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Ask Phyllis: Do Pre-Inspections need to be disclosed?

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Dear Phyllis,

We have lived in our 85 year old home for forty years. Last year, on the advice of our Realtor® we had a pre-inspection done prior to putting it on the market. We listed it in September and our agent was pushing us to accept an offer from a flipper before we even had one open house.  Because we weren’t sure whose side our agent was on and cancelled the listing. As we still want to sell our home and need to know if pre-Inspections need to be disclosed. Although the inspector was a real nitpicker we fixed some of the items before we listed. Other items the inspector noted were ridiculous such as that our hot water heater is old, (even though it works fine).


Nothing to hide

Dear Nothing to hide,

I understand that you paid for the pre-inspection for your benefit. Once in escrow, you are required by law to disclose to your buyer material facts regarding defects, deficiencies, etc. within the time frame specified in the California Real Estate Purchase Contract. Pre-Inspections need to be disclosed. So what’s the simplest way to disclose the items on the report?  You could hire this inspector to come out and re-inspect the home, this time he could omit the items which have been repaired. Both reports would then be disclosed to the buyer.

Providing an inspection report to the buyer during offer negotiations, should avoid the need for any renegotiation after the buyer conducts his own inspection. Likely, your buyer will hire their own inspector to check the home. Their inspector will also note that the water heater is near the end of its life span.

Or you could copy all the defects and deficiencies noted on the report and make notes of which items were repaired, by whom and when. Remember if you overlook an item on the report you may have liability at a later date.

I am not an attorney, but am concerned that if you fail to disclose this inspection, you may have a big liability, especially if the buyer were somehow (and it has happened) to end up with a copy of your pre-inspection. When it comes to disclosures, it’s better to be safe than sorry.



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