After 29+ years selling real estate, you think you’ve run into every scenario, right? Ah, not so. Every day is a new day! And that’s what we do . . . we solve problems.

Inspections always seem to be the bane of our contracts. Agreements, the inspection clause in particular, are written to lean toward the favor of the buyer. Buyers can pretty much get out of a contract if the property has a splinter sticking out. And recently, though the Agreement did not fall apart, we did run into a stumbling block that was new for me.

The buyer and seller agreed at contract ratification to have some inspections done. As it turns out, the day after the inspections, a Saturday, my sellers went to the basement and found a radon machine. All well and good, except a radon test was not in the agreed upon inspections. The seller called me to confirm and asked a “what should we do” question. I should note here that there was a mitigation system installed a few years ago by a professional company. I called the selling agent who was not aware the buyers (who had booked their own inspections) had paid for a radon test. I called the inspector and left a message that the buyers didn’t have authorization to do the test, and I understood he wouldn’t have known that.

How many of us have the buyers book the inspections? How many of us do not attend whole house inspections? This is a great argument and reminder to all of us to confirm with the inspector what tests are being administered and to attend the inspection, or at least part of it.

So there is a system in . . . what’s the big deal you ask? Well, suppose there was no system in the house and the results showed a high level of picocuries? And suppose the sale fell apart? Now the results are a disclosure in the database, and the sellers are on the hook for a costly mitigation system.

You’re probably all wondering how I counseled my sellers. I couldn’t very well tell them to “pull the plug” on the machine, although I suppose I could have and been well within legal rights. After all, as I was told, “waived means waived”. As it turns out, the sellers unplugged it and removed it from the basement on their own.

We all try to avoid backing ourselves into corners, and we all try to be ethical and honest. Had my sellers not called me, and had there not been a system in place, the ending could have been quite different.

Nancy Sarley, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices HomeSale Realty

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Lancaster County Association of Realtors®

Lancaster County Association of Realtors®