IF we ever have an offer on our house I'm worried about inspections. I have heard scare stories. I've heard of 'inspectors' saying to an owner that all is greatttttttt/best built house ever with only a few MInor items...then they proceed to write a report that makes it sound like the house is about to fall in.
When we had an offer last year, the folks paid for three inspections and then didn't buy...we never knew why (we had an 'untrained' realtor at the time) as the realtor couldn't/wouldn't tell us anyyyyyy thing.
I'm just worried about an inspector who wants to be a 'big shot' and then cost us a sale!!!
Any experiences on this???
Inspectors are like any other professionals that are hired. In CA the buyer hires the inspector and you hope THEY hire someone who knows their job. But no matter what is in the report YOU review it, decide what is worth fixing or is "normal wear & tear on a house". And sorry to say - YOU are also responsible to know what goes on with a contract. ASK the agent BEFORE you sign up with them: What are the steps once a contract is rec'd. THEN INTERVIEW another agent and see if their steps are the same as the other agent.
The steps are the same no matter what office they work for or agent. Things can happen "within" those steps but there are certain things that happen and THEY are responsible to tell you every thing...AND it is up to you to ask!
You have the right to see every inspection and make sure they are licensed and insured! Anything doesn't look right you dispute, and if it looks like he's exaggerating damage or such...you can "call him on it". Remember your agent works for you! They also know inspectors or know trades people that can look over reports. Anywho...YOU have to try & pick an agent who will HELP you sell your house by doing more than put it on MLS listing!
Good luck next time.
there is no reason you can't spend a little cash and have your own home inspection done...
Was thinking the same thing as sjf, when I saw your post, CJO.
Your realtor s/b able to suggest a good, thorough inspector in your area, i.e. the type of inspector you sorta' hope the buyer doesn't select. One important consideration when you review both your pre-inspection and the eventual buyers' inspection: the inherent conflict of interest if/when the inspector recommends work and then bids that same work.
In addition, sounds like a good time to review your state's disclosure rules with your realtor, if you haven't done so already.
As an aside...
A few years ago, I recall reading somewhere (maybe here) about a seller whose buyer made an offer with the standard inspection contingency. After the inspection, the buyer walked away citing "too many/too expensive repairs needed".
Happens occasionally, right?
In this situation, though, the kicker was that the buyer's "inspector" was his/her Dad. Dad wasn't a certified inspector. He wasn't affiliated and didn't perform property inspections professionally. Dad (and buyer) just felt Dad knew a lot about construction. Unfortunately, the damage/repairs Dad came up with didn't actually exist or were far more minor than Dad made them out to be.
By insisting that the contract read "all inspections to be performed by a certified, professional inspection company", the buyer will have a bit more skin in the game than he/she would if getting a freebie look-see from a friend or parent. And, the seller can rely more on the veracty of the inspection results when it comes to negotiating the repairs.
Agree, that's a standard clause in most contracts for a number of reasons.
WRT the seller relying on the buyers' inspection, the seller needs to remember (IMHO) that inspections involve individual judgement and recommendations will vary from inspector to inspector. A basic push/pull exists in any contract or other transaction. The buyer may view the facts one way but, OTOH, the seller ...
So, it's another reason for the seller to spend a few **$ upfront and complete their own inspection, especially if they haven't spent much time maintaining their property or have concerns about certain major systems. All properties require maintenance and ignoring things doesn't make the issues disappear and/or systems incur less wear and tear (typically sight unseen) over time.
In addition, these challenges also remind me of the need to work with a realtor who specializes in the local area. He/she will know the reputation of the local inspectors and can advise the seller if one of them has a reputation for tanking deals. OTOH, as mentioned above, that might be the thorough individual to bring in for the seller's pre-inspection. That way, the seller can (hopefully) minimize surprises.
JMHO.This message has been edited. Last edited by: RErocker,
You know - it all comes down to people. The buyer wants an inspector that knows their stuff (or they have just wasted money, and could be walking into a nightmare), or there are a bunch of little things that someone makes into big things. I know that in all the houses I have purchased, I always had inspectors, and they usually found little things. The only things I sent back to have fixed were a) safety issues or b) code issues. To be honest, I don't want someone doing other work, because I am a bit of a control freak, and I would want to make sure that I was happy with the work, since I would have to live with it. In this house we just sold - when we bought it, there was a rail outside that wasn't on tightly (had them tighten that up - safety issue if one of the movers had leaned on it and fallen), and there was an issue with the air conditioner. They got that fixed. The other issues that he found were not that big a deal, and we just really loved the house. Now, it turned out, that the seller had hidden a bunch of issues that the inspector didn't find, but I really don't think most would. One of the windows had rot around it, and they stuck paper in it, and painted over it. You never saw it - it wasn't until we started replacing the windows that we found where they had done that.... It was really obvious that someone had "patched" it (in a bad way).... Again, the buyers who got this house got a gem - we have replaced everything in the house....... Now we're moving to a new house (hopefully....) ,and we'll start all over again..... . But - to the original point - if you want to check some things out proactively, then you should do that. I always think having a plumber check things out is a good thing, as is having an electrician if any work was done in the house (new boxes, or whatever...)... BUT - regardless, it's always nerve wracking to wait for the inspection results, at least it always has been for me, but there have only been little things I've ever been asked to fix (GFE plugs, etc) - and they were always code or safety issues......
Concerning home inspections done by seller before or at time of listing; if any issue surfaces that could be remotely tied to health, safety or code issues, you are now bound to disclose them when filling out the disclosure form UNLESS you have addressed and fixed said issue before listing. Also in my area, the general practice is the seller never sees the buyer's inspection report as it is paid for by buyer and is his property. If there are issues to be addressed by seller, then we copy the areas of the report applicable and attach with the addendum.
Yes, mamaspoon, I recommended reviewing the state regulations WRT disclosure in conjunction with completing any maintenance issues ahead of time in a previous post. In many states, any repairs/work must be disclosed by the seller - thus, Deb's window patch job might be considered a disclosure default. Hopefully, in your situation, Deb, none of those possible defaults (or all of them, jointly) were material.
It's also a good idea, Deb, to work informally with any trades the seller has a previous relationship with, e.g. an electrician and/or plumber, if necessary. Typically contractors and subs don't carry the required insurance to issue inspection reports, if the seller actually wants to provide it to buyers. For that reason, many trades don't want to get involved in RE transactions.
Inspectors, OTOH, maintain the necessary certification to act as generalists, review many areas and suggest specialists, if necessary. Unless the seller's satisfied with informal, possibly free opinions from tradespeople, it's usually more economical to work with an inspector.
Agree, any health and safety issues normally must be repaired. If the inspector's estimate (say on a buyer's inspection, for example) on a large repair item is overstated and possibly to be performed by his/her own people, it's typically a good idea to obtain your own estimate (as a seller).
One negotiating strategy we've successfully used in sales is to simply repair/concede any and all small, low-cost items and negotiate only about any significant items. That way, the buyers believe they've won the battle but we, as sellers, reduce the overall cost by a significant margin.
Not sure that I would recommend to my sellers, mamaspoon, that they provide partial sections of a report. Unless the report is provided in its entirety, it may appear that the seller is concealing some information and increase the buyer's negotiating stance/focus during the inspection period.
I know what you mean about nerve-wracking, Deb. That's why we recommend addressing all of these issues thoroughly, prior to listing the home, in the hopes of reducing that angst. Best of luck to all of our sellers out there in cyberspace.
I am all for getting a home inspection before addressing the listing. Saves the nerves at selling time worrying about upcoming inspection.
Yes, here too, you must disclose items you are aware of that are still in disrepair, if you are aware.
The property sellers disclosure is a form that is filled out by the seller at listing and is filled out to the best of the sellers knowledge
of the property.
Also be caeful of home repairs which require building permits. If an addition, for instance, was not done to code without a permit--could foil the deal.
Deb - Shame on your inspector - he should have caught that. My favorite inspector is especially vigilent around windows.
Interesting topic, CJO! Well, I have thought about it and I am thinking this is a topic not to touch with a ten foot pole - old expression, btw.
My initial reaction was to simply hire your own inspector and fix the major concerns so that you would feel more comfortable when you get an actual offer but it really isn't that simple.
Depending on disclosure requirements in your state, you may be held to a higher standard once you have such a report "even if you didn't believe the accurancy of the report you commissioned and obtained" in the event of an actual sale. And that can be a double-edged sword.
So what to do? Quite frankly, I have no idea. Myself, I would prefer to know about any problems or defects so they could be resolved ahead of time. But, on the other hand, some inspectors might be so over the top that they will list each and every thing necessary to bring your house into a "like new" condition.
And, once you have commissioned the report, then you have that report out there for all time with all of the legal ramifications involved.
I do believe that you are an ethical and moral seller; however, some buyers who don't share the same attributes might use this information in an adverse fashion to your position. Bottom line, in business - whether it is ethical or moral doesn't really count - what counts is whether or not it is legal.
Not much help, I know, CJO. If I was forced to make a decision one way or the other? I would probably have a pre-emptive inspection and let the chips fall wherever - hoping that the new buyers are just as honest as you and appreciate the extra steps you have taken. Let us know what you decide to do.
What if the inspector says the shower leaks and you have a plumber inspect the shower and the plumber says it dosn't leak. Do you have to disclose that some 'jack of all trades' inspector said the shower leaked and you have a professional plumber said it didn't?
With a very clear conscience, I would not put that the shower leaks on the disclosure form because, according to the latest professional assessment, the shower does not leak.
ITA, Idaho. I suggested sellers meet with their agent and review their state's disclosure rules in conjunction with considering a pre-inspection in my initial post, above. Also as mentioned, an experienced, local-area realtor can refer the seller to the best inspector in the area - that is, the best one (in the realtor's opinion) to perform a pre-inspection. I also believe most sellers are honest and want to do the right thing. Buyers appreciate candor, IME.
Good points REL, reminding us that the seller need only disclose what they have knowledge of. We always request prior inspection reports, too. In your example, Deb, the faulty window repair may have been performed by a previous seller and possibly discovered by a previous inspector. So, any prior reports might have informed you (and your inspector) about the window issue.
Another good point, REL, about code requirements and local permit regulations. Not a pretty situation when a seller discovers they're actually only offering a 3-bedroom instead of a 4-bedroom (for example) and their appraisal amount/valuation plummets. OTOH, time for the buyers to renegotiate, if/when that situation occurs mid-transaction.
WRT your example about a plumbing leak, I believe I understand your point, kiwi, but I'm not sure a leak's the best example. For one thing, in many instances (but not all), a leak is objective - something either leaks or it doesn't and can easily be visually detected. For hidden leaks, many times the inspector can see the evidence of a current leak. Ironically, I do have a RL leak example so will post about it, below - if time.
WRT your suggestion, Jewel, again, it all depends on the disclosure requirements in the sellers' state, IMHO. Another thing, as I mentioned above, IME, many trades don't perform inspections and proffer opinions during sale transactions b/c their liability insurance doesn't usually cover it.
I'm making an assumption that, for kiwi's example, a plumber had repaired something and an inspector subsequently called it. (An inspector may have noticed visual evidence of a recent leak but they don't typically, IME anyway, open anything up to verify repairs.) In these situations, we produce evidence of the repair (invoice/completed work order) and ask the two parties to confer, if necessary. Normally we (quickly) receive a revised inspection report. Done -
During a recent sales transaction, we had an inspector indicate that a shower was leaking. The shower had a fancy, expensive showerhead with a small plastic rim around the edge. During use, a small amount of water was collecting in that rim and subsequently dripping (very slowly) into the shower.
Our seller had properly maintained the property (no major issues on the report) but the inspector noted a few minor, extremely inexpensive items. (Our seller believed the inspector was justifying his fee.) Incidentally, the offer amount topped all previous sales in this very nice area by a large margin. The buyer had offered all cash with a significant deposit.
Needless to say, the seller had an incentive to work with the buyer and wanted to facilitate the closing. The solution: instead of wasting time, arguing about the leak or the other small items, the seller simply took care of them, personally.
None of the so-called repairs required any professional assistance from tradespeople. And the supposedly leaky showerhead? The seller simply changed it out for a $5 (no kidding) new showerhead to satisfy the inspection report. The fancy showerhead (jets & all) ended up in his next home with the unnecessary rim removed. The closing remined on schedule and was completed. Easy, peasy -
Sorry for the long war story - had a few minutes waiting for draft documents. Overall, in spite of the issues with disclosure and the possible legal ramifications, I continue to personally believe that it's best to obtain the knowledge, upfront, from a good inspector, instead of waiting, nervously, for the buyers' report.
Prior to listing the property, we simply present all relevant information WRT the state we're working in to allow the client to make an informed decision. It's always up to them - as you all understand.
Hope some of my drivel is helpful to either you or someone in cyberspace. I agree, Idaho and CJO - good topic. Best of luck with your sale, CJO.
JMHO.This message has been edited. Last edited by: RErocker,
To follow up on what RERocker posted (your sellers could have had a problem removing something like plumbing fixtures and replacing with an inferior product.) Also, the inspectors I work with will put on the report everything they come across that is operating less than perfectly. It is not their call to determine what to report and what not to report. My preferred inspector will note if he notices something but doesn't think it is a real issue - such as the shower head.
In a real life example of what a professional inspector will uncover - on a current transaction, unfortunately as is where is, the inspector found the powder room toilet was leaking around the seal. It wasn't something you could easily detect, but he uses a moisture meter to check for leaks around plumbing fixtures and windows, etc. The meter detected a high level of moisture around the base of the toilet. The home owner insisted - no, no, not leaking etc. But I kept after the other agent until the turned the water off and drained the toilet until after closing and we can get a plumber to fix it.
The point about providing the sellers a copy of the report - if the results of the inspection are used to walk away from the contract then the seller has a right to see the parts of the report that is being cited and given an opportunity to correct or negotiate. Otherwise the buyers are forfeiting their earnest money.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Charming,
We had no issues with our house during the inspection, but I have to say - I have never used the same trades people the previous owner used, because if the work wasn't done correctly then, they're not going to get a second chance with me. We have found that getting recommendations from multiple neighbors is a great way to find good contractors, but it helps to check the work to make your own decision. In my current neighborhood, there is a contractor that all the "old time" residents use. I really wasn't that happy with the work he did, and he was non-responsive. We found other contractors (again, from recommendations and also checking Angies List), and the problems were fixed... We're leaving the contact information for the good contractors for the new buyers so that they don't have to go through the pain of finding them (PLUS - things like, who does good home pizza delivery - REALLY important when you're moving in......). In Florida, we'll be renting in the area close to the house we're trying to buy so we have a tiny bit of time to identify good fence people (already have recommendation from neighbor on that), electrician, plumber, pool guy, and I'm working on the landscaping part.... A whole new blank slate - I'M SO EXCITED!!!!!
No, FWIW, Charming, our sellers wouldn't have had any problem whatsoever WRT the replacement shower head b/c the buyers didn't request a replacement of the cadillac model contained in the shower. They could have but didn't.
No, my buyers didn't use an inferior product. Sorry, that's not the way my office works. A basic showerhead is inexpensive, shiny new and perfectly functional. If the seller's given the buyers precisely what they requested, they're not required to do anything further. In this situation, for example, would we have advised our sellers to slip something past the buyer to save what, $10 and possibly jeopardize a closing?? BTW, can't remember if $5 was a sale or regular price -
Not really following your 3rd sentence. Yes, the inspectors typically note any/all items that don't function properly. The inspector reported the situation as a leak, even though it actually wasn't a leak. (A small amount of water was collected around the rim of the showerhead routinely during use b/c of the the item's design and its unnecessary plastic rim - not b/c it leaked.)
It was far more efficient time-wise to provide the replacement, inexpensive item they wanted, instead of arguing over a minor item and requesting a corrected report. Incidentally, the inspector selected by the buyer was a highly-respected professional. (We always verify qualifications - it's one of our standard procedures. He simply made an insignificant error in this instance.)
Yes, I mentioned hidden leaks, above. Agree, the toilet seal is one of those hidden leak situations. A moisture meter will catch it but, IME, most homeowners locate these if/when they review their water bill/utility report and investigate any overuse.
Yes, a copy would be required if/when the buyer walks on the deal unless they intend to forfeit the deposit. Incidentally, we had been primarily discussing seller pre-inspections above - not actual transactions.
WRT selecting an inspector - one thing I don't believe anyone's mentioned - whatever side of the transaction you're on or representing, it's important to consider the various certifications and/or professional qualifications of the available professionals. Inspectors don't necessarily receive their certifications from the same organizations and may differ significantly in both skill-level and focus. It's another issue both buyers and sellers may want to discuss with their respective realtors.
As usual, JMHO.This message has been edited. Last edited by: RErocker,
Sorry, but IMHO, all of you have missed the import of CJO's initial inquiry - should she get an inspection report prior to receiving an offer or wait until an offer has been made?
An early report gives sellers the opportunity to correct any real problems - it also lays a trail for lawsuits if someone buys a place and then institutes litigation - if something is not disclosed that was contained in the report....
I was only responding to CJO's initial inquiry - myself, I would get an inspection BUT before doing so, would talk to my agent about the laws regarding disclosure. Hope you get SOLD soon, CJO!
ETA: Should have said that ReRocker and I are on the same page as are nearly every other poster - think we are all saying the same thing using different words....This message has been edited. Last edited by: Idaho Resident,
I would insert a clause stating that in the event the buyers were requesting repairs or terminating the contract based on the inspection that I would receive a copy of the inspection report, in any future contracts.
Unless I had specific concerns I would not hire an inspector, and in that case I would call a reputable company to come out and address that concern. What may be an issue for one buyer will not be for another.
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