Meeting the seller at the home inspection

What is a good way to break the ice and put the seller at ease while first arriving at the home inspection and the nervous seller meets you at the door?

The seller shouldn’t be there.

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Welcome to the forum Kevin.

If the seller is there.

With a big smile :smiley: where I type pause below take a breath. Emphasis your name!

Hi pause I am Kevin pause Carpenter pause with (your company name) and I’m here to perform a home inspection of your property. If they don’t offer there name Ask. Then just let them know you will be getting started.

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get out of my way bttch

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I usually go tot he door with a business card in my hand and politely introduce myself. The seller always knows about the inspection. I try to always compliment something about the home.

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You want to be nice and kind to the seller. As they are looking for a house as well, and could easily be a future client.

Always leave a business card , brochure and leave behind letter on the kitchen counter when you do all Occupied inspections. its a easy way to get a new client.

especially if you find defects they have no idea about, it looks good for you as an inspector, as they know you will do them a good job on their future home.

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I agree. Always be cordial. Be accommodating. Compliment the house. At some point I always ask…where are you folks going? Often leads to another job. Sometimes it can be helpful to have to owner there. Easy to ask questions about light switches, or a fire place. I often let them light a gas fireplace.

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Thank You! I was wondering if anyone mentions this is not a pass or fail inspection something to ease there anxiety.

Be polite and explain what your going to do, i.e. inspect the outside, roof , inside and attic/crawlspace last. If he follows you around don’t point out issues just take notes and photos. If he wants to know the list of problems, just say it’s the buyers job to determine what needs repaired, it’s your job to collect the information for the buyer. Thank him for allowing you to inspect the home and leave ASAP. If you point out concern he will argue with you and try to explain away all issues you find, avoid this scenario at all costs.

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They are letting you into their home to go through every nook and cranny, so my advise would be to treat them like you would want to be treated if it was your house.

Like others have already stated, they are a potential future client.

I’ve had many clients through the years tell me I inspected their house and because of the job I did on it, they wanted me to inspect their new home.

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Be polite and respectful and tell them it’s against your company policy, and in some states like Ohio, against the law, to discuss your findings with anyone except your client.

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If they ask about how the inspection is going, I try not to be evasive but direct. I explain to them I am not at liberty to discuss my findings. (if see a significant safety issues I will alert them. Example, recent inspection I found the water heater flue pipe was disconnected in a closet, I am not going to let anyone die. To hell with everyone who says I cannot say something :slight_smile: )

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I won’t do an inspection if the seller is present. The seller agrees in advance not to be present during the inspection.

I love having the seller on-site. Not necessarily shadowing me but present. Just yesterday I tripped a GFCI upstream that I would have never have found (I didn’t have to get my extension cord and plug in the chest freezer). They tell me things about the property I would have never have known. Sometimes those findings go into my report.

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Yes, I ask them a lot of questions. It is surprising what the will tell you.

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Your fiduciary responsibility is to your client, naturally, but of course politeness is key in all encounters with potential adversaries. Having the seller, or especially a renter, there is often a godsend inasmuch as he or she can be questioned about conditions, such as poorly working HVAC, bad outlets, flooding, work that’s been done, etc. I’ve found almost all sellers and renters to be strikingly cooperative, but not all, obviously.

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Agrees with whom? You? I am just curious how you get that communicated or enforced.

Or not tell you. My inspection yesterday I asked the seller if there was anything he would like to disclose. He wishy washed around the question. He was cordial, we talked a bit here and there in passing during the inspection. I normally don’t discuss my findings with the seller unless it’s an imminent safety concern. But this time I divulged my biggest defect findings as I knew the buyer would be concerned and it was going to be a point of contention with the sale. My motivation to talk to the seller? He is going to talk me up to all of his friends and the realtor who happened to be playing dual agent. He appreciated it and laughed when I told him what I found. He knew all about the defects. He told me he would leave me the best review I have ever received. We shall see about that….

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I have a pre-inspection checklist that the seller completes, signs, and returns to me. One of the items is an acknowledgment that the seller cannot be present during the inspection. Most of the checklist covers things like making sure there is access to areas where I need to inspect, the utilities are on, identifying known hazards and so on.

The checklist is on my website, www.inspectorgeorge.com. There are different versions of the checklist that are free to any inspector at www.bestinspectors.net in the Downloads/FreeStuff section.

I started using the checklist during the recession when we were being lied to almost daily about homes having utilities on or being accessible. When someone has to sign their name to something, they tend to take it a little more seriously.

If I arrive for the inspection and things are not as described on the checklist, my clients know that I did all I could to ensure a complete inspection. If the seller is there when I arrive, I’ll explain that I can wait a few minutes for them to leave but that I have a schedule to maintain.

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Damn. I could never tell the owner of a home that.

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