Estate Agents and Property Inspections

When Estate Agents Should Insist On An Independent Inspection

independent inspection
An independent inspection and report protects both the estate agent and the seller

The EAAB (Estate Agents Affairs Board) encourages buyers to have a home inspection. However, which buyer ever reads the articles on the EAAB’s website? Maybe estate agents read the articles and the EAAB encourages estate agents to advise buyers to have an independent property inspection?

Most estate agents prefer not to have an independent property inspection, mostly because of concerns over defects that may make the sale fall through and because of the cost involved.

Estate agents should know better! Insisting on an independent property inspection may save the agent from strained relationships with both sellers and buyers. Furthermore, an independent inspection will prevent damage to their reputation or possibly even costly liability later on, should problems occur with the condition of the property.

An independent home or property inspection doesn’t kill a deal by forcing sellers to disclose defects that they wouldn’t otherwise have known about. Any defect that is serious enough to kill a real estate transaction is best discovered before it can kill the deal or result in litigation at a later stage.

Whether an estate agent should insist on an independent home or property inspection depends on which defects are not written into the disclosure by the seller. It also depends on whether the agent is willing to insist that the seller has a fully independent home inspection done.

What should be considered is that the seller and agent can use the inspection as the seller’s disclosure.

Points to Ponder

If you have doubts after reading the points below, it would be advisable to insist on independent property inspection:

  • Does the property appear well maintained?
  • Has the seller voluntarily shared details on the condition, problems and any physical damage to the property?
  • Have you visually spotted all the damages/ problems to the exterior or interior of the property?
  • Are the damages/ problems you have spotted minor, common maintenance issues?
  • Do any damages/problems that you have spotted need further investigation?
  • Do you know what has caused any damp or moisture problems, or visible water damage anywhere on the property?
  • Is the seller’s disclosure a true reflection of the condition of the property. Does it include any of the damages/problems to the property that you have visually spotted?
  • Is there municipality approved plans available for the property?
  • Are the recent (or any) additions/ alterations included on the approved plans?
  • Would you purchase this property without an independent property inspection report?

The price of a property inspection cost becomes secondary to the success of the sale if there is any doubt.

Moreover, what you and the seller should keep in mind is that the cost of a property inspection is a fraction of a % of the cost of the property. It should therefore not be a factor in the decision to have a home or property inspection.  

Protecting yourself and your client

The important question you should be considering, as the seller’s agent, is how to protect your client and yourself against problems that may surface later.

Therefore, if you inspect your client’s property yourself, you will be liable if serious problems are found later on. You should rather insist on commissioning the services of a qualified professional inspector.

A property inspection will provide a comprehensive evaluation of the condition of components and systems of the property. In addition, in most cases, you will miss defects that a qualified inspector is specially trained to look for. Therefore, unless you are also properly qualified as an inspector yourself, rather employ a professional.

If the seller refuses your request for an independent home or property inspection, you should protect yourself by placing a protection clause in your “Offer To Purchase”. The clause should advise the buyer to have an independent home or property inspection to determine the overall condition of the property.

Note:

Estate agents are now known as “Property Practitioners” and the EAAB is now the “Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority”.

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