Home Inspection: Bad for the Seller?

The purpose of the home inspection report is to make both parties aware of the home’s condition. Based on this information, the buyer will:

  • accept or reject the home with the conditions noted in the report.
  • require seller to correct noted conditions before settlement.
  • require an adjustment in the purchase price to compensate for the expected cost of repair.

The home inspection is intended to make the buyer and seller both fully aware of defects. Our home inspections routinely protect a seller from a lawsuit for failing to disclose existing conditions.

Building Codes

It is very important to remember that home inspectors are not code enforcement inspectors; code enforcers are typically municipal or county officials. A home inspection report should never be interpreted as a legal requirement for the stated items to be corrected. Home inspectors have no authority to enforce any corrections whatsoever.

A typical example of contention between buyer and seller occurs when a home doesn’t meet safety code guidelines that were not introduced until long after the home was built. Take GFIC safety receptacles as an example. This can be a safety concern the buyer wants corrected, while the seller argues that when the home was constructed, GFIC outlets were not required.

Again, home inspectors cannot legally require the correction of any defect. Inspectors simply note the defects and empower both the buyer and seller to negotiate an outcome.

An Unbiased Opinion

It is not the function of a home inspector to state opinions or recommendations, but to state with specificity the conditions found in the structure being inspected. However, the home inspector has a duty to cite certain structural components or systems that are deteriorating with a relatively short life span as “deferred maintenance” items. Deferred maintenance does not imply that the stated item(s) are defective or inoperative in any way, but that these items will probably fail in the near future.
Home inspectors present facts to each party – not conjecture or opinion. Our detailed inspection report allows the decision of buyer and seller to be based on facts rather than speculation.

Realtors

Realtors too frequently look at a home inspection as a potential deal breaker for their sale; unless they use a hand-picked home inspector who never finds any structural defects. The realtor assumes that if they can keep undiscovered defects off the bargaining table, the purchase is more likely to go through – saddling the home buyer with thousands of dollars in repairs that should’ve been noted from the beginning.

For their protection, realtors should suggest a home inspection with each sale and let the purchaser choose their inspection firm. A copy of a certified, unbiased home inspection report attached to the seller’s disclosure statement lessens the potential for a lawsuit against the seller and realtor. InspectRite inspections are always conducted on an impartial basis without any influence of any type – it’s simply the right thing to do.