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disneyluvr

Home inspection question

9 years ago

We had an accepted offer on our house, and prior to the home inspection, we touched up the paint on the exterior corner boards. Our neighbor called the potential buyers and told them that we were obviously covering up something and that made the buyers no longer want the house. Our agents agreed with the buyers that painting before an inspection was perceived as deceptive. I said we do touch ups every Spring outside, and regularly inside. One of our agents told me that if I did any painting before a showing, that is deceptive. When the last house we sold was inspected, things that needed paint were the main deficiencies, so we had hoped to minimize the deficiency list and were not planning to "pull a fast one."

Comments (47)

  • 9 years ago

    You agent doesn't seem to be working for you. I agree, touch up painting is normal, except, I would touch up before listing, not before inspection. Your neighbor knows, the prospective buyers? This "sale" is done, work to find another buyer, maybe a better agent who works for you also.


  • 9 years ago

    Thanks for your advice, cmarlin20. It's a small area, so I guess our neighbors do know the potential buyers. It was pretty discouraging to have our sale fall through, and find out how our next door neighbor felt at the same time. We live in a small subdivision, and the previous house we lived in is a couple doors away. Those owners have no issues with the home we built and sold them. We have a very friendly relationship. The house we currently are trying to sell, was built on the last vacant lot in the street. It is next door to the neighbor who made the phone call. She was very angry that we "took" the lot that her kids played on. When we were building, she would tell us that her son would cry and say, "why did they take my lot?"and she would have to tell him, "I don't know why they did that to us." I probably should have broke it to her then that it was never their lot because they had never purchased it!


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  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Wow, well, I would probably have backed out too...not because of the paint, but because of the neighbor!

    Stories like this make me mad. People are so messed up. Her son is going to grow up to be a piece of work too.

    If she had wanted that lot for her kid she should have bought it. That's what some people down the street from us did. But she was too cheap I guess, on top of what else she is...

  • 9 years ago

    Thanks, jn3344 and jewelisfabulous. We live in Nova Scotia, and we have had record breaking snowfalls this winter. Last week was the first time we could see the bottom of the corner boards all winter. My husband works in the commercial construction industry, and deals directly with the inspector on those projects. Final paint touch ups just before or even during an inspection are a regular occurrence.


  • 9 years ago

    I think I hate your neighbour. How dare she say what she did to her son instead on simply explaining in an upbeat way that "A nice family has bought the block next door and are going to build a house on it and live here too!" Her son now feels hard done by, wronged, instead of realising that his mother is not the brightest bird in the forest.

    But I do feel that any touch up jobs should have happened before inspections and not after. Not just to appeal to more people, but so that what the prospective buyers were seeing is what they were going to get.

  • 9 years ago

    Could you please do me a favor? I am planning to sell my current home in the next 6 to 9 months, could you ask your agent if he thinks its too late for me to paint my house? How long after painting should we wait to have an inspection? This is a ridiculous load of crap. Firing your realtor is solid advice.


    He should have laughed at the buyers and asked them the difference between a house painted a week before the inspection and a few days before the inspection. It is not abnormal at all to fix issues that are noticed as they are noticed when you are selling your house. What if your heat stopped working, do you think the buyers would want you to not fix it? God forbid you have a leaky faucet or something.


    jn3344 is right though, no one wants to live by your neighbors. I am really not a good person some days, if it were me I would find a local home and garden show, attend and sign up your neighbors for every single free drawing there.

  • 9 years ago

    It's unethical to cover up a problem. It IS not unethical to fix something so that no one sees a problem that doesn't exist. After my house "failed" an inspection, I went around with a tube of (color matched) caulk and touched up any place where it had cracked or separated. I guess it could be interpreted that I was covering up a water problem, but I was simply making sure the inspector didn't think there was a water problem that there wasn't.

    You did nothing wrong. Your neighbor is nuts. How did she even know how to contact the potential buyers? Seems so odd.

  • 9 years ago

    Maybe the real reason the buyers backed out is because they didn't want to live next door to your meddling neighbor!

  • 9 years ago

    bry911, your comments are so true and they gave me a much needed laugh! I agree with you, Butternut, that covering up a problem is unethical. I don't know how the neighbors knew who to call. Our agent said, "they called the buyers and said they knew something was up because they saw (my husband) outside with a can of paint." Our agent said they no longer trusted us as a result of this call. I think eaga may be right that they backed out because of our neighbor. A few years ago, the neighbors on the other side of her put their house up for sale, and she lined junk piles up along the property line. The house for sale was beautiful and immaculate inside and out. Those homeowners disagreement came about when the meddling neighbor cut their tree down because her landscaper said it should be pruned. To be clear, the meddler cut her neighbors tree down!

  • 9 years ago

    Wow! What a neighbor!

    I would be tempted to add "perfect for Rock Bands" to my For Sale sign. :)

    Good luck.


    ML


  • 9 years ago

    How did the neighbor know the name of the potential buyers?

  • 9 years ago

    geoffrey_b
    How did the neighbor know the name of the potential buyers?

    disneyluvr
    I don't know how the neighbors knew who to call.


  • PRO
    9 years ago

    time for new agent

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Your neighbors have probably committed something called tortious interference, or an intentional interference with a contract. In Nova Scotia I believe the small claims limit is 25,000. If it were me I would Sue the neighbors, you can probably do the whole thing including subpoenas and depositions for a couple hundred bucks, and 3 or 4 hours on the internet. Understand that you are probably going to lose, but you are going to scare the hell out of your neighbors, the judge will probably climb all over your neighbor even if you lose and warn her not to do it again. The great thing is that Canada is a little bit more serious about economic torts than the U.S.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Spend a few hundred dollars and time suing, thinking you're going to lose anyways, and hope that the judge tells them off?!?
    No offense, but that just seems ridiculous to me. Maybe it's because I'm Canadian and we aren't nearly as sue-crazy as Americans are portrayed to be.
    Plus it seems like it would back-fire. If you lose then that gives the neighbour justification that they did nothing wrong even if the judge wags their finger at them.
    But admittedly I have no experience in this field.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    If they sabotaged you once, what is to stop them from doing it again? A few hundred dollars pales in comparison to the loss the OP has probably already suffered. I think Americans are far too litigious but that doesn't mean you shouldn't use the legal system for the protection that it was designed for. I am not advising that you go out and get a free ride, just be allowed to conduct your business without the unlawful interference of others. It is probably cheaper and more effective to sue them in small claims court than it is to pay an attorney to write a letter to get them to stop. But you can go that route too (to be fair I would probably do the letter.) Having a judge tell you not to do something then turning around and doing it, is generally not great financial planning, and I didn't say you wouldn't be able to prove they did something wrong, just the court is not going to hand out any damages for a proximate cause case.

  • 9 years ago

    I doubt the painting caused them to back out. It was probably the realization that they would be moving next to crazy neighbors.


  • 9 years ago

    Yep it was most likely the terror of living next to crazy Mrs. Kravitz that killed the sale. Normal people are scared away from things like that. Here's to hoping your next buyer is a cash buyer who is so not normal. Your neighbor deserves that type of Karma.

  • 9 years ago

    Nobody should know the names of the potential buyers, except you and the agent. Ask the agent how they got the names? Time for a new agent.

  • 9 years ago

    There are any number of ways that the neighbour could have found out who the buyers were. Maybe they are friends. Maybe friends of friends. Maybe they talked to them when they showed up to look at the house. Maybe the buyers approached the neighbours. Maybe the neighbour knows the buyer's agent and contacted them that way. The list goes on and on.
    I really doubt that the listing agent gave the neighbour the contact info.


  • 9 years ago

    When you do an owner's disclosure on the property, and list known issues, do you also have to list a troublesome neighbor? It would be like saying that you live next to a fraternity house, a fault known to you. This is not a joke, my agent friend says yes, you should disclose it.


  • 9 years ago

    I'd say no because it's a personal opinion. One person's troublesome neighbour is another person's best friend.
    For example, in contrast, a leaky roof is an actual defect. Although I guess you could spin it and say that it's a natural indoor water feature. :)

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I can only assume that your agent friend didn't really understand the question. A troublesome neighbor is a not a fault with your home. While the fraternity next door might be a noise nuisance, a neighbor not liking you is a personal problem and no more related to the home than the fact that your allergies act up when you mow.

  • 9 years ago

    I thought "Freshly painted" was supposed to be a positive on listings.

  • 9 years ago

    disneyluvr said that it's a small area, so maybe that's how the neighbour knew the 'almost buyers'.

  • 9 years ago

    But if the neighbor worked to actively stop a buyer from purchasing, that pretty material.


  • 9 years ago

    The neighbor may not have known the potential buyers but may have known the realtor or the car they were driving may have had identification on it.

    Regular maintenance is a good thing, but it should be done before the listing goes active. Right before the inspection could be a cover up of something and for just the reason that there are people out there who will take anything the wrong way, it's probably better to let the inspector see the paint that needs to be touched up and touch it up. At that point it gives you something to "fix" for them.

    I have lived in two homes where things were covered up, but the one I live in now was definitely the worst. I have discovered mold and other signs of water leaks that were covered up. We have spent thousands correcting the problems and I would be angry if I thought someone was covering up something that needed a legit repair, but if I wanted to buy the house, I would have the inspector look extra close and I would talk to the seller about the questions raised. If in doubt, have the paint sanded off and the surface underneath inspected before backing out. That is, if the neighbor hadn't changed my views about wanting to live there.

    You agent is not working for you, but firing them could cause another backlash. If they feel they are unjustly losing a commission, they could talk about what happened in a bad way. If they were working for you, they should be able to tell the buyers and their agent that they looked over the home before listing and the home was very well maintained, that they have no concerns about the condition of the property. They could acknowledge that it might appear to some that there was a potential for something being covered up and the timing was unfortunate but understandable given the weather and then work to assure the buyers agent that they met with the seller and talked with them at some length before listing (or perhaps knew them before) and that deceit was not something to be concerned about. If there was still concern, they should suggest ways to allay their concerns by having the inspector or even a second inspection look specifically at that area -- even suggest removing the paint and looking underneath and agreeing to repair any dry rot or other issues if they should be found.

    But you can't do much about not wanting to live next to a neighbor who seems to stick their nose in everyone's business and has an axe to grind with everyone. Good luck with that.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Why are people saying that the agent is doing a bad job? The agent just said that painting right before an inspection could be perceived as deceptive. That is true. It could be perceived that way. They didn't accuse the seller of actually being deceptive.
    And we have no idea what the listing agent did to try to save the sale. Maybe they bent over backwards trying to convince the potential buyers that there was nothing amiss. And maybe the buyers still decided to back out.
    Or did I miss something?


    sushipup1

    But if the neighbor worked to actively stop a buyer from purchasing, that pretty material.

    But again, one person's "trying to stop the sale" is another person's "trying to be a good (future) neighbour by pointing out some potential problems". If you successfully sued them for interfering, then I could see the argument that there is material evidence that they are troublesome. But even at that point, it could just be a personal quarrel between two people. There's no proof that the neighbour will have a problem with the new owners.

  • 9 years ago

    The agent is not doing their job if they did nothing to try to remedy the misunderstanding but just told the seller that painting before a showing or inspection was or could be deceiving. The paint is on the house now and, and having already had that issue, it is their job to try to clear up any misunderstandings or concerns a potential buyer might have. If we are just talking about a little paint, that really shouldn't be hard to do and it doesn't sound like the agents were making the attempt. Maybe we didn't hear it, but I would expect more that what I've heard so far.

    The neighbor sounds like someone who winds up having an issue with anyone. Problem is, the bigger stink you make over it, the more you prove it is a problem. And you probably wind up looking like a problem too.

  • 9 years ago

    I am making some assumptions here. The first is that you had a signed sales contract. Second, that you had the normal contingency arrangement. There is not normally a right of rescission for accusations without evidence. They have to have the inspection, present you with a list of items which they need addressed and give you an opportunity to address them. Buyer's still have ways to kill the deal through financing or unreasonable repair requests but they are not easy.


    There are many ways your realtor could have addressed this problem in order to reassure the buyer that nothing has been covered up. Things that come to mind include, offering to pay for additional professional inspections, home warranties and insurance, escrow accounts for possible future problems, etc. Your agent might have attempted these things but I think we have assumed that he simply agreed with the buyer.


    I have said it before (even recently) and I will say it again. Realtors can be great assets when buying or selling homes but they also add friction to communications between buyers and sellers. I suspect your realtor knows that they backed out because you have a crazy neighbor and is giving you the line because it was the line he was given and he is not communicating the subtext to you. I can't imagine that any realtor will accept this flimsy excuse unless he knows more than he is telling you.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Okay, so everyone that's saying the agent isn't doing their job is just assuming that? Because I don't read anything that the OP said that would indicate that. Granted, they also don't say that the agent bent over backwards either, but I wasn't claiming that. I was just saying that we don't know. I was just confused because so many people were saying to drop the agent so I thought that maybe I missed something that the OP said.

    They have to have the inspection, present you with a list of items which
    they need addressed and give you an opportunity to address them.

    That's not true. They don't have to give the owner a chance to fix anything. They can just walk.But I agree that they probably have to actually have the inspection.

    But I don't think that the inspection even has to be by any kind of certified person (unless that's actually specified in the contract, but I don't think that's typical). Drunk uncle Bob could come along and "inspect" the house and say that it's crap and they could back out.

    By the time people get to the inspection part, usually both parties want the deal to happen. So usually any problems that arise are negotiated. But that contingency can easily be used to get out of a contract even if the real reason for wanting to cancel it is something else.

  • 9 years ago

    The neighbor sounds like someone who winds up having an issue with anyone.

    And just to clarify my stance. I wasn't trying to say that the neighbour isn't a nightmare. I'm sure they are and will be one for the next owners as well. My comments about "one person's troublesome neighbour is another's best friend" were directed at sushipup's question about having to legally disclose a problem neighbour.

  • 9 years ago

    I agree with that. The neighbor is not a defect in the house. We sold a home next door to a crazy woman and a couple who would tell you they didn't care about the truth -- anything you can say or do and not get caught is good. We offered to help her fix a landscaping drain while her husband was out of the country. She refused, but later sued us for drainage issues. When the judge found out she not only refused our help but basically wanted us to prevent water from running downhill (her house backed to a pond and was the low point), the case was dismissed. She mostly stayed hidden and to herself, so it wasn't the same kind of issue, but still -- I wouldn't consider her a defect with my house. Didn't matter -- they divorced and the house went into foreclosure.

  • 9 years ago

    Here is a standard inspection contingency. They always note that the inspector must be professionally licensed in some way, most also note a repair procedure. I will not sign an agreement that lets buyers back out for minor repairs. Some people use dollar amounts, others use a percentage of sales price. The full approval of inspection clause should not get through anymore. If it did I stand by my bad realtor remark.

    The buyer shall have ____________ calendar days (unless otherwise declared by law) from the date this contract is fully endorsed, to have professional inspections performed by licensed/certified inspectors or contractors. Inspection of the property may include, but is not limited to, general home inspection, survey, structural, termite, wood infestation, fungus, septic/sewer, mold, radon, and lead-based paint hazards. If the buyer does not present the seller any professional inspection reports identifying defective conditions before the expiration of the time frame stated herein (or declared by law), the property shall be consider in acceptable condition and the repair requirement below shall not apply.

    Provided it will not exceed a cost of $____________________, the seller agrees to correct/repair the defective condition(s) reported in any such professional inspection reports. If correction/repair of such defective condition(s) exceeds the amount stated herein and the parties cannot reach an agreement addressing such repair(s) to the satisfaction of the buyer, the buyer shall have the option to accept the property “as is” or cancel this contract.


  • 9 years ago

    Bry911, your generalization that all agents introduce friction into a transaction in just that; a generalization. In fact, one of the most common parts of my job is to reduce the fears, anxiety, concerns and emotions of all involved.

    And your example of a "Standard" inspection clause is ridiculous, as there is no such thing as "standard" in RE. Here in NC, we do not even have an inspection contingency. We have a Due Diligence Period, where the buyer can terminate the contract for any and or no reason during this period. The buyer and seller agree up front how much the buyer is willing to pay to the seller for this time period. A check is given to the seller directly as soon as the contract is executed. The seller keeps this money if the buyer walks. Its a great way to arrange a contract, as it gets rid of the argument of what is or is not in working order, what a repair costs or not, what is structural / mechanical vs. what is cosmetic and on and on...

    The language above referring to the "repairs not exceeding $X amount of dollars only gets the parties into trouble as one repair that costs the seller $100 will almost always cost the buyer $500. A Due Diligence Period gets rid of all these problems.

    As far as this particular OP problem, I can guarantee you that there is much more to the story here that the seller has yet to explain. Buyers do not cancel a contract because of fresh paint covering good wood. Not enough detail here and way too many assumptions to start going off on the many tangents presented above. And it would also raise a red flag to me if I saw a seller painting or repairing right before an inspection.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Maybe I am doing a bad job explaining what I mean by friction. Friction exists in all agency relationships but it is very noticeable in real estate where the agency relationship is temporaneous. If you have ever played the game telephone then you have witnessed this first hand. The problem with the friction is that you can't remove it, and while sometimes manageable, the extreme measures that realtors exercise to separate buyers and sellers serve to increase it. The friction goes something like this, I tell you a list of things that are very important to me, you will filter that through your experience to paint a picture, that picture will be different than mine. It always is, and always will be. You will then talk to another agent who does the same thing, who will talk to the other party who does the same thing, then the chain reverses. By the time one party gets an answer from the other party the message has changed. That is communication friction. There are hundreds of peer reviewed studies on it and even the National Association of Realtors acknowledges it.

    While there is not a "standard" the clause that I put forward is a typical clause for most of the US and Canada where the seller is. I don't believe there is a due diligence law in Canada nor in most states ( I know that Georgia and North Carolina have one, but they are certainly not the norm.) For most of the U.S. and Canada there are basically two options, full approval of the inspection or agreed upon dollar amount. Both have strengths and weaknesses. The great thing about full approval is that the buyer can walk away at any time, just by saying the house doesn't meet my requirements. The problem being is that the seller can refuse to fix anything. You have no power to enforce even minor repairs, the seller may simply refuse. And, since the house stays on the market (in an under contract status) they can still get buyers interested. With predetermined repair limits the seller MUST fix items under the repair cost cap. When I sold I listed that cap at $3,000, I could not refuse to fix anything under that amount and the sellers can demand up to $3,000 of relief for items that are over the cap.

    As far as due diligence periods they were designed to allow sellers to give consideration for the right to back out of a contract. In North Carolina and Georgia they are negotiated time periods during which the buyer can simply walk away from the deal BUT the buyer must forfeit any amount negotiated as a due diligence payment. The law, at least as written, was intended to add security to both parties. I assume that you do negotiate some amount to fulfill the consideration requirement.

  • 9 years ago

    For most of the U.S. and Canada there are basically two options, full
    approval of the inspection or agreed upon dollar amount. Both have
    strengths and weaknesses. The great thing about full approval is that
    the buyer can walk away at any time, just by saying the house doesn't
    meet my requirements. The problem being is that the seller can refuse to
    fix anything. You have no power to enforce even minor repairs, the
    seller may simply refuse.

    Then I'd say the the "full approval of the inspection" is the standard (if there is a standard), not the agreed upon dollar amount. I've never heard of that option before. The "full approval of the inspection" is basically what I described.
    I'll concede the 'certified' inspector or contractor part. But since some areas don't even require certification to be a contractor, then drunk uncle bob could claim he's a contractor because he built a deck once. And since it would be a waste of time to go after someone who backed out, I really doubt that the 'certified' part is ever actually checked or enforced. "Technically" it could be enforced, but in the real world I'd bet that it rarely if ever happens.


  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    First, someone can't claim to be an inspector and upon his word you are free of the contract. The courts have commonly upheld and stated many times that in all real estate transactions both the buyer and the seller "must act honestly, reasonably, and in good faith." They have also said that home inspections by unqualified inspectors violate the above standard of care, and are not sufficient. Now, they did not specifically say who is and is not qualified but they don't need to as they only need to apply the standard of reasonableness to it. That a reasonable person would accept the inspector as qualified.

    Now onto the other thing, traditionally courts have upheld that a full approval, or general inspection, clause is not sufficient in and of itself to terminate a contract. The buyer still must act honestly, reasonably, and in good faith. You can't just cancel the contract for minor repairs. Then in 2002 the courts kind of reversed that a bit in Marshall v. Bernard, which contained the language, "receipt of a report satisfactory to him, in his sole and absolute discretion." The courts basically said the language so plainly gave the discretion to the buyer that they upheld it. However, since Marshall v. Bernard two things have happened, (1) sole and absolute discretion has been stricken from most contracts because of the subjectivity. (2) The courts have now defined this as the minimum standard. In other words to really cancel the contract while not acting in good faith you must have those words or very similar words in your contract. Here is a general inspection clause I pulled off realtytimes

    This contract is contingent upon the buyer having the right to engage a professional inspector to determine the structure and condition of the house. The inspection shall be conducted and the contingency concluded within five working days from the date of acceptance of this contract. The inspection report must be satisfactory to purchaser, or all deposit monies will be immediately refunded and all contract obligations considered null and void.

    Notice it doesn't contain any words like "sole and absolute" that are necessary to cancel the contract at will. The buyer in this case will still be subject to a reasonableness test, and must be acting in good faith. Because of these things and other problems with general inspection clauses they are being replaced with a repair limit clause. The repair limit has no subjectivity to it, once your repairs hit a specified amount then the buyer can decline. Since almost any home repair will easily exceed $500 to $1,000 they actually afford the buyer more protection. Not to mention the added bonus of forcing repairs. The problem with a general inspection clause is what happens if your $600 of inspections return $700 of repairs and the seller says no? You are so vested in the house are you going to walk away?

    Edit: The reason that buyers can cancel the contract at will is simply because the sellers let them. And usually they should, I don't think it is very decent to make someone buy a house they don't want, however, I don't think the sellers are always undamaged in the exchange. But many of the things that people take as their right are realistically just a testament to the goodwill and decency of others.

  • 9 years ago

    I'm not arguing the 'letter of the law'. I'll concede to you that everything you said might be true. Your final paragraph is basically what I'm trying to say. In the real world, buyers can back out easily for no reason and there are no repercussions to them. Would it hold up in court? Who knows and who cares because it's not going to court unless there's something rare and unique about the situation that makes it worth the seller's time. Or maybe if the seller is a trigger happy lawyer. :) Otherwise they'll just move on to the next buyer.
    I don't think the sellers are always undamaged in the exchange

    But they could be even more damaged by chasing the buyer into court. Even if they win, they lose. Better to just move on (usually).

    -------------------------

    Re: the repair limit thing

    The repair limit has no subjectivity to it, once your repairs hit a
    specified amount then the buyer can decline. Since almost any home
    repair will easily exceed $500 to $1,000 they actually afford the buyer
    more protection.

    So aren't you saying that the buyer can easily cancel the contract with this clause?

    But way up the thread you said:

    They have to have the inspection, present you with a list of items which
    they need addressed and give you an opportunity to address them.
    Buyer's still have ways to kill the deal through financing or
    unreasonable repair requests but they are not easy.

    So is it easy or not easy? I'm honestly not trying to be argumentative, I just want to get a clear view of what you're saying.

    ----------------------------

    Personally, I wouldn't want the repair limit thing. I don't want the sellers to repair anything. They're going to do the cheapest job possible. I'd rather knock a reasonable number off the price and fix it myself when I own the house. Or does the repair limit clause allow that to happen too?

    Plus, with the repair limit isn't every buyer going to claim the full amount? No house is perfect and there doesn't seem to be any reason to leave any money on the table. So a contract that's for $400k with a 3k repair limit inspection clause is essentially just a $397k contract with a 'reasonable' inspection clause. What's the difference?

  • 9 years ago

    Don't feel too badly. If it was really the paint that drove them away, there would have been some other ridiculous thing. I strongly suspect that they could not bear the thought of living next door to your neighbor, or that they really were not ready to buy.

    So.. maybe it is time to float the idea out to the small community that if you don't sell soon, you will be renting to a friend's teenaged son and his band. See if that gets back to your neighbor.

  • 9 years ago

    And not to belabor the "uncertified" vs "certified" inspector thing, but if I had an uncertified person point something out that I decided to use to cancel a contract, IF it went to court the seller could point out that they weren't certified but wouldn't they also have to prove that the person was wrong? Or would the judge say "Yep, the house is built on a sinkhole but the person who pointed that out doesn't have a rubber stamp so you have to buy the house!".
    Conversely, if the inspector was certified but wrong about something (happens all the time), couldn't the sellers prove that and it wouldn't matter that the inspector is certified?
    So in reality it's more about whether the issue is actually an issue as opposed to whether the inspector is certified or not. IF it actually goes to court.

    Or am I wrong and it really is just purely a blind certified/uncertified issue?

  • 9 years ago

    Or what if the buyer found the fault/discrepancy? You don't have to be a rocket scientist nor a certified inspector to realize potential problems that you would not want.

    And the problem with the Repair Limit contract is that the buyer and the seller never agree on the costs of the repairs. And what happens when you have a $3000 repair limit and the buyer finds $3001 in repairs but the seller finds a contractor to do it for $2999. Believe me, attorneys love this kind of vague contract and it is the main reason that NC got rid of ours and went to a Due Diligence period. Either the buyer wants the property after the Due Diligence Period or they don't. Cut and dry. Everyone knows up front what to expect.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    @ greg_2015 - As the buyer you still get the right to approve of the repairs as you would in any situation where the seller repaired. You can of course negotiate to do the repairs yourself and have a lot more leverage to do so. And to your other question - it is not a question of whether something is or is not wrong. It is a question of did you operate in good faith within the time period to get a qualified inspection. You can't simply say there was a defect, nor will proof of a defect work. It is a blind qualified/unqualified issue. The house must be inspected by someone qualified to inspect, or the courts assume that any defect you discover was a defect you should have known before the offer and therefor made the offer fully aware of the defect and did not act in good faith. The point of having the inspection and not having silly rights to cancel for no reason, is to get skin in the game. Sure a buyer can still usually ruin the deal, but he can't ruin it for no cost.

    @ ncrealestateguy - Read above, the buyer finding the fault will not suffice. There is no subjectivity in the repair limit contract. The seller pays for the problem and it will always be his right to pay less. You can probably demand the repairs are done by a licensed professional, and have a right to reinspect, so it behooves him to do the job sufficiently. But if you find repairs that are $3001, you will not automatically have the right to cancel. And for the seller he can refuse to do any repair really, simply by claiming it is too much but then the buyers can accept the deal with his $3000 (discount or allowance) and do it themselves.

    Furthermore, due diligence clauses are nothing new or really that special, I have been involved in many commercial contracts with due diligence clauses. However, they usually require consideration and they wind up in court just as often on commercial properties as transactions without them. The problem with the NC due diligence clause is that is allows a due diligence fee but doesn't require one. Georgia has a challenge right now to their due diligence law when a seller under contract sold to a third party and the court originally upheld that without the fee their was no consideration for the revocation right thus the seller could sell to the third party. Normally, due diligence clauses exist with an exchange of consideration and allow for cancellation by the buyer but he must sacrifice the due diligence fee. In essence they are just a right to cancel without cause, and since the right to cancel without cause has value, you must also give value (consideration) in return. Now I admit the courts are getting pretty lenient on consideration but we will see how this one turns out. I suspect it will be upheld.

  • 9 years ago

    In essence, real estate contracts and laws are designed so that all parties have a vested interest in the completion of the contract. The contingencies are there to protect the buyer and the seller. The courts don't want to force people to buy houses that have problems, but simultaneously they don't want people holding properties they have no real intention of buying. The reason courts require licensed inspectors has less to do with finding problems and more to do with assuring buyer's don't make offers on houses until they are committed to the purchase financially. The same thing goes with due diligence fees, etc.

  • 9 years ago

    the courts assume that any defect you discover was a defect you should
    have known before the offer and therefor made the offer fully aware of
    the defect and did not act in good faith

    I don't know about you, but I don't crawl into the attic and into crawlspaces to look for defects before making an offer. That's what the home inspection is for ... to take a closer look and find things that a cursory glance didn't reveal.

    And now you're saying qualified/unqualified not certified/uncertified. So what's the definition of qualified? Wouldn't anyone that points out an actual defect be the definition of a qualified person? So again, it comes back to whether it's an actual defect or not. I could see that if it's an obvious defect, that the court could say that you should have noticed it before making the offer. But wouldn't that be the case with a certified inspector pointing out an obvious defect too? I guess being certified would give your word more weight in a situation where the issue isn't black and white about whether the issue is an actual defect.

    And what about if the buyer IS an inspector or a contractor? Are they not allowed to have a home inspection contingency unless they pay someone else to do the inspection? They'd have no skin in the game otherwise. Or do they have to crawl around in the attic or crawlspace and spend hours in the house before they even make an offer. I'm not sure that seller's would like that.

    I'd hope that justice isn't actually blind and the judgment takes intent into consideration. But I guess I also hope that I'll never have to personally find out.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    In places and for items for which certifications exist then the inspector should be certified. For other items and areas the inspector should be professionally qualified. But neither answer is quite complete, the complete answer is that a reasonable person in an arms length transaction would find the individual had sufficient expertise to conduct the inspection.

    When you get down to asking about buyers who are inspectors. I really don't have an answer and anyone who says they do, is lying. The court will try to determine whether or not the buyer acted honestly and in good faith. In most cases the contract will say professional inspector. In any inspection contingency it is going to say that you have the right to engage inspectors to evaluate the house, doing your own inspection is not engaging inspectors. You have essentially violated the contract and once you have reached beyond the time allowed for you to engage an inspector your right to do so has ended. If you think that is bad, if you engage an inspector and he is in an accident on the way to the inspection and doesn't return until after the inspection period has lapsed then even if he finds huge problems and presents the problems to the sellers the next day (within the original time to present the results), you can't use the inspection clause to void the deal.

    A good way to think about any contract, especially real estate is: it's not about being right, it's about doing right.

    Edit: it should be noted that you can change the inspection clause, if you want you can give the pope, the president, yourself and your dog inspection rights. However, that can get messy because you are back to the question of good faith.