Suing home inspector?

sellin08December 23, 2008

Hi all,

I bought my home in Sept 08 and we've had a WEALTH of problems that the inspection did not find. Having bought a home previous to this, I feel it was negligence on the part of the inspector. Can I sue him?

1) Water damage in two bathrooms

Upon moving in, we found cracked tiles and water marks on the drywall in two bathrooms in which experts say was long standing water damage. The tile is VERY obvious as it is visibly buckling behind the toilet.

2) Dangerous/damaged furnace

The furnace almost set the house on fire this week. The inspector classified it as "well maintained" with a "few years life" left on it and "approximately 14-15 years old". We woke this weekend to smoke/burning smell throughout the house. An HVAC expert said it hadn't been maintained in many, may years and that it was "over 18 years of age".

3) Also this week, the washing machine overflowed and flooded two rooms. When experts came in, they said this had clearly happened before as they got there within 10 hours, but mold was already evident on the inside of the drywall and wall trim/Carpet pad.

I am beyond pissed! My Realtor kept singing the praises of this inspector!


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With regard to the water damage, what does the report say about the bathroom? Is it possible the area was obscured or concealed by the owners possessions on the day of inspection? If so, realize that by nationally accepted standards, HI's do not move anything. They inspect only what is visible and accessible.

As far as the furnace is concerned the age is not that far off. HI's can not possibly know for sure the exact age of every furnaceÂÂas the HVAC guy could not be specific either. That said, 15 years...19 yearsÂ..not a major difference as the HI did say it may only have a few years left. That indicates that it could malfunction at any time. Buyer beware.

As far as maintenance is concerned, there is clearly a big difference between the HVAC opinion and the HI. When it comes to suing, you need specificsÂÂexactly what made the HI say it was well maintained...what criteria did he use to make that assessment?

Once again, HI's do not dismantle anything, including furnaces. In many states one needs to be a licensed HVAC tech to do so...which could explain why the HVAC guy had more infoÂ he would be able to look further. Again the HI can only inspect what is visible without dismantling.

Last but not least is the washing machine. Appliances are beyond the scope of a home inspection by nationally accepted standards as they are considered personal property and not part of the house. As such, the HI will only inspect the water valves and the drainage. There is no way to tell if a washer might overflow at any given time. You state mold is present inside the drywall...the HI can't open up drywall...who would repair it and what owner would allow it? Also, they don't lift carpets and look underneath. How exactly was the mold discovered?

That said, you need to carefully read your pre-inspection agreement to see what the inspection coversÂ..and what it does not cover. That will give you a better idea of how to proceed.

In addition, if your state licenses HI's you can check the state website to see if he was operating in accordance with the state Standards of Practice.

You can sue anyone for anythingÂhowever, the question is how good is your chance of winning? Many HIÂs have a disclaimer in their agreements that they are only liable for the cost of inspection, however that does not mean a judge wonÂt decide differentlyÂbut you need solid, quantifiable evidence.

That is why you need to do some homework first in order to determine if he was truly negligent, or if he indeed performed the inspection in accordance with the requirements set forth in the inspection agreement in order to decide how best to proceed.

Hope this helps. did you choose this particular HI?

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 12:18AM
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Most HI contracts say they are liable only for the cost of the inspection. Also, most contracts don't cover mold and waive all liability for mold. Mold is a separate inspection. Same thing with furnaces.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 11:48AM
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You might get a refund on the fee you paid. That's it. Don't even think you'll get more.

In the future find your own HI. Don't take one your realtor thinks is swell. (Bad home inspection report = No deal = No commission.) I'm not trying to badmouth all realtors, but hiring someone independently is best.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 2:50PM
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As a realtor, I give a long list of home inspectors. It would be unethical for me to steer your towards just one.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 5:37PM
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If anyone is concerned about the condition of the house before you buy, contact the local building dept and ask them to do an occupancy inspection. Also you can get certified and licensed contractors to inspect their specialty, such as furnace, electric etc.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 6:07PM
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Also, make sure when contracting to buy, that the CLUE Report is made part of your inspection review period.
CLUE reports can identify any previous insurance claims made by the owner and not identified in the Property Disclosure, such as past flooding repairs, fire etc.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 6:28PM
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Were you there for the inspection? I know its not possible for everyone to attend but in the interest of future readers I think its highly recommended to walk around with your HI and have him tell you what he's looking at and seeing. If you see something, point it out. Like the tiles in the bathroom. Ask questions.
I've only had one HI and he seemed pretty good but then the house was small, really well maintained and there wasn't much to find. Still I think attending and walking around with him was very helpful. I also didn't have any doubts about whether he checked under the roof etc. and he pointed out some small things that realistically wouldn't make a reportable threshold but that I might want to address.

I had never heard of a CLUE report so I googled it. Thanks Berniek.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 8:51AM
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Hi all,

Thanks for the opinions.

The Realtor did give us a list of area HIs, but stressed this particular HI as one we should consider using.

We had bought one home previous to this and our last inspector was incredibly thorough and made us walk around the property with him, took pictures, went over every page of the report with us. Unfortunately, his company either changed hands or went under so we could not locate him.

This HI, and my Realtor, encouraged us to NOT follow the HI around. "Don't worry. The HI will let you know if he needs you to see anything", the Realtor kept saying. He took no pictures and glossed over just a couple of pages of his over 30 page report.

The water damage was very obvious if you got down on your hands and knees and looked at the tiles abutting the wall in both bathrooms. It was not obscured in any way. Nothing had to be moved to find it. The grout was cracked in many areas and the tile were warped and bulging off the surface

We found the damage within 10 minutes of walking in the house after we closed.

Clearly, we did not choose the right HI.


    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 11:54PM
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Some states don't allow the liablilty to be limited to the cost of the service. Doesn't matter if it's in the agreement and you signed it.

Marie, what kind of certified and licensed contractor would inspect the bathroom floor tile?

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 10:26AM
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You *might* be able to sue the Realtor and his company if they failed to disclose known defects -- depends on proving it, and on your state's law about this. Talk to a real estate-savvy attorney.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 10:58AM
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sellin08: "The water damage was very obvious if you got down on your hands and knees and looked at the tiles abutting the wall in both bathrooms. It was not obscured in any way. Nothing had to be moved to find it. The grout was cracked in many areas and the tile were warped and bulging off the surface
We found the damage within 10 minutes of walking in the house after we closed." was THAT obvious on the day of closing...but not obvious when you toured the home when you made the decision to buy it? And, as you did not look around the home on the day of inspection, how can you be certain that the sellers did not obscure it on that day hoping that the HI would not find it?

I'm not saying this is the case...but your statements are conflicting and could prove to be a problem if indeed you should decide to sue.

In addition, although it is not in your best interests to follow the HI, as distractions could serve to cause the HI to miss something, it's not clear why you could not have walked around the home on your own once he was finished in each room.

Last but not least, this is just another example as to why folks should not go with a referral from the REA, as it is very difficult to know if the REA is referring a great HI...or one who will go easy and not "kill the deal".

These days , it is more important than ever to bear this in mind...with the market as soft as it is, I have heard stories from HI's where some REA's are actually coming out and specifically saying that the top thing they look for in an HI who they will refer is someone who won't kill the deal.

Personally, I will never understand why the public is so willing to go with the REA referral, when the REA won't earn a penny if the deal does not close...or, will earn less if the price is renegotiated due to found defects.It is an inherent conflict of interest that is all too easy to take advantage of for those REA's who are less than ethical.

The set up is ripe for abuse...and it is just far safer and very easy for a buyer to find an HI on their own from referrals from friends, family or their attorney.

Also...ask questions of the HI BEFORE you commit to hire him/her; find out exactly what the inspection covers and what limitations there are, ask to see the agreement BEFORE you have to commit to a particular HI...and remember..the HI works for you and NOT the REA. As such the buyer should be the person who chooses the HI, vets the HI and makes the decision to hire.

IMO, ASHI, NAHI and all of the other "professional" HI organizations as well as the various licensing entities are to blame for they should be educating the public on this date they repeatedly fail to do so.
Until that happens, HI's will never be the true masters (in terms of control) of their profession.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 12:58PM
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van 356 What I meant is there are some contractors who will do inpections in their field, but I would encourage all to make sure the contractors are certified, and insured. A good all around contractor will notice many things the average HI will not. Again, check with your local building dept. They cannot recomment a HI, but might be able to tell you where you find a record/complaint/judgements on them In Los Angeles County they would.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 4:44PM
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mariend, for the purposes of a real estate transaction, a contractors' inspection findings won't be valid in any state that requires home inspector's to be licensed.

mariend: "A good all around contractor will notice many things the average HI will not."

And, a "good" HI will notice many things that the "average" all around contractor will not.

In addition, once again, as a contractor usually does his "assessments" with an eye on getting the job to repair the issue(s) found, it is also somewhat of a conflict of he/she may overstate the problems involved in an effort to jack up the cost of the job.

This is why HI's exist, and why regulations governing HI's in those states that do regulate the profession do not allow HI's to perform any repair work for profit on homes that they inspect.

HI's have nothing to gain by overstating or understating...unless of course the HI is a REA referral and the HI makes it a practice to please the REA in order to be assured of future referrals.

That said, buyers must take some level of responsibility for the biggest investment most will ever make...and perform due diligence in the HI hiring process.

That will go a long way to negate most of the problems that people encounter when they make the wrong hiring choice.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 6:03PM
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Perhaps some day they'll have Carfax for houses, but until then you need to do a little homework. As mentioned above, being present for the inspection is paramount. Most inspectors bring a ladder, we find roof access easier this way. If an inspector doesn't want to look at the roof, tell him you're all set, and find someone else. Obtain a list of references and call them. You can also get information on a house from the town/county. On my last deal I obtained copies of both permits for Title V septic replacement, and new roof/windows from the board of health. At least on older homes you can find out exactly when some of this stuff was done. Most HVAC equipment will have a date of manufacture label on it, this should be easy to copy down. Standard fare is to disclaim this equipment with verbeage which reads 'these components should be checked by individuals in the trade', which on older equipment this may be a good idea. As far as an agent recommending the same HI all the time, well you know the answer to this, it's business.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 9:06PM
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In addition to possibly being limited to recovering the cost of the inspection, you may actually be prevented from suing if the contract contained an arbitration clause.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 2:23AM
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Perhaps some day they'll have Carfax for houses, but until then you need to do a little homework

there is a free resource, the CLUES database will show you all insurance claims on teh home for the last 7 years.

see the link below. it won't tell you about damage the homeowner fixed themselves, just like carfax with a car, but if a claim was filed it will list it.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 2:21PM
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I'm really sorry you had such problems after closing, but the first one should have been obvious to you if you looked closely when you were touring the home. If I were to buy a home with an obviously old furnace, and I can tell an old furnace from a new one just by looking at it, I'd have written into my contract that the seller would pay for a furnace inspection from a list of reputable ones I'd furnish for them. The mold issue, is another issue and might not be obvious, but I always check around plumbing when I'm looking at houses, bounce on it looking for spring in the boards, go to the basement and follow the pipes up to look for mold or stains in the overhead where the pipes meet the ceiling/floor.

IOW..........I take a tour of a home, and then if I am seriously interested, go back a second time, tell the agent it's going to take awhile, so plan to not hurry me and walk the place again, looking for possible trouble spots. Then if I decided to get an inspector in, I'd have a list of specific things I'd be concerned about. I guess I'm saying you have to take some initiative in looking for trouble. I know the inspectors are supposed to be the pros, but I don't trust a bank teller enough not to check my balances each month, or call a plumber and let him guess what the problem is.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 6:06PM
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bushleague: "Most inspectors bring a ladder, we find roof access easier this way. If an inspector doesn't want to look at the roof, tell him you're all set, and find someone else."

Just about all will look at the roof...many through high powered binoculars which are sufficient for a good HI to determine the roofs condition.

Why? Because walking on a roof can damage shingles...or, worst case scenario, could cause the HI to fall through if the sheathing is rotted and can't be seen from inside.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 8:02PM
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There are many inspectors who don't walk on any roof and give some lame excuse why not. Sure, the bare minimum requirement is to use binoculars from the ground. If the roof is a reasonable pitch and it can be reached with the minimum length ladder required, there's no excuse not to go on a roof. It can't be inspected as well from the ground compared to being on the roof. It's just a fact. And what about the chimney? How do you look down the flue from the ground?

Walking on a roof doesn't damage composition shingles, only if the shingles are old and brittle.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 4:18PM
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van:"Walking on a roof doesn't damage composition shingles, only if the shingles are old and brittle"

And in that case..what happens...does the HI still walk on the roof if the shingles are old and/or brittle? If so, and the shingles get damaged further...who pays? Or, does the HI just tell the seller that they were old and/or brittle anyway, so the further damage incurred by walking on them is now their problem?

Also, how does an HI equivocally determine tell if the underpinnings of the roof (sheathing, etc.) are sound enough to walk on without falling through, if the entire attic is not accesible due to lack of flooring, finshed space, or lack of access in order to see if there are structural issues from the inside?

That said, chimney flue inspections, whether they are Level 1,2, or 3 should be performed by a Chimney Safety Institute of America certified Chimney Sweep who is knowledgable about alll NFPA procedures if there is any indication to the HI that there may be a problem with the fireplace, flue etc.

Last but not least, FYI, from the NJ Home Inspection Professional Licensing Act

i. Instailed heating equipment and energy sources,
without determining heat supply adequacy or distribution
balance, and without operating automatic safety
controls or operating heat pumps when weather conditions
or other circumstances may cause damage to the
pumps, and excluding humidifiers, eleckonic air filters
and solar heating systems',

ii. Combustion vent systems and chimneys, excluding
interiors of flues or chimneys'

13:40-15.16 Standards of practice

(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a
home inspector to:

1. Enter any area or perform any procedure which is in
the opinion of the home inspector, unsafe and likely to be
dangerous to tlle inspector or other persons'

2. Enter any area or perform any procedure which will,
in the opinion of the home inspector, damage the
property or its systems or components;

3. Enter any area which does not have at least 24
inches of unobstructed vertical clearance and at least 30
inches of unobstructed horizontal clearance' 2 1. Walk on unfloored sections of attics;

2 1. Walk on unfloored sections of attics;

There is a very good reason for these regulations in terms of safety, property damage and liability.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 5:51PM
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This is the real world. If I hid behind the limitations of of the minimum SOP, I wouldn't be doing the best possible inspection for my client. I would miss substantial defects by not going in attics, removing caps off chimneys, walking on snow covered roofs(last week),etc, etc.

If you're interviewing a potential H.I. to inspect your new house, are you going to hire the guy who says he doesn't go on the roof, look down chimney flues,walk across an unfloored attic, squeeze thru small openings,etc. because a regulation says you're not required to. Or are you going to hire someone who was one of the first to be licensed, has survived 22 years in this crazy business with at least 10,000 inspections- and is willing to go the extra mile to do what's best for you (and pay more for it). Logic should dictate.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 8:44PM
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Yes..this is indeed the real world....

as such, did not answer my questions.

I'll repeat:

1) How does one access an attic if there is no access at all?

2) How does one access an attic and make any equivocal determinations as far as the roof's structural integrity if the space is finished and therefore conceals the structure?

3) When you access an attic without flooring, if your foot goes through the sheetrock by you pay to make the repairs? you let your liability insurance handle it?

4) Do you walk on roofs with brittle or old shingles? if you do, and you damage them further...who pays for or your insurance?

5) Are you certified to perform chimney flue inspections? If so, as that is beyond the scope of a home inspection, the regulations require that you have training and or education in this respect. Where did you obtain the training?

6) When you walk on snow covered roofs, do you also bring a shovel and shovel them off? If so, how do you do so and guarantee you won't damage the you would not know if they are old or brittle until you remove the snow to see them. If you don't shovel, how do inspect the roof through snow cover?

Again, in terms of damage..who or your liability insurance?

In accordance with your statements, you take a lot of risk in performing inspections. As stated, there IS a reason for the regulations...which pretty much are the same in terms of the SOP's set forth by the professional licensing orgs as well as most if not all state regs.

They help to keep insurance rates well as prevent an abundance of claims that could result in the HI's insurance jacked up so high he can't afford to pay..or it being cancelled altogether. This serves no it increases rates across the board..causing inspection costs to escalate, with minimal if any added benefit, and poses a BIG problem for the HI's previous clients who would no longer be covered in the event of a claim unless the HI also went for pricey tail insurance..which I hope you have in place.

The regs also protect the terms of a insuring the safest possible work envronment in accordance with the demands of the profession. Work environment safety is not something to be ignored...just ask OSHA.

It also poses a slippery slope in the event of a claim..with a much larger chance of being found anything done beyond the SOP's is is absent standards...for example...if the snow is x-inches deep the roof will be inspected by walking upon it...if it exceeds X-inches the roof will not be inspected by walking on it..if it exceeds X-inches it can't be inspected at all...if part of tthe roof has snow exceeding x-inches..but anothe rpart has snow less thna due tro drifgitn, only that poart will be inspected by walking upon it, etc, etc.
The possibilities are endless.

That established, do you clearly set forth all of the parameters on these personal SOP issues in your pre-inspection agreement..providing ALL the possible limiting scenarios? if so, it must be the size of a book. If not...your client is not being clearly informed and are being set up for erroneous expectations. far as the "pay more for it" part..good for you that you get clients to do so...but every HI I have ever spoken with in NJ and various other states (which is in the hundreds) has repeatedly stated that this is one of the biggest issues they face...getting clients to understand that one gets what they pay for....regardless of what they tell them is included in the inspection.

Buyers more oftne thna not shop around for the lowest price...they believe what the HI tells them he will do, and more often than not make the choice on the lowest offer..and maybe he does..or doesn't do the job thoroughly.

Also, there are quite a few HIs in NJ operating WITHOUT a licenseand people hire them anyway. Go figure.

That said, you are an anomalyall power to you...BTW, the REA's must LOVE you! ;-D

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 1:26PM
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1.No access. I guess I don't go in the attic. That was easy.
2.From the ground and by walking on the roof.
3.Never caused damage yet personally.
4.If the roof is old and brittle, there's usually pieces of shingles in the gutter, anyway.If it's old, I'll bend up a corner to see how easily it tears. Failed under testing ;)
5.Not certified, have plenty of CEU fireplace/chimney credits with Nachi, Alphi, etc. We are required to inspect the fireplace, anyways.

Yes, this is a risky business, and I'm trying to minimize the risk for a buyer by doing the best possible job. I also move furniture, etc and remove crawlspace panels/covers when the previous inspector didn't.

Most of my clients call up and just want to book the job. Price is generally the last thing we talk about. Yes, REAs love me; they can recommend me with confidence.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2008 at 1:17PM
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van356: Yes, REAs love me; they can recommend me with confidence.

Whatever you say; I'm sure there are some that do....operative phrase being"some". ;-) determine structural integrity by walking on the roof...a bit late if it is compromised...don't you think? Horse. Barn Door.

"Usually pieces of shingles in the gutter"..except of course if an enterprising seller has removed them in an attempt to conceal defects...or the pieces never made it to the gutter...or they blew away. Hardly a reliable criteria.

And...bending the shingle....hmmm...and if the brittle shingle breaks...or if others ALSO break BECAUSE due to snow cover, you walked on the roof BEFORE being able to determine if damage may be caused by walking on the roof..what then??

Who does the fix...and who foots the bill? far as those CEU's are concerned...they don't carry the same weight as a certification.

That said, why not just become certified by the CSIA if you wish to perform chimney flue inspections? Why avoid it if your primary concern is doing all possible in the best interests of the client?

You still didn't answer about shoveling the snow, nor did you explain who will pay if you do indeed cause damage one of these days. And of course...about that pre-inspection agreement...are all of your self designed SOP's spelled out? If not..why not?

That said..I do hope you never get you will indeed more than likely have one heck of a time in attempting to establish why you do so many things that are beyond the scope of a home inspection and explaining how you establish the parameters by which you draw the line and why...ESPECIALLY if it turns out you are doing things not covered by your insurance if they are beyond the scope...because, as said earlier the possibilites are endless.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2008 at 3:05PM
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"as said earlier the possibilites are endless".

I think this conversation could be endless with all of the What If's.

I would bet that other forum participants would prefer to hire an inspector who does the best possible job rather than giving excuses. (even if they're good excuses)

I'm done.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2008 at 3:43PM
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Van356: "I would bet that other forum participants would prefer to hire an inspector who does the best possible job rather than giving excuses."

I see you are still avoiding answering most of my questions...which does cause on to wonder why....

That said, ...I'm sure everyone would prefer someone who does the best possible job.....however, giving someone everything they want is not always the most responsible, well thought out course of action...especially as the buyers are not the industry professionals and therefore not neccessarily conversant in the problems that can ensue by going beyond the scope.....some of which sellers may try to hold the buyer liable for in the event of damage as the HI is hired by the buyer.

That is where the HI comes in....if one chosses to go beyond the scope, then one must be willing to spell out ALL of the consequences of doing and con....including the personalized limtations...and allow the buyer to decide. That IS the point of a pre-inspection agreement.

Otherwise, although the actual inspection is being conducted in what the HI belives to be the best interests of the clients, their best interests are not served if they are not provided with the full scope of information.

Last but not least, in an average well furnished 2 story 2500 SF home, just how long does it take to move ALL of the furniture..and posessions...and move them all back?

Happy New Year.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2008 at 5:17PM
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I have to agree with Van356. As a buyer I'd rather hire an inspector who checks in places I wont go and makes recommendations for further investigations by other experts, then not report possible problems at all.
I don't think anyone wants to ask the HI to do things that are outside their expertise (most people don't even know what the HI's limits are), but be made aware of possible problems.
Most buyers are not happy with their HI's because of missing a problem and not making a buyer aware of it, and not because they did a thorough job.

Restricting the HI's area of investigation during the home inspection, because of some ambiguous liability issues, can't be beneficial for the consumer IMO.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 2:43PM
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logic lighten up Francis! Bringing a ladder to the job gives you a close look at the roof, gutters, soffit, facia, trim boards, etc. It doesn't mean you have to risk walking on a questionable roof structure.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 7:17PM
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bushleague, where did I say that an HI should NOT bring a ladder to the job??

HI's here in in NJ, by law, are required to bring a ladder.

And...if you read my post again, you'll see that you underscored the point I made by your statement :"It doesn't mean you have to risk walking on a questionable roof structure."

Very true....which is WHY it is not required.

Berniek, I have no issues with HI's going the extra mile and doing as thorough a job as possible...I advocate such....but within reason in terms of the sellers property, as well as the safety of the HI...and the overall consequence of insurance rates, etc. that ultimately negatively effects the risky practice can elevate the rates for ALL HI's and subsequently the cost of the inspection across the board.

As such, it must be done responsibly. That said, in many of the regulated states, such as NJ, where one is required to spell out the whole enchilada to the client in the pre-inspection agreement, not explaining EXACTLY what the HI will do and not well as the limitations of any actions that are beyond the scope, as well as the consequences of buyer liability should the HI damage the property, causes a whole other set of problems.
The fact that Van356 has not clarified most of what I asked him/her to clarify tends to underscore my position.

As I stated earlier, there are many good reasons for the regulations regarding liability, safety, property damage issues, etc.
Last but not least "more", depending upon how "more" is executed, is not always necessarily better.

IMO, HIs should be required to take a comprehensive course in risk analysis, in order that they are able to make business decisions based upon educated long term analysis.

Some are able to do this on their ownmost that I have met do not appear to have the skill of risk analysis as their strong pointwhich is why HIs are known to be the lowest hanging fruit on the tree of litigation.

That said, now I'm done.

Forewarned is forearmed.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 7:12PM
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"IMO, HIs should be required to take a comprehensive course in risk analysis, in order that they are able to make business decisions based upon educated long term analysis."

And the purpose is to protect the HI from getting sued by the consumer?
Is some kind of course going to change the way a HI is able to perform their job?
Is someone with certain educational credentials going to do a better job than someone without them?
Is a HI who has taken the "risk analysis" course proven to be a better HI?

Where are the stats that show these things make a difference?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2009 at 6:58PM
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Berniek: "And the purpose is to protect the HI from getting sued by the consumer?

Yes. As there are all too many HI's that do get sued...often warranted, often not....undestanding risk and how to best manage it keeps insurance costs down, which benefits the consumer in not having to pay sky high prices for an inspection. And...the higher the insurancee goes the fewer the HI's from which to choose due to affordability, ESPECIALLY in this market...eliminating competition, which never bodes well for the consumer.

"Is some kind of course going to change the way a HI is able to perform their job?"

Possibly. It depends on the HI and his or her ability to grasp the concept.

Is someone with certain educational credentials going to do a better job than someone without them?

Sometimes yes..sometimes no. For example, a highly educated HI who knows his stuff, but performs to please the REA and not the client is someone whose education in the profession is meaningless.

An HI who is not as educated but who performs his job with his clients best interests in mind may do a better job for the client.

It's all in the perspective.

However, any HI who undestands risk analysis in the end can is better positioned to protect himself, and the client and his/her buisness.

"Is a HI who has taken the "risk analysis" course proven to be a better HI?"

For most. in my opinion, the answer would be yes...provided they understand it and put it into practice.

"Where are the stats that show these things make a difference?"

EVERY buisness can benefit from risk analysis. Case in point, if Lehamn, AIG, Wachovia, Countrywide, Indymac, Merrill Lynch, etc,etc,etc,etc, had utilized risk management we would not be in the economic mess we are in at this time.

To understnad the concept, read on:

    Bookmark   January 3, 2009 at 9:52PM
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I call BS. Sounds like a lot of excuses NOT to do a good job to me. Inspecting carries with it an element of risk that pays $100 an hour, AND you're only liable to lose your fee for a big mistake. Why find reasons to do less than "gold standard" work? Not a very good business model.

I once hired a cheaper, unknown (to me) inspector only to receive a crappy cursory report full of disclaimers. I didn't buy the house because I found some things I didn't like while I was there at the same time. But I remembered, and I always told people, "Just don't use ..." I don't think he is in business here any more.

I now go with the most hardcore meticulous dude I can find to inspect. I actually just had one (1 year warranty coming up), and went with the guy who almost lost me my last home sale. He was VERY GOOD at finding flaws. Back then, he found a ton of things that another inspector missed just weeks before. Two were on the roof - hail damage to some ridge shingles, and holes vermin could enter the attic through roof. He will have my business next time as well.

Ask around next time who is the best...

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 12:04AM
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"Ask around next time who is the best..."

Good advice. However, bear in mind that some HI's will tout that they do all sorts of things...but jack of all trades is all too often a master of none. Therefore that in itself does not mean that the HI is thorough.

That said, $100.00 per hour for a 3 hour inspection is only that for those jokers who provide a minimal rpeort..same, day, check list, etc.

A good, comprhensive, meaningful narrative report takes quite a while to compile, knocking down that $300.00 accordingly.

Last but not least, HI' all other professionals...are NOT hourly workers...they are paid in accordance with what they know.

In addition, just because an HI looks at something , it does not mean he will report or properly analyze what he sees, depending upon who he is trying to please...the REA..or the well as his level of intelligence and expertise.

The practice of the profession is more involved than most have been led to believe.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 11:36AM
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"EVERY buisness can benefit from risk analysis. Case in point, if Lehamn, AIG, Wachovia, Countrywide, Indymac, Merrill Lynch, etc,etc,etc,etc, had utilized risk management we would not be in the economic mess we are in at this time."

Perfect example of companies which had risk mitigation/management dept's, with all kinds of educated experts and specialists and all that didn't make any difference.

"In addition, just because an HI looks at something , it does not mean he will report or properly analyze what he sees, depending upon who he is trying to please...the REA..or the well as his level of intelligence and expertise.

The practice of the profession is more involved than most have been led to believe."

Again, "experts" also inspected the I-35W Mississippi Bridge in Minneapolis and missed a design flaw.
As long as we are dealing with human inspectors, human errors will happen, at any level, even if they don't have to please REA or buyers.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 1:36PM
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Let me tell about my House From He??, I t was inspected by Housemasters , I bought the house Nov 29 last year , it was a cute home which I thought, greenhouse for my seedling of iris, large garden area, land for a horse, plenty of space.
Yeah I seen some holes in doors where the door stopper went through the wood, a tear in the kitchen floor. no problem, I would put in a new wood floor any ways and put up a couple of new doors, do a little remodeling to my liking.

The house was inspected and it came back with not much wrong. and the sellers disclosure sheet said no leaky roofs, no problems with furnace, foundation, sewer, they put in a new drain field etc. no problems with electric. every thing was good.

The nightmare started with my new housewarming gift, sewer backed up in my kitchen sink and all over the basement floor.
The furnace did not work as 3 burners were out of it, and it was leaking water inside and had gone in lockout mode. and beside the thermostat was not even hooked up to any voltage, some one had disconnected it from the furnace and electricity . the floor joists were unsized and the weight of my furniture caused the floor to sag right in the middle, so i had to move every thing out and put in storage.

The electricity was over looked the inspector passed electric that was not even hooked up yet as working, he failed to mention that the ground for the house had been cut out and that there is not ground at all so I get zapped by electricity .
The subgrade foundation is falling in and he said it was perfect, this causing the ceiling to split apart and the addition that the sellers added to fall down , so one side of the house that the floor sags is also falling off the house due to framing problems, that were not lined up.

He passed a roof that was installed wrong and the sellers said it does not leak. I have water damaged things, that i had to throw out because they were ruined. the leaking of the roof caused the install to fall down, and when I looked up there , you could see daylight shining right down through the roof, the sellers also put on the roof and did not line up the panels .

The inspecter failed to mention that the dryer vent had been covered over from outside and it vented in the walls
nor did he mention the black mold, when i looked at house it was empty and water shut off, water was turned on for inspection, he failed to report that the toilets overflowed and could not used, he just put down a small leak at pipe, nor did he mention bath tub will not drain.

He did not mention the over hand roof over the front door was breaking off. to many thing he should have reported as bad but passed them with flying colors.

I have since had 7 back ups in my basement since I moved in last Dec 7, I have had sewer sludge backups in my kitchen sink, my bathroom sink and the bathtub also spewing out of the toilets, out of the clean out in the wall all like the bowels from he//.

On the first one the sewer contractor snaked plastic bags out of the floor drain and pieces of diapers crammed up in the jet holes on the toilets , but the problem did not stop.
my upstairs toilet would all of a sudden come alive a overflown then suck everything down then with a force spit everything all over the place, so I had to shut water off, but it did not stop it.

To find out from neighbors that the sellers had problems with sewer and they poured concrete down a main floor drain to stop sewer gases from coming up and this had gotten into the main lines.
The sellers put on the disclosure sheet a new drain field, septic which was a lie, as not neighbor seen them put in a new drain field and 2 sewer contractors said a new drain field was not put in, so the sellers lied as did the inspector.

Then to find out from one of the sewer contractors who is also a volunteer for the fire dept that I better look into the violations on this property, which I brought up very easy and the realtors should have brought them up. one was electrical, fire code and sewer, since the dear sellers pumped raw sewage out of the basement into the back yard, and for a well that the sellers dug and put in 40 feet away from the drain field this causing the well water to be polluted so I must cap this well and drill another.

Black mold has taken over the basement since the sheet rock has been soaked up with sewer water, and it has a very high humidity which causes the mold to grow fast.
I must gut the whole basement dig up the floor with the back yard and put in a new drain field.

I cant ever take a shower or do a load of wash as any water casing the sewer to back up from the sinks and floor drains.
and to top things off the sub grade falling in has caused the garage to became racked or off kilter, the doors hardly work and the front of the garage is buckling as the concrete pad & walks around it heave up and break open so the garage is falling down.

The inspector passed a propane stove that he should not have , the stove that was in the main house was electric, and the sellers decided they were going to put in a propane stove and did all the hooking up themselves, the stove explodes into flaring flames and has mini explosions, the cause it that there is not regulator to this stove to control the amount of propane and it is getting to much this building up causing explosions so I dont use the over it could build up and cause your house to go boom.

I have been turned down by 53 lawyers to sue. Because the house is in the county and not city, they take the city cases right away but pass mine up, Why because the state of Montana removed the building code permits only for the county, so any body can build a house with match sticks and sell it with it's many defective flaws.

Which is not right does a person have to be mamed or killed by a defective home before your can sue for malpractice.

So I am filing this case my self in court and hope a jury will find for me after I show the numerous pictures all at different times of the years of nice pictures of sewer sludge that has overflowed from the sinks, the tub and overflowed from the toilet bowl and of it running down the wall and of the wall between the main house and the new addition the sellers added, the huge chunkes of wall that is falling out all over the floor , the picture of the ceiling that is splitting open and the frame being exposed.
And the violations on property that I personally went a looked up myself

the addition was not built with the cheapest and undersized lumber which the inspector should have caught, I dont know houses I am a widow with no family ..

This inspector does not even have a license, the realor picked him since I was an out of state buyer coming into the state, she said she had the best inspector that guarantees his inspections, will Housemasters do not guarantee there inspections and are quick to put all the blame on you for any problem , like the inspector blamed me for breaking the furnace and thermostat and all the electric and the lack of any firewall , i removed them, I caused the sub grade foundation to fail and the garage to buckle this spring and the roof that was installed wrong in the first place, as neighbors said from the top down instead of bottom up and caused the sewer to back up in my kitchen sink and bathroom sink,tub etc I blocked off the dryer vent venting it into the wall and closed off the outside vent by building a deck over it, which is going to collapse if I don't repair it due to poor construction

I have $140,000.00 in repair and that does not cover any hidden damage.

to much when you have the home inspected and the inspector hid the major defects cause he gets a kick back from the sellers and the real estate agents.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 9:51PM
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Couple of points which involve a few of the things it sewer or septic? It must be one or the other..not both. And...the inspection of septic or sewer lines is beyond the scope of a home inspection (except maybe for van356) is the inspection for mold. Unless the HI stated that he would perform these inspections...and when they do they charge more for it, they would not be included in the home inspection. This should have been clearly spelled out to you in the pre-inspection agreement.

Also, Montana has a Home Inspection Trade Practices Act passed in '99...but it does not seem as if it is in effect in terms of actual "licensing".

That said, the problems you have mentioned are so numerous that I'm not clear on why no lawyer will take the suing an HI has nothing to do with HI's are not code inspectors. However, the Building Code office has oversight over the HI Trade Practices this is a bit that website does not even have a category for home inspection licensing.

FYI, Housemaster was the subject of a major law suit in NJ a while back, somwhat similar to your predicament. Below is a link to an overview of the suit.Perhaps if you bring this to the attention of an attorney, they would understand that there is indeed precedent, and move forward with your case.


Best wishes to you.

OH..and Berniek? Professionals make mistakes all of the time. Some even take kickbacks to keep quiet. As I said in response to your question:

"Is a HI who has taken the "risk analysis" course proven to be a better HI?"

For most. in my opinion, the answer would be yes...provided they understand it and put it into practice.

No matter how much knowledge on has..if they do not use it, it is moot.

That said, I'm not clear on your point.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 12:16AM
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Wow! What a bummer. If the sellers filled out a form listing the condition of the systems, etc., what was the purpose of that if they can't be held responsible for any lies or misrepresentations? Is it just a formality to sell the house? We had to fill out a form which was very long and were careful about filling it out honestly. Luckily, there weren't any glaring issues with our house.

I am glad you are filing the case yourself. Any jury would be on your side,I would think.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 11:47AM
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"OH..and Berniek? Professionals make mistakes all of the time. Some even take kickbacks to keep quiet. As I said in response to your question:"

My point exactly. The majority mistakes are not criminal (kickbacks), but mistakes and oversight, and they do happen, regardless of courses taken and certifications held.

I'll bet you that Nallie's inspector had a few certifications, but still performed subpar, to say the least.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 1:36PM
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berniek: "I'll bet you that Nallie's inspector had a few certifications, but still performed subpar, to say the least."

Quite possibly. However, I have seen all too many HI reports that are so limited in the info provided that they fail to even be meaningful....specifically the same day reports, computer generated or otherwise.

That said, I doubt that the majority HI's producing such reports are unaware of this, IMO, there are far more who specifically choose to operate in this respect...either because they can perform more inspections in a day, thereby increasing their earnings...or, they are trying to please someone other than the client. Either way, the client is being intentionally ill served.

However, that still does not negate the benefits of education and some may indeed change their ways if they were able to fully understand risk and it's results.

That said, your point seems to be the same as mine.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 1:49PM
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The point is I should not have $140,000.00 plus in major repairs which I can not possibly afford, I can not afford to pay for other housing and pay on this house from He//. The issue is the home inspector was very negligent or he just simply did not what he was doing, this type of person should not even be inspecting houses.
Does it take someone's misfortune of getting hurt or killed by a house that is a danger to every body that goes in it.

My house is dangerous due to the conditions that the inspector was negligent on

Here's what the inspections were to cover in the regular inspection and you paid extra for other kinds inspections like mold.
Patio/decks, walk grading, retaining wall and shrubs and trees. The deck is collapsing due to not being built right,
the walks all have to be torn up due to heaving as a few of the sections have formed a 2 to 3 lip which is a trip hazard, retaining wall has large crack and is falling down, a large cottonwood tree that sellers ringed that is only 3 feet from side of house he passed all these things as perfect.

Garage roofing,floor,structure, fire door, garage door opener, electrical and over head door.

the roof over garage had many shingles missing and the vents were installed upside down and the sellers tried to correct this by drilling holes into the vents, but it allowed water from rain and snow to run into garage. structure the garage is not even anchored down and there was a frame by garage door that had popped up, I thought a nail had come out, but 3 different contractors told me not it is the garage is buckling due to wrong framing
fire door or fire wall inspector passed them and neither one is present.
garage door opener did not work and still does not work good
electrical lights in garage do not work as they are not hooked up to any panel or wires.
over head door the door was built out of the wrong material and put together very cheap. this is way the door came down on my car I am afraid of these doors

the inspector passed all these things as perfect working condition.

Interior ceiling walls floors stairs windows door fireplace smoke detec electrical outlets and hand rails

walls house has many framing issues wrong framing done

floors floor joists are under size for any load bearing this causing it to sag under weight inspector should have said joists undersized instead of passing them as perfect also a couple of them are cracked which was never mentioned either and the joists were exposed due to an unfinished ceiling

the inspector passed windows that had the seals out of them for years I have $3,800 in windows to put in due to seal out of them and inspector said there was nothing wrong with these windows.
smoke detectors the smoke detectors throw sparks when you press in on the button they are all wired in the house electrical system

electrical outlet many of them do not even had any current to them but inspector passed these as perfect as he said the smoke det were perfect I had to take out every smoke detector because they were arcing to much
hand rail still can't find this any where in house but this was passed also

exter foundation siding gutter steps electrical soffits masonry windows and water faucets

sub grade foundation has failed due to sellers just pouring concrete on top of the ground when they put on addition

siding hey inspector said one part was messed up

gutters hey inspector said some gutters need replaced

electrical outlet non working outside due to not being hooked up but inspector said working perfect.

soffit completely messed this as there is none but said were perfect same as fascia none

masonry said perfect all masonry has to been torn up and replaced.
windows really messed up here
water faucets faucets is not even hooked up to the water but as was passed as working

Attic access framing ventilation, wiring sheathing insulation

access is very poor, hey inspector got another one ventilation attic is also full of mold
kitchen plumbing sink range flooring range fan oven cabinets countertop dishwasher disposal, elec outlet

kitchen sink backed up
range when house first sold electric range was in house, sellers took it out and put in a propane range and installed it themselves with out the gas company and they ran a pipe off the regulator for the propane furnace first time I went to use the stove I was burnt due to exploding flames, and the oven can not be used due to mini explosions caused by to much propane building up this can cause the stove to blew up along with your house and the inspector passed this stove with flying colors, I have used gas stoves before and they should not explode when you turn a burner on
range fan vented into attic and no where to go inspector passed as perfect.

floor hey inspector put down a tear in kitchen floor

cabinets a section of the cabinets have to be replaced due to being broke inspector said in perfect condition nothing wrong.
electrical outlet a night light will throw the breakers in the whole house from the kitchen outlets

Bathroom tub/shower tile grouting toilet water/drain flow ventilation windows gfci
tub will not hold water faucet is broke and to correct this, one wall had to be torn out to get to pipes and faucet.

floor is rotted out by tub
toilet hey this is a kicker day of inspection I had a well inspected and that guy came out and turned the water on to house since it was vacant and water was turned off by sellers and ordered not to be turned on.

The inspector should have diffidently noticed this it is clearly noticeable , "a toilet that overflows"
the inspector put down a small leak, and the water was turned off on this toilet when I moved in but had to been turned on for the inspector to say toilet had a leak. i called the guy who inspected the well and he did not turn the water off on this toilet and when he was here, he noticed water running dripping down from the upstairs floor the inspector was long gone before he left and he got at house first.
I believe the inspector seen this overflowing toilet shut the water off to it and lied about the true condition. this was the last inspection. the well guy said the inspector was not even at house a half hour, he basically went through the front door and he did leave out the back and did not return and well guy said he did smell sewer when inspector was doing his water pressure testing.
The upstairs toilet overflowed right away when I turned the water back on when I started moving in, so if it did it to me, it did it to the inspector also, and he was the one who shut the water off, I am willing to bet on that.

Sewer, sewer sludge, sewage, as Rotor Rooter and the sewer contractor call it , human waste that come up from your septic tank. And just washing clothes and draining the washer will cause sewer sludge to back up in the floor drain and sinks.
Basement/ crawl space foundation walls, floor framing, drainage, columns sump pump moisture control bearing walls ventilation

there is no place for a sump pump and inspector said just fine, northwest bearing wall is not good but passed as perfect and no problems

electrical- panel type capacity service line voltage amperage circuit wiring and wiring devices.

The inspector really blew it here 2 panels were not even inspected there is no 120 volt just 110 as i said all ground wires had been removed from main panel and pieces of extension cord wired into the main wiring and also wired into the telephone at which the whole telephone panel box had been removed, there are exposed live electrical wires, lights that are not even hooked up to electricity yet was passed as working, smoke detectors arced when tested by the state electrical engineer when they came out and said the inspector should have never passed this smoke alarm system it is dangerous with it's arcing, so they were all removed due to they could cause a electrical fire, the wiring looks like something a 2 yr old would put together with electrical type
This house is just floating the electric has no where to go since ground rods were removed so if lightning ever hit this house every living thing in it will be electrocuted

heating/cooling type energy heat exchanger ductwork flute filters combustion air thermostat blower air flow and AC

inspector really blew it here he passed a furnace that did not work he passed burners that were out of it and it had gone into a lockout mode so it could not come on and it leaks water inside from what I do not know, he passed a thermostat that did not work because there was no voltage hooked to the thermostat
the ductwork is dummy duckwork and the inspector did not mention this so I have to install ductwork in this house the furnace had an way undersized filter that had been sucked up inside a heating contractor found it and it had been there for some time due to the dust on it so inspector must have seen this.
AC unit has to be replaced as it does not work & inspector said perfect working condition
Space heaters do not cut it when it is 25 below zero outside and the temp in the house is 40 and it always flips all the breakers in house

Water source hot water heater gas electrical connections water tank saftey release valve line combustion covers main shut off and plumbing

I have to replace HWH inspector said perfect condition connections are rotted out so need replacing water tank had been replaced with a too small of pressure tank to handle a house it is size for RV but passed as suitable for home no safety release valve and the whole plumbing has to be redone starting from digging up the basement concrete floor and all new pipes put in the whole house

Roof material layers edging flashing roof slope roofing exposure, plumbing vent stacks downspouts leakage sky light flashing chimmey/furnace flue and tree obstruction

edging was missing in many places flashing was installed wrong as it was installed over the roof shingles sellers did roof themselves I guess, flashing around vents were cracked and or missing. plumbing vent stack flashing was broke, hey inspector got one downspout right, leakage, leakage stains could be seen on boxed material and had been leaking for a couple of years

The inspector should have picked up the gable or over hang over the front door way that is was breaking off this failure in structure has caused the ceiling inside of the home to separate making the framing lean to one direction and it has caused huge jagged cracks running up the walls

I paid for mold inspection and it was not done as I was told.

I paid for septic/sewer inspection and this was not done as i was told.
I paid for inspection on 2 wells , which I find out only one was inspected, the other well that I must cap was never even mentioned to the guy who did the well inspection and my agent set this inspection up but did not tell him that there were 2 wells on property

And the property violations should have been brought to my attention before this house went to closing this i am suing the title company along with 2 real estate agents as well as the inspector and sellers. these violations were at the court house and there are fines for these violations so I really did not get a clear title when the state and county are asking for the violations to be paid I did not create these violations, the sellers did I should not be responsible
I put in contract that house is contingent on inspections if they do not pass house is void and earnest deposit is to be returned ASAP this house should have been voided

Bottom line is I had this house inspected by a inspector I called and there were many things they were a major concern with my safety living in this house and I have a structural engineer over and he said this house is Non habitable and I gave copied to both of them from Housemasters and both wrote down in there reports that the report from Housemasters is no even complete and is far from the norm and this inspector is negligent in all aspects and should be held accountable along with the rest of the people involved , clearly they all took advantage of a first time home buyer.

You hire a home inspector so you do not have major repair, you hire a real estate agent to help you to avoid buying a lemon because you do not know real estate transactions and you go by the sellers disclosure sheet hoping they are telling the truth, which the sellers lied through their teeth. to many things were hidden from me the true not disclosed by all involved, a buyer should not have to find out about property violations after they move in, a buyer should not have to find the major defects that should have been brought out in the open in the first place, this giving me a chance to back out of the deal due to the condition of the home this is wrong
and attorneys are so darn greedy if you do not have $10,000 to put down on the spot then pay as you go they dont even want to talk to you, or they say they have a conflict of interest with the real estate agents and I found out the attorneys and real estate agents all go to the same benefits so they know each others, or they say sellers have no money and you can't sue the home inspector because they have no money, or your realtor works for the seller also and never for you so you are stupid for thinking any realtor would work for me.

There are cases that have been taken like this by attorneys but all of them have been in the city limits and I am county and the state and county use to require build permits for those in the county but did away with that rule in 2003 so attorney will not take a county case now
is that discrimination or what.

I told my agent I did not want housemaster inspecting the house as I had my own but she would not listen so that is why she is getting sued she did not take my best interest in consideration as the firm got a kickback as well as Housemasters and I DO THINK IT SHOULD BE CRIMINAL because it was clearly that, this house passed for the sellers and so a kickback could be given, AGAIN NOT TAKING MY FEELING IN CONSIDERATION, all my assets are tied up in a non habitable house, I can not sell, nor even address the many issues of repair. I suffer from respiratory problems now I never had before due to sewer gases and black mold and I don't enjoy going to the ER all the time due to the problems
by the conditions of this house. A home is your castle a safe haven, but when you do not have that, and you lost a perfectly good home that you just had and our deceived by the people you think are helping you, Iam pushing to make any KICKBACKS criminal when people's lives are being destroyed because of greedy people and there KICKBACKS

I think I should have been told about the deaths in this house by the seller and the selling agent who knew and the sellers should have told me about the people that lived in this house that had AIDS/HIV & Hepatitis who are the ones who died, that does live in the septic and I have had to clean that up all over the basement floor

And there is a loop hole in the contract I asked for a response from seller if they accepted my offer on this date and this time I was told by agent they had and was given a copy which turned out to be fake, I get the original copy of the contract through my title company in Wyoming I used for the selling of my home and the sellers did not accept offer untill 26 hours after the deadline they were suppose to accept so there is a breach of contract there and the sellers and real estate agents all got copies of the home inspection before I did. Why?

At closing I found out when I asked about the payment to inspector the agent lumped the cost into the sellers part cause the sellers said they wanted to pay for it.
And this was the last page that was given to me after I signed everything else and I could not back out.

Fraud is Fraud a Breach of Contract and I am not the one who committed the fraud of breach the contract

I have kept a journal day by day of my misery and dates of dealing with this house and pictures of floors with sewage all over it and pic of sewage in my sinks/tub and overflowing from the toilets and even coming out of the clean out wall trap, I have pic of water damaged items from a server leaky roof and one of the ceiling that is splitting open and everything else that is showing it's ugly head. 208 exhibits will be going to court with me including the pics of sewerage all over the place, for all to see what i have to put up with. I hoping for a jury trial

Now is this taking advantage of some one, I think it is

so that is the point I think inspectors like this should be sued and banned from inspecting any more houses

And I think the others are due there punishment also

Housemaster is not a good inspection service as they do not stand behind there guarantee I ever contacted headquarters in NJ and told Joe and Cathy about the shoddy inspections there inspectors do and I should not have this kind of major expenses of repair.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 10:00PM
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All this is great stuff but I can boil it down for anyone wanting to get a quick wrap up, Let The Buyer Beware.

You are putting your hard earned money down on a home that will last you years, you hope. An inspection of those premises should be done by the one purchasing the home and a paid employee of that person. If you pay someone to inspect the home do your homework before hiring them. Get the best you can and the best you can afford, educate yourself on what they are looking for and watch them do it.

There is nothing that says you cannot follow hot on his heels when he is inspecting the home, you are paying them.

I would also very strongly advise anyone into researching everything that can possibly be wrong with their possible purchase and look for it, expect things to be wrong and find them. That way there are no surprises later on.

For those that got burned by their poor HI, I feel sorry for you but I would move on and forget about suing them. Of course report them to your city and county as well as the BBB but don't waste money going after them. Get them were it hurts, word of mouth.

If you want to find a good inspector ask around, realtors you are not dealing with, neighbors, friends, City officials like housing inspectors for rental properties, many people can advise you on who is good and worth hiring. And learn from the internet all you can before hiring them as well, Google their company and name as well as find out from other customers, ask the inspector for three references of people they have recently work for.

Don't go with someone your seller is recommending or you will be sorry. The best thing you can do is look at the house yourself and find out for yourself the condition, if you don't know learn from the internet.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 11:44PM
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Poor HI my you know what Great advice forget about suing him And the BBB does nothing, been that route, my life has been destroyed NOT YOURS so don't tell me to forget about suing Poor HI what about POOR ME a Widow just on a fixed income "POOR HI" He sure lives better then I do
He has E and O insurance

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 11:59PM
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I didn't read every single response to your Q, so forgive me if I'm repeating anything.

1. You can sue anyone for anything. Would you win? Maybe. Would you re-coup the $$ for repairs to make everything right? Likely not. Everything is so disclaimed in the reports & documents. What the inspector does is reported generally, what's visible, and what's accessible. They rip out/look under & behind nothing. They aren't qualified to assess/"inspect" by definition many things.

2. Being a former Realtor, I can tell you that some Realtors who recommend are doing it for not the best reasons. 1. They are throwing business back to people for favors, networking, and keeping goodwill going. And 2....because they know & have experience with that Inspector/Company rarely finding problems & issues which could hold up the Closing. In the eyes of a Realtor, you want to get to Closing ASAP so you can get paid. The less snags, the better. Water, mold, lead, structural anything, etc. are dirty words...they equal time and money...and they are best avoided in the path to Closing.

I'm not saying every Realtor does this. I'm not saying this happened to you. I loved being in the business, so I'm not trying to trash the industry. I'm just saying I saw and experienced/discussed this firsthand too many times, it does occur, and it made me sick.

When I bought my last house, despite being in the business & knowing people...I still did several phone interviews with home inspectors & found a guy with a background & experience geared toward what my biggest concerns were.

That's my 2 cents.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 10:55AM
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My best interest was never taken in consideration. And when you live out of state at time your REA should consider your feeling when you have A BUYERS AGENT.
REA are to have a list of HI at least that is what I been told for out of state people since they do not know HI or have a lot of time to call HI from out of state. And some HI do not even work with an out of state buyer directly.

The thing is I told my REA I did not want Housemasters I was given a name by a friend of another HI and told REA I wanted this one. My words went unheard, next thing I know is Housemasters just inspected the place and it passed with hardly any thing wrong.

When I told my REA 2 weeks after moving in hey I have major problems, she blamed it on Housemasters that he did not do a good job, and the sellers agent was called also along with the sellers who in turn blamed the REA for subotaging the place and the inspector blames me for breaking all this that is wrong with this house,,
Nobody wants to take responsibility just easier to blame the buyer.

Bottom line it boils down to Greed got to get to that closing so REA can get paid and the REA should have made that contract Void because it was not accepted by a certain date and time but I was lied to and gotten a fake copy f a bogus contract that was not singed by this date or time but a day after as I got the real contract through my title co out of state as I told them I have many pages missing of the contract and can't seem to get the contract any where here, so they obtained it through the title co in MT. and low and behold that contract date that the sellers were to accept offer by was not met at all this is a fault of the agents for not voiding the contract because it was not met in time

A REA is to disclose any information they have on property also, not hid it and both REA knew things about this property before hand because they had talked to neighbors and the neighbors told them a lot of the issues involving this property neighbors will be called to testify on my behalf of what they told the REA but that info was never disclosed to me.

And looking up case law of every case just like mine with the city limits, that has gone to court the court has been ruled a Breach of Contact and the deal voided and the buyer won and was awarded restitution and damages but should it make any difference because i am just outside city limits and my house is clearly worse then any of the other one's that have gone to court. Fraud is Fraud

I have been searching law books in the library and this is what I found

MT law book contracts and other Obligations law 28-2-410
what constitutes mistake of law.
Mistake of law constitutes (1) misapprehension of law by all other parties, all supposing they knew and understood it and all making substantially the same mistake as to the law.
(2) Misapprehension of the law by one party, of which the others are aware at the time of contracting but which they did not rectify.

Law 28-2-405 What constitutes actual fraud Actual fraud with end the meaning of this part consists in any of the following acts committed by a party to the contract or with his connivance with intent to deceive another party thereto or induce him or her to enter into a contract
(1) the suggestion as a fact of that which is NOT TRUE
(2) positive assertion in a manner not warranted by the information of the person making of that which is NOT TRUE though he believes in true
(3) A promise made with out any intention of performing
(4) any other act fitted to deceive
I believe the HI negligence falls right under this law.

Law 72-1-111 remedies for fraud whenever fraud has been perpetrated in connection with the proceeding or in any statement filed under this code or if void is used to avoid or circumvent the provisions or purpose, any person injured thereby may obtain appropriate relief including restitution against all perpetrators of the fraud or any person benefiting from the fraud whether innocent or not. All my present ER hospital and doctor records will be going to court with me also and all my medical records from prior years that show I never had been sick just a knee surgery in 2003 that is it and now my records show a very sickly person after moving in this house.

Law 28-2-1711 When a party can rescind a party to a contract may rescind the same in the following case
if the consent of the party rescinding was given by mistake or obtained through duress, menace,fraud or undue influence exercised by or with the connivance of the party as to whom he rescinds becomes entirely void

Law 28-2-1701 How contract extinguished a contract may be extinguished in the same manner as any other obligation

law 27-1-311 damages for breach of contract party to a contract may collect damages from fraud , menace misrepresentation

so that includes REA, sellers and the HI involved in this mess

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 1:47PM
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Dealing with a similar issue as the poster in regards to the reported age of the heating unit except in our case the inspector reported the heating unit as being 9 years old with a life expectancy of 25 to 30 years... Turns out that the heating unit is over 25 years of age and quit on us after being in the home 3 months. Now I understand that the inspector cannot look into the future and tell me how long a system like that may last, but if we had known that the heating system was nearing the end of its average life expectancy we would have made some different decisions in the purchasing of the home.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 4:54AM
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It is not that easy to equivocally determine the age and/or life expectancy of a heating an extremely well maintained older unit can appear to be far newer than a newer but poorly maintained unit.

That is why HIs in general in most if not all states that regulate the profession are not required to determine life expectancy of any system or component.

Home inspectors can only equivocally determine if the unit is operating as it should on that day. Anything beyond that it simply a guesstimate, as even the the newest of units can unexpectedly malfunction due to poor design, manufacturer's defect, etc., the next day.

There is no clear cut way to determine that a unit is defintively nearing the end of its life span. Relatives just had a boiler replaced that was original to the home...70 years old. It worked fine...but because of the design of 70 years ago, it did not have the safety features of modern boilers, nor was it efficient....but it worked way beyond its "life span".

That said, IF the HI chooses to assign a system or component an age and/or a lifespan, he should be held responsible for that statement.

This is an example of how many HI's THINK they are performing a service for the client in going beyond what is required...but actually accomplishing the opposite.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 10:30AM
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That said, IF the HI chooses to assign a system or component an age and/or a lifespan, he should be held responsible for that statement.

Thank You for that answer since Housemasters did just that and he guaranteed its life expectancy, not only did he guarantee life expectancy, he passed a non working unit right along with that life expectancy, so he is responsible for his actions

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 7:46AM
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