I have a question about standards of practice. Specifically, we are in buyers in escrow right now with the listing agent representing both the buyer and the seller. The agent was at our home inspection and has repeatedly asked for a copy of our report and that “she needs it for her records.” But it is my understanding that this is our report and that there is no reason why the listing agent should need a copy of this. I guess our main concern is that if something happens and we fall out of escrow, she has our report and is only representing the sellers.
Can you please provide some guidance / standards of practice here?
THat is how I operate… I provide the inspection and the report to my client… you the buyer would be my client (most of the time) no one else gets it without your permission. That being said… my clients often give permission or give a copy themselves the their agent… the exception being when the Realtor is straddling both sides of the fence such as this… In Maine, it would be up to YOU.
You need to read the inspection contingency section of your contract. Where I am at, after the inspection, the buyer has three options: Accept the home as is without repairs or further negotiations (does not have to provide inspection report to seller); Reject the home outright (must provide the report to the sellers); or negotiate repairs or additional money for the condition (must proved the report to the sellers).
So if you were in the St. Louis area, and you either asked for repairs, or re-negotiated based on the report, then your agent is correct. You would need to provide that to the sellers (through the agent). And since that is part of the paperwork, she would be required to keep a copy of that in her files for a number of years (I believe 7).
All that being said, I don’t know of any LAW that requires you to give a copy to anyone. If you refused to provide a copy under one of these circumstances, there may be some practical consequences or in the case of a lawsuit it may be subpoenaed.
The selling agent does not represent you, nor do they have a duty to your interests. They have a contract with the buyer and, accordingly, have a duty to his financial interests which very well may come into direct conflict with yours.
Accordingly, your home inspector is actually the only party to this transaction who is acting totally in your interest. Providing a copy of his report to anyone should be weighed heavily by you to determine whether or not it is to your advantage.
I would advise that you release only that information in the report that the seller requests regarding issues that you are bargaining with him on.
You need to give permission to the inspector to distribute the report to whomever because the service was purchased by you and nobody else. You have no written contract to distribute it with anyone. Now here is the important part. Although the report is yours, the copyright belongs to the inspector as it is his/her work. The inspector may give you permission to make copies, be sure to get it in writing for mutual protection. Do not make copies for distribution without permission from the inspector. It is simple to do and legally correct per copyright law.
In Missouri, “dual agency” is perfectly legal. When the agent is dealing with you and on your behalf, she is your agent. When she is dealing with the seller or on the sellers behalf, she is the sellers agent. She has a fiduciary responsibility to both of you to maintain all confidences, and present offers and counter offers appropriately.
So if your state allows dual agency, then she would need this info for her records. If it does not, then she is the sellers agent period, and you would only be need to give her the report info if your contract required it.