[FONT=Times New Roman]Oklahoma City home inspector says reportshould be treated as a punch list[/FONT]
by Richard Mize](http://newsok.com/more/richard-mize)Published: October 7, 2017 5:00 AM CDT [FONT=“Arial”]Updated:October 7, 2017 5:00 AM CDT [/FONT]
Step on a home inspector’s toes, andhe’ll holler.
Awhile back, this remark from a Realtorran in this space:
“Has anyone covered a ‘homeinspector beware’ type issue? As in, the home inspectors that seem to pridethemselves on finding meaningless ‘problems,’ and can effectively ruin a dealby scaring buyers?”
And I responded: "This could getinteresting. I’d think a buyer should want a ‘deal breaker’ — but shouldn’ttreat an inspector’s report like a punch list. But no one should put up with aneedless ‘buyer scarer.’ "
And Jack Werner, owners of A to ZInspections, whom I admire and respect, wrote in, starting an email exchangeworth sharing because it airs out the issues.
Jack: (Regarding) saying we shouldn’t treat aninspection report like a punch list or we should not scare the buyer.
First, in my opinion, if the report iswritten and explained correctly, the inspection report should be treated as apunch list. Here is why.
Home inspection standards of practiceinstruct us to identify and report items that are not safe such as animproperly vented flue or hot-to-the-touch light switch, items that are brokensuch as a glass panel or a window lock, and items that are not working asintended.
I always think of the AC unit we checkedin Bethany that worked very well except it sounded like an airplane propellerhitting a metal building. It was not working as intended. The real estate agentsaid we did not have the ‘right’ to write that up because the AC was working.
In my opinion, the buyer expects andrequires that the home being purchased is delivered to them in safe condition,with broken items repaired, and with components working as they are supposed towork.
Do we list other items? Yes, under"FYI," such as "Mrs. Buyer, you should install a full gutter system."That is identified and explained as for the buyer’s information, and it is notconsidered a responsibility of the seller.
We have no authority to require thatthings be corrected or fixed, but we do have an obligation to identify thingsthat are not safe, are broken, or are not working as intended.
Professional, ethical real estate agentswant their buyers to get the most thorough inspection possible. There willalways be a percent in every profession who hope to get by with the leastcommitment possible, and those people will always rail loudly against thosedemanding professionalism.
Me: A punch list is a list of fixes that are required tobe made. Are you saying that an inspection report should be used by a buyer todemand that repairs be made? I — and most people I have ever heard of — see itas more of a tool for negotiating concessions on price.
Jack: It depends on the individual and the price and thenegotiation.
If I am buying a home to live in andhave my family live in, it seems appropriate to ask that everything bedelivered in a safe condition, working like it is supposed to work, and notbroken.
Of course, everything is negotiable. Inmy opinion, a buyer has a right to expect and ask for those three things. Eventhose definitions will be debatable. Is old, cracked/partially missing caulkingstrictly cosmetic? I would say that it is not working as intended.
Me: Of course it depends! It always depends. That’s whysweeping general declarations are almost always off.
I like a deal breaker. What a buyer doeswith the information an inspector provides is up to the buyer; (I don’t thinkinspectors should) push buyers into unnecessary confrontations with sellers,who also may do what they wish with the information.
Jack: Inspectors have no authority. We are hired toidentify, according to our Standards of Practice, things that are not safe,things that are not working as intended, and things that are broken. To me, apunch list means that, yes, I think they should be addressed.
Of course it is open to negotiation. Itis my opinion that a buyer would be prudent to know these things AND to addressthem before moving in; whether it is through a price negotiation, or asking theseller to fix these things, or deciding to fix them him or herself. Things shouldwork like they are supposed to work. Things that are broken should be fixed andeverything should be safe.
I absolutely agree that what a buyerdoes is between them and their agent and the seller. We carefully explain thatwe have no authority and that negotiations are up to them. We explain whatitems that we are inspecting for and why we think it is important that they beaddressed. It does seem reasonable to me to ask for those three things but thatis always up to the buyer, the seller, and their agents.
There the email exchange ended.
I just have to add, on behalf of peoplewho are barely homeowners in the first place, who barely have any equity,barely have any credit, who are barely keeping it all together after a lost jobor other financial trouble:
Not everybody who is trying to sell ahouse can afford to sell it move-in ready. That’s what “as is” means.If that’s you, don’t let the models and actors in advertising and marketing getyou down.Youmight also be interested in…
Realestate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman’s