Does the seller have to submit a copy of her inspection report when requested by a potential buyer?

Asked by Ollivette Reed, Dallas, TX Sun Mar 8, 2009

The seller had an inspection done before she placed the home on the market for sale. She wrote that in her seller's disclosure. The buyer's agent is requesting a copy of the inspection,
Does the seller have to disclose that she had an inspection done?

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22
J R, , New York, NY
Sun Mar 8, 2009
BEST ANSWER
Good answer Deborah, I totally agree.
2 votes
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Tue Mar 10, 2009
Victor: what if the problems were fixed? "House has a leaky roof" Owner puts on new roof. Should the leaky roof inspection should be disclosed?
~~~~~~~~~
Good question... I totally agree with JR, who totally agrees with Deborah, who sorta agrees with Dunes.

I can haz best answer now?
3 votes
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Sun Mar 8, 2009
I would not advise my seller to provide a copy. Here's why. It's up to the buyer to perform due diligence for possible defects that are not known. It is the seller's responsibility to disclose any and all material facts to the buyer, as known or discovered at any time. The buyer should not rely upon the seller's report in lieu of his/her own due diligence.

Most inspectors have clauses in their agreements about how an inspection report can be distributed. Make sure the seller is in compliance, if the seller does provide a copy to third parties.

There are probably pros and cons in the decision to disclose the inspection. Most attorneys I know recommend against a seller inspection because it creates a potential liability for the seller no matter what the outcome. What happens if the seller's inspector misses something. Seller claims they had an inspection, but does not disclose a defect. Later, the buyer discovers this defect and suspects the seller knew. Perhaps the seller's inspector takes issue with an item that another inspector would not. Now, should the seller be presenting the item as a flaw/defect to the buyer. Some items are a matter of professional opinion. Example: vent placement for a furnace.

Anything that is known by the seller that could influence the value in the mind of a buyer needs to be disclosed. I would not provide the actual report, but would probably disclose it was performed, and even who performed it.
3 votes
Voices Member, , Benton County, OR
Mon Mar 9, 2009
BEST ANSWER
Good answer Deborah, I totally agree.
_________________________________
I totally agree with Deborah and J R and I want my Thumbs up now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Please ask another queston Ollivette so I can watch and agree with Deborah before that J R gets here.....

This time
Armchair Benchwarmer, Dunes
2 votes
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Mon Mar 9, 2009
Olivette,

If TX mandates that you must disclose the fact that you have had an inspection,you must. I did recommend that you tell buyers that you had the inspection.

To my knowledge, all states mandate that sellers disclose any known defects or problems. I did recommend that you disclose any and all pieces of information that are known to be a defect or problem.

If TX disclosure form instructs you to attach a copy of the prior inspection report, I would recommend that you find out if that is a request, a customary practice, or a legal requirement. If is is customary and you decline, that could send a signal of concern to a buyer. In an area where such practice was not customary, it may not have the same response. If is mandated by law that you release this report, obviously....comply.

Certainly, all sellers should disclose everything that is a known problem or defect. I recommend that, emphatically.

I stand behind my position in not recommending pre-sale inspections. I had lengthy discussions with several attorneys about this before I established my position and recommendation on this. I know that in some areas of the country. this was recommended as a marketing tool to assure buyers the home was in good condition. There are, obviously, people who think it's a good idea. I don't.

My example of the furnace vent was from real experience, but not from a seller pre-sale inspection. The buyer's inspector asserted the vent was improper. The furnace and venting was 2 yrs old. The sellers contacted the HVAC contractor who did the work, who said the general inspector knew far less about HVAC than he, and that it was proper and safe. Buyers sent in their own HVAC contractor for opinion, who said he concurred with the "recommendation" made by the general inspector. The seller obtained a second opinion from another HVAC contractor that stated that it was proper and safe.

I have seen enough inspection reports to know:

1) Good inspectors can still miss things.

2) Multiple inspection reports on the same property within a short time period will show much overlap, and also many differences.

3) Inspectors have been dead wrong on issues.

4) Two different inspectors can have passionately differing opinions on the same issue.

Olivette,
Comply with the law. Listen to recommendations of your local agent. Understand what is legally required vs. what is customary practice. Absolutely, disclose any facts that you know.

Best,
Deborah
2 votes
Lydia Player, Agent, Dallas, TX
Sun Mar 8, 2009
In Texas, the seller has a duty to disclose everything about the property- particularly the details of an inspection report. The seller's disclosure form, provided by the Texas Association of Realtors, even has a space where the seller must disclose any written inspection reports performed on the property in the previous 4 years and instructs the seller to attach a copy of the report.
It is reasonable that the buyer's agent ask for a copy of the report.
When in doubt, disclose.
Web Reference:  http://lydiaplayer.com
2 votes
Hello Lydia! Thanks for sharing this information. BTW, if anyone needs to fill out a “Seller's Disclosure Form”, I found a blank fillable form here: http://goo.gl/nPGog5. This site PDFfiller also has some tutorials on how to fill it out and a few related legal documents that you might find useful.
Flag Fri Jan 16, 2015
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Sun Mar 8, 2009
Jr,

It's a very good thing to agree with me. you get good votes that way. LOL! :-)

Deb
2 votes
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Tue Mar 10, 2009
I give Alan and JR a TU! (Dunes, too.)

Deb
1 vote
J R, , New York, NY
Tue Mar 10, 2009
Hey rockinblu,

Yes, you may certainly quote that. It's interesting that you were advised against pre-list inspections. When I first heard of this concept, for a fleeting moment, I thought....."what a great idea"....and then, I second guessed myself. I took the discussion to several attorneys and several inspectors. Every attorney advised against it. Most of the inspectors advised against it.
~~~~~~~~~~~~

I tend to agree with Deborah because IMO they are a waste of money. Most sellers are well-aware of their homes' conditions. Any buyer with half a brain will have their own report done anyway. IMO an pre-list inspection is like paying for an appraisal before you list: you know what your house is worth, you just don't want to admit it, LOL! On the other hand with a difficult seller it may be advisable in order for them to accept the reality of a home's condition. So I would say it would be a case by case basis, leaning towards don't do it.


Victor: what if the problems were fixed? "House has a leaky roof" Owner puts on new roof. Should the leaky roof inspection should be disclosed?
1 vote
Karen Wisne, Agent, Westerville, OH
Mon Mar 9, 2009
If there is anything on the inspection report that the buyer should know, then the seller is probably required to disclose that information, whether or not the actual report is shared. (check with a local r/e attorney on if they are LEGALLY required to share it)

If a buyer moves in and then later finds out that the seller knew about a defect in the home from the inspection ~ oohh trouble. Not to mention if the Realtor Knows about the inspection/defect also. ~~~ double trouble.

Why wouldn't the seller want to share the report is my question?
1 vote
Century 21 B…, Agent, College Station, TX
Mon Mar 9, 2009
They do in Texas! Texas sellers are required to provide copies of any inspection reports they have even when the reports don't show the property in the best light. It is always better to DISCLOSE so problems do not come up later.
Web Reference:  http://susanhilton.com
1 vote
Dennis Ander…, Agent, Garland, TX
Mon Mar 9, 2009
Ollivette,
As Lydia previously stated, Texas law requires the seller complete a disclosure form (i.e. TAR#1406) and attach copies of any written inspections.

Dennis.Anderson@century21.com
1 vote
J R, , New York, NY
Mon Mar 9, 2009
Aw, let's have a big group hug! :)
1 vote
Voices Member, , Benton County, OR
Mon Mar 9, 2009
I was just teasing two Pros I like seeing around.....J R I've never been mad at you, I leave that to all the reduce the commission people : )and Deborah, "not being sure of what I'm saying" is a common reaction to my answers/comments, I was just suggesting my answers are so weak that J R or anyone could get some BEST ANSWERS by just disagreeing with me

Sorry I was so confusing
1 vote
J R, , New York, NY
Mon Mar 9, 2009
Dunes, I got best answer when I agreed with Deborah in the second post on this thread, so it was way before anyone said anything about you being wrong. Whether Ollivette meant to do that or not, I don't know. I was once given best answer on another thread and subsequently the questioner said they did it accidentally! I don't think anyone except the person who asks the question can give out the best answer,but I may be wrong. If it makes you feel better I gave you thumbs up on all your posts, even the one where you got mad at me. :)
1 vote
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Mon Mar 9, 2009
I do think J R agreed with someone that I was wrong and got a Best Answer, but that's fairly common, a lot of people have done that......

===================================

Dunes,
Sorry, didn't follow this.....not sure what you are saying.

Deb
1 vote
Voices Member, , Benton County, OR
Mon Mar 9, 2009
Thank-you Deborah, I was just pouting because no one ever got a Best Answer for agreeing with me.

I do think J R agreed with someone that I was wrong and got a Best Answer, but that's fairly common, a lot of people have done that......
1 vote
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Mon Mar 9, 2009
Ok Dunes,

I gave you a TU, but only the question poster can give you a BA! :-)

Deb
1 vote
J R, , New York, NY
Mon Mar 9, 2009
It's a very good thing to agree with me. you get good votes that way.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It's nice to be nice to the nice, Deborah. :)
1 vote
Fred Herman, Agent, Staten Island, NY
Mon Apr 7, 2014
Well, lots of good points have been made.

Here's a few more:

While I agree that different inspectors are not going to agree on every item, for serious problems I don't think there will be much, if any, disagreement.

With the above point in mind, get the home owner to repair/fix the problem or factor it into the listing price. That's better than the buyer's inspector pointing out the problem(s), which will delay the deal, kill the deal or reduce the previously agreed to price if the buyer will make the repair, but usually the buyer will demand a price reduction 2 or 3 time what the repair will cost.

I think the inspection should always be made available to prospective buyers.
If the inspection dose not find any major problems that increases buyer confidence.
If the inspection did find major problems the owner can get them fixed or inform the buyer that the home is being sold with the defects and that the listing price has been reduced to factor in repair cost (the buyer is going to find out anyway when his/her inspector examines the home). Having estimates for the cost of the needed repairs would be beneficial.

I think a disclaimer statement is needed to accompany the inspection report. While I'm not an attorney, and I'm sure an attorney can state it a lot better than I have stated it below. something like:

(I would note on/add to the inspection report) The inspection report is being made available in "Good Faith" to give prospective buyers a sense of the home's condition and while it is believed accurate, the information it contains is not guaranteed. Further, the inspection was initiated and paid for by the current owner and or an agent of the owner. The report of the inspector's findings that is being made available should not be deemed as a replacement for the (prospective) buyer(s) hiring their own home inspector and or engineer to examine the property. Buyers are strongly advised to get the home inspected by a professional of their choice and should address any questions or concerns to their attorney.

The thrust of the above can probably be cut in half if written by an attorney. An once 5 min is used to it type out, it only needs to be printed or copied repeatedly as needed. So it's not a big deal to put it in use.

Why bother??? It's always better to know problems yourself (the home owner and or Agent) before someone else points them out to you.

Good Luck

fred herman
0 votes
Viktor Taush…, Agent, Dallas, TX
Mon Mar 9, 2009
Yes if there were problems pointed with the house.
0 votes
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Mon Mar 9, 2009
Hey rockinblu,

Yes, you may certainly quote that. It's interesting that you were advised against pre-list inspections. When I first heard of this concept, for a fleeting moment, I thought....."what a great idea"....and then, I second guessed myself. I took the discussion to several attorneys and several inspectors. Every attorney advised against it. Most of the inspectors advised against it.

Susan,

If it's law in TX that any copies of inspection reports be provided to prospective buyers, certainly, the property seller must comply. Then, I think it's a bad law, but fully support and encourage compliance. Are sellers also required to provide service records for appliances, and copies of receipts for home improvements? Why not? These may be more telling than an old inspection report. What happens if a seller did not keep these? If it's law that a seller complete a disclosure form and it is customary practice to attach a copy of an actual inspection report to the disclosure, but not a legal requirement, it becomes a matter of discussion between the seller and the listing agent.

Disagreeing with pre-sale inspections and disagreeing with providing them to a prospective buyer has nothing to do with any attempt to withhold factual data from a buyer or mislead anyone. And, it has nothing to do with hiding a report because it does not show a property in the best light. I agree that all sellers anywhere should disclose. No disagreement there. My cautions about the pre-sale inspection are detailed elsewhere on this thread.

Deb
0 votes
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