Ask Our Broker With Peter G. Miller: Free Report?

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Question: We're in the process of buying a home. As part of our offer we have the right to get a home inspection. We got the inspection back and now the seller wants to get a copy of the inspection report. We paid a lot of money for the report so why should the seller get a free copy?

Answer: You want the seller to get a copy of the inspection report because it's in your interest.

As a purchaser, it's important to understand the quality of the home you're buying. You don't want any surprises. Toward that end, you've ordered a home inspection. What you can do with that inspection depends on how your purchase agreement was worded.

Some agreements say you have a right to an inspection but regardless of what you find the deal is on and the owner has no obligation to make repairs. Other agreements say you have the right to demand repairs for defects found in the inspection up to a certain dollar amount. If the seller doesn't want to spend the money, then the deal is off and your deposit will be returned. There can be other variants as well, a good reason to get negotiating help from a broker or attorney before you sign anything.

Some sale agreements say that the owner is to get a copy of the inspection report. Another approach is to say that the owner is entitled to a copy of the inspection report in exchange for allowing the inspector on the property. Same result.

Let's say your property inspection found that the house is loaded with aluminum wiring. It will cost $6,000 to resolve. You want this repair because many property insurers have higher rates for aluminum wiring or may not offer coverage at all. This is important because your mortgage requires that you have property insurance. That insurance might be more expensive in the future or even unavailable is a potentially huge problem.

Before spending a dime, the seller will want a copy of the report and should get it. Not just a page here and there but the entire report.

It's important to understand that you have a lot of leverage in this situation. If the owner does not want to make repairs then the looming sale problem is that you won't buy the property. However, lurking in the future is a related problem. The seller will have to disclose the faults found in the inspection report to potential purchasers. Waving such a big red flag may discourage other buyers from making offers or push them to make smaller bids. In effect, you may be the owner's best hope for a quick sale.

Peter G. Miller is author of "The Common-Sense Mortgage," (Kindle 2016). Have a question? Please write to

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