One of the big things on a home buyer’s checklist is getting a home inspection completed. This helps guarantee they won’t make an investment that winds up costing them more in the long run, and it helps ensure they get the fairest price possible. If there is a chimney, fireplace, wood stove, gas fireplace, furnace or boiler, it is just as important to have a Level II inspection performed by a certified chimney professional.
But once an inspection has been completed and that final report is actually out there, it can leave sellers, or other interested parties, curious as to the results – and we understand. In the world of chimneys, knowing about real and potential problems ahead of time and being aware of any issues present can be a lot less stressful overall… right?
Well, in the home buying and selling process things can get a little more complicated. The short answer is this: whoever paid for the inspection report owns it. If you are the seller you can request a copy, and while we always recommend knowing if there are issues with your system, this may have unintended consequences down the line.
Potential Legal Hassles
While you still technically own your home, it can feel like it’s your right to know about anything that comes up in the buyer’s chimney inspection report. The truth is, though, that the buyer requested and paid for the inspection, so anything discovered is between them and the inspector. Otherwise, who the client chooses to show it to is solely up to them.
There’s also always the risk of a third party getting access to the documents, which could then lead to a lawsuit between parties. If this ends up roping in the seller, everybody involved is looking at a big hassle, plus a lot of time and money down the drain. If there’s no need for the info, it may be best to leave it with the buyer.
There are some exceptions where it makes sense to ask for a copy of the report, or where findings may be disclosed without the permission of those who paid for it.
- For example, if defects are found, and are being used as a price negotiation tool, then portions of the inspection report will need to be shared or requested to negotiate price points or to determine the issues that need to be resolved before making anything official.
- Sometimes the seller may agree to pay for part of the inspection fee in hopes of determining what issues should be fixed for smoother transactions down the line (assuming the original sale falls through).
- In the event of an imminent safety concern on the part of the inspector. That confidentiality sometimes must be breached to avoid a potential loss of life. If the continued use of the heating appliance or chimney in question is an imminent safety hazard to the occupants of the home (as determined by the inspector on site), then some of the findings, along with a recommendation that they not use the system in any way, may be given on site. The report itself is not shared but a verbal warning may be given and documented warning them not to use the system.
Not Sure if You Want the Report or Not?
If you’re not sure where you stand on wanting to know the details or not, it’s always a good idea to think about the outcome of your sale, and the safety of those involved. If the buyer is still going through with the sale with minor requests or no requests at all, it may be a moot point to bring it up.
If the sale falls through due to something found during the chimney inspection finding out what’s in the report may mean you have to disclose it… on the other hand if you are currently using the system to heat your home, and issues were noted, there may be safety hazards or construction issues that could risk your home or the safety of your family with continued use.
Our professional opinion is that it’s always better to know what safety issues may affect your family if you are going to be staying in the home longer. If you know issues were noted and are not sure what they were you could also elect to simply stop using the system and let the next set of buyers worry about it on their own.
Investing in a Professional Chimney Inspection
Regardless of your final decision on whether to request the home inspection report or not, one thing is advised – schedule a level 2 chimney inspection before listing your home. Home inspectors are not chimney professionals and they only perform a brief overview of the easily accessible parts, which often means things get missed. This is one area where knowing where you are ahead of time is always the better route.
Should the buyer invest in a separate level 2 inspection and find issues, they may need to be resolved before completing the transfer of property. Getting everything taken care of ahead of time will help you move forward with less stress and hassle and more peace of mind. If you’re hoping for the smoothest transition possible, this is one way to get it.
Who Should I Trust for the Job?
Now, when hiring a sweep for any type of chimney inspection or maintenance, it’s important that you find a team that is trustworthy, experienced, and reliable. A sloppy job done can lead to some serious issues and put anyone who uses the fireplace system in danger, so it’s worth it to find someone you have faith in.
That’s why we urge you to trust in us. The Chimney Doctor crew is certified through several industry organizations, dedicated to staying educated and up to date on best industry practices and current standards, and we have a strong reputation all throughout Grand Junction and its surrounding areas.
Let’s get started. Call today at 970-234-3330 to set up an appointment with our team. We’d love to give you the peace of mind and satisfaction you deserve!