With recent turn of events surrounding the explosion of the real estate market, it appears that many buyers are eager to purchase real estate at whatever cost necessary. Some buyers have gone to the extreme of waiving the ability to conduct an inspection of the real property to incentivize a seller to sell to that buyer.
Is this approach wise? Given that an inspection can reveal issues or defects relevant to a property, a buyer may waive their right to sue for any defects by failing to conduct the necessary investigation of the real property. The fundamental legal question is whether the failure to conduct an inspection limits a buyer from suing a seller for undisclosed defects. California Civil Code Section 2079.5 states: “Nothing in this article relieves a buyer or prospective buyer of the duty to exercise reasonable care to protect himself or herself, including those facts which are known to or within the diligent attention and observation of the buyer or prospective buyer.”
Section 2079.5 serves to put a buyer on notice of the importance of their duty: “Nothing … relieves a buyer or prospective buyer of the duty to exercise reasonable care to protect himself or herself.” The California Association of Realtors’ form titled “California Residential Purchase Agreement” also contains a number of advisories concerning a buyer’s duty to investigate the real property for sale. Therefore, if a buyer elects to proceed with a sale without conducting an inspection, a buyer will most likely confront many challenges in showing that they were not aware of any defects before purchase. Of course, a buyer can rely on the disclosures made by a seller concerning defects; however, a buyer would have the difficult task of showing that these defects were not “known to or within the diligent attention and observation of the buyer or prospective buyer.”
Simply stated, it does not appear that waiving inspections is worth it in the long run. If defects arise after the buyer acquires the property without conducting the necessary inspections, a buyer may find themselves without any legal recourse.