The Home Inspector is Not a Babysitter

It is funny how the home inspection has changed from fact finding, to negotiation tool, and now it is everything all rolled into one. During the beginning years of the home inspection industry, the Realtor was present during the entire inspection.  The Realtor was the only one with access to the keys or the home and they were also the liaison between the buyers and the sellers.  Now everything has changed.

A home inspector typically has a set routine and road map on how they migrate through a home.  Some home inspectors like to be left alone, while others provide their clients with a moving dialog.  Regardless of what the inspector’s style is, the inspector is just that, the home inspector.

Here is a recent review left about an inspection:  

Ramona Sandru ★★★☆☆

Wrinkled bed sheets No water in refrigerator

I have been a home inspector for 30 years and I know how tiring it can be.  You are scheduled to do three inspections in a day; you have to trudge through the snow, drive 100 miles between the three jobs and talk with three different clients.  Yes, we all lay down on the bed for a 15 minute nap.  NO! I have never heard of that.  However, I have seen clients sit on the beds and I have seen client’s children jump on beds.  We cannot control what they do, nor should we ever be responsible for their actions.  

I think of a recent inspection.  The Realtor came to unlock the vacant home, the client and members of the family were present, and then the Realtor left to go to another appointment.  The client’s children arrived a little bit later, after school, to look at the home.  I finished the inspection and had to go to my next one, but the client wanted to stay to measure more things and show the children the home.  I asked them to leave but they insisted the needed to stay.  Again the home is vacant.  I left because I needed to get to my next inspection, but soon after I was called asking if I locked the door and everything was fine.  The realtor was upset I did not force them to leave.  

We had another seller recently call the office and voice their disappointment and rudely complaint that we opened the kitchen cabinet and removed a glass.  The glass left in the sink was their evidence of the action.  But, the rest of the story is; the inspector needed to test the water dispenser on the refrigerator door.  He could have hit the button and let the water run in his hand or down the door but instead he used a glass.

The moral is, People need to be responsible for themselves.  The client should know they are in someone else’s home; and should have been taught as children not to touch other people’s stuff.  And, the Realtor should stay and be present during the inspection because too many times the realtors just do not show up or just sit in the car. 

The home inspection is a service.  As an inspector, I am biased and I believe it is an important service.  The market has placed this service as one of the lowest monetary valued services in the home transaction; all the while the inspector maintains the highest amount of liability.  So, for the love of all things fair and equitable, have your Realtor stay during the inspection.  The inspector is not there to babysit.