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Can I Use the Seller's Inspection Report?

So, the person who is going to sell your new home to you was super smart and decided to get their home inspected before they put it on the market. That is a great idea (if you want to know why, just check out the previous post). And now they are offering for you to use their inspection report to make a decision about buying the house. Should you do it?

Almost undoubtedly not.

First, the home inspection report belongs to the client listed on the home inspection company's signed agreement, as well as to the company itself. If it doesn't belong to you, you probably shouldn't use it.

Second, a home inspection is an analysis of the condition of the home at the time of the inspection. It is better not to rely on an old report for your purchasing needs. Unless the seller provides documentation of any repairs they made since the report, you can't be certain that those repairs were made appropriately. If it has been a while since the seller had the property inspected, you can't know for certain that circumstances haven't changed.

Third, you may not know how good the company is that performed the inspection. Was it done by a big company with lots of inspectors, some of which might be new to the industry with little experience? Was it done by someone who hasn't updated their inspection technology in years? Or was it done by a Certified Master Inspector who knows their stuff and has plenty of experience, modern technology, and the ability to actually traverse those tight attic and crawlspaces (like, just to pick a totally random example, me)?

Finally, your home inspector works for you. That means that any warranties or guarantees that might be associated with an official report will only be valid for your use. Many inspection companies provide substantial warranties to supplement those you might be receiving from the seller or agent. These can save you money if something happens to your new home when you move into it. A warranty in the seller's name won't protect you if a storm knocks something loose and your roof starts leaking, or if mold started to develop in that short period between the seller moving out and you moving in.

It might be tempting to use the seller's report to save a little money during the home buying process. However, you will ultimately be in a better position if you hire your own inspector with warranties under your name. If you DO choose to rely on the seller's report (because, let's face it, this market can be crazy), make sure you get your own inspection as soon as you possibly can. Preferably before actually moving in. Click here for a quick rundown of what to do in that case.

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