Buyer Inspection Election (BIE) Disclosure – SF Real Estate

Posted On: December 9, 2014
By: ffdadmin

The Buyer Inspection Election is used in conjunction with all of the many other inspection disclosures for a buyer to make a record of which inspections they’ve chosen to perform on the property they are purchasing.

// This post is a part of our series: Your Guide to a San Francisco Disclosure Package. //

The Buyer Inspection Election (BIE) is a *general property* disclosure. It contains language that does not vary from transaction to transaction and is not property specific.

Pictured below is the Buyer Inspection Election (BIE). The beginning of the document recounts advice and information that is mirrored in numerous other documents that talk about inspections. The long and short of it is that when making a major investment, doing due diligence is incredibly important, and here are some possible inspections you could have…

If you’ve been keeping track, you’ll note that there are *a lot* of disclosures and disclosure documents that relate to property inspections. For those of you who are familiar with my theory about the origin of disclosure documents, you can quickly surmise what the real estate lawsuits are about.

While the form language suggests that a buyer complete it at the beginning of their inspection period, I’ve never seen it used that way. Why? Because most buyers are smart buyers and want to maximize their knowledge of the property with the minimum expenditure of money. So, most buyers (in SF, at least) start with a general contractor’s inspection. If a general contractor/general home inspection turns up further items for investigation – then buyers generally decide if they want to continue investing in inspections or if they just want to cancel the purchase contract.

The Buyer Inspection Election is a great document for a buyer to confirm the inspections they’ve chosen to have for the property they are buying. In my experience, I’ve only seen this form filled out if the deal is going to close, because if a deal falls apart during inspections there’s really no need to document which inspection contained information that wasn’t acceptable to the buyer.

And while I admire the thinking behind the form, the actual execution of that idea could use some improvement, IMHO.

For example, the form lists square footage, lot size, boundaries, and survey as four different inspections. The general purpose of a survey is to determine lot size and boundaries – so which boxes do you check?

What about an inspection for an issue related to a foundation that involves information about soil stability? Do we check for a soils inspection, or a foundation inspection, or both?

What are the differences between a plumbing inspection and a “water systems and components” inspection?

Given that the purpose of this document is to bring clarity to inspection choices, I think it has a lot of room for improvement.