Who Is Responsible?

clover8October 20, 2008


I purchased a home this past July in Rhode Island. Let me state that it is an old home, almost 100 years old, and I had all the inspections done before purchasing. This house was not a foreclosure or sold "as is".

Despite all the repairs that needed to be done (drafty windows, no insulation, partial inaccesible crawlspace, etc.) to the house, I decided to purchase the home. I was very pleased to see the seller had installed a brand new furnace. The inspector checked it and of course, it worked perfectly.

Last week, I had a chimney specialist come out to check both chimneys for cleaning since we hope to start up our woodstove for heat. One chimney has a woodstove insert, and the other chimney is used for venting the flue gases from the furnace in the basement.

On the seller's disclosure, he stated that there was one (1) chimney working and that a liner had been installed in 2001. On the assumption that a liner had been installed, it leads one to believe it was done right, right?

My chimney technician told me that the chimney with the wood stove was not up to code because the liner had not been installed up to the flue tile. He told me it was unsafe to use the woodstove. I was upset when he told me this because we are relying on that woodstove as our main heat source. Ok, so I thought that was the end of it.

Next, my chimney technician inspects the furnace flue and upon removing the duct work that is attached to the new furnace, finds that the entire opening (about 1 ft in diameter) is jammed packed with debris. Not just any debris, but a combination of sawdust, large rocks, soil, etc. He took pictures, and said he had never seen anything like this before. He then thought it was a collapse in the liner and went to the roof to look down the chimney. He put the rod all the way through, so there were no obstructions, but discovered that THAT liner had been improperly installed, and the flue gases (carbon monoxide) were backing up into the basement and kitchen right above the furnace (through an opening in the floor behind the stove for the gas line from the crawlspace).

After cleaning out the debris by hand and half filling a 5 gallon bucket with this stuff, he could see clearly in the duct work. There was no collapse of the masonry, so the mystery is how that debris got there in the first place. It was located in the right angle part of the flue, so even if someone were to pour down the chimney, it would go straight down. But, this wasn't the case because the debris was in the duct work perpendicular to the chimney. Also, he said that the chimney soot on the top of the chimney had creosote, but the debris he pulled out didn't! He said it looked like sawdust and didn't have any creosote. The carbon monoxide detector went off in the basement (I didn't have one there previously) - evidence of flue backup gases. The CO detector also went off in the kitchen as well. To say I was shocked and disturbed is an understatement.

I called the furnace company who installed the furnace in Feb. of 2008 and asked if they saw any of the blocked passage - thinking they must have certainly checked the duct work before installing the furnace. The company said their only responsibility was installing the furnace up to the wall, that was it. My chimney technician said that's a bunch of bull, they should have checked.

The furnace company was very familiar with this house, having serviced it for over 30 yrs. I can't imagine they didn't know about the liner condition. But, maybe they didn't. They were also good friends with the seller.

So, my question is - who is responsible for that? My technician was so concerned he is putting this work ahead of their 1 month backlog because of the CO danger. I'm trying not to use the furnace that much (steam heat, but won't put it on so I don't create more fumes). I can't heat with my woodstove because THAT liner is not up to code. Estimates on the furnace flue liner start at $3,000 (about $100 per foot - steel). I'm outraged that this is happening and would be so grateful for any advice on this.

Just to note, I told my buyer's agent about this, and she said that I can't do anything because the house had to pass a CO test in order to close, so in her estimation, it did. I reminded her that the CO tests were done during early July - when the furnace was not in use, plus the fact that the owner had the house on the market and it was vacant for nearly a year, so even if the furnace was used occasionally for hot water, flue gases from that were minimal. And, therefore, there may not have been an indication of a CO problem at the time.

One more thing...at the closing, the seller's ex-wife represented him as power of attorney. She was very obnoxious and rude, to the point of my attorney asking her to stop her rude comments. She threw her driver's license at him when it came time for him to collect our licenses. This is a grown 50-something year old woman. She talked about her doctor husband and the 4 other properties they owned. Her misery was in part to having to bring $15K to the table. Anyways, the point is, she appeared very vindictive talking about her ex-husband and this house. Not to say she would damage the house in spite, but it makes me wonder especially when the technician indicated that it looked like the debris in the furnace had been manually put in.

Please help me. I'm a first time home-owner and love this house. Despite the number of "surprises" that I have found and swallowed the pill on (3 leaky, cracked pipes - kitchen & 2 bathrooms), this issue I something that I can't accept without a fight.

I don't know what my rights are, if any, at this point, but hope someone out there can start me in the right direction. I did waive chimney inspections before purchasing, however, I did it because (1) the seller had stated that a new chimney liner - assuming for the woodstove - was put in in 2001, and normally presuming it was done correctly and (2) a new furnace was in place, therefore I thought the furnace company would have surely checked to make the flue was safe. My assumptions of the above were based on good faith of seller disclosure.

Thank you in advance for any comments or advice.

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My guess is the debris is a result of the new furnace being installed into the existing chimney..Perhaps they had to widen the connection from furnace to chimney, and the debris was a result of this..

And i'd be a tad leery of chimney inspectors/cleaners.They are notorious for scamming people..Google chimney scams...Not to say your guy isn't an honest contractor,but....

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 8:01AM
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Who Is Responsible?

Sadly, my guess is that when all is said and done, you are.

If it would give you peace of mind, spend a hundred dollars or so for a consulation with a a lawyer. But your best case - as presented here - doesn't convince me that the seller intentionally misrepresented anything.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 8:22AM
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I agree with graywings -- I guess I just can't get a picture in my mind of the 50 year old doctor's ex wife physically putting debris in the chimney to sabotage the house. I believe that the furnace installer should have checked, and probably did not, and the flue wasn't replaced correctly either but neither were the fault of the seller who probably thought they were done correctly. We once had an inspection done on a new furnace because our home inspector alerted us to a potential problem. Lucky for us we did or we would have been out thousands to replace it. Sorry that you didn't have an inspection on the heating system, but don't think that the seller was aware of the problem, he probably thought everything was done correctly. As graywings suggested , you could consult an attorney and see what he/she says, maybe you have a case against the furnace installer,

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 8:41AM
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"I agree with graywings -- I guess I just can't get a picture in my mind of the 50 year old doctor's ex wife physically putting debris in the chimney to sabotage the house."

I was going to say the exact some thing. Also, what qdognj said. Chimney guys are notorious. Which means your current guy could be ripping you off, or the people who did the prior work might have ripped off the prior owners (and the owners didn't know). I'm not sure I entirely understand the condition of the chimneys, but I think the only person you might get anything back from is the inspector. Seems like that amount of debris should have been spotted.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 10:32AM
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I'd get another opinion...we had our chimney relined at our last house and a woodstove installed in this one. Both houses are 2 story + attic houses so the chimneys were tall, and both liners cost under $1500 including installation. That $3000 figure is setting off red flags galore for me....

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 2:28PM
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Unfortunately I think it all comes down to you being responsible as others mentioned. You mentioned you waived a chimney inspection assuming that all was OK which is probably what it comes down to that it shouldn't have been waived and you should have done the inspection.

It is likely the owner of the house that had the work done wasn't aware of the issues you brought up either.

I would look at getting a second opinion from somebody other than the guy who found all this. Did you see him pull it out. Also saying he's putting you ahead may just be a way for him to get the business and give you a sense of urgency. He could also be honest, however it seems like more often than not there is always some kind of catch.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 2:33PM
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All used homes (especially 100 year old ones)are pretty much sold "AS IS". It is the buyer's responsibility to do their due diligence and have any part of the home that cold be a concern inspected.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 5:34PM
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I live in 160+ yo house. When we closed in December in northern NY, we discovered that despite the previous owners using a wood cookstove to heat the house that the chimney was not only unlined (which we knew) but had a few other unused thimbles (openings). One of the openings in the flue had been blocked up with a used paint can lid that had pivoted and fallen away within the opening. At that point the opening was only covered with multiple layers of wallpaper that had been painted over.

I discovered this one morning during breakfast when I was pointing out a faint "ghost" line on the wall to my husband. He couldn't see it, so I went over and pointed to it with my butter knife; the tap of the butter knife punctured the crisped-up wallpaper revealing the opening directly into the active chminey.


Needless to say we had to shut down the fire and deal with it. (We lined the flue with a stainless steel liner, and have been using it for heating our house with wood for more than 20 years.) We couldn't get it done during the first few months we lived there because of the cold weather so we just used electric space heaters in the meantime.

I recount this tale to remind you that old houses are always a series of surprises and unexpected expenses. And also to suggest that you not run your furnace, even to make a little heat or hot water, until you have eliminated the possiblity of any carbon monoxide leakage into your living space. It's way too dangerous to fool around with.

Call the furnace company which installed the furnace and have them come and look at the chimney and furnace connection and give advice. Get a few more estimates for chimney updates. You chimney guy may be one the up and up, or he may not. But don't take just his word for it.

Old houses with "drafty windows, no insulation, partial inaccesible crawlspace, etc." are not defective old houses, just old houses. It comes with the territory. Come on over to the Old House Forum to get advice on getting it squared away. We've all BTDT, and are glad to offer help and encouragement.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 7:38PM
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Well, I read all the way through this missive, then got to the bottom where the OP states: "I waived all chimney inspections". And there's your answer. I know you waived inspections based on the assumption that the seller's disclosure was good enough, but I would by no means assume that the seller deceived you in any way. I myself could not tell you the condition of my own chimney at this moment, I would have to rely on a professional inspector to tell me that. The seller is only required to disclose defects that they know of. It was up to you to have a professional inspection to discover any "unknown" defects before purchase.

Suck it up and get going with the repairs and renovations. It's part of owing an older home.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 11:43AM
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Thank you all for your responses. I truly appreciate it. I'm understanding now that despite the chimney problem, I have to deal with it.

My anger about it was also due to the fact that my inspector missed alot of things that could have saved me money. And believe me, I've researched the limitations of an inspector, etc. But, missing things he could see out in the open - like the 1/8 inch crack in the pipe visible under the kitchen sink (which lead to flooding the entire kitchen) after I moved in, the knob-n-tube wiring visible in the basement - was a pretty big deal. And the big mold problem that was verified by two separate mold remediation contractors after I moved in because I suddenly developed allergies (which the home inspector said the smell was just old pet odors). So, the chimney fiasco was just the straw that broke my back.

But, what it all boils down to is that now I own this house, which I do love, despite all it's problems, and yes, I am responsible for all the things that weren't inspected or found. And after wiping out my savings account with the other "hidden" problems I discovered, I'm still going to keep trying to keep up.

I'm a young, single woman, who is quickly learning that you can't always rely on "professionals" to help. You have to talk with people with true experience, and that's why this board is a godsend to me. I thank you all for sharing.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 9:03AM
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Apparently RI passed a law to license the HI profession in '96, but as far as I am aware..it is still unfunded and therefore not in effect.

That said, two of the things mentioned are beyond the scope of a home inspection by nationally accepted standards as well as most if not all state regs...mold inspection..and the inspection of the internal chimney flue. These are offered as ancillary services for an additional fee.If you contracted for those things to be done..and they were not..you have a legitimate beef. Otherwise, no.

Yes indeed a cracked pipe should have been seen..IF it was not obscured at the time by the owners possessions...as HI's don't move anything..they only inspect what can be seen at the time.

Also, the knob & tube should have bee noted as well...unless it too was obscured by possessions or drywall, etc. on the day of inspection.

What did the HI have to say about the things that appears he missed?

In addition, did you check his references? Was the report a basic checklist (which is almost worthless) or a bunch of boilerplate about homes in general (equally worthless) or was it a narrative report actually written by the HI about your specific house? Does he carry errors and omissions insurance?

Did he supply a copy of the inspection agreement BEFORE the inspection in order to make you aware of what was and was not included in his services?

All of these things are a must in order to have the best chance of having a thorough, quality inspection...or recourse in the event the HI misses something (E&O insurance).

    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 11:56AM
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Just a thought before you start spending money. Check with your local building department to make sure you get the correct permits and if this work was done with out permits, talk to a lawyer. Also because you are dealing with a old house, go on line to This Old House on HGTV, they might have some help/suggestions. Talk to a licensed contractor, and make sure they are bonded. Get everything is writing, document who you talked to etc. Go back to the HI and ask for a clarification of his report and find out how much if any training he has had, if he is a contractor (many are), and talk to a local fireplace company--making sure the techs are approved and licensed by either your county, city and/or state. Also because of the attitude of the seller, find out what the connection was between her and the person fixing the chimney--just let her know you have/will contact a attorney specilizing in this type of deceit also with the selling agent. DO NOT take this sitting down.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 5:00PM
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I'm afraid the most you can hope for is to get a refund of the HI fee -- a few hundred dollars, right? That was our experience with an incompetent (paid off?) HI who 'missed' that the foundation on an addition had sunk an inch. (Every GC we interviewed saw it immediately.)

Our only recourse, other than a costly legal suit, was small claims court -- hard to *prove* our poor, little, old, widowed seller knew about the defect. (Of course she DID -- having masked the addition's walls with heavy drapes to obscure the warped windows -- but how to prove it in court?)

    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 5:15PM
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Chisue is correct.I also had a lousy HI, and he missed that the hot water didn't work in the tub/shower in 2 bathrooms,that the laundryroom didn't have a gas hookup as he said, but an electric hookup for the dryer, and assorted other minor headaches...We got only the cost of his inspection back, and most HI have this clause in their disclaimers...

    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 6:16PM
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Thanks everyone for your opinions and questions. This post is LONG, but if I can help someone out there learn from my very expensive lessons, it's worth the read. If you are in the market to buy a home, please read this. Below are my answers to some of the comments to the original post:

Ikplatow: My quote just came in the mail today for the double wall insulated liner - cost: $2,214.61. It includes the liner, storm collar, and rain cap. The quote for the woodstove insert installation & bringing that chimney up to code to for the woodstove is: $1,719.68. (Again, this does NOT include a woodstove).

These quotes seem way off from your costs. I'm going to have another chimney company come in and give me another quote.

Logic: This inspector was recommended to me by my buyer's agent. She has used him in the past, and really trusted him. She also said that he is part of the ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) and since RI doesn't require a license to be a HI, being part of that organization was a bonus. So, I went with him.

I didn't check his references. I should have, but I trusted he was responsible. As far as the report, it's a boiler plate report. VERY general. The only recommendation that was worth anything was getting the upstairs bathroom tub drainage pipe realigned, since it wasn't positioned down, and drainage was painfully slow in the tub.

Funny thing is, when this was brought up to the Seller as a negotiation point, he said he'd take care of the problem himself. Well, after a few days, and messing around with it, my realtor informed me he changed his mind, and for me to go ahead with getting a plumbing professional quote. He probably saw all the work that needed to be done, or had someone look at it and told him it was a wreck, and decided to leave it alone. Except for the massive amounts of caulking he put down the drain (still don't know why) to help remedy the problem.

I had a friend of the family - a plumber - come over and give me a quote on the work - not including having to rip out the ceiling below to access the pipe. He quoted me $1000, and then charged me $1400. And the job didn't include having the entire foyer ceiling, under the bathroom and which included 3 layers of drywall and blueboard over horsehair stuff) ripped out and a new ceiling put in with plaster. The hallway walls had to be stripped of their wallpaper due to the mold. The entire project cost me $5500. To make matters worse, the friend-of-the-family plumber (who is also part owner of this plumbing company) sent another plumber (young kid) out to fix the drainage pipe, and the tech found 12 microleaks in the copper plumbing. He had to rip all that out. I specifically asked him to replace it with PVC. I wasn't home at the time when the kid did the work, and the kid did the work with copper. When I called the company to ask why, he said he only had copper in the truck, no PVC pipe, and that copper was better than PVC anyways, etc. etc. Being the ignorant person I was about these things, I let it go.

It's been about 4 weeks and I'm mysteriously having blue stains in my tub, my sink, and my dishes from the dishwasher end up with a mineral crust on them. I called the RI Dept. of Health department that deals with well water, and asked if there were any changes in my neck of the woods, and also described the problem I was having. The official told me that the problem sounded like the new copper pipes were leaching copper into the water since my water is on slightly on the acidic side. I was baffled by this since alot of people have copper pipes and don't have this problem. He stated that the older copper pipes gather a natural "coating" over time that prevents that from happening, but if you have naturally acidic water, it will corrode the new copper pipes faster.

I've tried to call my plumber friend about this ordeal several times, written 5 (friendly) emails, and this friend-of-the-family has not returned my emails or phone calls. So, upon the recommendation of friends, I'm going to call and write him one more time telling him I'm having a water quality test done, including that for copper. My water quality test that I had preformed prior to closing on the house came back great...it was slightly on the acidic side, but otherwise potable and no high levels of anything.

If the water tests (which I'm having done by a certified, independent state-licensed lab) comes back with high levels of copper, I'm submitting this to his company and demanding that I get the copper pipes taken out and the PVC in as I originally asked for.

Yes, I understand now that I should have had chimney inspections done, as well as the mold checked. I took what was listed on the Seller's disclosure as not the red flags it should have been. In addition, a few friends of mine who saw the house with me before I bought it, told me that the "odor" was probably due to pet odors, as previously mentioned by my buyer's agent. They said that all I would have to do is get the hardwoods sanded and poly'd and I'd be fine.

The first thing I did before I moved in, was - you guessed it - had the hardwoods sanded & poly'd. $1500 later, the moldy, musky smell was still there.

The cracked pipe in the kitchen was NOT obscured by anything. It was an empty under-the-cabinet space. I guess he didn't put his flashlight on the pipe to see it. I didn't know that, I assumed - again - that he looked at it. Nope.

Same deal with the knob & tube. Not obscured by anything. The first thing my electrician did when he came in my house was say "how the hell did the inspector miss this???". Plus, another tell tale sign that you've got K&T is by the light switches themselves (which I didn't know at the time). The "clicks" of the switches when you turn them on and off require more effort to push and make a clicking noise, unlike the updated ones. My electrician said that's a dead give-away. Even if my inspector didn't see it, could he have not at least informed me of the possibility that the old house had knob-and-tube wiring? I didn't even know what K&T was until my electrician told me. The things I know now that I wish I knew only 4 months ago...

As far as speaking with the HI, I have not yet. I will tomorrow. And there is a reason why. I have taken pictures of everything, just to get several opinions to make sure I wasn't biased and for them to see for themselves what the extent of the problems are. I have been keeping my real estate agent who sold me the house up-to-date on everything. I don't think she quite believed me until I had her over today and showed her the house. She was shocked. I sat down with her and showed her the pictures I took, and again, she was shocked and kept shaking her head in disbelief. She agreed that the K&T and the crack in the kitchen pipe should have been caught.

Before I called the HI, I just wanted to make sure I was in the correct perspective on all of this, and she confirmed that I was. So, I'll make the call tomorrow and ask him some questions.

In the inspection report, as far as liability, it states:
"Inspector's Liability for mistakes or omissions in this inspection report is limited to a refund of the fee paid for this inspection and report." So, I'm going to try and get my $750 of the inspection fee back.

And no, he did not supply me with a copy of the inspection agreement before the inspection. I didn't know he had to or else I would have asked. Again, I bought this house alone, with no family around to help me work this out, so I didn't know any better at the time.

Just to give you an idea of how lacking this Seller (the doctor) was in terms of his house (and living in it with 4 children), neighbors came over after I moved in to introduce themselves, and offered their help. They told me the previous owner was very neglectful of the property, and that several neighbors complained to him about the foul stench from the raw sewage leaking out onto the street from a pipe in his yard. He had a cesspool up until 2 years ago. Well, the neighbors had to ask him 3 times, with the final time threatening to call the Health Department about this, in order for him to do something. At that time, he finally got a septic system in place of the leaky cesspool. That's just one example of many that I've heard. I won't bore you with the rest.

Mariend: I'm going to the town hall tomorrow to see what permits (if any) were pulled for this supposed chimney liner that the Seller said was installed in 2001. Thanks for your suggestion about going on he HGTV site.

The chimney company that came out seems on the up-and-up. I checked references on them, and also checked their website to see what professional and ethical organizations they belong to. The tech also states that they have to pull a permit on any chimney work they do. So, they are accountable to do the work correctly.

As far as the blockage in the furnace flue, my realtor that came over today to see all the problems stated that the oil company who installed it (who she highly recommended to me) most likely saw the problem, reported it to the Seller, and told them they would have to have a chimney liner put in. Given the cost of chimney liners, it leads one to believe the Seller looked the other way, and hoped to sell it before anyone noticed.

I feel confident that after today having my real estate agent over to see all these things, all my documentation, pictures, quotes, etc. I can reasonably ask the HI for my fee back. That's the only thing I can do at this point.

I've also called the oil company who installed the furnace, to speak with the gentleman who personally installed the furnace. All the other times I've called (before the discovery of this problem) he was happy to call me back, and even came over on a Saturday morning to explain how my steam system worked. He has been servicing this house for 30 years. But, yet, when I left the message about the ductwork on my furnace and how it was blocked up, I haven't heard back from him. I'll try again tomorrow.

Well, I've written a book. In the very least, I hope someone reads all of this, and learns from my mistakes.

Thank you all again for your help/advice/comments. It is very well appreciated.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 12:02AM
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If your HI resists refunding the fee, tell him you'll see him in small claims court. He would risk being fined much more than $750 and could get some adverse publicity. (I suspect his insurance/or ASHI's will cover the refund anyway.)

I am very sorry for the way you have been cheated. I know how it feels to have this happen...and how hard to just go on and try to forget.

May I ask something? Are you a RI native? (Can be a very clannish population.) My late mother lived in RI from the age of three -- yet was NOT 'native', especially to natives in the smaller communities. LOL

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 9:56AM
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"Inspector's Liability for mistakes or omissions in this inspection report is limited to a refund of the fee paid for this inspection and report."

This limit of liability may not be enforceable in your state.

If he has insurance, the deductible will much higher than the $750.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 4:19PM
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"Logic: This inspector was recommended to me by my buyer's agent. She has used him in the past, and really trusted him. She also said that he is part of the ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) and since RI doesn't require a license to be a HI, being part of that organization was a bonus. So, I went with him. "

This demonstrates what I have said time and again about relying upon ASHI membership as being something that is meaningful to the buyer. ASHI is on an honor system....and, even when people DO complain to them, the most the HI may get is a letter. They don't rescind membership. In addition, to join, one has to submit a certain number of inspection reports. No method is in place to determine who actually did the inspections.
ASHI is merely an organization for the professionŅno more, no lessŅand essentially meaningless to the consumer.

In addition, best bet is to not go wit the REA referralŅmaybe it is a good one..maybe not. Bear in mind that REA's make no money if the house is not boughtÂ.. and that tempts way to many to refer HIÂs who are not thorough...to say the least. And..since this REA reffered him, it's a bit difficult to believe that there was never a problem before. Good HI's don't all of a sudden decide to become poor HI's. Don't be fooled by her "shock". IMO..they must teach that in REA 101.

Better bet is to go with a referral from family and/or friends or attorney.

$750 is very high for the service you received in return. Shoddy, unprofessional inspection... and a boilerplate report. No offense meantÂÂbut it always confounds me that people don't start looking for and vetting an HI when they decide to look for a houseÂ..until waiting until the 11th hour and hiring an unknown.

That said, it is correct that your state may not uphold that clause in his contractÂ..check and see.

In additionÂ..does he even HAVE E&O insurance? That is a good question to ask when you discuss the issues with him.

Best wishesÂ..please let us know how it goesÂand, for funÂ...call ASHI and tell them what happened. Please let all here know what their plan of action (if any) would be in terms of reprimand, etcÂas this should serve to prove that membership in a professional organization is meaningless and zero substitute for due diligence.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 8:10PM
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Today I received the hard copy of the chimney quote in the mail today. The report included some of the many digital photos they took.

I called the chimney company and talked with one of the staff, who told me this was one of the worst blockages they company has seen in their 20 yrs. She also noted that they have dealt with clients before in the very same situation: buyer buys house, Seller uses arbitrary wording on disclosure to hide deficiencies, etc. She told me to go ahead and pursue this legally because this is an outrage and her clients in the past have all gotten reimbursement for remediation of the problem if it was proved to be a hidden deficiency not disclosed by Seller.

When I called the oil company AGAIN this morning that installed the new furnace last February, that I have a chimney company with multiple digital photos of this situation, the secretary put me on hold. She came back to tell me they would be out first thing in the morning! I guess that got their attention!

I'm interested to hear their side of the story and how this could have possibly gone unnoticed.

I also made a trip to the town hall to see if the Seller actually pulled a permit on the chimney liner he claimed on the Seller's disclosure that was installed in 2001. Guess what? Nope.

As far as the HI, he hasn't returned my phone call. I'm going to try him tomorrow again, along with an email to ask him again to give me a call.

I agree, I should have shopped around for a HI. But, I'm new to all of this, and have definitely learned from this mistake. I'm trying to tell everyone I know in the market to buy a house to please get several references on a good HI, and spend some serious time and research on finding a good one. I thought that just because he was part of this ASHI organization, that he must be good. WRONG! I know this now. I learned the hard way.

Well, like I said, I'm having the furnace guy come over first thing in the morning, and my attorney's appt. in the afternoon. I'll keep you updated as to what happens.

Thanks again for all your comments, suggestions, and advice.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 12:09AM
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Go back to talk to the Building dept people. In Los Angeles they do occupancies inspections and they are very well trained. You could ask them about HI, but also ask what type if any they would do. Just ask lots and lots questions and note who you talk to and what training they had. Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 6:03PM
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