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Article: Who can sign my pre-inspection agreement?

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Hi TIJ readers!

Recently, a home inspector asked us: 

"I have a real estate agent that sometimes pays for their clients' home inspection and also signs the pre-inspection agreement. If the buyer made a claim, would the insurance company defend me even though it was the real estate agent was the one who paid for the inspection and signed the agreement?" 

We’ve received questions like this numerous times. So, we decided to dedicate our latest article to addressing that question. See an excerpt below.

Enjoy!

Stephanie

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Who can sign my pre-inspection agreement?

Two years after the inspection, a multi-inspector firm received a county court summons. Within the summons, the inspection company’s former clients made a litany of allegations:

  • Termites occupied multiple areas on the first floor, including the garage.
  • One of the anchor plates on the basement wall was “moldy musty.”
  • The bottom of the heating unit was rusty.
  • Water wasn’t draining properly.
  • There’s evidence of multiple previous fires.
  • A master bedroom window refused to open due to foundation sinking.
  • Other windows were letting water intrude into the house, subsequently rotting the floor below.
  • There were four cracks “around the house.”
  • The inspector didn’t use the correct tools for his roof inspection.

To cover the supposed damages, the claimants demanded over $100,000, plus whatever additional costs the claimants incurred during the lawsuit. In their contract, the inspection company had a limitation of liability clause to put a cap on its financial responsibility for missing or omitting defects. But there was one problem: The clients never signed the pre-inspection agreement.

....

In order to adequately protect inspectors against claims and preserve insurance coverage, inspectors must get their agreements signed prior to the inspection 100 percent of the time. (Hence the “pre” in pre-inspection agreement. Learn more about the legal reasons why contracts need to be signed prior to inspections here.)

....

But who can sign your pre-inspection agreement? And who should? Read the full article to find out.

[READ MORE]

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thanks for the information.  However, I think we have to be mindful about the topic.  Insurance coverage and legal indemnification are not synonymous.  I am sure you agree that everyone must read and understand what their coverage is and establish a good working relationship with there insurer. 

Thanks for your input on this board, we all have learned "stuff" from your participation!

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Thanks for the article, Stephanie. 

I've got to admit, though, that I'm kind of stunned that this kind of discussion is still going on in 2019. I can't even imagine running a home inspection business in the 21st century where I would not have an inspection agreement signed in advance. Who the heck are all of these inspectors who don't get this? Are they the same ones who are writing their reports on carbon paper? 

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Foreign buyers leave it up to their realtor on this side to take care of the inspection, and sometimes they don't even come to see the house.

Even so, the best advice is to refuse to inspect until the contract is read and signed by the buyer. It is  even more important to get that signature when you don't meet the buyers face-to-face.

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I've had lots of customers who didn't attend the inspection and several who have never even seen the house. All of them provided me with a signed contract well in advance of the inspection. 

*Anyone* buying a house has already had to sign several documents before even calling for an inspection. They can manage to sign an inspection agreement as well. 

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