A buyer's home inspection report is typically shared with sellers
Q: As a homebuyer, I have to pay for the home inspection, and it seems unfair others in the transaction should receive copies of the report for free. Am I obligated to give report copies to the sellers and their real estate agent?
A: Two factors determine whether a buyer must provide the agents and/or sellers with copies of a home inspection report:
• Real estate purchase contracts usually stipulate that copies of reports be furnished to the other parties in the transaction. If your contract is so written, you are legally bound to make the report available.
• If you submit repair requests to the sellers, based upon the home inspector's findings, then the report will strengthen your negotiating position, and the copies you provide will serve your best interests.
Otherwise, the home inspector is your private consultant, and the inspection report is for your exclusive, confidential use.
Q: My parents are buying a new home and see no need to hire a home inspector. They say it's not necessary because the developer, who has a very good reputation, builds "nothing but quality." How can we convince them home inspections are beneficial for new construction? Everyone seems to think inspections are for resale homes only, but you've always recommended them for new houses as well. Could you please explain why?
A: Lamentations are often wept by regretful buyers who overlook the importance of home inspections for newly-built homes. Therefore, the subject deserves repeating.
In today's real estate market, many new homes are purchased without the slightest consideration of a home inspection. The common belief is that a new home, having just passed municipal inspection, could not possibly warrant further evaluation. That ill-advised idea is a snare to otherwise prudent homebuyers, and many have been sorely damaged by this unfortunate oversight.
The case for inspecting a newly-built home is sound and simple. The best homebuilders depend upon the workmanship, experience, skills and integrity of countless tradespeople and subcontractors in the course of a project. These workers, regardless of credentials and honorable motives, are essentially human. Like you, me and everyone else, they make occasional mistakes, regardless of commendable intentions or strivings toward exactitude. In the course of a project as large and complex as the assembling of a home, it is not possible to complete every last detail without error. There are always defects, regardless of the abilities and praiseworthy attributes of the builders, their associates, their employees, material suppliers and others. When a buyer hires a truly qualified home inspector, defects are inevitably discovered.
The price of a home inspection is probably one-tenth of one percent of the cost of a new home -- usually less. Common sense demands this final measure of consumer protection, rather than assuming that no defects or safety violations could possible exist. Eventually, this truth will attain the broad recognition it deserves. Until then, I shall declare from the newly-built rooftops that all new homes need to be inspected!
• To write to Barry Stone, visit him on the web at www.housedetective.com, or write AMG, 1776 Jami Lee Court, Suite 218, San Luis Obispo, CA 94301.
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