Realtor® Legal Tip – Should the buyer’s agent attend the home inspection?
March 6, 2018
Author: Curtis Bullock
This is a tough one and I’m not sure I have the best answer. Over the years I’ve seen many varying opinions on this topic.
Some argue that there can be potential liability if the agent attends the inspection because inspections are outside an agents area of expertise. I tend to agree with that. One potential problem might occur when the buyer closes the transaction and later finds a problem with the property. In that situation the buyer might want to blame the agent for not discovering the issue or misrepresenting its severity. There could be other potential problems.
On the other hand, the inspection is a critical part of the buyer’s evaluation of the property. The buyer is likely going to have questions about the process and is going to lean on their agent for help. With that in mind, some have suggested that meeting with the client and the inspector toward the end of the inspection to be a support to the client may be a good approach. In that situation the agent would not be present during the entire inspection but near the end to help direct the buyer to where to get further questions answered. The agent in that setting can direct his client to the appropriate professional if needed (electrician, plumber, engineer, etc).
Whether you attend the inspection or not is ultimately up to you, your broker and your client. But be aware of the risks involved. No matter what you decide, here are a few things to think about:
1) Manage your buyer’s expectations. If you are not going to attend the inspection, inform your buyer. Explain to the buyer what they should expect during the inspection and to ask the inspector any questions they might have about the condition of the home.
2) Be sure to review and explain the Buyer Due Diligence Checklist form with your buyer. In that form it mentions that the buyer should not rely on the agent to determine the condition of the property. Clearly explain this and the rest of the form to the buyer.
3) Explain how the Due Diligence part of the REPC works and when the deadline is to decide on the condition of the property.
4) **Avoid going outside your area of expertise by advising your client on issues related to the inspection of the property. Be a resource for where to get good information, don’t be the source of the information.
5) Emphasize to the buyer that he/she is solely responsible to determine if the condition of the property is satisfactory.
6) Refer more than one inspector for the buyer to consider using. Who they hire as an inspector is up to them.