This Hardball Tactic is Gone

Some Tacoma buyers recently found a house they loved and got it under contract subject to inspection. The inspector said it was a creampuff (a 100 year old creampuff) but he later emailed a list of scary-sounding findings in his report. The foundation showed signs of settling, the roof was nearing the end of its useful life, etc. There were more than forty items.

The buyers, now nervous and less excited than they had been on the day of the inspection, asked the seller for a $10,000 credit in lieu of repairs. Then their agent had a sinister idea. If he were to send over a copy of the home inspector’s findings along with the monetary request, the seller would then have knowledge of forty material defects – some of it scary sounding stuff that must be disclosed to any future buyer. Wouldn’t that make the seller more motivated to make this deal work?

Buyer’s agents occasionally pull this move to back sellers into a corner. It is upsetting to be on the receiving end. It is aggressive, for one thing. Secondly, the inspector’s findings may not be right. Inspectors are not jacks of all trades. Their findings reflect opinions which sometimes prove to be in conflict with the opinions of specialists in that field. Lastly, inspectors often create a relaxed impression on site compared with the language that eventually makes it into the report. I suspect they want the written record to reflect more of a worst-case scenario in the event an issue blossoms into a lawsuit later.

This tactic just went away. Our standard forms have been amended so that buyer’s agents may no longer send the inspector’s report without seller’s written permission.

If you find yourself in the position of buying a home that had a previous sale fail, get a home inspection to discover if there are defects!

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