DEAR BARRY: In one of your columns, you recommended that sellers hire a home inspector, even though the buyers would probably hire an inspector of their own. As a seller, this concerns me. If my home inspector finds a major defect (something that has given me no trouble for the past 30 years), then I’ll have to spend thousands of dollars to repair it, or I’ll have to disclose it to the buyers. Frankly, I fail to see the advantage in this. Can you please explain again the advantages when sellers hire a home inspector? –Ken
DEAR KEN: There are three main reasons for sellers to hire their own home inspector:
1) Avoiding liability: If an undisclosed defect (one that you were unaware of for the past 30 years) is discovered after the close of escrow, you could be sued for nondisclosure. The fact that you were unaware of the problem would be for you to prove in court.
2) Avoiding repair costs: Disclosing defects at the outset of a purchase transaction enables you to do an as-is sale. When defects are discovered by the buyers’ home inspector, the buyers are more likely to insist on repairs.
3) Building trust: Providing a home inspection report to buyers is a good way to build trust in a transaction by demonstrating that you, the seller, have nothing to hide.
As a seller, it’s better to provide disclosure than waiting for disclosure to happen to you.