What You can Do about Conflicting Home Inspection Reports

There are a few things you can expect from a home inspection. But, what you might not expect is to deal with conflicting home inspection reports. While this isn’t an everyday occurrence, it does happen. Typically, this scenario arises when a seller conducts a pre-listing inspection and the buyers also conduct a home inspection. Because no two inspectors are the same, each will write different reports and this can pose a serious problem.

What You can Do about Conflicting Home Inspection Reports

Even a home which passes a building inspection can still have issues uncovered in a home inspection. The reason you need a home inspection for new construction is because the two professionals are evaluating totally different things. A building inspector is just verifying the property meets current code standards, while a home inspector is looking for quality of life and function. When a buyer and seller are faced with conflicting reports, it’s a real threat to the viability of the transaction.

“A home inspection report is needed to determine the repairs needed by a home once it transfers ownership. A professional home inspector evaluates these damages such as missing floor tiles and roof shingles, leaking faucets and even weak foundation in the home. A good inspection report will cover every part of the house from the fireplace to the roof and to the kitchen. In other words, it must reflect the existing condition of the structural and mechanical systems of the house.” —Realty.com

Just like in the case of dealing with a low appraisal, it is quite possible differing home inspection reports will either delay or kill the deal. This is because trust is placed on two different sides. The seller will strongly tend to believe the pre-listing inspection report is right. However, the buyer will probably see it opposite, believing the latter inspection report is the correct one. That’s a big gap to bridge and one fraught with risk. So, the issues must be resolved to move forward. Here are some helpful ways on how to deal with conflicting home inspection reports:

  • Get all parties together. If at all possible, you should arrange a meeting for all parties to attend. This includes the seller, buyer, real estate agents, and both home inspectors. This way, you can hash out what are really material defects and what’s not much of a concern. In the alternative, meet with the inspectors separately to receive a more detailed explanation.
  • Have another inspection conducted. While this might not seem like a good idea, it is a smart move because it will likely validate one report over the other. This allows both the buyer and seller to identify which problems are truly material defects and which are not.
  • Ask a third-party to evaluate the issues. You can also bring in a third-party, someone who is experienced and knowledgeable about the issue. For example, if it is the roof, have a licensed roofing contractor give his assessment of the condition. Or, bring in a plumber or electrician to evaluate what does and does not need to be done.
  • Try to find common ground to strike a deal. Another way to deal with conflicting inspection reports is to find common ground where both the buyer and seller agree. Once you do this, consider meeting halfway to save the transaction. A little give and take might be all that’s needed in the end.
  • Agree to mutually end the transaction. If none of the above suggestions work or you’ve simply reached an impasse, it’s probably best not to waste more time and energy. Instead, try to agree on a mutual withdrawal from the contract.

If you are considering buying or selling a home in Orlando, contact us for the latest market information. We’ll also provide you with the right advice about the local real estate market so you make the best decisions.