client to make sure that they understand everything in the purchase of the home.

    Claiming ignorance will not get you out of a lawsuit if you screwed up or if your client just gets mad and "shotgun" sues everyone in the sale of the home.

    I think it is best for the agent to sit at the kitchen table or wherever they want, but do not follow the inspector around the home. Many agents I have worked with use the inspection time to catch up on paperwork or for making calls.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Wenatchee, WA.

    Default Re: Realtor Presence

    I SOOOO agree with Scott..... I have been inspecting for 22years and found myself in many precarious situations. My first OPINION... The Realtor is being paid to service the client in the purchase of a home AND that includes the process of inspecting the home.... like it or not, a signed purchase and sale agreement is NOT a sale, the buyer is FURTHER EVALUATING (sorry Jerry) if the home is right for them. Second OPINION as Scott said..... the Realtor is fullish to believe that claiming ignorance is a defense.... again... they are representing their client and not being on site is POOR representation at best. When the Realtor says "Well Im gong to leave your with the inspector so you can complete the inspection, let me know if any thing comes up" I believe the buyer hears, " Im going to leave you here, cuz this is boring and time consuming and I have better things to do with my time than waste three hours."
    Final...OPINION. I Hate, HATE buyers showing up at the end or Realtors and asking me to Summarize. I fricken end up an extra HOUR or more because they want to see this or review that. If everyone is there at the time of the inspection we all see it, we write it and explain it, picture it if necessary and done in three (3) hours, report and all. When I have the most incident, it is when the buyer is not present. When I have the most additional work, when the Realtor is calling me about something on the report they could have been there to see but NOW they need clarification. Realtors, simply attained and support your client BUT, do NOT express an opinion or play Assistant inspector. Also, their Realtor on site.....makes me warm and fuzzy around tenants belongings...... Some thing is broken or missing, who will be blamed?

    MHO Randy

  6. #6
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Realtor Presence


    Quite a bit here to chew on.

    I have a difficult time with Realtor referrals because The client, my client, is there to do one thing. Find out what the concerns are in the home they are *considering* buying. They are not there to converse with the Realtor the entire time and carry on conversations between the client (The inspectors and Realtors client) Realtor and Inspector.

    I tell my clients that they can come anytime they want. In the beginning, middle or end but if they show up in the middle then they really need to just hang out and wait for the inspector to finish. Being stopped in the middle of an inspection and then having to get started again with the client expecting you to go over everything so far is foolish. The absolute best results the client can and will get is if they are there the entire time and see the findings as the inspector goes along. If they come in the end then they certainly should not expect to get the entire inspection again step by step. They will get a half hour to go over things and that should be more than adequate.

    Personally I believe that all a Realtor should do is have the client sign a piece of paper stating that they were told that it would be to there best interest to have a home inspection and leave it there. No direct referral to any Inspector or even any inspector organization. They are grown ups. They can figure out how to get a hold of a business.

    It is too easy for a Realtor to have a tremendous influence over an inspection just because they referred a particular inspector. No matter how ethical any inspector is at all there is always those few brain cells telling the inspector that he must satisfy the matter what any other inspector tells you. Just a simple fact of human nature. You will see serious rebuttal on that statement.

    Unfortunately at times like this I wish I could be more buttered up with Realtors but I am a rare individual that does not have those particular few brain cells that allow Realtors to have influence.

    The only Realtors that refer me are those that truly want all disclosed and they offer not one word towards the client about the inspection, no matter what. I just read yet another sample report from another inspector that mentioned countless doors rubbing and or not latching or out of square and of course with that he found other signs of settling or foundation movement. He rights that "The foundation is supporting the home as intended" and nothing else. Well, the foundation is supporting the home. That is a pretty foolish statement. There was no recommendation to the client at all about a foundation company or engineer to follow up for total movement and or repairs needed. No talk of grading and drainage issues or anything at all. He stays busy constantly and almost all his work comes directly thru Realtors.

    If that does not tell you anything at all about why Realtors presents or participation in the home inspection should be limited at the very least, then nothing will. I talked to a man in a class last week and he was talking of direct Realtor referrals. He has 96 Realtors that refer him directly. He markets to Realtors that he guaranties he won't be a deal killer. If each Realtor sells 1 home every other month then that is over 45 inspections a month or over 10 inspections per week. If they only sell one every three months then it is still 32 per month or 8 per week.

    How much influence do you believe that Inspectors Realtors have over matter how much he says it doesn't. At over 100,000 per year at the much influence do you believe the Realtors have over him.

    Is there any more questions? I am sure you are a fine Realtor and very ethical and I am sure there are others out there. The vast majority are out there making a living. To much write up home after home (because the homes warrant it) and they are poor negotiators and their deals keep dropping.....time to get another like the one I mentioned above.

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 11-01-2010 at 01:59 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Rockwall Texas

    Default Re: Realtor Presence

    I would welcome you as an agent to stay at the inspection if you desired. Crawling under the house would be a bit much for me though. I wouldn't want to have to answer all your questions under there as I'm not there to train you as a home inspector.

    As an agent I only wish you would take my comments on my report seriously and not try to discount each of them as "not important" or just me be nick-picky.

    Also keep in mind, if those instructors in the Real Estate schools were so darn smart they'd make enough money on their own without have to teach those classes. Most of them are they I believe to scare the jeepers out of you so you'll quit and reduce their competition.


  8. #8
    Mike Keady's Avatar
    Mike Keady Guest

    Question Re: Realtor Presence

    What the GRI said.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Georgetown, KY

    Default Re: Realtor Presence

    " if I am leaving myself open to be sued":

    You are by the very nature of the business you engage in, whether you attend the inspection or not.

    Do your best for your client and let the chips fall where they may.

    Those that can, DO.

    Those that can't, teach!

    Ask your OWN LAWYER his opinion. In a shotgun lawsuit, and most are in the real estate business, you'll still get caught up in it.


    Erby Crofutt, Georgetown, KY - Read my Blog here: Erby the Central Kentucky Home Inspector B4 U Close Home Inspections
    Find on Facebook at:

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Western Montana

    Default Re: Realtor Presence


    It's interesting that you should ask home inspectors about this. I assume that you have also asked this question to other Realtors. I have been told by other Realtors that if you are the listing agent, then yes, there is some very distinct liability issues because you might inadvertently disclose some information, or fail to disclose some warning while you are present at the home inspection.

    As far as being the buyer's agent, I have gotten mixed information as to the level of liability. Some say yes, some say no. However, I think it can be a positive and educational experience, and as mentioned above, I believe it helps you to understand the inspection report and how it may affect the negotiation process.

    As to my personal preference, part of what I enjoy in my job is being able to meet and get to know people, buyers, sellers, realtors, no matter who they are. But having said that, buyers, sellers, realtors, can be a distraction, so I prefer to have them come at the end. If someone is there throughout the inspection, I have a bad tendency to get sidetracked explaining what may be little issues, and may even miss seeing important problems. I would rather stay focused first on the inspection process. If the buyer and/or realtor show up at the end, I can summarize my findings with a perspective of the whole picture. For example, I may leave out the little things that shouldn't heavily impact the negotiation or ownership and leave those for the written report.

    As to the listing agent making recommendations to the seller being present at the time of the inspection, there too it is probably in their best interests to not be present for the same liability and disclosure rules. I notice that the more professional Realtors always recommend the seller be gone. I sometimes feel uncomfortable with seller around, but I have also gained some really valuable information from them occasionally too (that usually benefits the buyer).

  11. #11
    Tom Roon's Avatar
    Tom Roon Guest

    Default Re: Realtor Presence

    After over 28 years of inspecting homes, I've gone through times when it seemed better to have a Realtor present and other times when it seemed better to have them stay away. I've pretty much come to the conclusion that I would rather have them at the inspection, even if it is not during the entire inspection.

    I came to this decision for several reasons. First, the very industry of inspecting homes for a fee,was largely an invention of the Real Estate Industry, to divert at least some of the Realtor's liability to someone (or anyone) else. Second, if the Realtor is not there and all the discussion between the buyer and Realtor is done without you present, you don't know what is being said and have lost all control over what gets written down in a "buy and sell" addendum. Third, if the Realtor is there, they can be shown and taught what needs to be seen and maybe how to properly present it to the seller. Realtors tend not to know a lot about construction and terminology and often will write something that is 180 degrees different than you intended as the inspector. I seldom see them merely "cut and paste" my verbiage, verbatim. Fourth, the advent of "buyers agency" would indicate a greater level of responsibility on the part of the Realtor and they, at least here, want and deserve to be in on what is being seen and if there is a problem, have it explained. I don't mind this at all.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't see myself as having to have a "bunker" mentality, where it's me against the World. It's my responsibility to do a good job for my client and teach them a bit about their new home. Being a paid "hatchet" man is not my goal. Proper inspecting and writing is.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Knoxville, TN

    Default Re: Realtor Presence

    Since I am a home inspector in Knoxville, I will add my two cents. When I moved to Knoxville in 1994, the Buyers agent would almost always be there the entire time. Sometimes the Sellers agent would be there too, but not as often.

    Up until a couple years ago,(most often or not) the Buyers agent would show up to open the house, and maybe stick around for part of the inspection. I have even had a few go into the crawlspace too.

    A couple years ago, I kept hearing from agents that their Broker was telling them to come, open up, and get out, and very few would stick around for more than a few minutes. It didn't make much difference to me if they stayed or left. I really only care about getting into the house.

    Over the years I have had my share of Realtors that have tried to distract me (I will not name one in Oak Ridge that works for his wife), but since I have been doing this longer than they have, I'm pretty much on to their tricks. I just do my job.

    The down side of the Realtor not being there, or even seeing the report is the following:
    1. They don't hear from the inspector what he is putting in the report. I have had clients tell their Realtor things that I did not say, OR put in the report. They just wanted stuff.
    2. If the Realtor does not even look at the report, how are they going to fill out the Home Inspection Contingency Removal Form?

    Sure, someone can sue you for anything. But unless the Realtor is doing something outrageous, i'm not sure how big a liability they are setting themselves up for.
    I know a lot of Realtors are forced to give out a list of three for inspectors, instead of suggesting just one. I see a potential liability if the Realtor just selects the inspector, or tells them to NOT use one they have already selected (that happened to me).

    I understand the Realtor telling their clients to pick their own inspector, however, I find it odd they almost always TELL them where they are going to close (escrow company). The Brokers don't seem to have a problem steering clients to a particular escrow company, or termite company, but hold home inspectors at arms length in the name of "liability".

    This last part was not picking on you Keith, it was just a frustration on a double standard that I see. Any Realtor that goes into a crawlspace can't be too bad.


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