Let the Buyer Beware

Real Estate Agent with Online Real Estate Agent Training

Let the Buyer BewareThe joy of home ownership can turn sour in the blink of an eye.  When your phone displays the new home owner calling just a few weeks after settlement you get a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach.  How many times have you received a call from your buyer a few weeks after settlement letting you know that something in the house is wrong?  Be it a leak behind a wall that reared its' ugly head or the HVAC is broken beyond repair, it seems the first person they call is you.

The Blame Game

There are some buyers that call you just as a matter of record.  They understand that things can go wrong and have nothing to do with you, but they are frustrated and are often looking for instructions as to what to do next.  On the opposite side of the spectrum there are buyers who want to blame someone for the issue.  All of a sudden the purchase of their home was a great conspiracy between their real estate agent, the listing agent, the home inspector and the seller.  Their feeling is that someone has to take responsibly for the issue and pay for the repair of said issue.  And so the finger pointing begins.

The Seller

  • The seller had to have known that there was mold in the basement behind the door in the utility room
  • The seller knew that when it rained heavily water got in the basement
  • The seller should have disclosed that
  • The seller had to have known that...

The Home Inspector

  • He should have known there was a leak behind the tiled shower wall
  • He should have known the wood under the porch was rotting
  • Why didn't the home inspector find this?

The Real Estate Agent

  • Why didn't YOUR home inspector find this?
  • Are you going to pay for the repairs?
  • Why didn't the seller disclose this?

It's No One's Fault

Buyers and their agent conduct a final walk through to ensure that everything in the house is in proper working order.  If there is an issue, the listing agent is contacted immediately.  Real estate agents do everything within their power to make sure their clients are getting a good house.  The listing agent asks their sellers to disclose everything.  If there is any question as to whether or not something should be disclosed, the better part of valor says to disclose it.  No one likes surprises, especially when making a major purchase like a new home.  Conversely, being a home owner is serious business. The home owner must put away money in case something goes wrong...and there is always something that will go wrong.  We all know that all houses have issues and the issues that we can see typically get addressed.  It is difficult to hold anyone responsible for what's going on behind walls, in plumbing, under the floors or behind appliances.  Being a home owner is not for everyone.  Buyers need to realize and prepare for something going wrong in the house.  It isn't anyone's fault that something went wrong with the house, but that's hard to get that across to a frustrated, angry buyer.

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Candy Miles-Crocker

Real-Life Real Estate Training


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Show All Comments
June Piper-Brandon
Houwzer Inc - Baltimore, MD
Piecing Dreams One Home at a Time

Somethings just can't be helped but I almost always ask the seller to provide a home warranty on every contract i write to help alleviate liability.  The only time I don't is when it's an investor purchasing a property to rehab.

Dec 22, 2014 10:01 PM #1
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Not that simple.  MD is a "disclosure" state with the 4-5 page seller's disclosure statement. 

Virginia is a caveat emptor state and the burden is on the buyer to inspect.

June (above) is right.  That Home Warranty is my gift to home buyers.

Dec 22, 2014 10:01 PM #2
Candy Miles-Crocker
Online Real Estate Agent Training - Chevy Chase, DC
Realtor - Real-Life Real Estate Training

You're absolutely right Lenn, but what I'm speaking of are issues that arise after settlement that the seller probably didn't know about and could not be seen in a home inspection.  Thanks for taking the time to comment and have a wonderful holiday season!

Dec 22, 2014 10:06 PM #3
Laura Sellers
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Preferred Real Estate, Inc.; www.AuburnOpelikaALRealEstate.com - Auburn, AL

Candy it's never fun for anybody when something goes wrong.  Even when we take all the precautions and obtain the proper inspections there is still a chance that something has been overlooked.  Thanks for your post!!

Dec 22, 2014 10:28 PM #4
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Candy.  If the buyers have licensed inspectors they can buy or not buy.

Or, perhaps they need another inspector. 

Dec 22, 2014 11:31 PM #5
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Realtor - Real-Life Real Estate Training
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