Over the years of inspecting I have been asked this question and seen many bulletin board posts regarding this aspect of home inspections. So what is the right answer? Read on for more.
[tab: Should they be there and what do I think?]
A recent post on a large Inspector based bulletin board (BB) has brought up the question of should the client be present during the entire inspection? The original poster asked for other Inspectors opinions. The post itself can be found HERE. It is a very good question as I am asked plenty of times by clients whether they should be there or not for the entire inspection. I have read many other posts by Inspectors, Real Estate Agents, etc., with many different answers and thoughts on the subject. So should the client be present for the entire inspection?
The answer really is simply that it is the client’s decision whether they want to be there or not for the entire inspection process. Some clients want to be there to ask questions as the inspection is progressing. Others are there not just for the inspection but also to take measurements for future window treatments, furniture, etc. Other clients just want to be there for whatever other reasons or no real reason at all. It really is the client’s decision whether to be there or not during the entire inspection process. So you are probably now wondering and want to ask me a question? That question is what is my opinion on the subject?
My own opinion is the client should do what they feel comfortable with. There are a few benefits of the client being present the entire time but there are also drawbacks for both the client and the Inspector. Some of these drawbacks are:
- A proper home inspection can take quite a bit of time to perform. Many times the client is trying to attend the inspection around other requirements already scheduled for the day. Clients need to be prepared and schedule a large block of time for the whole inspection process to obtain the benefits of staying the entire time.
- A home inspection covers many, many areas and aspects of the home. To help ensure a proper inspection is performed in as short a time as possible most Home Inspectors have routines they like to follow. Interruptions in those routines can cause the Inspector to inadvertently miss or overlook a problem.
- Many clients are being told that a home inspection on an “X” square foot sized home should only take “Y” amount of time. They then use that to set their expectations not only on how long they will be there for the whole inspection but also sometimes the competency of the Inspector. Both of those are far from the truth in most all cases. The inspection can actually take much longer than “X” time depending on what the condition of the home is and what is found. A proper home inspection is not just a list of what the Inspector can see in the home but also it is, to some degree, detective work to determine what all of the implications of the visible signs are. That alone can add additional and unexpected time to the inspection process.
Being present for the entire inspection process can be time consuming for the client as well as potentially detrimental. I always advise my clients that they are more than welcome to be present for the entire inspection. However I also ask them to allow me to perform my job, uninterrupted, for a much better inspection. What I have found helpful if a client wishes to be there for the entire inspection process is a slight deviation in the way I perform my job. Instead of performing all of the inspection at once and then briefing them, I break the inspection process down somewhat. I find stopping points during the inspection where I will then review the results with the client of the items and areas just inspected. At that time we can speak about anything related to what has been inspected so far. This helps prevent missing important items or signs of potential problems.
A good Inspector realizes they don’t know how much time an inspection will take. As a result I only perform one full inspection each day for this and many other good reasons. For my clients who choose not to be there for the entire inspection process this benefits them greatly. We generally set a meeting time at the end of the expected inspection time. At that point I am through with all of the major inspection tasks and can report to them what was found. After that point they are welcome to stay while I finish the more minor tasks or read any further findings in the report when it is issued.
So we all have opinions regarding if the client should be there for the entire inspection process. What it eventually boils down to though is the most important opinion of them all, and that is the client’s opinion!
[tab: Links and References]
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