Trusting seller’s inspection, Pandemic moving plans
hand holding a paintbrush, painting finish on a wooden plank.


Inspection reports have inherent limitations. Inspectors can’t see through walls and must rely on exterior clues to reach their conclusions.

Dear David,

We want to purchase a property and expect to have competition. The listing includes an inspection report for buyers to review before submitting offers, do you think we should trust it? The sellers expect to be reviewing offers in five days.  – TRUST ISSUES

DEAR TRUST: In today’s competitive marketplace, offers tend to be judged on three main things: price, conditions and closing date. When submitting a competing offer, you may be able to improve your chances of winning by keeping it as clean as possible — with as few conditions as possible — provided the sellers don’t accept a pre-emptive or “bully” offer before their review date.

Obtaining a digital copy of the inspection report may be helpful in this regard. With five days to work with, you can identify potential areas of concern within the home, and put them into context during a scheduled showing.

A home inspection is an overview of the house. It looks at fundamentals such as foundation, structure, plumbing, electrical, HVAC and roof. I occasionally advise my sellers to do a pre-listing inspection if I feel there are aspects of the home that could be of concern in the future. That said, I do not typically recommend that my sellers supply these reports to buyers, as it may leave them open to unnecessary liability.

Inspection reports have inherent limitations. Inspectors can’t see through walls and must rely on exterior clues to reach their conclusions. In my previous career as an aviation engineer, we referred to this level of inspection as NDT, or “non-destructive testing”. Because certain things may not be visible, the results of the inspection are not infallible. If a buyer relies solely on a seller’s inspection, there could be finger pointing later if they feel something was overlooked or downplayed because the inspector was working for the seller.

PRO TIP: Review the inspection report. If you are at all concerned by it, do your own inspection, or possibly even a “mini” inspection before submitting an offer. Some due diligence on your part will hopefully give you the peace of mind to submit an offer with minimal conditions (or preferably none) and could improve your chances of winning the deal.

Dear David,

We are in our early seventies and want to move to a gated retirement community. The pandemic has made us nervous. What do you suggest we do under these circumstances? – READY TO ROLL

DEAR READY: I advise you to stay put. Certain segments of the population are buying and selling right now because they must, but it’s probably safer for high-risk groups to wait until we see more of a return to normal. There’s not much movement with retirement-style properties right now, since many of these homeowners are sheltering in place.

PRO TIP: I’ve established safety protocols for my clients who need to move sooner rather than later, but am advising those who can delay to do so, especially if they are in a high-risk demographic. Try giving things another three to four weeks and re-evaluate. We’re seeing very little turnover in the retirement category at the moment, so you’re not missing out on much. #AskDavid #Advice.