Monday, July 15, 2019 / by Sally Niu
Realtors and Home Inspectors tend to frequently cross paths in the home buying and selling process. For Realtors and their clients, the home inspection process can be a major hurdle to clear during a Real Estate transaction. No matter whether the subject property is a condominium or a house, most real estate purchases and sales involve an inspection condition.
The following interview is with Lisa Simkins, a Registered Home & Mold Inspector in the Greater Toronto Area, who reflected on her observation of Realtors during home inspections.
What are some techniques you’ve seen Realtors use during inspections?
“There's a wide range of techniques I see Realtors use during my inspections, from sitting in the background while a client tags along with me, to talking to the client separately about other things elsewhere, to hovering with the client and myself. Some of these evolve organically, based on the client’s and Realtor’s personalities and interests in the inspection.
Are there any Realtor techniques you find unsuccessful during the inspection process?
“One thing that is a recurrent theme is what you could call "defect 'splaining". Maybe they teach this in Realtor training, but it involves, at its most extreme, soft pedalling of every item of concern almost on a running commentary way. At its worst, continuous "defect 'splaining" from the Realtor tends to start to wear on the home inspector (but we're used to that). More importantly, I have seen clients began to be concerned about the Realtor's objectivity. It's manifested by subtle shifts in the body language of the clients. And that's a trust issue. I'm not a psychologist, but I would suggest to Realtors to be more sparing in their comments about technical issues.”
Why is it important for the Realtor to be present during the Home Inspection?
“Now there's obviously normal discussion and clarification of certain things to help the client understand the implications (of inspection report) on the (renovation) cost and the deal. It's good to have the Realtor somewhat involved in the inspection process as a witness and to show support. At it's best, the Realtor will bring their experience and how the item of concern can be used to the deal negotiation. The Realtor's perspective on the market and knowledge of the specific deal is essential here, as I have witnessed in your (Claude’s) approach. And this is where the home inspector learns from the Realtor.”
Why is time management so important during Home Inspections?
“Another area which can create tension is time, time, time! Thorough home inspectors always feel the time pressure on site. To get the job done efficiently, instead of backtrack, involves self and client management, as well as juggling the presentation of the findings with the focus and the flow through the house.
Going in, we usually have no idea how much time pressure there will be, unless there's a heads-up about the situation. The pressure can be from the seller’s side (owners waiting outside, or coming back early, etc), misunderstandings of time expectation (ie. seller's agent only booked two hours even though three hours was requested), or the buyer’s side (clients / Realtor needing to go somewhere after the inspection).
Toronto traffic doesn't help either! Almost always we find that clients prefer we are going through it so carefully (even if they get bored). Realtor’s reactions vary widely, and I'm sure that's situation and experience-dependent. I admire Realtors who can give their clients the impression that they're not rushing! And the ones who compliment the inspector on being thorough! I think that helps with credibility in all regards.”
Any other advice for Realtors during home inspections?
“One way to get the inspection done faster is to have the client arrive at the last hour. That way the inspector can push through the house alone quickly for the first two hours. The downside is, if there are a lot of issues, there will be more backtracking to show and explain those to the client. That is when it can end up taking longer.
I recommend that clients be present during the entire inspection if it is an old house or in poor condition. But if it is a newer house and in good condition, it is better to let them show up later. The Realtor can also make a judgement call on this, based on their knowledge of the clients' personality.
Another tip is to keep the discussion more towards the end unless the client feels the need to stop and discuss on the spot. This will also help the inspector concentrate better, focus on the client, and keep moving along. The picture will become clearer (ie. electrical and structural issues in old houses) once we've gone through most of it. The Realtor can also discuss their perspective further after the home inspector has presented and gone.”
We hope this blog provides you more insight on the unfamiliar side of home inspections. If you have any questions about how to make the home inspection process as successful as possible, give us a call at (416)-804-5555.
For more information on Lisa, and Superior Home Inspectors, visit their website at www.superiorhomeinspectors.ca.