Special offer

So this happens at the Final Walk-through

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Select


We are almost finished with the final walk-through and we notice a slight gas smell in the garage. We call an HVAC technician and they investigate and tighten up a few loose connections, retest and the problem is resolved.

Now, who pays? Surely, it's not the buyer, this was a safety issue and the buyer doesn't own the house yet. It might not be the seller as we were outside of our ten day inspection period. I call our broker to get his opinion and his reply is interesting. Bill the inspector who missed it. I discussed with the HVAC technicians and they said it's very unlikely that an inspector will catch this.

As the amount was nominal, I discussed splitting it with the listing agent and she agreed so that's how this was taken care of.

The most important thing was the fact that it gets taken care of and the buyer has peace of mind. It was an interesting situation where I was stumped and learned a new thing! I sometimes picture when I was working a 9 to 5 job and the work is a bit monotonous. I am very grateful that every deal has its own drama and twists, it's never boring!!

Posted by

Follow me at



Michael Elliott
Fathom Realty - Burlington Township, NJ
Burlington, New Jersey Residential Sales

I advise that you be very careful having any unapproved (by seller or listing agent via seller) in writing work done to any home which your client does not own.  No matter what it is.    And get it in email when it is approved.  

Apr 18, 2024 12:10 PM
Peter Tamura

Michael, that's a very good point. I did inform the listing agent that we had noticed this issue, and it was by text so technically in writing. It was the day of closing, there definitely is a temptation to skip steps when you're in a rush.

Apr 18, 2024 12:21 PM
Michael Elliott

With a gas leak I would call the listing agent asap , then email them and let them fix it, since you or your client are not yet owners. It does not matter what state you are in, you do not own the property.  Luckily, it all worked out.   What if it was a major cost?   Like a roof leak?   Would you fix that and split it?   Or a new heater?   

Apr 21, 2024 05:17 AM
Peter Tamura

Are you sure about that? I only know CA and OK as those are the states that I have been an agent. If the repair contingency is removed or you are out of your ten days inspection window, is it still the seller's problem? What if it was a major problem? Then it would be handled differently, I think that's a weak argument. If my HVAC guy discovers a problem, we can still delay the close and refer it to the seller. Your thinking is very linear, feels like you're just trolling...

Apr 21, 2024 03:28 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Peter- definitely an interesting situation. I'm not an agent so I don't know what the protocol would have been. 

Apr 18, 2024 05:42 PM
Peter Tamura

Hi Kathy, thanks for your comment. I've been an agent 21 years and I wasn't sure either. I suspect the solution might be slightly different depending on what state you are in.

Apr 19, 2024 09:15 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Apr 20, 2024 06:29 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Peter,

I have to agree with Michael Elliott. I would have called the listing agent to report the gas leak and have them send someone out ASAP! Your buyers are not the owners yet and its up to the sellers to take care of a situation like this one. It's always wise to do the walk through the day before to catch an item like this and have it remedied. I'm so glad it worked out for you but always put the liability where it belongs. As Michael said would if there had been a hail storm and now there is a roof leak? Up to the seller as they are still the owners.

Apr 21, 2024 07:29 AM
Peter Tamura

Dorie, thanks for sharing your opinion. The "what if it was a roof leak" is a weak argument, if it was a roof leak, I would have written a blog about a roof leak and the resolution would have been different. We don't live in a world of black and white, as agents there are many grey areas, if I feel there is a potential problem, I want my HVAC guy to look at it and if there's a problem, I can still hold the close and refer it to the sellers. I don't mind if someone would have handled it differently and comment but no pontificating and acting as if there's only one way to resolve a problem!

Apr 21, 2024 02:53 PM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

To me that is a seller issue, and it could well have been caused by them when leaving the property, and having a friend unhook an appliance.

Apr 21, 2024 07:49 AM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

I have horror stories to tell about Final Walk thru’s  ! Things missing, junk left behind,

etc,etc ……….

Apr 21, 2024 01:08 PM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

I most likely would have called the listing agent and explained the issue and asked them to have it checked. They would then have had the seller pay or pay themselves to get it resolved.

Apr 22, 2024 07:42 AM
Peter Tamura

Hi Nick, thanks for your comment. Yes, I think that's the conventional thinking and it wasn't handled in a conventional way, which was the point of the blog. As long as there's some thought involved on how it was handled or not handled, I think it's productive to talk about it and get some tips on how to handle it better going forward.

Apr 22, 2024 03:58 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Peter:

That was not a fun thing to find at the 11th hour - I would have contacted the listing agent right away to have the safety issue addressed by the seller. I'm glad to hear it all worked getting the problem promptly addressed and payment resolved between you and the LA.


Apr 22, 2024 01:59 PM
Peter Tamura

Hi Jeff, good to hear from you. Are you still involved with CRS? What keeps you busy these days?

Apr 22, 2024 04:01 PM
Mike McCann Nebraska Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farm & Commercial Land Broker-Auctioneer Serving Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm & Commercial Property For Sale 308-627-3700

My wife is the office manager for the local natural gas supplier. 

They absolutely want to notified at the very earliest possible moment.  Time is of the essence with gas.

I think you handled it well and yes...it needed to be addressed immediately.  In regards to the inspector...it may not have been leaking when he/she did the inpsection.  As for payment...I would pay for that any day out of my pocket...

NOTE TO ALL WHO READ THIS COMMENT:  When you smell a natural gas leak...CALL THE GAS COMPANY  or a professional gas repair technician asap.  Failure to do so is incredibly dangerous.    

Apr 23, 2024 08:05 PM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH@properties - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

You handled it the way I would have. Except - the inspector I use probably would have agreed to pay for the last minute repair. If you or your company sends them enough business, good inspectors will usually step up if they miss something.

Apr 26, 2024 09:07 AM
Peter Tamura

Hi Patricia, thanks for your comment. That is interesting, it is what my broker said and I remember being surprised by it. It seems like it was a very small leak, unless the garage had been closed for a while, one might not have noticed it. It was a brass to brass fitting on a relatively new furnace that was very loose. I'm pretty sure my inspector would have covered it as well, we've used them for fifteen years.

Apr 26, 2024 09:46 AM