does broker have to tell you why a previous deal on a house fell through if it had to due with the home inspection that was done on the home?

Asked by Larry, New London, CT Tue May 10, 2011

i have an offer on a home that came about due to a buyer backing out 2 weeks ago for unknown reasons. i called to set up an inspection on the house. the comany informed me that they just inspected the place 2 weeks ago? if the inspection was the reason for the buyer backing out of deal does the broker or owner have to tell me if there were things that showed up in the report that were negative and might cost me serious money if i were to purchase the house?

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Rachelle Kni…, , Orange, MA
Tue May 10, 2011
They are legally obligated to inform you of any factual information they have or material defects that they are aware the house has. So if the inspector said "This water damage is from the roof, because the roof leaks" the agent has to tell you that.
The inspection company will be able to point out all the problems they found for the previous buyer, but may not be able to give you any info without being hired to do another inspection (the results are the property of their customer, so they can't always share them). It's also possible that the previous folks deal fell apart over financing or an appraisal issue, too.

Ask the agent why the buyer backed out. Ask any questions you think of. Then ask more questions. Then try to think of some more to ask, too. If you forget the answer, ask again. If it seems like a dumb question, ask anyways. A homebuyer can NEVER ask too many questions!
1 vote
Robert Adams, Agent, Henderson, NV
Mon Aug 3, 2015
In my market Las Vegas the seller is required to disclose all defects and needed repairs in the Seller's Real Property Disclosure (SRPD) form. If your offer has been accepted they are required to provide you with this disclosure. Check the date on the disclosure and make sure they have given you an updated one since their last inspection. If it has a more recent date it should include the defects found in the inspection report.

If the seller refuses to disclose the needed repairs etc the seller can be held liable for up to 3 times the cost of the repairs.

I am sure some local experts can advise you on your market as well.
0 votes
Anne Meczywor, Agent, Lenox, MA
Sun Aug 2, 2015
Real estate professionals must tell you anything they know about any material fact they have about the home. If a licensed home inspector, or a licensed tradesperson, brings to their attention a flaw, yes, it must be disclosed. However, most licensed agents these days will not follow around home inspectors for that very reason. Otherwise, they would be in the position of having to disclose a veritable laundry list of defects on every house they have inspected. The home inspector works for the buyer, so normally the buyer, and perhaps their agent, has access to that report. If a particular safety or structural issue comes to light, the buyers will either back out of the deal or will try to negotiate the repair or a reduction in price. Typically, the buyer's agent will provide appropriate pages of the home inspection regarding these specific items, but not the entire report. If the buyer and seller cannot come to terns on the problem, and the deal comes apart, the listing agent is required to disclose what they know to be true. However, it the "flaw" is one stated by a non-professional (like a wonderfully concerned uncle offering his opinion), or out of the tradesperson's area of expertise (for instance, and electrician having an opinion on the condition of the roof), then the seller is not obligated to disclose such opinions.
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Melissa Manc…, Agent, Plainville, MA
Fri May 13, 2011
Hi Larry,

In MA, SELLERS through their Realtors, (slight technicality) are required to disclose any knows material defects that could adversely affect a buyer’s decision to move forward with a purchase of a particular property. Even if the seller discourages their agent to be forthcoming, their agent is required to disclose what is known to be defective. Realtors are required to follow their clients “lawful” instruction and this matter would not fall into the category of a lawful instruction. Hope you find this helpful.
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Territory.c…, Agent, MA,
Wed May 11, 2011
Yes, if it fell through because those buyers found a defect in the home they legally have to disclose that going forward. Maybe mention that to the broker. I hope you have an exclusive buyer broker representing you on this purchase and not the listing agent. That will help a tremendous amount.
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Christine Mo…, Agent, Wilbraham, MA
Wed May 11, 2011
They could have asked for inspection repairs for everything found wrong and the seller said no. Ask the inspector to tell you what he found at the last inspection and ask the realtor why this wasn't disclosed. If that company did the inspection and found a reason to back out you should stuick with that company becaus they did a good job.
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Roxanne McCa…, Agent, Stockbridge, MA
Tue May 10, 2011
As another agent replied, defects KNOWN to the listing agent (or your buyer's agent, if you have one) must be disclosed. However, the inspection report belongs to the previous buyer who paid to have the inspection done and the report does not need to be shared with the seller or listing agent. The listing agent may not be aware of everything in the report and the associated costs to repair any defects (also not in the report but the buyer may have estimates). The buyer need not be specific regarding the reason for withdrawing the offer due to inspection. They can simply inform (or have their attorney inform), in writing, that they are withdrawing their offer based on the home inspection contingency.

In any event, you should have your own inspection done, since conditions can change; either for better OR worse. For instance, pipes can spring leaks osince the previous inspection, or repairs/improvements may have been done.

Roxanne McCaffrey, Broker Associate, Century 21 Franklin Street Associates
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David Cooper, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Tue May 10, 2011
I can't understand why the previous home inspection company devulged to you they had done an inspection on the house. I would hire another inspector. Plus things can happen in 2 weeks that makes the previous inspection outdated, like pipes springing leaks, leak roofs falling apart.

David Cooper..Las Vegas Foreclosure Investor in Bank Owned REOs with Cash Flow. email or call for FREE daily list. +1-7024997037 not a real estate agent
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Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Tue May 10, 2011
They do not have to tell you the reason why, they do have to disclose any known defects. however you need to ask specific questions though, they do not have to volunteer what you do not ask.. Such as did the furnace pass, did the roof pass, the electric, well pass, septic passetc etc etc.
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