DEAR BOB: You were “right on” when you recently warned some realty agents recommend “easy inspectors” to their home buyers, knowing those inspectors are unlikely to discover any “deal killer” defects. As a 14-year realty agent, I commend you for that warning. Although I’ve never been sued by an unhappy home buyer, I’ve seen my fellow agents sued for alleged failure to disclose home defects to their buyers. That’s why I always (1) recommend my buyers include professional home inspection contingency clauses in their purchase offers and (2) when asked, I give my buyers the names of three “tough” ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) inspectors so the buyers can’t say they didn’t know of any home defects. Also, I insist the buyer accompany the home inspector to discuss any discovered defects. I am also usually present. I blame most of the alleged home defect non-disclosure problems on (1) dishonest sellers and/or (2) incompetent realty agents who either try to hide known defects or recommend “easy” home inspectors who avoid reporting obvious defects. Thanks for being so pro-Realtor because we need all the help we can get – Nancy R.

DEAR NANCY: Thank you for your great e-mail letter. You explained the home inspection situation better than I can.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

As a regular reader of my articles, you know I endlessly suggest home buyers include professional home inspection contingency clauses in their purchase offers. I also recommend, as you do, that buyers accompany their inspectors to discuss any defects discovered. It’s amazing how many lazy agents refuse to attend such inspections.

I’m glad you, as a realty agent, recommend tough but fair professional inspectors to your buyers. Too many realty agents recommend “easy” inspectors who often overlook even obvious home defects so they (1) won’t become known as “deal killers” and (2) will be recommended again by local realty agents.


DEAR BOB: My tree overhangs my neighbor’s property. We’re not sure exactly where the boundary is located. A few weeks ago, while I was away, his professional tree trimmers climbed my tree to cut off branches that overhang the apparent boundary. These tree trimmers obviously trespassed on my property without permission. When I arrived home, I was very upset to see my lopsided tree cut back to the probable boundary. Is my neighbor liable for damages for “tree trespass” without my permission? – Herb R.

DEAR HERB: Forget it. Yes, your neighbor’s tree trimmers trespassed on your property without permission. However, an adjoining property owner can trim a tree back to the boundary line, providing such trimming doesn’t kill the tree.

If you take your neighbor to local Small Claims Court, how will you prove your monetary damages for the trespass? Unless your tree dies as a result of the tree trimming, you probably can’t prove any actual damages. Spend your valuable time on something more important. For more details, please consult a local real estate attorney.

The new Robert Bruss special report, “Pros and Cons of Foreclosure and Distress Property Purchases,” is now available for $4 from Robert Bruss, 251 Park Road, Burlingame, CA 94010 or by credit card at 1-800-736-1736 or instant Internet download at Questions for this column are welcome at either address.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center


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