Home Buying in Chatham>Question Details

Redfox, Other/Just Looking in Chatham, NJ

Is a seller allowed to give me a copy of a prior inspection report?

Asked by Redfox, Chatham, NJ Sat Jun 28, 2008

A contract fell apart after the inspection on a house I might want to buy. The seller agent said she could not give me a copy of the inspection report, but would tell me about it. If she hiding something?

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If the inspection was done by the potential buyer, it is their property and may not be distributed without their permission and possibly that of the Inspector. The listing agent can make oral references, but you need to have your own inspection, just in case some items are "lost in transalation". Also, the buyer may not have shared all of the issues in the complete inspection report, so you need to have one done by an inspector of your choice. Better to spend a few hundred dollars and find nothing wrong than save those few hundred dollars and then spend thousands of dollars dealing with overlooked items.

I hope this helps,

AJ Heidmann, ABR, CRS, e-PRO
AHeidmann@CBMove.com
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Old Town Alexandria
"Serving Distinctive Clients & Properties in Northern Virginia"
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 28, 2008
The seller is not obligated to hand over a prior inspection report, BUT, if the report revealed something that the seller should now be disclosing, then it's the seller's responsibilty to let you know. They may not even have the entire report because the purchaser probably paid for it. Otherwise, if you can find out who the agent was that wrote the prior contract, I would bet money that they would be willing to tell you what was on that report.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 30, 2008
In most cases, the buyer gets the inspection report, not the seller. If the sell of a home fell through due to an inspection, the seller and the sellers agent should have copies of the part of the report that was in question. The selling agent must reveal anything that would affect the disclosure report and update anything that might have been revealed in the inspection. The seller can direct there agent not to give a copy to a buyer, but the agent cannot knowingly keep anything from future buyer. That may be why she says she cannot give you the report, but can tell you the info in the report. If you are truely interested in the home, find out what the agent knows, make your offer with needed repairs in mind and make it contengent upon an inspection of your own. It is in your best interest to get your own inspection. You can use the same licensed inspector, or get someone else. It is your choice. Hope this info is helpful to you.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 30, 2008
Redfox,
Legally, if there was something major identified during a home inspection that caused the deal to fall apart, it would need to be disclosed to future buyers.

Good luck,
The "Eckler Team"
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 28, 2008
It is our job as agents to disclose any known defects with any home. If the prior inspection alerted the agent to any defects, she should absolutely inform you. As AJ and Jodee pointed out, the inspection report is property of the paying party and cannot be released to you without their written permission. You should always locate a bonded, insured, approved inspector, check their references and conduct your own professional inspection.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 28, 2008
only if they are smart seller and if you have a good offer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 31, 2013
I'm not aware of anything legally that would preclude a seller from releasing the report.
Web Reference: http://GetPrequalified.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 30, 2008
you are correct
Flag Wed Jul 31, 2013
RED FLAG! If the deal fell through because of the inspection report then you shouldn't go near that house until, at the very least, you review that inspection report. Tell the agent that you don't want to HAVE the inspection report, you want to review it while she is in the room. If she doesn't agree to that then move on to the next house. The last thing you want is to hire your own inspector and he misses something that the report revealed. Also, you will always wonder what was in that inspection report. There are plenty of other houses out there. Also, was it just a home inspection or also a radon inspection? If you plan on buying any house in IL make sure you get a radon inspection too.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
sorry, i am not so sure that the esteemed professionals who have answered this question are right in their answers.

first of all, does the seller actually have a copy of the prior inspection? obviously, they can't share something they don't have. in the scenario, sure they could ask the prior (would-be) buyer for a copy and it would be up to that person to decide to share it or not.

if they do have a copy of the inspection report, how did they get it? if they stole it under cloud of darkness, they have possession of the report, but not necessarily permission to share it, (and might not want to cop to the pilffering...) so i could understand if they didn't

but if the previous (would-be) buyer GAVE a copy to the seller, why couldn't that seller share it with anyone else? in 23 years i have NEVER seen an instance where a buyer presented a copy of the inspection to a seller and said "shhhh, this is mine - dont show this to anyone else." sellers show inspection reports to their own consultants and contractors all the time to evaluate inspection demands and to effect repairs.

i am simply unaware of any illinois case law, statute, or local ordinance anywhere in northern illinois that would prohibit a seller from sharing a copy of a prior inspection report. perhaps the law is different in the southeast....

gratuitous asides:

(1) i do agree that a seller is duty-bound to disclose all known material defects (including anything revealed by prior inspections), and
(2) yes, you really should have your own inspection anyway....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
1: The report belongs to the party that paid for it (usually the potential buyer)
2: The selling agent is correct unless she has written permission from the report owner (potential buyer)
3: don't know if she is "hiding" anything. She has a legal obligation to disclose any adverse defects that are made known to her but that is all. Seems she gave you a correct answer.
4: Bottom line: ALWAYS have your own inspection done. NEVER rely on any other parties reports. They may not have hired an inspection company that meets your standards and thus you would be taking a risk that a major issue was possibly overlooked. Sometimes the best advice is to spend a few hundred dollars for the peace of mind it brings. That can be very comforting to have in the long run.
Best of luck. Great question!
Tina Evans, Principal Broker
Web Reference: http://tinaevans.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 28, 2008
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