Home buyers and sellers, rely upon their real estate agent for their expert feedback and advice. In the state of California, the courts and state legislature have held that an agent has an obligation to perform a diligent visual inspection. The form that an agent uses to communicate their findings is called the Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure (AVID).
In the event that both the buyer and the sellers are represented by a real estate agent both agents are required to perform a visual inspection of the property and share their findings with all parties as a part of their disclosures. However, real estate agents are not required to show up in coveralls to crawl through the crawlspaces or put their heads in the attic or anywhere else.
If a single agent is representing both the parties, there is one AVID form completed. And remember, the Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure (AVID) is a “property-specific” admission and if there is more than one-unit on a property, each unit should have its own AVID filled out.
What You Should Remember About the AVID
Real estate agents are not licensed contractors, so they can’t diagnose the problems they see in the property. Their job is to only make a note of unusual things or things that have gone bad in the property. Things that are unusual or stand out may be really important for the seller or the buyer or both. It is expected that they only do a diligent visual inspection and to share what they find which should include descriptive language without offering a diagnosis.
In other words, the agents only describe and can’t diagnose. A decent AVID will state things like “visible wall cracks,” nothing more than that. An agent is neither trained nor responsible to identify the underlying causes of any prominent problems.
Another thing to remember, agents are not required to move things such as furniture or piles of stuff or crawl into thin spaces for any reason. A real estate agent is not a substitute for a contractor or professional who carries out inspections to diagnose the root cause of each fault. It is a ‘once-over’ thing that the agent does for you.
Agent Inspection Limitations
To make things clearer, here is a list of things that your AVID agent will not do. The agent will NOT:
- Climb into crawlspaces, into the attic, or onto the roof.
- Look under or behind any furniture, dividers, or wall hangings etc. He will not move things to see what lies beneath them and will not check chimneys or the interiors of the cabinets, etc.
- Look beneath the house or any other property you are buying. She will not climb up or down, move or intrude through bushes and plants or other barriers.
- Operate or check appliances, etc.
- Measure the lot size, suggest size improvements, and/or identify encroachments.
- Check for mold or any hazardous substance.
- Calculate the cost of repairs.