Author Topic: How Should Agents Consult Sellers & Buyers on Inspections?  (Read 127 times)


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How Should Agents Consult Sellers & Buyers on Inspections?
« on: September 06, 2017, 10:01:24 AM »
      Terre Haute and other parts of Indiana have seen an increase in lawsuits involving property transactions over the past couple of years.  And in my experience working on these cases all materially interested parties were sued by the Plaintiff, usually the buyer of the property.  This includes the buyer's real estate agent, the seller's real estate agent, the home inspector(s), and the sellers.  And, the way Indiana law is organized, one Defendant may settle out of the case with the Plaintiff while the Plaintiff seeks settlement for damages from the other Defendants.

      While discussing these cases with some real estate agents in Terre Haute, I was asked some interesting questions that I'd like to share with you.

      Jason, we're [the real estate agent] asked by our clients [the sellers] how to fill out the [Indiana] disclosure form [regarding water-damage or mold], often.  In the past we've just said,
       "Mark 'no', or mark 'I don't know'." Now, listening to you, are we better off just telling them to mark 'I don't know'?

      My answer is simple.  Don't tell them to mark anything.  The reasoning for my answer is simple, and can be summed up in two very simple truths:

      (1)  You don't have the building history to make decisions for them; and,
      (2)  You aren't qualified to make decisions on the environmental condition of the structure.  You're not an indoor environmental consultant or industrial hygienist.  (And, even if you were it would be a conflict of interest to act as such while being involved in the transaction of the property.)
      What came of these lawsuits?  Did the Plaintiffs win these cases?

      Yes.  The Plaintiffs won their cases.  While I cannot get into all of the details, suffice it to say the real estate agents had to give back all of their commissions related to the transaction of these properties.
      If this disturbs you, you need to take some time to organize who's in your contact list.  Get to know qualified companies or directories to find those companies.  Then, if you're asked, have your client seek qualified persons to answer their questions.  You don't have to tell them to hire a professional.  Just seek professional consultation.  One without conflict of interest (e.g., don't have the inspector perform construction services, remediation or restoration services or be married to someone who does). 

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      Jason Yost, BS Occupational Safety & Health
      Industrial Hygiene & Environmental Management

      Restoration Board Community

      How Should Agents Consult Sellers & Buyers on Inspections?
      « on: September 06, 2017, 10:01:24 AM »