Home Buying in Seattle>Question Details

Berensma, Home Buyer in Seattle, WA

Is there any good reason for a seller to not share the results of their pre-inspection with a potential (serious) buyer?

Asked by Berensma, Seattle, WA Wed Aug 21, 2013

We are in the process of looking for a home to purchase. We have a place we are interested in, and know that the owners have conducted a pre-inspection and subsequently made repairs based on this. However, the sellers' realtor has let us know that the sellers prefer not to share the pre-inspection unless we have made an offer. Is this typical? How would you respond?

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Thank you so much everyone for sharing your input and experience! I am completely blown away by how helpful you were.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 21, 2013
Once you contract with your own inspector you will hear a number of reasons from them why it isn't prudent to share inspections with parties that were not present at the inspection:
1. There is a lot of verbal communication that takes place, or should take place, during the inspection. A pure read of the report can easily lead to misunderstanding.
2. There are severe limits of liability in the agreement between the person who purchased the inspection and the inspector. Someone who is not party to that agreement has no connection to the inspector and therefore no ability to question them.
3. Every inspector, every seller and every buyer will have a different interpretation of what is important in an inspection. Any combination change of the parties will create different results so it is best to meet with your own inspector, have your own conversations with them and reach your own conclusions about the results of that specific report.

Don't attempt to outguess why a listing agent or seller has responded in a specific way. Simply focus on how you interpret the results of the report that you pay for. Personally I think it is very generous of the seller to offer their report if you make an offer. I don't think that my inspectors would appreciate it.
Web Reference: http://www.nwhome.us
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 21, 2013
I don't think it is either typical or atypical, but I would advise not to speculate on potential reasons an owner would not want to share a pre-inspection. They may simply just value their privacy. It is a good sign that they are willing to share the report upon receiving an offer and I would agree that you should also do your own inspection and not rely on theirs, or their form 17, As long as you have not waived your inspection contingency, make the offer and review their report. You can always withdraw your offer and not lose your earnest money if you don't like what you see there.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 21, 2013
As you can see from all the responses, there are a variety of reasons and attitudes about pre inspections & why sellers may or may not want to share. I am glad to hear you acknowledge how helpful we all have been. A lot of people have a bad idea about real estate brokers.
If you are seriously looking to buy a home, I hope you have been pre approved with a lender & are working with your own buyers agent. Both are free & along with your own inspection, are highly recommended. If you need help with anything, feel free to contact me directly.

Good luck to you in any case,
Jirius Isaac
Isaac Real Estate Team
Champions Real Estate Services
TriStar Finance #MLO-107799
Office: 425-483-6849 Cell: 206-841-9976
Winner of Seattle Magazines 5 Star
Real Estate Agent Best in Client Satisfaction Award
Mortgage Loan Originator Best in Client Satisfaction
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 22, 2013
You will want your own inspection to protect you. The seller does not have to share anything especially with a buyer who has not made an offer or is not under contract. You can simply look on the seller property information report for a list of what has been repaired, then you can check the quality of the work.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 21, 2013
Thanks for you thanks! This is what we do all the time and all of us want you to have a successful experience! Very best wishes from all of us!
Flag Wed Aug 21, 2013
The seller is not obligated to disclose the contents of the pre-inspection, but they are obligated to disclose any known defects in the Seller's Disclosure Form. I wouldn't put too much trust in their inspection anyway. If you decide to move forward with an offer, review the Seller's Disclosure carefully before you spend your money on an inspection. Use the best inspector you can find. Like all professions, there are good ones and some that are less than good.
If they will share their inspection with you, once you place an offer you are still free to amend your offer in light of anything you learn there or through your own inspection, provided you have the right contingencies in your offer.
By ALL MEANS, DO NOT use the seller's agent. You need your own representation. You will save money, time and headaches by having a great broker on your team, looking out for your interests alone. Without written permission by the seller, the listing agent only represents the seller.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 21, 2013
The seller's are behaving reasonably. Put yourself in the seller's shoes. If the seller has made repairs, then the report may contain negative information that is no longer applicable. In general, inspection reports are intimidating to buyers. The purpose of an inspection report is to identify all the problems and faults with the property. Some issues may be small, while some may be major repair issues. Either way, an inspection report can leave a negative impression. I wouldn't want to share the report unless or until I had a serious buyer ---a buyer that had presented a bona fide offer. Don't be put off by the seller's refusal to share the report at this juncture. At this point, you're just a lookie-loo to the seller. If you're serious about making an offer, you should have your agent make review of the report a condition of your purchase. You'll find the seller will be happy to provide you with a copy of the report at that point. Problem solved.

Good luck with your decision.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 21, 2013
Usually, that is what the pre-inspection is for. I have posted them on websites for listings.

That said, maybe there are privacy concerns that the seller has. It may show how their alarm system works or other systems in the home that they don't want out for public consumption.

As a seller, I would not waste any time or effort on you unless you were at least serious enough to write up an offer. It only costs you the time to get it done.

Of course you will have a home inspection contingency, that you could waive if you thought the pre-inspection was objective and thorough.

So, if I was interested in the property, I would write an offer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 21, 2013
Interesting. Although anything that is revealed to them with an inspection could be subject to disclosure on the Form 17 (property transfer disclosure statement). But if they made repairs to those items then the information regarding those defects or work order items would become irrelevant..... You may want to contact an attorney to get an opinion on this issue. I'm thinking that there were problems or defects that were made apparent and that they had repairs done and don't want to bring attention to something that was fixed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 21, 2013
This is not typical. A seller should share the pre-inspection report. There is nothing to hide...eventually it will all come out when you (the buyer) pays for a home inspection.

Kim Spencer
Real Estate Broker
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 21, 2013
It's not atypical, but it's not the route I would take if I were the listing agent. It creates a suspicion right off the bat. If you really like the home, move forward with an offer. There will be many ways to back out if you find out any unfavorable information.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 21, 2013
You should always be prepared to do your own due diligence and get your own inspection. Their pre-inspection report was solely for the purpose of getting them ready to get the house on the market. It is not unreasonable for them to use that report only for their own efforts. They are obligated to disclose material facts to a buyer, but this does not include every minor and trivial issue (eg. burned out light bulbs,etc) that will come up in any complete inspection.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 21, 2013
Well, the point of a seller doing a pre-inspection is to be aware of any issues that may exist. To that point, they would typically want to correct whatever they possibly could. If you were my buyers, I would encourage you to hire out your own inspection to determine what any potential problems are and also to show you more about the property; where the water turnoff is, age of the furnace and all aspects of a property that you should be aware of as a purchaser. Any inspection is owned by whoever paid for it so they are not bound to share it but it is curious that you know that they did an inspection if they were not prepared to share it. So, again, if you are serious about this home, hire your own inspector and listen to all they have to say and make your decision based on that information. Best wishes!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 21, 2013
What does your agent suggest, Berensma?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 21, 2013
Make the offer, look at the inspection...and go from there.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 21, 2013
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