The Virtue of Being There

I know that some Buyer’s agents stay away from home inspections because of “liability concerns.”

However, as a former attorney, I’ve never understood that.

The representations about the home’s condition are the Seller’s. If their disclosure omits a material fact that they knew or should have known about, their Buyer potentially has a cause of action.

Additionally, under Minnesota law, the Seller’s agent has their own, independent disclosure duty — namely, if they know of a material fact about the home’s condition, they are obliged to disclose it themselves if the Seller doesn’t.

Meanwhile, the inspector, an independent contractor, is vetted by the Buyer, paid by the Buyer, and accountable to the Buyer. When asked, I’ll certainly make referrals, but am scrupulous about giving out multiple, reputable names to preserve my independence.

As best I can tell, none of the foregoing makes me responsible for the condition of the home.

Hands-on Approach

When I represent Buyers, I typically show up at the end of the inspection to get the “wrap-up.”

One of the best feelings you can have is to arrive and see everyone relaxed and happy — you know the inspection went well, and that the deal is on track.

However, that’s not always the case.

When the inspection uncovers a major issue, my job is to make sure that my client’s interests are well-represented.

So, for example, if the boiler turns out to have a cracked heat exchanger, the usual outcome would be for the Seller to either replace the boiler, or make an allowance for the Buyer to.

To resolve any inspection issues, you first have to know what they are, and to know what they are, it helps to physically be there.

So I am.

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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