Arlington home sales December 2015

This home in the 1800 block of North Stafford Street in Arlington currently is on the market, listed at $1,624,900 by Christine Rich, Long & Foster Real Estate.

Should the sellers be present during home inspections? The Sun Gazette asked some local agents that question.

Here are their answers:

Betsy Twigg, McEnearney Associates: “The seller should not be at the home inspection. However, before settlement, and if everything is going along fine, I think it’s a good idea for the seller and buyer to walk through the house together. That way the seller can point out certain things. It doesn’t have to be anything formal.”

Casey Samson, Samson Properties: “If the seller stays in the home during the inspection, you can kiss that transaction goodbye. I do not like buyers and sellers to meet, much less during the most volatile time of the transaction, the inspection. Professional agents would prohibit this from happening.”

Karen Close, Century 21 New Millennium: “I think the industry practice is that the home inspection is the time for the buyer to be alone in the house. Buyers don’t want sellers there and they think it’s an [imposition] on them if they are. The seller might get upset if they hear a buyer saying they don’t like the colors of a wall or a smell coming from the refrigerator.”

John Mentis, Long & Foster: “Never recommend a seller be present at their buyer’s home inspection, although it is helpful if they make themselves available by phone or e-mail if the buyer or buyer’s inspector have any questions. Buyers want the opportunity to understand and ideally bond with the house; the seller’s presence at the inspection gets in the way of that. ”

Laurie Mensing, Long & Foster: “The home inspection is an opportunity for the buyer and inspector to become familiar with the home. With the seller present, they feel like they are being looked over their shoulders. I do prefer that sellers be present for the final walkthrough.”

Casey Margeneau, Casey Margeneau Fine Homes & Estates: “I don’t want them there because the transaction is not consummated completely, and the buyers and inspector can get a much better feel for what is going on. It is an important time for the buyer to get comfortable with the house. The seller will be a distraction.”

Tracy Dillard, Long & Foster: “No, I don’t think a seller should be present. That time period is usually the only extended time block the buyer has to actually look at the home carefully before they purchase. It is most helpful if the seller is available to answer questions, though. When we are the seller’s agent, we communicate with the buyer’s agent as questions arise so that we can quickly get the answers.”

Dean Yeonas, Yeonas and Shafran Real Estate: “Buyers want to spend two hours alone looking at the house without anyone looking over their shoulders. With sellers present, people hesitate to speak freely.”

Lilian Jorgenson, Long & Foster: “No, definitely not. The buyer needs the freedom to ask questions of the home inspection and not feel pressured to hurry up. They might have a lot of questions about the house, especially if they are first-time home buyers.”

Steve Wydler, Wydler Brothers Real Estate: “As a rule, the seller should not be there. The buyers should have an open and unbiased dialogue with the inspector. Sellers tend to get very defensive and take things personally. It is valuable, though, to have the seller available to answer questions later.”

Karen Briscoe, Huckaby, Briscoe, Conroy Realty Group of Keller Williams: “The general rule is let the purchaser have that time alone with their agent. Having a seller there can get in the way, so it’s best to keep that separate.”

Donna Moseley, TTR Sotheby’s International: “I prefer they not be present. I like to let the buyers have the opportunity to learn about the house and get educated from the inspector. Sellers often try and justify what they have done to the house and they take questions personally. It’s best to let the parties work through the channels that are established.”

Gloria Adams, TTR Sotheby’s: “It’s best if they are not there. They might take things personal that a home inspectors says. Traditionally, the home inspectors prefer to deal with just the buyer.”

Joan Stansfield, Keller Williams Realty: “Sellers should never be present for home inspections, as this is the time set aside for the buyers to kick the tires, so to speak, and take a closer look at the home they are buying. The home inspection is a very important part of the due-diligence period for the buyers and they need to be provided the opportunity for open, candid discussions with professional inspectors and/or their agent about the condition of the home.”

Craig Mastrangelo, Re/Max Allegiance: “I never recommend a seller being present, in that it is just that, a buyer’s inspection. This is the time that affords the buyer, to work with a home inspector to do a thorough inspection of the home and determine which items they should negotiate with the seller to fix, repair or replace. It is at this time that the seller becomes engaged and they then can work with their listing agent to try and work on mutually agreeable addendum terms.”

Carol Ellickson, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty: “When the seller is there, it can slow down the process and be a reason the buyer decides not to move forward. I have had sellers present during a home inspection when I was representing the buyers.  It was very uncomfortable for my buyers, as the sellers did a lot of talking to sell their house. It’s very wearing. The home inspection is the time for the buyer to follow the home inspector to learn the house, as well as find any deficiencies.”

Jack Shafran, Yeonas and Shafran Real Estate: “We don’t like selling or listing agents present, so you don’t have someone breathing over your back. A buyer needs the chance to get comfortable with the house and the home inspector during that time.”

Carol Temple, Coldwell Banker: “It’s a bad idea for the seller to be there, and you don’t want the seller’s agent there either. There is an avenue for the seller and home inspector to communicate, but not during the inspection.”

Adam Gallegos, Arbour Realty: “In cases when the seller happens to be there, they tend to become defensive and emotional. It can turn a situation into a back-and-forth situation. It’s best the seller not be there.”

Dana Landry, Washington Fine Properties: “The owner should not be present during the home inspection and should allow the buyers time in the home to talk candidly with their home inspector and to learn all the ‘ins-and-outs’ of the home. If the owner is home, often buyers are not comfortable as they feel they need to be polite to the owner, and this takes away from their focus on inspecting the condition of the home and learning how it operates.”

Mark Middendorf, Long & Foster: “It’s best that sellers are not there. Home inspections are kind of invasive and unnerving for sellers and buyers. It’s the buyer’s orientation to the house.”

Dawn Wilson, Keller Williams: “Generally, the seller should not be present during the home inspection because it may make the buyer feel uncomfortable and may create tension in the process going forward dealing with the buyer and the buyer agent. However, every situation is unique, and in some cases it may be agreeable to have the seller's agent present separately, or with the seller.  The seller should not be present without his agent.”

Billy Buck, Buck & Associates: “I advise strongly that the seller and their agents not be present. I make myself available to answer questions and give out information and get back to people afterward if there is a need. That time is to let the purchaser get as comfortable as possible with the house and the inspector.”

Natalie Roy, Keller Williams Realty: “The quick answer is no. The home inspection is a key part of the home buying and selling process and is best when conducted in an open setting. The home inspection is the time that the buyer feels most at ease to ask the inspector anything and everything about the house. If the seller is present, the buyer might feel inhibited and alternatively the seller might feel defensive when the inspector points something out that is not in perfect working order.”

Michael Highman, Acquest Realty: “In general, I prefer as a listing agent to be in the background during a home inspection, and only make myself available if the buyer requests some information. I believe the seller can make a more business-like decision reviewing an inspection addendum vs. making a quick emotional decision by being there personally.”

Sue Feinthel, McEnearney Associates: “The seller should not be present.  It can make the buyer feel uncomfortable, ill at ease, and they might feel the inspection is an inconvenience to the seller and they should hurry through the inspection. This is the buyer’s time to spend several hours in the house and explore all the nooks and crannies. Sometimes sellers seem to think they can help by answering questions on the spot.”

Ginny Brzezinski, McEnearney Associates: “We ask our sellers to leave during the home inspection and all showings. Hovering sellers can make a buyer feel awkward and even sink a deal.”  

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