Pat's San Jose Mercury News' Market Wise Q&A column: Any Compensation for Recycled Inspection Reports?

Pat Kapowich for the San Jose Mercury News Q: Recently, for the second time, we canceled transactions due to the condition of each home. Both sellers had cursory or no inspections that truly revealed the state of each property. Our buyer's agent explained that it is protocol to send each report to the seller's agent as soon as it is generated. It occurred to us that the reports we paid for have an extended shelf life beyond the failed transactions. We feel it is unfair that inspections on our dime are passed along to other parties. Our agent said that each seller can and should pass these reports along to future buyers. If that is the case, shouldn't we get some compensation for these reports, regardless of their value?

Sand-glass on dollars

A: No. Your reports have already paid for themselves by way of their original and main purpose to help in moving forward with a sale or not. Since the reports prompted you to cancel a sale, it was money well spent. There is no economic recycling of old reports. Sometimes another consumer will call an inspector back to the property and pay him or her a small fee for a walk-through with the old report.

Sadly, what you experienced is quite common and equally avoidable. Sellers and/or the listing agents can actually promote buyer's remorse to the point of rescission by not properly disclosing the property's condition, warts and all, prior to a sale. Posting a disclosure package online reduces surprises and boosts a consumer's confidence in her or his purchase.

Many sellers and their agents will spend frustrating weeks and months working toward a sale, only to have it fall apart after the buyers change their minds. These are the same sellers and listing agents who just can't get their arms around the idea that the expense and time involved posting a disclosure package pays huge dividends.Homes that have complete disclosure packages online prior to negotiations will generate more and/or stronger offers with fewer days on the market. Plus, these are the sales that tend to stay sold.

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Pat Kapowich,, owns Kapowich Real Estate in Cupertino. Send questions to