Conflicting Inspections - Now What?

drevaJuly 19, 2011

We are selling my 89 yr. old parents' house. Neighbors advised us that several homes in the neighborhood had roofs replaced recently due to a powerful hail storm last fall. We filed a claim with the insurance company and the claim was denied - "no evidence of hail damage." We also had the home professionally inspected prior to listing and the inspection found nothing significant, including the roof being okay. Now we are a week away from closing and the buyer has found out about the neighbors getting new roofs and he hired his own inspection of the roof. His guy says there's hail damage and we should buy him a new roof. Who's right? I think he's just trying to scare us. By the way, we have an attorney representing us and have also asked his advice. Haven't heard from him yet, but wondered if anyone out there has seen this before?

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This isn't quite the same but when I bought a house about 10 years ago my inspector said some of the wood in the attic was soft and should be replaced. So, I put in the contract that the owners should fix it. The owners disagreed and hired someone else to inspect it (a roofing specialist, maybe) who disagreed with my inspector and said that my inspector's testing method (poking at the wood with a screwdriver) was flawed.

I was a first-time home buyer and didn't know a thing about roofs and such...but I was inclined to believe the sellers inspector (after seeing the report) and dropped my request. When I sold the house about 3 years later, the buyers inspector didn't see any problems.

I'd follow the guidance of your attorney/agent. A next logical step might be to get the buyer to agree to roof inspection by a roofing specialist.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 9:09AM
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Are you honestly asking us to determine if there is hail damage to your roof?

The only way to know who is right is to go up on the roof with the inspector who says there is something wrong and make him point out the damage. Hail damage is not subtle.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 9:45AM
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I'm not asking anyone to tell me if there's hail damage to the roof. What I'm asking is - What do you do when two inspectors have differing opinions?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 9:54AM
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1) Is his guy a roofer or just a home inspector? You can always show him your insurance claim and your inspection to counter his.

2) I would have a roofer come out at the same time as your home owner insurance adjuster...they can point out actual hail damage and help your claim.

3) Does he have any leg to stand on at this point in the process? Can he walk away from the contract??? If so, what will you get as "damages"?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 10:04AM
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Tell the purchaser you will NOT be replacing an undamaged roof.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 10:04AM
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Show then the copies of the insurance claim denial and the inspection report.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 10:06AM
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I'm curious why you made a claim for hail damage. Is it possible that the buyer's inspector checked the insurance claims made on the house and found out about your claim?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 11:35AM
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It's also possible that the insurance company doesn't want to find hail damage. Find a roofer (ask the neighbors)and have him look at the roof. He should do this for free. If he sees hail damage have him meet with the insurance adjuster.

Back in 95 we had hail damage and State Farm just wanted to replace the front half of our roof. Our roofer meet the adjuster and they went over the roof together. We got the whole roof replaced by State Farm.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 12:24PM
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There are people who are liscensed to certify the roof. Find one and ask them. Or go to your building department and ask about have the building inspector check it out. Is the buyers just a HI, or is he a building official from the city/county etc. Big difference.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 4:46PM
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HI's are not building sub code officials. Apples and oranges.
In addition, very few if any professional roofers will certify a roof that they did not install due to liability issues.

Story; a friend was buying a house that the HI stated that the roof needed to be replaced. Shingles were a few years old and in excellent shape. Problem was they were installed over 70 year old shingles/sheathing. They were becoming detached as the subsurface was deteriorated.
Seller had a roofer inspect the roof. He stated in writing that the roof was fine and only a few shingles needed to be nailed down.
However, the roofer was operating illegally which explains why he was willing to falsify his report in the sellers favor.
The seller wound up giving a credit for the roof to be replaced. Before it could be replaced there was a very high wind day and a good number of shingles blew right off the roof.

Moral of the story: if there is damage it must be visible. Request visible proof from the buyer that the damage exists; no proof, no negotiation.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 9:21PM
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a friend had some hail damage and State Farm came out and wanted to only cover partial hail damage. Friend has a roofer that said it was more than partial. State Farm was called back out and then agreed it was full hail damage and the entire roof needed replacement. Then State Farm tried to give wrong specs for roof size, trying to downsize the amt of roofing material. Owner had to catch their error to get proper payment. Bottom line, to me, you gotta wonder if the insurance company is simply trying to avoid paying claims.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 10:01PM
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Maybe the buyer's inspector is right because you also thought there was hail damage since you guys filed a claim? It sounds like two agains two, so to speak: you and their inspector, who said there's damage, against your insurance company and your inspector, who said there's no damage. Interestingly, the opinions match who benefits.

But you want to know what to do. I hate when buyers use inspections to negotiate. And I hate it even more when they try to get more money off right before closing because they know they have you over a barrel. Wasn't there a time limit for them to get their inspection reports and to request adjustments? Did they have all this time, until right before closing to protest something?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 10:43PM
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In my neighborhood some insurance companies would repeatedly deny claims for damaged roofs due to hail. It seems Farmers and State Farm are the worst. We have Amica and several years back put in a roof claim. The inspector insisted on seeing the rest of the property and gave us $1300 to refinish the deck, enough to get an upgraded roof and several hundred to repaint trim and replace screens,.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 1:17AM
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I was thinking the same thing Love. You can't have it both ways.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 7:14AM
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