Real Estate Inspectors Gone Bad

Real Estate Inspection Gone Bad

Real Estate Inspection Gone Bad

It’s happening. Two willing parties, a seller and a buyer, come together to agree upon the sale/purchase of a home. Enter a loan officer, who in this case knows her stuff, and a darn good escrow and title company not beholden to either party.

Pick a day, and my seller heads off and out of the house, and here comes the buyer, buyer’s agent and INSPECTOR. What lies ahead, O’Roarke?

Nowadays the inspector in a typical San Diego real estate transaction first has the buyer sign a “get out of jail free” card that explains that the inspector is not responsible for anything. That is, they tell the buyer that they are going to highlight “problems or concerns”, but that ultimately it is up to the buyer to determine if the problem or concern is really a problem or a concern. Signed contract in hand, the inspector now proceeds to wield a wee bit of power as we Irish say, which in more cases that I’d like, turns upside down the rapport and agreeability of both of the parties.

I had a case where the inspector found a “problem” with exposed wiring in the garage. In this case, the exposed wiring was actually appropriately bundled wire that was run up the wall and on top of the garage rafters on a catwalk. This, for those of you unfamiliar with such things, is usual, customary, within code, and proper. But this inspector decided that it was “common sense” to have the wires in conduit, not just wrapped, and in so pointing out to the buyer her concerns, created a situation that has now become downright uncomfortable, possibly transaction killing in nature.

Turns out the buyer was from a different city, with different code regulations, and had apparently come to some difficulty with a situation similar to this. So the buyer was “ready for a fight” over this, while my seller was anything but. In fact, it was all I could do to keep from getting into arguments with my seller because my seller was honestly and rightly perturbed by the whole thing, unwilling to take action, and thus both parties were about to come to blows.

What do you do with a real estate inspector gone bad? Talk to her, of course, which is what I did, only to find out that she thought she was right, but could not back up a single code violation, safety issue or electrical concern that held any water. She was intractable.

The solution: Got a licensed contractor to look at the “problem.” Got a written statement “your inspector is wrong.” Gave the buyer’s agent the licensed contractor information and said, “You’re a fiduciary, so take this information and make sure your client is informed. Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.”

We’re closing in a week. Thank you buyer’s agent. Thank you licensed contractor. X#!&!# to you, Real Estate Inspector Gone Bad.

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