Is real estate agent liable for inspector’s mistakes?

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DEAR BARRY: As a new Realtor, I'm concerned about liability for undisclosed property defects. This was discussed often in my real estate classes, and we were advised to make sure that every deal has a home inspection. But what if the home inspector doesn't do a good job? If major defects are missed by the inspector, am I liable for nondisclosure? --Amy

DEAR AMY: There are two ways that an agent can be liable for defects that were missed by a home inspector:

1. If the agent selects the home inspector, either by calling the inspector to set the appointment or by specifying which inspector the buyer should call, the buyer can blame the agent for "negligent referral." Who you recommend and how you recommend are therefore vitally important.

The best policy for agents who wish to avoid this kind of liability is to prepare a list of the most thorough and experienced home inspectors available. This list should be given to buyers...