Re Inspections And Why They Are A Bad Idea


After an inspection, a home buyer has several options on what do next, as we discussed in our prior article, Does the Seller Have to pay for repairs? 

One option is the seller making repairs themselves, and then the buyer paying the inspector to come back and verify the repairs, which is called a re-inspection.

At IM Home Inspections, we have found that re-inspections never go right.  And after talking to hundreds of inspection companies across the country, we found nationwide, re-inspections never go right. Keep in mind, items that need repair are usually because the seller either repaired/installed the item wrong or is due to the seller not maintaining the said item. Asking the person who did something wrong to redo it again often does not work.

There are three main reasons for re-inspections to not go well:

The Repairs Are Not Done

On every re-inspection we have ever done, there are always at least 2 or 3 repairs that are simply not done. No explanation is provided as to why. It does not matter that there is an agreement to do the repairs. Do not fool yourself into thinking that will not happen this time. It ends up a waste of the client’s money and the inspector’s time to have the inspector out to see a repair that no one even attempted to do.

The Repairs Are Done Poorly

The biggest problem with asking the seller to do the repairs is the seller is usually not a licensed contractor. Sure, they may be a handyman or know a thing or two about building houses, but that does not make them qualified to do a proper repair. And even if the seller does hire someone, they often do not hire someone to do a complete job.

One example was we found a jet tub that did not work. The seller had someone out to replace the motor, but they did not do a complete job, and additional repairs were noted on the re-inspection.

On another house, a missing GFCI was noted in the garage. During the re-inspection, the outlet noted had been replaced with a proper GFCI, however, the seller had also removed numerous boxes and furniture from the garage, revealing 4 additional outlets that had not been repaired. Had the repairs been done by a licensed professional after the seller moved out, all of the outlets could have been repaired at once. Again, it was a waste of the client’s money to pay for the inspector to document the job was only partially done.

Agreed upon repairs are done without fixing the underlying issue

A common result of negotiating repairs is a compromise between the sellers and buyers. And one compromise is the seller will agree to fix some of the issues, and the buyer will agree to only have some issues fixed. The problem is the report called out several related items, only fixing some of them does not help.

For example, on one house, the inspectors pointed out the electrical panel had safety issues, and there were several outlets that needed to be repaired. The seller agreed to only fix the outlets, and the buyer agreed this was OK. None of this was presented to the inspector until the day of the inspection. The issue is, without the panel being fixed, the underlying electrical hazard still exists as the panel is feeding the outlets.

The other common compromise is the report will call out the roof for replacement and note a leak. The seller will agree to pay to repair the leak, but not the entire roof. Now when the inspector gets there for a re-inspection, the roof is still in need of replacement. There is no way to say fixing one leak means the roof is good if the entire roof is worn. It’s only a matter of time until the next leak appears.

At the end of every re-inspection, all that usually happens is that the inspector points out the repairs are not acceptable. Now the buyer is mad they paid for a re-inspection for nothing. The buyer is usually mad at the seller for an incomplete job. The seller is mad no one likes their work. The buyer and seller agents’ are mad because now there are more delays. Every re-inspection ends with drama and people feeling hurt. Every single time.

What to do Instead?

Instead of paying for a reinspection, we recommend one of two things, after consulting your Real Estate Agent.

For best results, the buyer should hire their own tradespeople to do any repairs. This way the buyer has all the receipts, and the benefits to all warranties and guarantees behind the repair. The person making the repairs is obligated to the buyer to do a good job.

If the buyer still agrees to the seller providing repairs, insist the seller only hire qualified professionals and provide all receipts, and any warranties. Also, ask that the professional provide their own before and after photos showing they did their work.

Of course, always remember, sellers, are under no obligation to provide any repairs. Also realize, no house is perfect. And again, always consult your Real Estate Agent.

Book your home inspection now by calling 818-298-3405, or book online here.