In our previous posts, we have discussed the responsibilities of the inspector as well as the expectations of the inspection process. Today we will be discussing the section of the report which relates to the responsibilities of the client as determined by the TREC. It states the following:
ITEMS IDENTIFIED IN THE REPORT DO NOT OBLIGATE ANY PARTY TO MAKE REPAIRS OR TAKE OTHER ACTIONS, NOR IS THE PURCHASER REQUIRED TO REQUEST THAT THE SELLER TAKE ANY ACTION. When a deficiency is reported, it is the client’s responsibility to obtain further evaluations and/or cost estimates from qualified service professionals. Any such follow-up should take place prior to the expiration of any time limitations such as option periods.
Evaluations by qualified tradesmen may lead to the discovery of additional deficiencies which may involve additional repair costs. Failure to address deficiencies or comments noted in this report may lead to further damage of the structure or systems and add to the original repair costs. The inspector is not required to provide follow-up services to verify that proper repairs have been made.
I must admit, it seems somewhat confusing that there is an emphasis on saying that there is no obligation to make repairs or take other action and then follow that up with saying the client has a responsibility to act and the failure to do so can have consequences. However, while the former is relaying that while there is no requirement to take any type of action, the latter spells out that it is the client’s responsibility to do so if they desire, and it should be done while still in the Option Period.
The important thing here is that evaluations by specialists can turn up additional deficiencies with the systems or components of the home which may involve even more costs. If these items are addressed during the Option Period, there is at least the opportunity that the cost of repairs can be negotiated between the parties. However, if items in the report are ignored, it may result in additional damage and costs that will not have been negotiated and will need to be addressed in the future. We will be discussing this information in greater detail in the future when discussing the right to inspect and the option clause.
And finally, while there is no requirement for inspectors to provide services to verify that any negotiated repairs were completed, most inspectors do offer re-inspection services to make these verifications for a fee. At minimum, it is a good idea to obtain any receipts for repairs should the need arise to speak to any of the repairpersons in the future. These receipts will also be crucial should a claim ever be filed with a home warranty provider as they will want proof that any deficiencies noted in the inspection report were addressed, or they may view the claim as a “known” pre-existing condition and deny it.