Was Your House Damaged During The Inspection Process Permitted By Your Contract For Sale
by Larry Turner

I am not a Realtor, but in my lifetime I have purchased or sold dozens of residential and commercial properties for my own account or for the account of others.  On the residential side, one common thread has been for the purchaser to arrange for inspections of the structure, its equipment, roof, pool, termites, etc.  At times, if the purchaser was having “buyer’s remorse,” they would use some negative comment in the
inspection report to exit the transaction, although no reason is necessary to cancel such a transaction before the inspection period expires.   

But one aspect of the inspection process has always irked me.  Some inspection companies are better than others, and those that suffer from a knowledge deficiency in some area of the inspection, like the pool or the generator, etc., can result in some damage to what is being inspected by a person without adequate knowledge of the object of the inspection.  The result is that the seller is left with having to arrange and pay for the repair of what was damaged.

As an example, in one case the inspection company was not familiar with the pool equipment and caused damage trying to check out the various workings of that equipment.  In another case, they didn’t understand how the sprinklers worked and after leaving the property the sprinklers reacted to something that was done by turning the system on and pumping sprinkler water into the pool for twelve hours before the problem was discovered.  In both cases, the seller (me) had to engage pool or sprinkler companies to correct the situation.

A little-known fact, at least to me when I first waded into the real estate business, is that the typical contract for sale of a residential property addresses this point.  Paragraph 12(a) of the standard contract form for an  “AS IS” Residential Contract For Sale and Purchase approved by the Florida Realtors and the Florida Bar, states that “…Buyer shall be responsible for prompt payment for such inspections, for repair of damage to, and the restoration of, the Property resulting from such inspections…”

So, if you are selling your home and incur an expense because of damage caused by an inspection company, document the damage and the repairs needed and tender that information to the buyer to arrange and pay for the repairs.  And, be sure to request written documentation of what repairs were made so you can double check that the repairs were done properly.