Seller Calling

I did an inspection on a below average home. My client did not attend the inspection, but we met later so I could give him the report and discuss the house. There were a lot of problems with the house, including the roof, some foundation issues,window replacement, knob and tube, garage that was falling down, and plumbing issues. He asked what I thought and I voiced my concerns. I estimate immediate repairs at $20,000 possibly going to $30,00 or more. This is an old home 80 yrs plus and will have problems. The house is listed at $290,000. My client decided he was going to withdraw his offer. He must have given a copy of the report to the seller. The seller is now calling me saying that my client told him I said " That was the worst house I have ever inspected." I did not, nor would I ever say such a thing, and this was not the worst house I have ever inspected. He also said he had an inspection 5 years ago and had addressed 90% of the issues in that report and also wanted to know if his house was priced right! I told him I would get back to him. So here I am, what to do? Any thoughts or advice on how to handle this situation would be greatly appreciated!!

First and foremost your responsibility is to your client. My response to his comment about the home being inspected 5 years ago would be “I appreciate the fact that the home was previously inspected, but as no two homes are alike, neither are 2 inspectors and given the time span between the two inspections things can deteriate.” Was the inspector qualified to do the job? As far as the pricing of the home, I would refer the seller back to the agent to determine if the pricing is right as only a licensed qualified real estate agent can give that advice, then offer to do a consult (For a Fee) and turn this possible negative into cash in your pocket and maybe more clients down the road. By no means get into any argument about it.

Just my 2 pennies

Rule #1 Do not speak to anyone about the inspection without the clients permission. I personally do not give estimates for repairs. Priced Right? I recommend no further communication with the seller. Remember, nice guys rarely are treated nicely.


To start try and never say Problem ,this immediately gets some people upset and they do not hear what you are trying to explain.
I like the word Concern.It does not sound so definite.
Same words but they tend to listen closer . Example . I have some concerns with the Knob and Tube wiring ,when this home was built that was the way it was wired but now with many new appliances it is usually not adequate for a more modern home ,Also some insurance companies might not want to give you insurance . I recommend immediate complete upgrade of the electrical system.
Same story you have told them insurance could be a concern and that it is not adequate and needs fixing.
Now when the seller calls simple no defense no argument simply state Gee I am sorry Mrs seller but I am not allowed to talk to you about the report.
When they continue on just repeat I am sorry but I am not allowed to talk to you about the report.
Stay cool calm and collected . If any thing lower your voice just a little .
If you want to talk please give me a call . Roy Cooke 613-475-1144

You have a lot of options.

First, never believe what the seller says. He is upset and wsnts to blame you for the inspection. You really have no control over what the buyer told him. It would be my guess that the seller is using his own words to describe what he thinks he heard under the circumstances.

Unless the seller is filing some sort of law suit, you really do not owe him an explanation, as he was not your client.

“He also said he had an inspection 5 years ago and had addressed 90% of the issues in that report”. Are your issues differnt form “that report” or were they the same issues? Either way, 5 years is a long time and a lot of things can change.

“and also wanted to know if his house was priced right!” Isnt that what appraisers (and realtors) are for?? It is not your job to tell him the value of his home.

If your report is accurate, and I have no reason to believe it is not, I would stay away from this one. You did your job. Your report tells the story. Call him back and tell him you understand his situation and you sympathize with him, but you cannot value his home, and unfortunately certain things (listed in the report need to be addressed). Let the realtor tell him he needs to lower his price or sell 'as is".

Oh, and it sounds like you are taking this personally. Dont. It is your job to report what you see and know.

Thanks for all the good advice and help with this one. I was pretty much thinking what you all have expressed, just needed to confirm my thoughts.
NACHI members are the best people and the best inspectors once again.

ditto on the repair estmates

I do not answer to the Seller, period. I refer all his/her questions to my clients’ Realtor.

What the seller heard from the buyer is called perceived perception. The person receiving the info perceives what he thinks is being said and “logs” that in his memory bank as to what was actually said. Never mind it is probably not what was said at all. Most likely, the buyer stated this house was a terrible house when he withdrew the offer. The seller on the other hand probably knows full well that the house is in bad shape and wants to get rid of it quickly, hence the “as is” statement.

In short you work for your client and no one else! Information given by the buyer/seller is his opinion on what the report states. Personally, I would veer away from this type of conversation. You did your report, gave it to your client and that is it. The house is the proof what your report states. You didn’t make it up, you just report. To quote Fox news, which I don’t particularly care for but a good slogan none the less, “We report, you decide”.

Good luck in this and future inspections.