If you’re still living in your home when you list it for sale, it can feel a bit like your privacy is diminished. There’s a good reason for that. It is! You’re essentially inviting the public into your home, although ideally, it should be small bits of the public at a time and they should either be accompanied by a Realtor or be a licensed real estate professional. From initial showings to the open house, from the home inspection and the termite inspection to the appraisal, once that key box is installed, your home will not be as private as it once was.
Many people have concerns not just about the number of people who have access to their home, but about the character of those people as well. And you know what? I don’t blame them! The people involved in the selling process are strangers to the seller, and in this day and age, no one can afford to be naive, especially if children are still in the home.
The good news for sellers in the State of Texas is that the Texas Real Estate Commission has some safeguards in place to help ensure that the people entrusted with access to your home are trustworthy. No system is perfect of course, and common sense should always be used. Following are some common hurdles that Texas Realtors and Inspectors are required to clear before they are allowed to work in these industries.
To become a TREC licensed Realtor in Texas, education hours are just the beginning. In addition to the 180 classroom hours, the applicants must meet the guidelines for honesty, trustworthiness and integrity. Also required are a background check and submission of fingerprints. The applicants must also pass the State agency’s test and have a licensed Realtor sponsor them.
It’s much the same for TREC licensed Home Inspectors. The requirements that pertain to character, background check and fingerprints are all also required, even for an Apprentice Inspector. There are differing levels of licensing for Home Inspectors in Texas, however, unlike the Texas Realtor, the Home Inspector must carry errors and omissions insurance, the process for which also scrutinizes the Home Inspector’s past performance and/or any pending or past lawsuits pertaining to their work.
If you live in a state that does not oversee home inspector licenses, you may still have some options. The major home inspection professional associations have some strict ethics requirements for their members. Try to find out if the Inspector you’ll be dealing with is a member of any professional home inspection associations. You can usually find this information on the Inspector’s website. Then you can call that association to ask about the standing of that Inspector.
These protections do not guarantee that you will only come into contact with respectable people, however, they do help to weed out folks that have been less than upstanding in their past business dealings.
Any time someone is asking to have access to your home, never hesitate to insist on identification, particularly if you were not told in advance of their arrival. Rob and I would never insist on entering a home if the home owner or person representing them were in the least bit uncomfortable with our presence. You have every right to be notified in advance, not just of showings, inspections and appraisals, but to insist on knowing all parties names and license numbers as well, so you can call the licensing agencies and ensure that the person holds a valid license and is in good standing.
One more thing to keep in mind: Any Home Inspector will likely refuse to perform an inspection on a property with unattended minors in the home. If there will be anyone in attendance, there should be someone at least 18 years of age present for the inspection to proceed. Many Home Inspectors will ask for the property to be vacated by all parties to restrict distractions, and while this is completely understandable, I personally never ask a seller to leave their home if they want to stay.
The takeaway here is this: If you’ve listed your home for sale, make peace with the temporary loss of some of your privacy, but don’t feel that you need to admit anyone who knocks on your door, particularly if you are not certain of their identity or background. Any Home Inspector that is a real professional will understand a sellers need to take a few minutes to ensure their safety and the safety of their families. If they balk at your request to have a moment check them out, reschedule!
Thanks again for stopping by! Please remember to Pin, Like and share on your favorite social media and please feel free to email me any home inspection related questions, whether the questions are technical or procedural. You can send emails using the contact form below or at firstname.lastname@example.org . Have a great day and I wish you a safe and happy home!