What happens when two inspectors disagree?
The buyers’ licensed inspector reported that the septic tile bed was deficient. The buyers asked that the cost to correct, about $5,000, be taken off the purchase price.
The seller flinched and argued that his septic system worked fine. To prove his point the seller engaged another inspector who declared the septic tank in good working order.
After some discussion, the seller offered a $1,000 reduction in price; the buyers acquiesced. So which inspector was correct?
Answer: it really comes down to who wants the deal more.
This left one more condition to deal with--that of the buyer obtain a WETT inspection of the woodburning stove. (WETT stands for wood energy technology transfer.) To meet safety guidelines, the WETT inspector advised a replacement of the stove and accessories.
As is typical, the buyers again asked for a price reduction.
The seller flinched, questioned the buyers’ interest in the wanting the home and demanded a release from the agreement. He no longer wanted the buyers to own the home.
Now the seller agreed to a purchase agreement that included conditions the buyers wanted to satisfy before closing on the purchase. So far the buyer removed all conditions but one--to be satisfied with a WETT inspection.
Based on a negative report, the buyers had options. They could:
- Attempt to renegotiate before removing the condition;
- If that didn’t work remove the condition whether satisfied or not and complete the purchase, or
- Allow the condition to expire and walk away.
The seller’s options were more limited.
He could either disagree or agree to renegotiate. He chose no.
The seller’s demand for a release was possible only if the buyers decided to abandon the deal. But contrary to the seller’s perception, the buyers wanted the home very much, were willing to accept the seller’s refusal to renegotiate, and removed this final condition. This made the agreement unconditional and, therefore, firm and binding to both parties.
The seller had no choice but to proceed to closing, otherwise he would risk being in legal breach of contract.
Buying and selling can and often is an emotional experience.
In this case, the seller lucked out; he had buyers willing to accept the cost of problems discovered.
More often than not, buyers choose to walk away from an inflexible situation, leaving the seller with an unsold home and the legal responsibility to disclose hidden defects that have now surfaced.