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Unofficial home inspection during sales process

swordpath

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So I'm selling my home. It just went under contract 2 days ago. The buyer set up to come by this morning to "show mom the place". As it turns out, the buyer had their stepdad here and spent a full hour basically doing what seems like a full on home inspection. Anyone here work in real estate or otherwise have knowledge on whether that is even legal? I'm definitely a bit peeved over it. I'm already paranoid what can go wrong will go wrong in most major situations so that didn't help at all with putting my mind at ease with this whole process 😒
 

Cor Luctis

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So I'm selling my home. It just went under contract 2 days ago. The buyer set up to come by this morning to "show mom the place". As it turns out, the buyer had their stepdad here and spent a full hour basically doing what seems like a full on home inspection. Anyone here work in real estate or otherwise have knowledge on whether that is even legal? I'm definitely a bit peeved over it. I'm already paranoid what can go wrong will go wrong in most major situations so that didn't help at all with putting my mind at ease with this whole process 😒
I have bought and sold several houses, and from what I have seen, this is entirely legal. In fact, it is commonplace and generally advised for a buyer to have a home inspection done after the contract is signed. The buyer must pay for the inspection, and arrange with the seller or seller's agent for a convenient time for the inspector to come. Nothing prevents an inspection from being done "for free" by a friend or relative, and it sounds like the buyer did coordinate the visit properly. Often a contract is contingent upon a satisfactory inspection result. If this buyer is going to use his stepfather's observations in that capacity, the stepfather should have the credentials to support this, and should submit a formal report of findings. Barring that, any observations made by the stepfather have no more weight than those made by the buyer himself.

If there are actual issues with the house, any buyer should be aware of them. That is just truth in advertising. In most places, sellers are required to declare any known issues (leaks, flooding, termites, buried oil tanks, etc.) to prospective buyers. If a buyer's home inspection reveals an issue of which the seller was unaware, after the inspection it must be included in that list for subsequent buyers.

Bottom line: whether this visit can impact the sale will depend strongly on the wording of your contract. If the buyer can get out of it only if a qualified inspector identifies actual problems, that puts constraints on his stepfather's observations. Results of even a formal inspection can be disputed, though that may require you to pay for your own inspection. Undisclosed problems with the house must be addressed, though, that is only fair.
 

swordpath

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I have bought and sold several houses, and from what I have seen, this is entirely legal. In fact, it is commonplace and generally advised for a buyer to have a home inspection done after the contract is signed. The buyer must pay for the inspection, and arrange with the seller or seller's agent for a convenient time for the inspector to come. Nothing prevents an inspection from being done "for free" by a friend or relative, and it sounds like the buyer did coordinate the visit properly. Often a contract is contingent upon a satisfactory inspection result. If this buyer is going to use his stepfather's observations in that capacity, the stepfather should have the credentials to support this, and should submit a formal report of findings. Barring that, any observations made by the stepfather have no more weight than those made by the buyer himself.

If there are actual issues with the house, any buyer should be aware of them. That is just truth in advertising. In most places, sellers are required to declare any known issues (leaks, flooding, termites, buried oil tanks, etc.) to prospective buyers. If a buyer's home inspection reveals an issue of which the seller was unaware, after the inspection it must be included in that list for subsequent buyers.

Bottom line: whether this visit can impact the sale will depend strongly on the wording of your contract. If the buyer can get out of it only if a qualified inspector identifies actual problems, that puts constraints on his stepfather's observations. Results of even a formal inspection can be disputed, though that may require you to pay for your own inspection. Undisclosed problems with the house must be addressed, though, that is only fair.

Thank you for that through response. There are no known issues with the home. I've lived in it for nearly 4 years. I'm fully aware that a home inspection is a part of the process, but proper etiquette would dictate that that would be done by proper scheduling and notice to the seller that an inspection, specifically, will be taking place. It seemed quite shady to me that the buyer would have an inspection of some sort done (though maybe not official and the person not credentialed, I'm not sure on that) when they scheduled to simply "show their mom" the property. But it sounds like you're saying, unless the contract specifically prohibits something like that taking place, there was really no official violation that occurred?
 

Cor Luctis

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Thank you for that through response. There are no known issues with the home. I've lived in it for nearly 4 years. I'm fully aware that a home inspection is a part of the process, but proper etiquette would dictate that that would be done by proper scheduling and notice to the seller that an inspection, specifically, will be taking place. It seemed quite shady to me that the buyer would have an inspection of some sort done (though maybe not official and the person not credentialed, I'm not sure on that) when they scheduled to simply "show their mom" the property. But it sounds like you're saying, unless the contract specifically prohibits something like that taking place, there was really no official violation that occurred?
Exactly. I can see someone wanting a more knowledgeable friend or relative to take a look, and it sounds like the visit was properly coordinated. The contract language would set the threshold for the buyer to back out. In the contracts I have had, the buyer would have to get any problems documented by an established, credentialed inspector. In your case, the stepfather might have come along to provide an informal assessment. If he saw anything questionable, the buyer could then schedule (and pay for) a formal inspection to document it. If nothing turns up, the buyer then has the reassurance of someone more knowledgeable whom he trusts.

Consider also that the buyer may have intended only that his mother visit. She may have asked the stepfather along, or he may have invited himself, either out of personal/professional curiosity, or the desire to help/advise his stepson.
 

typologyenthusiast

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I used to work as real estate broker. I joined an international franchise brand, so I believe the business best practice is generally the same here in Indonesia or in USA. The difference may be in government regulation. The first thing I would like to comment, As broker,I will never call a prospective client who views a property owner (vendor) a buyer, until the deal is closed. I usually only introduce them to my vendor as interested client, since I don't know whether my client will purchase it or ask me to show another real estate unit.
Second, I want to clarify this : You are the home owner and you have rented it to someone else. You have a signed rental contract with a tennant that just few days ago. But still You want to sell it also. So the situation is as I get: it happens that your broker got a client and your tennant still lives there while the prospective buyer came inspecting?
So that tennant may have got uncomfortable with the prospective buyer inspection behavior and you get a bit peeved to the broker for that? Do I get you right in this ?
Third I would say in general, brokerage credential is within the brokerage firm's obligation to show only to the Government. In recent years,AFAIK government of Indonesia has adopted a new credential test like issued by brokerage certification government agency which Indonesia ministry of trade requires in order to issue a brokerage business operating licence to an entrepreneur who wants to set up a brokerage business. The credential: brokerage ceritificate is issued only after passing a certain test about brokerage competencies. The government of Indonesia requires If I am not mistaken, at least one associate to get it in order for the licence to be issued for each offices. So other associates can join without getting themselves certificied as long as in the office they join in, at least one associate has taken the certificate. It is The government who is obliged to check the credential that is brokerage certificate to our business associates before they issue business licence that legally permits us to operate. But, as a broker, when we introduce ourselves to client, ID card that shows the franchise firm brand name and our photograph and our job title: like marketing associate is usually enough.
 
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ceecee

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Exactly. I can see someone wanting a more knowledgeable friend or relative to take a look, and it sounds like the visit was properly coordinated. The contract language would set the threshold for the buyer to back out. In the contracts I have had, the buyer would have to get any problems documented by an established, credentialed inspector. In your case, the stepfather might have come along to provide an informal assessment. If he saw anything questionable, the buyer could then schedule (and pay for) a formal inspection to document it. If nothing turns up, the buyer then has the reassurance of someone more knowledgeable whom he trusts.

Consider also that the buyer may have intended only that his mother visit. She may have asked the stepfather along, or he may have invited himself, either out of personal/professional curiosity, or the desire to help/advise his stepson.

We just sold our house and the people that ended up buying it brought an inspector when they came for a second viewing. This allowed them to waive the home inspection in the offer (the house is only 5 years old and was inspected when we bought it). It's also one less thing the owner needs to leave the property for but our realtor said unless it was stated not allowed in the MLS, there is nothing illegal about it and no notice has to be given to the owner.

In the current crazy market, I think this is being done more to save time on homes that obviously don't need too much inspection. On the flip side, we had a much more detailed inspection done on the house we just bought. But the owner died and also didn't live there for most of the year and it's a little older so there is a chance some things were neglected/not working simply from it being empty.
 
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