There is a bill pending in the Massachusetts legislature to give residential homebuyers the legal right to have a home inspection as part of the purchase process. It will help alleviate the big ongoing trend of Buyers waiving home inspections in this very competitive Seller’s market, which has resulted in greatly increased risk for Buyers who then don’t know the condition of the biggest investment of their life.
The bill is titled “An Act Protecting Consumer Rights in Purchasing Safe & Habitable Homes”. You can get the full text here:
Right to Inspect
It does not require the buyer to have an inspection, it simply requires the seller to allow one upon acceptance of an offer. No more inspection contingency! The summary, in my words:
1. The Buyer has the right to a home inspection upon seller’s acceptance of an offer.
2. The Seller cannot condition acceptance of an offer on the buyer waiving the home inspection.
3. The Seller cannot accept an offer if the Buyer says in advance of their offer that they are willing to waive the inspection.
4. The standard Offer to Purchase form will be modified to remove the current inspection contingency option.
5. If the Buyer doesn’t like the inspection results they can back out and get their deposit back.
6. If the Buyer moves forward after the inspection, the Seller and Seller’s Agent are released from any subsequent claims about the condition of the property that should have been found by the home inspector.
7. The proposed law will not require the Buyer to have an inspection, it simply requires the Seller to allow one if the Buyer chooses.
8. There are civil penalties on the Seller for not complying -- $10K or 4% of the purchase price, whichever is greater, and vague penalties on real estate agents for a license violation. This part seems nebulous to me…
This effort started with the New England Chapter of ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors). The organizers also set up a website for the effort, which includes fundraising to support the estimated $50K cost to complete the process: Home Buyer Protection
Buyers AND Sellers Benefit!
As a home inspector I have an obvious bias toward supporting this bill, but for me the most important part is that it will be a very good thing for buyers, not just inspectors. My whole premise, my Why, is to help people make the best possible informed decision in their journey to find their next home. However, I certainly can’t do that when Buyers feel compelled to waive the home inspection (among other things) just to get their offer accepted!
It's worth noting that this act also provides some protection for Sellers and their Agents! Read the full bill for details. Aside from that, the more informed the buyer is by getting a proper home inspection, the less likely they may be to come after sellers or agents when they discover problems after the transaction is closed. This act should help eliminate buyer's remorse.
I hope you’ll agree this is a good use of the government protecting people who need it. Please reach out to your state officials to voice your support. Flex that civic engagement! Who knows, you could be the one to benefit some day…