Seller's questions about home inspection process

We are the seller. The buyer will have a home inspector here in the next week or so. Some questions please:

(1) Our RE agent told us to vacate the house when the inspector is here. Please comment on this practice.

(2) Our AC system is disconnected and turned off. I will not connect the system until night temperatures are consistently over 50 degrees. Please comment on the home inspection process with everything in the house operational except the AC system. Note that the buyer will be purchasing a home warranty that we, the seller, pay for.

  1. The seller is almost always NOT present during the inspection. So your agents advice is very common.

  2. Being in Southern California, I can’t say I’ve come across a disconnected AC system, but it’s common to not run the AC when the temperature is below a certain threshold. But I would still do a visual inspection of the AC unit, get the serial number and try to find out the age of the system.

I’ll add to what Ian said. Most home warranties aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.

AC system shut of The inspector will normally tell the client that the AC is off so he has no idea if it works or not .

If the breaker for the AC is off then the inspector has no business touching it. If the outside temperature is below 65* at the time of the inspection then they have no business touching it. If neither of those are true, then you can expect them to fire it up and test it out.

As for vacating, go ahead and give the buyer some privacy to learn about the home, wouldn’t you expect the same courtesy?

I have often found that sellers make statements about the home to the buyer or home inspector that is a detrimental to trying to sell the house…some minor comment that makes the buyer think twice. You hired an agent to represent you…they should be there to protect your interests.

No offense, I know you think your home is perfect as do all sellers. However the truth is and the inspector will find things and if you are there you can become defensive. I would say 75 % of the time when the seller is present during the inspection the deal dies. Buyers would rather walk than talk about someone else’s home in front of them .

you aren’t willing to show the buyer that the AC works? does it work? if a seller disconnected it, by first thought is “WHY???” and I would be suspicious. Of course, all I could do is note it wasn’t tested but I COULD recommend having a qualified HVAC tech come make sure it was functional at the sellers expense. Ultimately, it is your house and your deal to get done so its all your choice how to proceed.
When a seller refuses to leave a house, I always am skeptical of the reasoning and feel they are not giving a buyer a chance to do their due diligence and I look at the house harder, wondering what he is trying to hide. Good luck with your sale.

Al, please excuse the stupid assed answers.

#1 it is in your best interest to listen to what the real estate agent has to say. They are there to represent you (no matter if they are selling or listing agents).

You are in the “negotiating phase” not the contract phase. The client can walk at any time regardless of anything.

The client is less confident or at ease when you are there to “help them answer all the questions”. If the home inspector needs answers you will be contacted. Our job as a home inspector is to observe, document and report conditions that we see. It doesn’t matter if they need to be fixed or not it is important that the client knows that they exist. If you bought a used car and you can say that the tires will need replacing in the next six months before the snow flies you can plan. It does not have any effect on the rest of the vehicle.

#2 All you have to worry about is that the AC is disconnected. Now there are home inspectors that will think this is a significant concern. If it is disconnected they have no right to turn it back on.

Home inspectors are not qualified, certified or licensed in any way when it comes to HVAC (including whether or not it should be turned on). (Including whether or not it should be tested).

It all depends on who shows up for the home inspection.

As for home warranties, for the most part they suck.

So for the most part we simply trie to observe, report and identify what the client needs to know at the time, date and season that the inspection takes place upon.

Well said

If I sell a house with a defective AC unit, I should just disconnect it so it cant be tested? great advice! Ill share that with all the realtors I know.

** Electric Off **]]The electric was shut off to the A/C at the time of inspection therefore the unit could not be tested and no comment will be given. It is recommended that this unit be tested before closing, weather permitting.

I would listen to your agent, as far as not being at the inspection. As an inspector I am ok with the seller at the inspection. But I can see how the seller could hinder the deal if they are present and hanging over the inspectors shoulder. Nothing is more uncomfortable and awkward then a seller trying to say something isn’t a big deal that the home inspector is commenting on. As far as shutting off the A/C I don’t know why you would do that It will come up in an inspection report as not tested. This could appear to be a red flag.

Quit acting like the dickhead you are…

Go back and read the standards of practice dumb ***. If it’s turned off, it stays off. I didn’t say turn it off because it was broken.

Do you have a problem reading?

It’s up to the buyer if they want it turned back on, and your not the one to be doing it…

Huh??? 65deg…??
News to me. Guess I have been doing it wrong all these years.

If its above 50 when I’m there, it’s getting tested. If the breaker has been turned off, then I’m asking why.

Mr. Seller, you better have something better than it’s too cold outside to run it. I figure if its below 50 at night, then its going to be plenty warm enough in the day to run it. The outside temperature may not be optimal, but running your system at 68 degrees, won’t hurt anything.

If you are not going to allow the inspector to do their job, and also to ensure the buyer knows your unit will run, then you better have an a/c guy of your choice, perform a service call and provide a receipt showing its in good working order.

  1. Like your REA said. The buyer is usually more comfortable if you’re not there.

  2. Sample AC comments might be …

a) We were unable to inspect the system due to the outside air temperature being below 60 degrees (operation in cooler weather can possibly damage the unit). Have a competent HVAC contractor service and check unit prior to close.

b) The cooling system was turned on, but did not respond to the controls [Service the unit and repair or replace as needed].

c) The AC unit was disconnected and could not be inspected. Have a competent hvac contractor service and check the unit. Repairs could be needed.

How am I being unreasonable or a d I c k h e a d as you mentioned by taking care of my clients concerns about a house they are purchasing?

From the Nachi HVAC training:
Inspection Restrictions

Compressors should not be operated when it’s below 65° F outside. Compressors should not be operated when the electricity has been turned on for less than 24 hours. Under these conditions, it is possible to damage the compressor. Oil may be mixed with the refrigerant in the base of the compressor.

Here are my thoughts: The seller can be there or can not not be there. I have had it both ways. The only time it becomes an issue is if the seller follows you around and keep injecting into the conversation between the inspector and the buyer. If they stay one place and leave the inspection process alone, then its the same as not being there.

I had one case where a seller followed me around. Some questions he asked were, “why do you need to take pictures?” Another was, "Why do you need to look in the attic? He explained the water mark on the ceiling as a poor paint job. He was so defensive that although the home was a nice home the buyer refused it…she felt he was hiding something.

But I have also had cases where the sellers are present and only speak when asked a question.

As to the A/C my magic number 13C, about 55F (we are metric in the great white north). If the outdoor temperature is 55F or lower, I have a pre-typed script. If its turned off, I say it was turned off at the time of inspection in my report.

“Turned Off” is Power Off.

The compressor heaters are de-energized.