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Defects and Disclosure

September 08, 2002

Home buyers and sellers must read the California purchase agreement thoroughly. It is true that the most serious conflicts occur after the home inspection.

Confrontations naturally escalate when sellers do not disclose (obvious) inoperable components such as pool heaters, garage-door openers and cracked windows. When discovered by the buyer/home inspector, it may appear to be a sneaky surprise.

Listing agents must be better coaches to their clients. Buyers must be reminded that they have agreed to purchase this home "as is." There is no requirement for a seller to fix nonfunctional, damaged or hazardous systems.

The seller's disclosure statement and a home inspection should honestly present a home's functional condition. Too many buyers have remarked, "This is a code violation; the sellers have to fix this." Most serious defects can be negotiated, but there is no mandate. Mortgage lenders want a home free of termites but are less concerned about electrical hazards.

JOE NERNBERG

Simi Valley

The writer is a home inspector.

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