Home Buying in Michigan>Question Details

JJ, Home Buyer in 48168

Can I get inspection fee back, if the seller backed out?

Asked by JJ, 48168 Fri Sep 24, 2010

The seller backed out few days after inspection. We don't know the reason. According to price history, they listed their house last year and backed out few months later. This year they did this again. We were pushed to offer full price and high earnest money.

I am very frustrated. Can we claim the house inspection money back? Any help will be certainly appreciated

Help the community by answering this question:


The cost of the inspection is a cost of doing business - it is tough to accept when a deal falls through and you as the perspective buyer end up with no house to show for it, but a series of expenses. Unfortunately, that is the risk you take when you begin the process. You can certainly pursue with your attorney, but I suspect you will find this is a sunk expense, that may be unreoverable. And as Don has pointed out, the cost in legal fees to recoup may exceed the cost of the inspection.

You should focus on the prompt return of your earnest money. Sorry to hear about this bump - my suggestion is to shake it off and keep moving.

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 24, 2010
Thank you JJ for the Best Answer nod, much appreciated. Good luck in your pursuits!

Best to you,
Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 27, 2010
Small claims court sounds like wihat you should consider
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 24, 2010

Depending on how you feel about the home, you may want to talk to an attorney. As Cecelia mentioned already, you could still buy the home. Although I am not an attorney, unless there is specific language regarding a refund of your expenses in the event the seller were to default, you may not have the right to any damages of money spent for an inspection or mortgage application, etc.. However, there is likely language in your offer to purchase regarding default that may still allow you the opportunity to consummate the purchase. Seek an attorney's advise if you choose to move forward.

Kay Pearson, CRS
Associate Broker
Real Estate One - Max Broock
31 S. Main Street
Clarkston, MI 48346
Web Reference: http://www.KayPearson.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 24, 2010
Read your contract. You may have the right to sue for specific performance of the contract. However, unless this is a very special house and you have lots of time and money, best to grit your teeth and just move on. Perhaps your inspector will give you a break on the next inspection since the two of you have just done business together.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 24, 2010
Read your contract (or ask your Realtor) Typically if a Seller backs out (breaches the contract) then the buyer is entitled to receive all legitimate expenses including mortgage application fee, appraisal fees, inspection fees etc.

If you're still not certain simply ask local real estate attorney. Assuming this is part of the signed contract I would do the following: Send the Seller a certified letter (return receipt required) including copies of the invoices/receipts for all legitimate expenses and let them know that if you have not received full payment within 5 business days; reimbursing you for their breach of contract (refer to the purchase contract paragraph that stipulates this) , that you will be filing a lien on their home and will be taking them to court. Don't waste your money with an attorney simply take the Seller to small claims court if necessary.

When an Offer to Purchase and Contract is signed it's a legally binding contract on both parties and neither Buyer or Seller should sign it casually. Failing to honor it has legal ramifications.

Best of luck to you. and sorry for your bad experience.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 8, 2013
Same thing happened to us in Texas, therefore, I will completely disagree with the other responses. We sued when the seller backed out to recover our losses. We had broken a lease and paid a heavy fine. We now had no where to live. Our Attorney sued for our current a future damages while we where stuck in temporary living conditions looking for a proper home. The property was leaned and the sellers returned to the table. Turned out the wife did not want to leave the house she raised her kids in. Sorry, to hear that but I really couldn't afford to pay for it. I believe the realtor and their agency were also sued. It was all dropped when they completed the sell before we became homeless.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 8, 2013
I hope this works for us in Indiana. We're in a similar situation, buying a house from an estate. Two days before our closing we got a call that a bank was foreclosing on the property after we'd already broken our lease. The estate attorney and bank attorney are trying to work out a deal right now, but if it all falls through, we'll get our earnest money back, but we'll be out the inspection fee, appraisal fee, storage fees for all our stuff, rent for a new temporary space and the $1 that the USPS is charging me to change my change of address form!
Flag Wed May 29, 2013
It sounds as if we still have some unresolved answers. Were you still in an attorney review period? Did you make any requests for repairs that made them just want to back out instead of dealing with the issues? Can you answer these two questions so we can get you more reliable answers.
Thanks, Jim Starwalt
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 27, 2010
It all depends on what your contract says. Your agent or attorney should help you determine what the language in your contract means. But the good news is you already had the inspection done and you don't need to do it again. If you get new buyers who want additional inspections you can put into the contract that it would be their expense and not yours becuase you've already provided an up-to-date inspection report. Good luck on finding a new buyer!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 27, 2010
You can't get the inspection fee back (from the inspector). He/she did the job he/she was asked to do.

As for whether you can get it back from the seller, the advice below is good. Check with a lawyer. And even if it's possible, unfortunately you may find that the expense in pursing it is greater than the amount you'd recover.

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 24, 2010
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
We have hit this situation before, and our clients decided to tell the seller "we will sue you for specific performance or you will reimburse us for the inspection fee". Depending on what the contract says, this may be an option. It took 3 hours for the sellers to reimburse the buyers once they knew what they were looking at. It's not my favorite choice, but it is an option if the contract allows for it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 24, 2010
Unfortunately, you paid an inspector for the work he did. While it would be nice if the seller reimbursed you for the cost, it is unlikely to happen
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 24, 2010
Probably not, part of the risk and expense of pursuing property.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 24, 2010
Check your contract. Are you in any kind of attorney review period, and does the seller have a right to pull out? You may well have a valid claim here. Now you should also consider going to the seller and asking them to repay this fee as a courtesy, even if they did have the right to pull out. Cite the fact they pulled out of a previous deal as a justification. It sounds like what they did was really not fair -- as long as you have the energy, you could pursue reimbursement for both the time and the principle of the thing! :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 24, 2010
Depends on what your sales agreement says, but it's highly unlikely.
Web Reference: http://www.golftobeach.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 24, 2010
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