When representing a buyer, I try to get copies of any inspection reports prior to making an offer as it helps the buyer to decide how much to offer. However, I highly recommend that the buyers get their own inspections. If a buyer does not wish to spend the money of independent inspections, I have the buyers sign a statement that they waive inspections despite of having been advised otherwise. In summary, I would say that my advice has not changed, it just has become easier to get the sellers to cooperate. Real estate is a big investment and in my opinion the same caution is advisable whether you are in a buyer's or seller's market. Now, if we could get the lenders to see the benefit of getting inspections, we'd be in really good shape, wouldn't we.
I have always advised my sellers to get a home inspection and termite, roof if it is older. Lately, I have been getting a lot of resistance from sellers to do so. I always recommend buyers to get their own inspections but find most of them use the sellers because of money. I have a pre-printed page with all the inspections one could do and estimated costs and I have the clients sign, understanding that these are the inspections that could help them identify any issues with the house.
For buyers, I explain that their home is often one of the biggest investments they will make in their lifetime, so inpsections are critical. Some buyers will go with the sellers inspections, but with older homes, AND with homes that have been on the market 90+ days (which are becoming more common!) I advise on fresh inspections.
The bottom line? Whether I am representing a buyer or a seller, my ob is to protect them through every aspect of the transaction. I encourage inspections - and further inspections if they are called for. You can never be to careful!
The problem is that even though there are honest sellers out there, there are sometimes unanticipated issues theat they were not aware of, which then affects their bottom line after the buyers home inspection. I always advocate that it is better to know what you don't know and provide all necessary info and documentation to the buyer.
I also recommend (as a listing agent) that the buyer get theri own independant inspection even after reading the sellers report, to avoid any issues of fraud. Honesty is always the best policy.
I don't work much with buyers, but if I did, I'd appreciate a seller and listing agent who had these ethics.
My .01 - it is better to be honest, forthright and helpful, you do well by doing good, and you sleep better at night ;-)
Just to clarify for other readers, i assume you are in San Jose, CA,(since you are from Santa Clara county) instead of San Jose, FL where the question is categorized.
I am in Marin, S.F. North Bay - I still advise my clients the same way as I always advise my clients -
For sellers - get an inspection to find problems before selling the home, especially if the house is older and there might be major problems which cause major negotiation when removing contingency or prevent us from closing (lenders also have requirements on credit back and repairs, which can be problematic especially in todayâ€™s lending market). This will also help us price the property correctly which helps in selling the house.
For buyers - read the sellers inspection reports but also get independent inspections. Minimum, home (contractor's) inspection and termite (pest) inspection; also specialized inspection when situation warrants (roof, pool, chimney, foundation, etc).
I do provide my clients with recommendations for inspectors, especially if they ask. I prefer the ones I have experience with, are reputable, with references and have adequate insurance.
There are mandatory local government inspections that we have to have - depends on the town / county.
Regardless of the market, I think the seller/buyer mentality are the same and advisories, disclosures and findings are always very important whether they are from buyers and/or seller's angle. .
We have completed several inspections after other inspection company said everything is good. Then we find dozens of issues and concerns the first company missed and over looked.
Realtors take pride in there jobs. Have a Home Inspector that does too. We all will sleep good at night.
For buyer's I would caution that many seller's inspctions are limited to items of immediate concern for safety or items of major material defect (generally considere to be greater than $1000 to repair or replace.) Failure to disclose smaller items, like say an improperly wired outlet, does not mean they do not exist - it just means that they did not meet the threshold which the inspector and seller agreed upon as "major." If you are plugging your 62 inch plasma TV or computer into that outlet - it very well may be major to you!
A buyers independant inspection is alwyas a good idea (what else did you expect an inspector to say?) and I like to encourge buyers and agents to find an inspector who is a good fit for their specific needs. (First time buyers need more explanation and detail about why something is or IS NOT a big deal, where investors may just want a professional opinion on major systems and structure.)