Inspecting a House for a Second Time

 What happens when you inspect a house on Monday for one client, and then get a call to inspect the  same house on Thursday for a different client?  Should we tell the second client that we inspected the house before? Should we tell the first client that we are inspecting the house for a different client? Should we say anything to the agent for the second client or the first client?


It’s a difficult situation.


There is probably no perfect answer to this, but we do not say anything. Let me explain why.


If you say something, it may be adversely affecting someone’s negotiating position. If you tell Client 1 that you are about to do an inspection for Client 2, you may be giving Client 1 a heads up that there is competition on the home.


Similarly, Client 2 may have no idea that another inspection has been done and there may be another interested party. Telling Client 2 that you have recently inspected the house may hurt Client 1, because Client 2 now knows something that they do not - there is or may be another interested party.


It is not our place to interfere with the transaction


You have the same problem if you tell Agent 1 that you are going to do an inspection for Agent 2.


We will never know all the circumstances, and may cause some damage.


The other side of the coin is that we have been accused of failing to say something and are greedy in accepting a second fee for the same work.


When we are accused of this, we explain the negotiating sensitivity, mention the fact that we do have to go through the complete inspection and spend the same amount of time with Client 2. It means we cannot be doing another inspection and earning another fee, so we need to charge the same amount. We cannot hand Client 1’s report to Client 2, because the report belongs to Client 1. We have to create a new report. We typically find that different clients have different interests, different plans for the home and different needs, so the two reports are rarely identical.


It’s a difficult situation, but this is where we have landed after 30 years.


I hope this helps.


Alan Carson



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