OT: DS and DIL hosed by inspector? (cross-post)

greenhavenJuly 15, 2014

Son and DIL just purchased and closed on their home (an obvious flip, but clean and sound) a couple weeks ago, showed up on time for their home inspection, the guy had already been there for an hour. Everything seemed pretty straight-forward, there were a couple minor-mid issues that were taken care of or resolved to their satisfaction.

On moving day several key issues started to come to light: the kitchen faucet rapidly declined in output, ice-maker in the fridge started leaking. Then we noticed there was NO DRYER VENT. I mean none. Not even a hole in the wall to connect to.

Bath time that night revealed a tub drain that would not seal at all so no bath for the baby. The first SHOWER revealed a very slow-draining tub that caused gurgling in the sink and TOILET. Second shower produced backflow from the toilet into the tub.

A call to the plumbers produced the discovery that there was no drain cleanout on the plumbing (or so the plumbers said, not sure I believe that one) and they had to install a new one. Turns out there were RAGS in the line!!!!! As in, actual shop towels!

Then when son went yesterday to prep the gas line for their ng dryer the rusty valve practically crumbled in his hand and he had to have the gas company out late last night. (Don't yet have the full story, there.) DS said there was an issue where the gas valve was so close to new tile and drywall that it would not open fully, and he thought he would have to knock out some tile.

And now I am po-ed on their behalf. I think their inspector was crap. DH and I have purchased five homes in our 25 year marriage, and we learned a painful lesson right at the beginning about crap inspections. IMO this was one.

But maybe I am wrong. Can anyone with experience weigh in on this? If they have recourse against the inspection company what would that look like?

This is a young couple who barely scraped enough money together to get into a reasonable home. The expenses that have incurred already seem to me to be outside the realm of their responsibility. They asked for and got a home warranty, but money is still flowing out of their pockets.

I understand (boy howdy, do I!) that owning a home comes with expenses, and stuff happens. But this seems excessive. Anyone agree or disagree?

P.S., forgot to say that the sink faucet and ice maker were easy fixes, the icemaker valve was blocked open by a piece of styrofoam from packing. But if an inspector did not catch THESE easy things, what else did he miss?

(cross-posting this in the Buying and Selling Homes forum)

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sjhockeyfan325

What's the point of GETTING a home inspection, if they're going to miss things as obvious as a dryer with a vent that's not connected, and a slow-draining tub? Is this a "guy" who did the inspection, or a licensed contractor?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 11:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gmatx zone 6

In our state, most of the home "inspectors" do not possess skills or licenses of any particular trade. We have one here that our shop just hates to see he has "inspected" a home. What I suggest for all home buyers is to at least have your real estate agent to ask for static and hydrostatic tests of the gas, sewer and water. The cost is not that much, but it sure can save you lots of money down the road - sometimes quite quickly!

The plumber is probably telling the truth. It is possible the clean outs are located under asphalt or have become buried under dirt/mulch/shrubs, etc. If the house is an older house, there were many of those who did not have clean outs installed. They are worth their weight in gold.

If the owner has had problems with any of the situations that have happened in the house and did not disclose it, I would have someone look at that. I'm not sure exactly what situations or level of previous damage is required before it must be disclosed to any potential buyer.

Sorry your DS and DIL were taken by the worthless inspection they received. I would suggest reporting him to the city and state.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 11:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
snookums2

Don't they have recourse in the sales agreement? The flippers should be liable for the shoddy work or maybe the sale can be revoked. I can't imagine the "inspector" has no responsibility along with his job either.

I would call the township and the state govt branch that oversees these sorts of things for what they can do about being ripped off like this and safety concerns re construction.

Where did they find this "inspector"? That's also scarey.

I think there is consumer protection around this sort of thing today. I would call it fraud for both sellers and the inspector.

Have to wonder, stainless and granite?

This post was edited by snookums2 on Tue, Jul 15, 14 at 11:55

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 11:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenhaven

"Have to wonder, stainless and granite?" Pfft. But of course! :)

I am so glad I am not the only one who feels they got ripped off. I just got off the phone with DIL to find out how much they have spent on repairs so far (some "legit", some seemingly not) and I just find out the inspector never went into their crawlspace. he said "It was too small," just shined a flashlight around a 1500 sq ft space, said it was dry and there had been mold remediation done.

She also said the gas company came out to turn off their gas main, said the furnace valve was leaking, too!

I am liiivid.

I just told her to take the time immediately to document every little thing, whether she thinks it counts or not, before they start forgetting the little things. My mama bear is a-roarin' and it will be all I can do to mind my own business. But they know I am ready to start swinging if they want me to!

Oh, and they have already closed on the home. I am pretty sure the realtor arranged the inspection. I do not suspect the realtor at all, but I am ready to send the inspector and his company down in flaaames.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 12:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
snookums2

Call the state. Life endangerment has already surfaced and that is more than enough. This sounds downright criminal.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 12:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
live_wire_oak

The liability of the inspector is limited to the fee that they paid him.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 12:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sjhockeyfan325

LWO, that depends what state the house is in. Assuming the inspection contract contained a clause limiting the damages to the fee paid (it most often does), in some states that clause is enforceable and in others it is void.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 12:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
snookums2

The thing with the inspector, though, is that he didn't just miss something, make an honest mistake. That level of negligence, he is not really providing an inspection service at all, if he even has any qualifications to do so. He gave the okay on a home with serious issues.

I guess I'd be looking to revoke the sale. This is just the beginning. Who knows what's ahead. This disaster should ultimately be the flipper's problem. That was a con job.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 12:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
beaglesdoitbetter1

We had a similar bad experience when we bought our last FL house. The first inspector revealed a small crack in the pool so we had a structural engineer who specializes in pools come out. He said it was a surface crack, max repair cost would be $4000.

$15,000 later, it was not a surface crack.

Inspector liability was limited to the fee paid, clause in contract limits liability.

The home inspector also missed quite a bit inside that needed to be repaired, although nothing to the extent that it seems happened to your family.

If the sellers knew about the problems and did not disclose, you may have recourse including being able to possibly rescind the deal unless the house was sold "As Is" with right of inspection. Did they get a seller disclosure form?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 12:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chiefneil

Home inspectors typically have all sorts of disclaimers of liability. I suspect the best you could would be a refund of his fee.

It sounds like your best recourse would be going after the sellers to either reverse the sale or collect damages. However I suspect that's a tough row to hoe.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 1:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenhaven

Oh gawd! :o( I am sure they do not want to revoke their sale. I am also sure they want to know what else they might be facing.

I would love to see them get their fee back and for the inspection company to foot the bill for a REAL inspection so they know exactly what they might be facing. What if they have dry-rotted joists under the living room? A LEGIT inspection would allow them to decide if any further action is warranted. As they stand now they may as well have not even gotten one.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 1:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sjhockeyfan325

If the sellers knew about the problems and did not disclose, you may have recourse including being able to possibly rescind the deal unless the house was sold "As Is" with right of inspection. Did they get a seller disclosure form?

Again, depends where you are. In California, "as is" only means "as is" to the extent the seller didn't actually withhold information known to the seller.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 2:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
beautybutdebtfree

So sorry this has happened to them, what a nightmare.

Sounds like the owners pre-flip may have been in distress and stuffed the pipes in revenge? Foreclosure, perhaps?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 2:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
brightm

I'd let the realtor know too. Maybe even the broker/office manager/someone higher. You said you don't think the realtor was complicit, but they should know not to use the person again.

I assume the inspector was an independent person. If not, I'd also notify people up the chain in the organization.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 3:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pprioroh

Home "inspectors" are a joke. And as noted, their liability is limited to the cost of their fee.

OTOH, do you really expect someone to completely inspect a home carefully for the small fee they charge?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 3:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenhaven

pprioroh said: "OTOH, do you really expect someone to completely inspect a home carefully for the small fee they charge?"

I am not sure what inspectors get where you are, but we just bought (yet another) house this February in Michigan and paid $350 for a fine-tooth-comb inspection. We were there for every minute of it and were completely satisfied with the results and the professionalism of the inspector. (edited to add) Worth every single red cent, but I would not call that a small fee at ALL.

Our kids paid that same amount for their inspection in Indiana. Sumthin' ain't kosher.

This post was edited by greenhaven on Tue, Jul 15, 14 at 15:18

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 3:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sjhockeyfan325

$350 may be a lot to the payor, but it's not a lot to the inspector vis-ÃÂ -vis assuming the risk for missing something. I work in this area professionally and I've had contractors tell me that if I want them to assume that kind of risk, they'll take out insurance, and charge my client for it. So you just have to hope you've hired the "right" inspector, as you apparently did greenhaven.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 3:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
amberm145_gw

Mike Holmes does a show (in Canada, not sure if it's shown in the US) about homeowners who've been screwed over either by not getting an inspection, or by having a bad inspection.

The number one thing I have learned from this show is that inspectors get the majority of their referrals from realtors. If an inspector is too honest and scares off buyers, it causes deals to fall through and pisses off the realtor. If the realtor is one of the ones who cares more about making a sale and getting out than about the best interest of his buyers, then that inspector is not going to get another referral.

I would absolutely include the realtor in the blame for this. You're not likely to get any restitution from them, but they have not acted in good faith. Clearly this inspector was not a pro, and that realtor referred him as such. Either he's done it to previous clients and that agent didn't care, or they referred someone they knew nothing about. Either way it's a not the service they expect people to depend on them for. The industry needs for people to stop letting unprofessional agents off the hook.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 4:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
snookums2

I agree that you can't expect someone to take on all the risk of your house problems for $350, but you can expect them to actually take a good hard look at the place. It is a lot of money, so you should be getting something of value in return. How long do they spend on these inspections? If they're in and out in an hour or two on a small or moderate sized home, that is very good money they are commanding for their service.

How did you go about finding your own house inspector, greenhaven?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 4:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pprioroh

Maybe none of you are small businessmen, but for $350 with typical overheads you're taking home probably 1/2 that if you're lucky. Take time to drive to home and back, time inspecting, and then take responsibility for financial issues with your report? You'd have to charge 3-4 times as much.

Which is probably worth it. Many of you pay between 1-3% probably on financial advice. And the brokers that run mutual funds or sell you stocks are using re-hashed info that they mostly gleam from other combined sources. Even 1% of a home is at least 2-4K in most markets.

Personally I think realtors should make about 2% and home inspectors should make about 2-3% and we should hold a very high standard for their work, but that's not the way it happens.

You get what you pay for, and a $350 fee is not going to be a comprehensive exam of a complex structure like a home, though in this case it sounds like they got about $10 worth.

Discalimer: I'm not in the construction, realtor or financial fields, no axe to grind, but I ALWAYS get dirty myself and crawl around basements, attics, run fixtures and inspect things myself on homes I buy. If you want it done right, learn and do it yourself.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 4:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Errant_gw

It sounds like many of the things he missed are things even I know enough about to have done on my own pre-inspection. It makes me sad to know that there might be inspectors out there taking advantage of kids with no knowledge of the basic things to check :(

BTW, inspections here run about $650. The last three houses I bought, I kept the money and inspected on my own with family members in the construction biz.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 4:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
snookums2

Taking advantage sounds like about where it's at. Even $350 is a lot of money to pay for a service. They call *themselves* inspectors. If that doesn't mean a decent evaluation, then it's just a BS job intended only for someone to make some pretty good money for their time. Answering to no one it seems.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 5:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sjhockeyfan325

then it's just a BS job intended only for someone to make some pretty good money for their time

Which is why I would never ever hire an inspector that didn't come with a personal recommendation from someone I trust.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 5:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
snookums2

"Take time to drive to home and back, time inspecting, and then take responsibility for financial issues with your report?"

Sounds like a job to me.

Why do contractors get paid for their job commute? We hear that a lot here. I had one charge for the commute but he was driving a long distance and it was an agreed upon arrangement. Most of the rest of us don't get paid to drive to work. And have gas and vehicle costs or public transp expenses on top of our time. Which here, if you commute into the city amounts to a whole lot of time alone, as well as additional taxes just to work there. Then there's the steep parking fees if you drive in. Few get to work right around the corner. It's just a part of having a job.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 5:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lascatx

Suggest that DS and DIL read carefully through the property disclosures again. It is possible things were hidden, but it is also possible, especially in an older house, that things changed a bit -with things being moved out, moved in, just dumb luck of timing. The lack of a dryer vent is one things there is no excuse for other than oversight, but it also wasn't hidden. DS and DIL could have easily seen that too. Not a huge deal to take care of, but one more thing they weren't planning on.

Was the house owner-occupied or did it have tenants? Maybe even someone living there and working on the make ready for sale? Kind of sounds like someone may have been unhappy about having to move or having some axe to grind with the seller. Old valves often leak or get locked up -- but their decay can also be hastened with certain chemicals. Rags down the pipes are hard to accept as accidental. Plumbing connections can be loosened, etc.

If you want to help them, perhaps offer to pay for a new inspection or to have a contractor come look over the house with them and do some issue spotting. That might help give them some peace of mind and possibly avoid future surprises. Not sure if it's any consolation that they things they are dealing with seem to be things they will discover pretty quickly so there may not be a lot of future surprises. Hope not.

I would let their realtor know about the problems.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 5:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Trebruchet

"Why do contractors get paid for their job commute? We hear that a lot here. I had one charge for the commute but he was driving a long distance and it was an agreed upon arrangement. Most of the rest of us don't get paid to drive to work. And have gas and vehicle costs or public transp expenses on top of our time. Which here, if you commute into the city amounts to a whole lot of time alone, as well as additional taxes just to work there. Then there's the steep parking fees if you drive in. Few get to work right around the corner. It's just a part of having a job."

snookums2;

For repair/ restoration work I charge an hourly rate including administrative and driving time. The further you are from me, the less competitive I become. I'm not being flippant, but if you don't want to pay drive time, bring your tops to me. Believe it or not, some do.

If I had employees, I'd have to pay them while they're driving to you. Why would my company expect me to work for less than an employee?

By the way, if you want to spike my don't-do-business-with-this-potential-client gauge, start comparing how much you earn hourly as to how much I charge hourly. Unlike me, an employee has virtually no risk. I have many more expenses than an employed person does and risk a lot being in business for which I must be compensated.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 9:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenhaven

snookums2 said: "How did you go about finding your own house inspector, greenhaven?" Our realtors have always arranged them for us, although after our first disastrous inspection (second inspection overall) we made it abundantly and redundantly clear to our realtors that we were willing to spend extra for a hard-core inspection so that we would never again be surprised the way we were that awful time. When we moved here to MI we were assigned a realtor. I hated it, but she ended up being great. The inspection company she recommended was licensed to the hilt, a local family of contractors who have lived here for...ever! I think some still contract, but the main business is inspecting.

lascatx: We really do not know the exact history of the house, except that we saw before and after ics and the whole thing has been freshened, painted, replaced, retiled, new kitchen (cheapo stuff but new) and recarpeted. It has changed hands a couple times in the last year, our best guess is that is was bought as a short-sale with the intent to flip. They are gathering up all their documentation now, going back through it.

They found out today there home warranty will cover the bulk of what needs to be done for the gas leaks, which is a relief! DS did not want to mess with gas lines, DIL was terrified they would get gouged by tradesmen. She was prepared to replace them herself if need be. Money is tight for them right now with all their moving and closing expenses.

I don't know what their plan is. They know exactly how I feel about it, DH feels like they got ripped off. I think their plan is to take their grievance to the inspection company. I would hope they would at least ask for the fee back. If it were me I would ask them to cover the cost of a new inspection, too, or accept an offer to send a new guy out to do the fine-tooth-comb inspection they asked for.

Thank you, though, everyone, for your responses. This was a good conversation for me, personally, even though it was on behalf of my kids.

This little pooper (and his parents!) thanks you!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 9:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sjhockeyfan325

We certainly wouldn't want that gorgeous little guy living in a house with gas leaks! (Said as a soon-to-be first-time grandmother).

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 11:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
romy718

What a cutie! He made me smile, unexpected with this stressfull situation.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 12:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
marcojohnson

Aah... home warranty... that was a new concept to us when we moved to CA. Most homes come with them ... they don't cover a lot, i think we had 2 claims and we ended up paying $100 for plumbing and electric that would have cost $300, so glad for the help. At least they are covered for 12 months, I like the idea of having another fine-tooth inspection and get everything resolved with the warranty company (plus get your inspection fee back to pay for the new one!)\\

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 2:48AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Anyone have TCE4005 quartz counters (or any other carrara-lookalike)?
Hi there, I'm still in the process of trying to pick...
Melissa Silva
Induction cooktop > no slow cooker?
Can the low settings, timer and a good pot replace...
anniel58
Review our Kitchen Remodel
We are starting our first kitchen remodel and I wanted...
miraspasov
36" cabinet for 32" fridge: future proofing or too much compromise?
Hi everyone! Making final decisions for our cabinet...
kiwigem
Conestoga people, how did you do glass cabs? They don't do glass?
We were getting an estimate for some bar cabinetry,...
happyallison
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™