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  1. #1
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    Mar 2017
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    California
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    Default Do sellers try to hide defects?

    I was wondering if any of you have found defects that the seller did not disclose and that you suspect they purposly tried to hide it. Like, painting over charred wood for example.
    If so do you mention it to the buyer, or do you just write it up as a defect like usual and not say anything?
    Also do you usually get to read the disclosure statement before the inspection?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Santa Rosa, CA
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    2,617

    Default Re: Do sellers try to hide defects?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth Chambers View Post
    I was wondering if any of you have found defects that the seller did not disclose and that you suspect they purposly tried to hide it. Like, painting over charred wood for example.
    If so do you mention it to the buyer, or do you just write it up as a defect like usual and not say anything?
    Also do you usually get to read the disclosure statement before the inspection?
    Hi E,

    Sometimes, sellers forget to disclose something, just because they are human.

    Other times, it is clearly deliberate. Particularly in flipped houses. I have seen egregious violations that, I fully believed, were deliberately done to hide poor workmanship and/or significant defects.

    Mentioning that something was intentionally concealed can be tricky. If asked, I will state that it is possible. A statement like that is moving into the territory of slander and can have nasty repercussions. I generally don't volunteer that I think poor workmanship and/or concealment is deliberate, except with a flip; and there I will state that the work should have been done by qualified personnel who should have known better. I will occasionally mention that the seller has a responsibility to disclose (at least, in CA) known problems.

    I will ask if there were any disclosures, but things move so rapidly around here that they often don't have them yet. On occasion, they will and I can take a look, but more often not.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Orlando, FL
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    1,383

    Default Re: Do sellers try to hide defects?

    Unless you saw or witnessed the event, it isn't really possible to know "who" did "what".
    Previous owner, previous occupant, hired contractor or handyman, etc. etc.

    Also, many people have good intentions but lack any practical knowledge of how to repair anything.

    Observe, report, move on...

    Dom.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    California
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    107

    Default Re: Do sellers try to hide defects?

    Thanks guys, that is why I asked, because I try to learn about how others handle thinks like this so if I come across the particular situation I will know what to do. I tend to spit things out without thinking and I am working on controlling my big mouth.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
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    Default Re: Do sellers try to hide defects?

    We request a copy of the disclosure from the buyer and buyers agent. Get it about 1 in 10. Most of them are useless. Seller guesses/makes up dates and information in most cases. Occasionally if they paid $$$ for something like a foundation repair or reno, they will include comments.

    I treat them all as suspect. Only thing that is of any real use to me is the age of the roof. It narrows it to a smaller window. Ages of HVAC and water are usually rough guesses.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Do sellers try to hide defects?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    We request a copy of the disclosure from the buyer and buyers agent. Get it about 1 in 10. Most of them are useless. Seller guesses/makes up dates and information in most cases. Occasionally if they paid $$$ for something like a foundation repair or reno, they will include comments.

    I treat them all as suspect. Only thing that is of any real use to me is the age of the roof. It narrows it to a smaller window. Ages of HVAC and water are usually rough guesses.
    While all seller disclosures should be treated as suspect, having a seller disclosure can protect you ... as well as your client by the seller not disclosing that something leaks when it is obvious that it has been leaking (and leaking obviously), and when your client goes to negotiate with the items on the report - if the seller had properly disclosed the items, the offer would have included those items, however, with those items not having been disclosed ... the seller is now in a corner and can only agree or say 'nope, ain't gonna do nothin' ... which is their prerogative ... and the buyer can then walk away ... which is their prerogative.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
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    3,498

    Default Re: Do sellers try to hide defects?

    Years back, I inspected a house in October where the shower surround wall tiles were loose on the wall and the substrate soft from water penetration around the tiles. The buyer requested it to be repaired and the seller agreed. I got a call from the buyer a couple months later, two days before Christmas. He said they moved in and one day, the shower surround wall simply caved in. When they sifted through the wreckage, they found wadded up newspaper that was jammed between the deteriorated substrate and adjacent wall surface. The print date on the newspaper was 1 week after the date of my home inspection.

    DOH!!!!!

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,787

    Default Re: Do sellers try to hide defects?

    Elisabeth,
    Never make a presumptive statement. State what you observe. Anything else that you state must be based on being an experienced professional in that area. Else, keep your council to yourself.

    Sellers disclose only what they absolutely have to keep them from litigation. So many people are clueless about exactly what may be wrong with a property. It is about what they know as fact.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    California
    Posts
    107

    Cool Re: Do sellers try to hide defects?

    Understood. Thanks for your input HI's


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