Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Inspection,Who's Responsible?

My training taught me quite a lot about contracts, and customer service. My training also taught me about liability. Here's a little annecdotal information. An agent and client were present together with the home inspector during an inspection. The new agent, eager to be helpful and diligent, went everywhere with the client and the inspector around the house. Taking care to note any deficiencies that the inspector points out. It's a newer home, so no laundry list of problems. Except, they couldn't get the gas range and oven to work. After a few attempts they moved on. End of story......right? Later that evening the seller comes home to a gas filled home, rescues the family pet and ventilates the house. Whew!!!! No harm done, everyone's OK.
Flip that story around to a not so happy ending. Consider the liabilities for the inspector, and the agent. We operate with the best intentions. We do our best for our clients. All it takes is one small slip and the lawyers and insurance companies are on us like a cheap suit. They always look for the deepest pockets. The agent may or may not be loaded, but you can be damn sure the brokerage has got some coin, and who cares who goes down in the process.
I'm not too keen on the verbage on listing agreements. The liability coverage of homeowners' insurance policies is supposed to cover damage of real and personal property. What about personal injury? Who is responsible for clients and their pets, and their friends, and their neighbors, and their kids, and their cousins, and their parents, and their cars, should something go wrong at a listed property?

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