If you’re in the process of selling a house as the realtor or the owner, understanding “for informational purposes only” inspections is crucial. If a buyer requests this type of inspection, you should know the potential consequences and the best ways to respond.
Here’s everything you need to know about “for informational purposes only” inspections.
What Is a “For Informational Purposes Only” Inspection?
Inspections are relatively common contingencies in real estate transactions. Buyers often present an offer on the condition that an inspection comes back clean. If it does not, they ask for the right to renegotiate the purchase and sale agreement or abandon the sale entirely.
But in today’s competitive housing market, buyers have less leverage to make strict demands of sellers. If a buyer knows that a house already has several interested parties, they may not want to risk asking for an inspection.
Instead, a buyer may request an inspection “for informational purposes only.” This type of inspection would typically occur after providing a small deposit and before signing the purchase and sale agreement.
Buyers would have the opportunity to conduct a professional inspection and back out of the sale before signing any official contracts. Alternatively, a buyer may request this type of inspection after signing the purchase and sale agreement but agree to not attempt to renegotiate after the inspection.
Should Massachusetts Sellers Agree to FIPO Inspections?
If a potential buyer asks for an inspection for informational purposes, what should the seller do? Here is a breakdown of the potential consequences of not agreeing and agreeing to this proposal.
Refusing the inspection outright can prove dangerous for sellers. This behavior can make the buyer wary of major defects with the home.
Ideally, a seller would know that their property is defect-free and have no problem bringing in a home inspector to verify. But in reality, most homes need at least a few repairs.
Not agreeing can cause buyers to catastrophize and assume that there is something majorly wrong with the home.
If an inspection was truly “for informational purposes” only, it would be relatively harmless in the buying process. Unfortunately, buyers do not treat these inspections as such. They use them to aid their purchasing decisions.
If a buyer asks for a FIPO inspection and finds an issue with the house, they may back out of the sale. As the seller, you will have wasted your time and potentially lost other interested buyers in the process.
What Should the Seller Do Instead?
At Jordan & White, LLC, we’ve spoken with many real estate agents who are unsure how to respond to requests for “for informational purposes only” inspections. Our advice is to only allow this type of inspection:
- After the buyer has signed the purchase and sale agreement
- After the buyer has transferred at least a 5% deposit
These parameters can make the buyer less likely to walk away from the sale.
Contact a Qualified Massachusetts Real Estate Attorney
Navigating home inspection contingencies can be tricky. If you need legal assistance with your real estate transaction, contact our team at Jordan & White, LLC, today at 978-744-2811.