A Home Inspector Sometimes Deals with Difficult Realtors and Disclosure Requirements

A Home Inspector Sometimes Deals with Difficult Realtors and Disclosure Requirements


            Life would be simpler for a home inspector if all he had to do was examine your home thoroughly and give you a comprehensive report on its condition. But things don’t necessarily work out that way.


            Home inspectors and realtors don’t always think the same way about the disclosures that need to be made on a house. It’s your home inspector’s duty to let you know all you should know about the home you’re selling or buying.


But some realtors don’t get it. What they need to realize is that home inspectors aren’t the ones who kill deals. That happens when buyers and sellers fail to negotiate the terms of the sale.


            Now and then a home inspector has to educate both the realtor and you, his client, about the ethical and legal requirements involved when a property is inspected. You need to know about the problems a home has, and deliberately overlooking something will lead to greater problems down the road. Lawsuits might result, and you’d think everyone involved would want to avoid that possibility.


We’ve all heard realtors emphasize “Location, location, location.” But when it comes to home inspection and making transactions as trouble free as possible, the formula needs to be “Disclose, disclose, disclose!”


            These matters have to be dealt with constructively. Here are some examples of how differences between the realtor and home inspector might be resolved.


            In one instance a Sellers House was built in the 1950’s when GFCI outlets were not a code requirement. The realtor wanted to know why it was stated in the inspector’s report that they should be installed. 


A home inspection is not necessarily a code-compliance inspection. That depends on state and local regulations. But the clients’ safety is a number one priority. Therefore, it’s a good idea for an inspector to recommend the latest new construction code safety requirements. That includes GFCI’s on every property. An informed client can make his own decisions about having these safety features.


            In another case, the question arose as to why the mention of dried moisture stains on the garage ceiling was included in an inspection report. Quite simply, the client needed to know about moisture stains and what they might imply. There could have been a roofing or plumbing leak in the past. Stains should be looked into further by a licensed specialist. Any home buyer will want to know what previous repairs have been made.


Drywall stains may call for what’s called destructive testing. That means removing the drywall to determine the cause of the leak. Moisture from somewhere may be causing damage, or mold could be present.


            Another situation came up where an inspector’s report was questioned because the presence of asbestos was revealed. The recommendation called for replacing the ducts. This could have been a real deal killer.


But again, it’s a home inspector’s job to see to the safety of the client. Asbestos is a “hot button” issue, and any time it’s found, it should be evaluated further by a licensed asbestos abatement contractor.


The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) says that if asbestos is not damaged or duct material is not friable then it (may) be safe. A licensed asbestos contractor would be able to make this determination. It should be the choice of an informed client as to what should be done, but she won’t know if the inspector doesn’t report the problem.


One of a home inspector’s top priorities is to protect his client and everyone involved in the transaction, and realtors should be aware of that. Failure to make proper disclosures can lead to lawsuits that will cost more than the realtor’s commission on a deal.


As for you, the home inspector’s prospective client, be sure you choose to do business with ethical realtors who prefer full disclosure from a home inspection.


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