Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Seller's home inspections; seller-Realtor disputes.

I have written previously about the use of home inspections in real estate transactions, including the potential for sellers to hire their own inspectors prior to entering into a sale.

One advantage for the seller of hiring his own inspector is the ability to avoid conflicts with his own Realtors. Often when a buyer sues a seller (and the Realtors) over a defect discovered after the transaction is complete, the seller and the Realtors dispute among themselves whether such a defect was disclosed. The seller often claims to have reported the defect to the Realtor, thus blaming the Realtor for failing to disclose the defect to the buyer. The seller will also downplay the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement, claiming to have written only what the Realtor instructed him to write.

Sellers and Realtors fighting between themselves often make it easier for a buyer to prove fraud

A written inspection report can limit many of these seller/Realtor disputes. When a seller hires his own inspector and provides the written report to the listing agent, both the seller and the Realtors will be limited in what they can claim the other told them. It will be clear that the seller disclosed everything that is on his own inspection report (and probably nothing more).

There are always areas where problems slip through the cracks. The Realtors and the sellers must make sure that the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement is consistent with the inspection report and that the report is given to the buyers, no matter how negative. All parties must make sure that any inspection activities are not interfered with or influenced. If the seller takes steps to influence his own inspector or prevent the inspector from finding or reporting problems, the resulting disputes will be worse than if no inspection was arranged in the first place.

1 comment:

  1. The concept of a seller's inspection is nothing new. But, often the Seller's agent is gun shy to wanting the Seller to have one performed. Why? Disclosure is the magic word. Many Seller's agent want no part of having to disclose what may or may not fall into the material or significant defect category. Many would rather the Buyer's inspector not to find any defect. Maybe he will and maybe he won't. We'll deal with things when the time comes. I have heard this a hundred times. And this is the quandary for many. But, the idea that the first parties to get sued by a Buyer being the Seller or Realtor is typically false. The lowly inspector is usually the first target of disdain for a disgruntled Buyer...

    Joe Farsetta