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Legal issues may result when residential buyers waive inspections

In Pennsylvania’s competitive residential real estate market, sellers may receive offers from buyers willing to waive contingencies. As reported by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, to win bids, buyers may even choose to forgo property appraisals and home inspections.

Inspections may uncover defects that a homeowner overlooked before placing a property on the market. A seller may also risk legal action by not disclosing a home’s potential problems during its sale. A buyer may file a suit against the former owner for undisclosed defects. The damages noted in a suit may include the cost of repairs.

A home inspection may reveal hidden problems

As noted by TheMortgageReports.com, property inspections conducted before closing may reflect “last chance” opportunities. A walk-through with a professional inspector may reveal structural or electrical issues.

An inspector’s written report may describe in detail possible problems with a property’s plumbing or HVAC systems. If a final report reveals a previously unknown defect, buyers and sellers may negotiate a new offer. Costs of repairs, for example, may reduce the sale price or parties may let the deal fall through.

Inspection reports may become part of a seller’s disclosure statement

Pennsylvania law requires sellers to disclose all known material property defects. As noted by the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors, a seller may choose to attach a failed property inspection report to a disclosure statement.

Each newly discovered defect may require revising the original disclosure. It may also include an addendum to describe the issue. Sellers, however, have no requirement to include an inspector’s written report with their property disclosure statements.

While accepting an offer of waiving an inspection may appear lucrative, parties may need to protect themselves. Severe and undisclosed defects may lead to lawsuits. When a defect becomes known, sellers may wish to alert potential buyers and help avoid a possible legal action.