Twice now, agents have refused to show us "home inspections on file", saying it will be given at closing

Asked by Johanna, Alhambra, CA Sat Oct 3, 2009

One had an added comment that some work had been done. This refusal set off red flags and
was a deal killer in both cases, for us. Does this not fall under full disclosure in a timely manner?

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Emily Knell, Agent, Huntington Beach, CA
Sat Oct 3, 2009
It is rare that a seller will have a home inspection performed prior to putting a home on the market and I don't think it would be helpful to have a home inspection from an owner especially if the inspection was performed more than a year to several years ago.

An agent "refusing" to give up information that could be useful to a buyer, I believe to be unethical.

The only thing the seller MUST provide to you is a Transfer Disclosure Statement, this is NOT a replacement of you ordering your Own inspection. This document is only "to the best of the sellers knowledge". In my opinion, it doesn't mean squat.

The seller must provide you this Transfer Disclosure statement within 5 days of contract acceptance.

***Please always order your Own home inspection.
1 vote
William Tong, Agent, Arcadia, CA
Thu Sep 27, 2012
Hi Johanna!

It's always safest for buyers to hire their own home inspectors. This way, you get the most up to date status of the property. Unless you've entered escrow and your purchase agreement explicitly says that you are going to get home inspections on file, there is no real obligation to provide past inspections. If they're refusing to provide mandatory disclosures, then walk... no run away as fast as you can :)

I'd appreciate it if you picked my answer as the "best"!

Good Luck!

Golden Land Investments & Financial, Inc.
DRE #01903501
0 votes
Dp2, , Virginia
Sat Feb 27, 2010
First, unless you truly understand how to read a home inspection report to find the critical issues, having a copy of the inspection(s) on file probably won't help you as much as you might think.

Second, although I also typically will ask for copies of any inspection/appraisal/survey reports on file, I do it more as a tactic to help me gauge how forthcoming a seller and his/her agent is. If the selling party balks or wants to delay, then indirectly they're telling me they're trying to hide something, so I instruct my inspectors/appraisers/surveyors to be more thorough and dig deeper.

Third, since you have no idea whether the seller hired a bozo who doesn't know how to conduct a proper inspection, it's much better for you to hire your own inspector. This way you get to interview and screen several of them until you find the right one for you. It's not enough to find a good inspector; you need to find one that can also thoroughly write up a report that you understand.
0 votes
John Barry, Agent, Eagle Rock, VA
Sat Feb 27, 2010
Hi Johanna,

As other agents here have mentioned, you should ABSOLUTELY get your own home inspection, regardless of whether the seller provides you with a copy of a previous report. It is worth the small investment to uncover any potential problems that could become big expensive problems later. In California, sellers are required to provide buyers with full disclosure on the property, including providing copies of any previous inspection reports in their possession. And as Max mentioned below, the fact that they are refusing to show the report to you would most certainly be a red flag to me. Good luck in your purchase and find a good inspector!

John Barry
DRE #01856079
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Cell: 323-810-7976
Web Reference:
0 votes
Max Goodgion, , Camarillo, CA
Thu Jan 14, 2010
The only way a home inspection would be available would be if the seller had one conducted for his use in preparing the house for sale. If the seller was not prepared to show the report, he/she shouldn't have placed the home on the market. The report is not a requirement of full disclosure, only knowledge of any known defects. Since you don't know what the report says however, you don't know whether there are any and it does appear that something is being concealed. I think refusal to show an existing inspection report, would (and probably should be) a red flag for most potential buyers. With that being said, even if you saw the report and everything was hunky-dorry, you should have your own inspection conducted if you want to write an offer.
0 votes
Dave Sutton, Agent, Portland, OR
Thu Jan 14, 2010
I always recommend that my sellers get a home inspection because it identifies any significant items that might be an issue for a buyer. Then the seller can decide to either fix the issue, or identify it to the buyer and show a credit to buyer at closing.

To put that in a simplified (but real in my experience) example: If the seller's home inspection finds that the drain piping from the sink & dishwasher was not done to code (when the dishwasher was installed several years back), and it would take $500-$700 to correct it, the seller's option is to either spend the money to fix it, or credit the buyer that much at closing.

That goes to the question of what is an "as is" sale. In short, ALL sales are "as-is" UNLESS the seller and buyer agree otherwise. See my blog post at…
0 votes
Michael Barr…, Agent, Irvine, CA
Sun Oct 4, 2009
Hi there Johanna, You need to get your own home Inspection.
Ask your agent to help you

Michael Barron
0 votes
Joe Nernberg, , Calabasas, CA
Sun Oct 4, 2009
Great advice from Emily. I suggest you document this refusal for full disclosure and write in "under duress" regarding contingency removal. The listing agent should notify his/her E & O insurance provider that somethin' is coming down the pike.
0 votes
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