Mountains, Molehills & Buyer’s Inspections

Hoist by Their Inspector’s Petard

Smart home buyers carefully inspect the home they’re about to buy to make sure that it’s in the condition they (and the Seller) think it is.

Perhaps counter-intuitively, a thorough inspection isn’t just in the Buyer’s interest, it’s in the Seller’s, too.

I remember one deal where, almost exactly *two years after closing, the Buyers asked my Sellers to replace several windows that had rotted. They contended that the problem existed at the time they bought the house, and therefore my clients were liable.

Unfortunately for the Buyer, the very detailed inspection report they had done before they bought omitted any mention of window issues.

Which was significant, because the same inspection did turn up a few small — dare I say picky — items, which the Buyer and Seller were able to negotiate (which was how my client came by the report).

If the Buyer’s own inspector takes the Seller’s side . . . the Buyers don’t have much of a case.

In fact, my client was adamant that the windows were in good condition when they sold, and had said so in their Seller’s Disclosure (my client and I speculated that the problem resulted from a humidifier that the Buyer installed, which created condensation on the windows in winter.)

Mountains and Molehill’s

Do Buyers ever make a proverbial “mountain out of a molehill?”


Fortunately, though, most inspection issues are objective and factual in nature.

So, the roof either leaks or it doesn’t, the heat exchanger in the boiler is either cracked or it isn’t, etc.

Once it’s beyond dispute that there’s a genuine problem, a few contractor quotes usually serve to establish a price range for repairs.

At that point, most Buyers and Sellers acting in good faith can reach a resolution.

*Coincidentally — or not — the period for bringing claims against a Seller is two years.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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