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house from hell....new purchase

Posted by teafortwo72 (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 19, 07 at 13:33

I am curious as to everyone's thoughts on this....

My husband and I just bought our first "real" single family home. We live in MA where the cost of housing even for a starter home is high. We bought a house that is only ten years old... specifically because we thought there would be a lot less to do... other than mostly cosmetic updates. We are not handy and can't do much on our own.

First thing we discover is a leaking pipe caused by the owners recently replacing a valve in the laundry area. They just had a plumber stick on a valve instead of soldering on a piece to the copper pipe. Needless to say the valve leaked slowly and it was leaking into the walls and floor for two months. We had to get a mold remediation company to replace the drywall and fix the flooring....it is hard for me to imagine that the family didn't smell the mildew smell in that area, because I found it pretty pungent. We discovered the issue due to the smell. Floors needed to be ripped out and replaced. We were out big money here. Could have gone after the plumber but decided to leave it alone and move on with our lives. We haven't had a washer and dryer for two months since we had people doing renovations in this area now since we bought the house... it is been a major inconvenience needless to say.

As soon as we moved in we realized we had almost no hot water...the mixing valve seems to be not working and needs replacement. Also there are numerous other valves that are corroded on the water heater... things my inspector missed.

dishwasher didn't work correctly. Stove burner didn't work correctly.

A number of the windows won't lock at all and seem to possibly not be put in correctly. This is a safety /security issue for us, even though we live in a very safe town... it is a concern.

We had people in to install new tile...the existing floors were vinyl and trashed... They had been covered with rugs and we stupidly didn't inspect closely. Our fault...

When the tile people were installing the tile they found that near my front door the floor boards were rotted and the door was rotting out of the frame... and discovered a huge nest of carpenter ants. Swarmers... so they had been there for several years. Extremely disgusting to say the least....there were so many...

Since discovering this, there has been evidence the previous owners knew about the water infiltration problem.... the carpenter saw areas that they glued molding back and put new molding up and tried to cover up the issue (seemingly). Carpenter said door was not installed properly....looks like instead of trying to fix it they tried to hide it ... or put a band aid on it.

We have to have a new subfloor installed, a new door installed and had to have the ant problem treated... big money here...

The house is infested with wasp and hornet nests under the shutters. More than i have ever seen.

The backyard is a horror...we knew about this though...

Yesterday I had ladybugs dive bombing my house.. thousands of them. I have never seen anything like it... I guess there is a variety (asian) that seem to try to hibernate in peoples homes for the winter.. and they like light colored homes, and yesterday was warm... how lucky for me!

We were also lied to about the property line by the broker who was a relative of the person selling the house. This gets complicated to explain, so I will leave it at that.. but I guess our fault for trusting the realtor and not double checking.. but you just expect sometimes people to be ethical... and it is sad.

My husband and I are very soured on this home and our first experience... we also think the owners knew about some of these bigger issues and we feel they were unethical.

There are also a couple weird smells in the upstairs bedrooms that we can't put our fingers on... it is not mildew, we don't know what it is.

We are really bummed out.. don't have a lot of money and this is a hardship on us.

Has anyone had a similar experience buying their first home?

We sent a strongly worded letter to the inspector and asked for a full refund. We received it with no questions asked...people tell me to sue... but we just don't think it is worth the time and effort. We have been told they protect themselves very well with language in the contract.. and you are forced to sign these and have a limited time to get an inspector... so overall the buyer is in a weak position when it comes to needing an inspection in a short time frame.

Overall we are really bummed about the house and hate it.. we keep wondering what else is wrong and what else was done incorrectly. What's next? The words of our inspector telling me the house was "really nice" still rings in my ears.

We did not go into this with expectations that we would never find anything wrong.. but within two months numerous things have gone wrong and we are just really disturbed by all of this.

We feel like we made the biggest mistake of our lives and with the market being horrible here right now, we feel we could not sell for a long time without losing money. We are fixing all the issues, but still feel like we don't even want to live here anymore.

Has anyone experienced anything like this? Thanks for your input.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: house from hell....new purchase

oh and the neighbors were good friends with these people that lived here and that makes it kind of more awkward for us....


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

sorry you have to go thru this.

the only consolation, though not much, is that at least the inspector was nice enough to refund with not objections.

as far as the ants, the rotting subfloors, etc, those things are not readily apparent even during a standard inspection. you found them when replacing the vinyl.

how exactly were you lied to about the property line? if it was sold as a certain sized lot, and the paperwork back it up, then that is what you have. it may not be exactly where you thought, but you still have the same amount of room. get a FULL survey to verify your lines, all property owners should do this.

when we bought our house we were told that both septic tanks were conrete and less than 10 years old. the front tank had to be pumped recently and it is steel and original to the house. what can i do, the guy i bought it from died before we closed! we also were told the house had never had termites and that it was on a treament contract up until shortly before he put it up for sale. we found termites this spring, and terminix found evidence that they had infested before and prior treatment had been done. the drain for the washing machine was rigged in, as well as several plumbing fixtures, but all this was behind the wall and our inspector could not see them without ripping out the wall. the roof, though not really that old, needs to be replaced due to lack of venting int eh attic and heat buildup causing premature failure of the shingles. speaking of attic venting, the vent fans for both baths vented directly into the attic, not even above the insulation, but between teh vapor barrier and the sheetrock! both GDO's failed within 6 months of us moving in. the well pressure tank ruptured the first year, the well now has a lot of air in it due to a leak around the well head, my list goes on and on.

welcome to home ownership, where if it is not one thing it is another!


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

sorry you have to go thru this.

the only consolation, though not much, is that at least the inspector was nice enough to refund with not objections.

as far as the ants, the rotting subfloors, etc, those things are not readily apparent even during a standard inspection. you found them when replacing the vinyl.

how exactly were you lied to about the property line? if it was sold as a certain sized lot, and the paperwork back it up, then that is what you have. it may not be exactly where you thought, but you still have the same amount of room. get a FULL survey to verify your lines, all property owners should do this.

when we bought our house we were told that both septic tanks were conrete and less than 10 years old. the front tank had to be pumped recently and it is steel and original to the house. what can i do, the guy i bought it from died before we closed! we also were told the house had never had termites and that it was on a treament contract up until shortly before he put it up for sale. we found termites this spring, and terminix found evidence that they had infested before and prior treatment had been done. the drain for the washing machine was rigged in, as well as several plumbing fixtures, but all this was behind the wall and our inspector could not see them without ripping out the wall. the roof, though not really that old, needs to be replaced due to lack of venting int eh attic and heat buildup causing premature failure of the shingles. speaking of attic venting, the vent fans for both baths vented directly into the attic, not even above the insulation, but between teh vapor barrier and the sheetrock! both GDO's failed within 6 months of us moving in. the well pressure tank ruptured the first year, the well now has a lot of air in it due to a leak around the well head, my list goes on and on.

welcome to home ownership, where if it is not one thing it is another!


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

A couple questions/observations:
1)Did your Realtor happen to recommend the home inspector, or did you find the inspector on your own? Just curious. The fact that this person missed things like an inoperable stove burner or broken dishwasher is utterly ridiculous. That's beginner stuff and this person shouldn't be in business---they need to be reported.
2)You mention several bad smells/mildew. Did you notice these when you looked at the house, or were they using some sort of strong Air Fresheners that covered the odors?
3)If you can find some sort of smoking gun or evidence that the previous owners and/or Realtor knew about the defects and didn't disclose them, you might have some traction for suing them, but I think it's pretty difficult to prove.
As hard as this advice might be to follow---I don't think you should hate the house or feel it's the biggest mistake of your life. I know that this is costing you a huge amount of money and it's also very discouraging and even depressing. But there must have been some positive things about the house and property that got you excited enough to buy. You have to keep thinking about the positives while you clean up these messes. Assuming you don't file suit to have them buy the house back or something---in time, you will knock out these issues one by one and finally get to the point where you're ahead of things. As you go through the checklist of things to fix, try to hire ethical contractors who use good materials and who take pride in what they're doing. Little by little, you'll upgrade these problem areas and in some cases, improve the look and performance of the house systems. Certain things are tough to avoid---like not knowing the condition of a subfloor for example. We had to spend over $1000.00 to fix an entry subfloor in a house we bought last year. We knew what the cost was to refinish the hardwoods and replace some tile floors, but were surprised when they told us the subfloor was termite damaged (old damage/no active termites) and needed replacement. We also had $1200.00 in unexpected plumbing upgrades when we remodeled our kitchen. We bought in the Winter when all the leaves were off the trees. In the Summer, it became apparent that a couple large trees were dying or had dead limbs---it was a few thousand dollars to have these trees removed or risk having them fall on the house or neighbors property. I know that your situation is much more severe. Funny thing though, the guy who refinished our floors told us about a case where a couple bought a new home and one of the features listed was "beautiful hardwoods under the wall to wall carpeting." When they pulled the carpeting up, they found cat urine stains, about 13 of them, spread all over the exotic parquet hardwoods. When they tried to sand to refinish, it became apparent that the stains had absorbed all the way through the wood. That style of imported wood was from about 60 years ago and no longer available, so they needed to put in all new wood. I think it was probably about a $20,000 or $30,000 job to put in all new hardwood in a large area. The old owner had moved far away and couldn't be sued without huge risk and expense. My suggestion is to spend a little bit on an Attorney to see if you have any viable options to recover money. There are probably Real Estate Attorneys who specialize in this stuff. Maybe a consultation won't break the bank and you'll see if you have a good chance in pursuing a case. If not---try to keep a positive attitude about your house. Get a bona fide good inspector to really go over it to prioritize things that need to be addressed now (or face getting worse or causing damage) and figure out the little things that can wait. Use the internet and sites like this to try to find creative and cost effective ways to deal with some of the issues. I'm not handy either---so I sympathize with you. We have to count on contractors to be honest and give us fair prices to do work on our house. If you have friends or family members who are good at home repair and remodeling, at least ask their advice. You can't lean on them to fix your house, but they can offer some real solutions and maybe know when someone is trying to take advantage of you. As a couple, you know that life throws a lot of things at you, many of these things bad and unfair. You have to stick together and fight it out as a team. I hope that in time, you solve the problems with this house and the two of you look back on the challenge with pride that you overcame it all. No doubt you're being tested on this one---but you'll make it.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

Exactly when did you close on this house?

You said this valve in the laundry area was leaking for two months. How do you know it was leaking for two months? And did you own that house for those two months? You said you find it hard to believe the previous owner didn't smell the mildew odor as you found it to be pretty pungent. If you found that the odor was that bad then you were alerted to the problem. Why didn't you investigate the source of that odor before you purchased? If the odor didn't concern you prior to buying, why should it have concerned the previous owner. Before you say your relied on the inspector, if it was me I would have demanded an explanation for the source of the odor and not accepted a simple all is well. Under what theory can you sue a plumber that did work for the original owner?

I understand a leak does damage that requires fixing but I doubt you really needed a mold remediation company. Are you claiming that the interior of the wall and floor were covered with black mold?

You said that you haven't been able to do laundry as it has been two months that the area is being fixed. Why is it taking over two months for this to be fixed? The people you hired couldn't be working 40 hours a week every week for two months.

The dishwasher and burner didn't work correctly? That is a subjective term. And how old were these appliances? Normally an inspector simply turns them on and off. He doesn't assess degrees of correctness.

A number of windows won't lock so you feel that they were not installed correctly. One has nothing to do with the other.

The boards under the vinyl were concealed. How did the owners know what was under there? Even if the ants had been there for years, the owners may not have been aware of it. Now you claim the door wasn't installed properly.

Wasp and hornet nests under the shutters and the ladybug attack. LOL

If the upstairs has weird smells, the smells either were there when you saw the house before purchase or happened during your ownership.

It doesn't matter what the realtor says is the property line. Your warranty deed spells out exactly where your land is. If this was such a concern, you should have had a survey done.

The house is ten years old. Based on how you described it, the house didn't look like it was in perfect shape. Things can and will happen with a 10 year house. An inspector can not see things inside walls and under the floors. You didn't see anything wrong either. I think you are over reacting to some of these things.

You can't just assume that the house you purchase will not be in need of repair. The previous owners don't warrant that no repairs will ever be required within so much time of your ownership. Its the old buyer beware.

You said that you and your husband are not handy and not able to do work on the house and that these repairs are a financial burden. You should have purchased a brand new house then.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

It can be a bit overwhelming at first, but you will run out of things to fix. You probably paid less for the house because of the obvious problems, so you saved a bit of money there.

But you should have a survey done of the property lines, and if that does not match what you were sold, speak to an attorney.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

Premier: I agree with you to the extent that some of these issues should have been noted by the buyers themselves before they purchased---and also that some of these issues wouldn't necessarily have been known to the owner prior to selling. But you're really giving every single benefit of the doubt to the seller, Realtor and Home Inspector and frankly, based on the description of problems, it's pretty obvious there are some ethical problems here as well as lack of ability or worse, trustworthiness by the home inspector. When the buyer wrote that a burner on the range isn't working and the dishwasher isn't working---I assume they mean the burner doesn't heat up at all---it's dead. With the dishwasher, I don't think they're finding spots, I'm assuming it's not useable at all---doesn't complete cycles or doesn't come on at all. This is the most rudimentary, basic stuff there is and it's inconceivable to me that a real Home Inspector doing a real home inspection would miss either of these things. In addition, when a buyer is being romanced during the process, they tend to miss things like strange odors (especially if air fresheners or deodarizers are being used effectively). They tend to miss dampness in area's where it shouldn't be, small cracks in foundations, tiny water spots on ceilings, etc. It's why you fork out a few hundred dollars or more for an hour or two by a Home Inspector. The Home Inspectors I've had are by no means perfect and neither am I---but they would be crawing in, out, under and over things, using color dyes in pipes, using all five senses and the best ones using a sixth sense to make sure the house is fundamentally sound. My worst fear in this case is that this Home Inspector is referred by Realtors frequently and then does nothing to jepoardize the sale---i.e. all is hunky dory, nice house, looks good---a couple minor things but not much else to note. Buyers who've already talked themselves into the house are only too glad to hear that their decision was a good one. Then, when the rubber meets the road, no one is anywhere to be found. Refunding one out of a dozen fees isn't a problem and life goes on for the inspector while this couple is left picking up the pieces. My gut feeling is that they were intentionally misled about property boundaries by the Realtor and that the owners knew of some of these issues and did not disclose them, which is unlawful. Unless the house is sold "as is" the buyer has a right to expect appliances to work, heating, air and plumbing to be fully functional and no major defects apparaent. The problem will be proving anyone's "gut feeling" which isn't easy. But please, don't give a pass to the parties that might have conspired to push a sale through without informing the buyer of existing issues.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

angelom, i wonder if your type of inspector lives anywhere around my area of the country. here they give everything a good once over, but they do NOT use dyes for the plumbing, and they will not move any furniture to check any outlets behind it. when we bought our house the inspector gave us a good long list of things that needed attention, but they were stuff like a broken window latch, a cracked window pane, a missing door knob, etc. no inspection was done on teh septic, that is a different inspector and we were not required to hire one although i wish i had.

i know many realtors and most every one of them will go by what the seller tells them is the property line. they will tell you , oh the line is right over there by that tree, when it may be 10 ft either side of there. they don't do this for any reason other than it is NOT their responsibility to define the legal boundary, that is what the survey is for. the BUYER's realtor should have recommended they get the survey.

i have a feeling the reason the inspector gave the money back no problem is because he did miss the stove and the dishwasher. ours told us some problems with the kitchen appliances, but it was no big deal to us since we had purchased all new appliances already anyway. but he told me he had to tell me everything he saw wrong with the house, or it opened him up to having to issue a refund.

i think some of the OP's problem is they naively thought that buying a 10 year old house it would have no problems. i don't care if the house is brand new, 10 years old, or 100 years old, you WILL find something you need to fix/change/whatever. that is all part of owning a home.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

Agreed...even a brand new house has issues that need to be addressed, and certainly, one that is 10 years old will have run through its first cycle of hard use and age starts to show. I did try to encourage them that it wasn't a horrible decision---they're having buyers remorse and considering all the issues, I understand. But they can work through the things that were listed and have lots of years to enjoy the house.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

angelom The OP homeowner posted that the "dishwasher didn't work correctly. Stove burner didn't work correctly."

Saying something doesn't work correctly is not the same as saying it does not work. I think your assumption that the burner was dead upon closing is incorrect.

This is a 10 year old house. My guess is that the appliances were 10 years old or at least a number of years old. The OP wasn't purchasing brand new appliances.

I haven't seen any obvious ethical issues in the OP's post. Realtors are not qualified to point out an exact property line only a surveyor can do that. If it was of concern to the OP, she should have had a survey done.

And real estate is purchased "as is". The OP discussed issues discovered after the vinyl floor was removed. How can anyone see underneath the floor without ripping it up? If the OP did not rip up the floor, they wouldn't know about those issues either. The leak in the laundry room was slowly leaking in the wall. How would this be discovered if you don't open the wall or if the water doesn't end up on the floor?

davidandkasie summed it up correctly. "the OP's problem is they naively thought that buying a 10 year old house it would have no problems" The OP sounds overwhelmed. The lady bug attack? The OP also stated that the vinyl floor was in very bad shape and so was the back yard. Doesn't sound to me like pristine property.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

yes-the ladybug "attack" is most likely true-do a search-it is the asian lady bug and they are a nighmare and they do "attack" and they are not the nice garden variety. it took us $$ and years to get rid of our problem. They fly into your face -your body in the shower-they are inside and out. They came over in a cargo ship in the 1980's and like southwest walls. Ours hived there when we had the wall open for a remodel. We would have 100 at a time in our bedroom (counted) and as fast as we could vacuum them there would be that many more. So-that's all I wanted to comment on-! I am passionate about my dislike of them! They also smell and leave aa residue on your windowns and walls.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

noodlesportland, we get them at our tower sites. i set off bug bombs and when you go back in the floor is literally coverd an inch or more deep in dead beetles! so far we have not had many at our house, but we do gets hoards of crickets. last year i would sweep up a 5 gallon bucket worth a day from the garage! this year i put out plenty of ortho season long bug control and have had only a few crickets. i would rather put the chemicals out than deal with teh mess and stench of thousands(literally) of crickets ever day.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

Home inspectors, in accordance with most state regs and/or nationally accepted standards of practice do not assess appliances for functionality.

The range is checked by turning on the burners to see if they ignitethis is more for a safety reason than anything else.. not to see if the operate correctly over a period of time. Dish washers are checked to make sure they drain properly, as that is part of the inspection of the plumbingnot to make sure they operate correctly.

That said, appliances are not part of the housethey are personal possessionsand very often, sellers take appliances along with themwhich is why the correct function of such is beyond the scope of a home inspection.

As far as dye in pipes is concernedthe "dye" that I am aware of being utilized by home inspectors is a septic dye testwhich is in essence a jokeas all it determines is if the septic system is functioning on that particular day. A septic system could "pass" the dye test, and totally fail the next day. It is simply a way for an HI to make more money off the inspectionbut it should be outlawed, as all it does is provide the buyer with a VERY false sense of security.

That said, any HI who pretends to be a Jack of All Trades is most assuredly a master of none.

Buyers should make the effort to find a home inspector WHEN they start searching for a home. Get a copy of the contract up frontin order to be educated on what is and isnt covered in the inspection. Make arrangements to find the other professionals that may be needed for functions beyond the scope of a home inspection, such as septic, wood destroying insects, mold,, oil tank leaks, etcand check references.

Most surprises that buyers experience once they move in is due more to their negligence in performing due diligence in hiring the professional than it is due to the professionals that were hired.

Last but not leasta house is an expensive thing to buyand to own. It is therefore an investment to educate oneself on all aspectsincluding the inspection process as well as its inherent limitations.

As the old expression goes, when one assumes....


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

Logic: Do your homework on what appliances are considered "possessions" and which ones stay with the house. It probably varies from state to state, but in many cases, dishwashers and ranges must be functional or the sale can be legally held up. It is assumed that these appliances will be fully operational unless the seller discloses that they are not and such a disclosure is written into the sales contract. Our Home Inspector did not cook a six course meal to make sure the burners operated at manufacturer's specifications---but he did turn the stove on and leave it on long enough to know that the burners were all working. He ran the dishwasher a cycle and maybe that's for the reason you gave, to make sure it would drain. He tried the washer and dryer since they were conveying and he made sure the refrigerator and freezer (and ice-maker) worked. As for using dye, another inspector used it to see where a patio drain emptied out---he also used peppermint extract to make the determination. This was a specific request, not part of his normal procedures. It is widely known in some Realty circles which inspectors are "deal breakers" (those rascals who are advocates for the buyer who is paying them to give a close look at the property) and the ones who are softies who look the other way at marginal problems. I've heard and read about it and common sense of the almighty dollar leads me to believe it's true. Why recommend someone who might trip up a nice commission when you can recommend someone who will rubber stamp the sale. A year or two later, when the water leaks and other "missed" things manifest themselves, everyone is fat and happy with the money that was made and it's the new homeowner holding the bag.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

angelom: "Do your homework on what appliances are considered "possessions" and which ones stay with the house. It probably varies from state to state, but in many cases, dishwashers and ranges must be functional or the sale can be legally held up"

Perhaps so, angelmom. However, that is irrelevant as it does not negate the fact that anything more that what I stated is beyond the scope of a home inspection in accordance with most if not all state regs as well as nationally accepted standards of practice.and, as the OP did not state that either (DW or burners) was inoperable, there is no reason to assume otherwise. If the HI performed the functions within the scope, it appears as if both would have been deemed operationalwhich a separate issue from full functionality.

Now, I'll be happy to do some "homework" on this if you'd like; if you provide the name of your state, Ill be happy to let you know if your state regulates HIs..and the requirements regarding appliance inspection, and post the result of my homework assignment back here in this thread.

That said, this does not preclude the HI from offering additional services. However, most states require that the HI have education, training and experience in order to do so; buyers should not just assume that the HI will perform an inspection in accordance with their personal and possibly mistaken assumptions. They should ask BEFORE they hire the HI what is and is not included so they wont be unpleasantly surprised.

That said, my point is that the reason most buyers are disappointed in the home inspection is mostly due to their lack of due diligence.

The fact that the RE profession has exerted undue control over the HI profession is hardly a secret. Still, all too many buyers go with the RE referral nonetheless.

Still, all too many buyers focus on priceas opposed to quality, thoroughness, etc.as if HIs are TVsand all are created equalwith it being just a matter of seeing who is on "sale". Not.

Still, all too many buyers hire the HI as an afterthought. Still, all too many buyers wait unit the 11th hour, fail to ask for a copy of the contract up front to determine what is and isn't included. They fail to check to see if the HI has good references...or what sort of training he has in using dye, peppermints or what have you effectively.since they dont even know that the use of such is beyond the scope.so even if the HI is licensed, the license qualification process would not have covered such use.

Therefore, the buyer would have no way of knowing if the HI is performing the test in accordance with established standards..or even if there are any standards.....or not..or even if he has training in doing the test...or, if the test is even meaningful..or not, as is the case with the septic dye test.

Buyers all to often fail to ask what type of report they will receive...and all too often fall for the same day generic check list report HI....thinking it is to their advantage...when that is the furthest from the truth...as such a report benefits the HI as he can perform more inspection in one day, then he can writing a full narrative report about the house itself....

I could go on...but I consult to the HI profession; therefore, I am more aware of the issues in this area than most.

Bottom line? Since most buyers still look to the REA for referral, and since most states are too enamored of NAR PAC to legislate otherwise, HI's are indeed subject to the whims of the REA's....and, like with any profession, there are the good, the bad and the in between..in terms of both competency AND..drum roll please...ethics.

Some have managed to build a good sized practice bucking the REAsand some REAs only refer those HIs who do a good and through job. But unless the buyer does their homework, they are hiring blind, and by using the "pin the tail on the donkey" as their selection process, they have no way of knowing which one they will get, until it is too late.

There is no law stating that buyers must use the REA referral....and the REA won't kill them if they don't use the REA refferral.

Therefore, any buyer can easily avoid any conflict of interest by taking the control and responsibility for hiring the HI.and performing the due diligence that is needed in order to have the best chance of having a thorough and competent inspection...after all, in the end, it is the BUYERS investment...and if they are not going to do all that they can to educuate themselves and protect their own interests about such, why would they expect any more from anyone else?

Buyers who fail to do so have only themselves to blame.

Nowyour point?


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

Well, my original point is that the inspector hired by the homeowner on this thread missed to much, that's all. Windows? Hey, when we sold our house, the buyer's inspector checked every window and we ended up having to credit them since some of the windows weren't operating at 100% (manufactured by WENCO, and from what I understand, they are builders grade horrible windows---ours opened and closed, but were hard to get on track after cleaning, didn't stay up properly, were drafty, etc.). Point is, I have no idea what the HI industry standards are---if the person is accredited/licensed and recommended, I think it's fair to assume they will give a good, honest evalutaion. You sort of made my point that some are better than others---but in the midst of buying a house, holding a job or two, raising children, etc., what is a person supposed to do to make sure the inspector they hire will do right by them? It's a stretch to say you have to start checking their high school records to make sure they weren't sent to the Principals office, they've never stolen from the church basket, they don't sample grapes from the fruit section of the supermarket---- and references? Who is going to give a reference that won't say glowing things? I've been involved in a few real estate transactions and had a few home inspections. For the most part, the ones I've seen in action would have flagged some of the items this person posted about. Simple as that. It was just a comment that I sympathized with this couple in their first house because I don think this particular HI was either a little lazy, a little incompetent, a little snakey or all of the above, just based on what they wrote. Maybe I'm wrong or maybe the person had an off day, but you are going out of your way to defend this performance and the industry as a whole and if you talk to people who have purchased a home, I think most are generally happy with their home inspection and the report they get (as well as the tips most inspectors I've used give you about heating and air, maintenance, your own annual walk arounds, etc.). This buyer was NOT pleased and I think might have valid concerns.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

angelom: "You sort of made my point that some are better than others---but in the midst of buying a house, holding a job or two, raising children, etc., what is a person supposed to do to make sure the inspector they hire will do right by them?"

I think I made that very clear in my previous post....one looks for an HI BEDFORE they are in the midst of buying a house, in order that they have time to learn what to expect..and what not to expect....and choose accordingly...instead of hiring whomever is most convenient at the last minute. Its called planning..and as the saying goes, "Fail to plan, plan to fail".

That said, while many are pleased with the result of the inspection, there are many who are not...which is exactly WHY so many states have acted to regulate the profession.

The reference is only part of the whole decision making process....as it is when an employer hires an employee...or, is your point that references are worthless because any given will only be those who glow?

Last but by no means least the sad truth is that most people take more time planning their $3,000 vacation than they do in hiring an HI to inspect a $300,00.00 (or more) .......and, for that there is no excuse to complain if in the end, the result is far less than desirable.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

I feel for you, sweetie. We too bought our first single-family home here in MA. Finding a good home inspector is a hit-or-miss proposition. Ours came highly recommended but, as it turns out, missed quite a bit. So here we are. We've already spent close to $40,000 fixing things we weren't aware of (including replacement of a rotting front door and thus rotting entryway floor, water heater, rotting deck, etc.). There's still a ton of things to do (replace windows, renovate our tiny bathrooms and--maybe one day, if we're lucky--the kitchen, replace garage door, replace siding, have retaining wall rebuilt, etc.). The market is tough in MA. We spent about $400,000 on a 1200 sqft, 70-year-old house, close enough to Boston so our commute isn't more than 30 minutes each way, and what we got is a solid 10-15-year future of financial strain and house updating. It can be depressing. On the other hand, we feel lucky to have a house, live in a great town, have great neighbors, and really like our little money pit, despite it all.

Try to look forward rather than backward, because regret will sour you and ruin your life in your new home. And what's the point of that? What's done is done. Time to move forward. Focus on what you liked about the house to begin with. Try to imagine bringing it to the point, bit by bit, where you love it: devote yourself--as finances allow you to--to turning it into your home. :)


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

Organic: I tried, but you said it better. This stuff happens and you can't dwell on it or you'll make yourself sick. You have to move forward, hard as that is sometimes. And you're exactly right about home inspectors/inspections---hit or miss.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

angelom: "And you're exactly right about home inspectors/inspections---hit or miss.

And as long as a buyer embraces that philosophy, it tends to become a self fulfilling prophecy.....and thereby drastically increases ones chances of being stuck with a money pit.

To each his/her own.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

Well, when Consumer Reports, Associated Press, Congress and for that matter, College Football's BCS starts rating Home Inspectors, maybe we'll have a practical way to know who to choose without spending research hours on it equivalent to holding a second job.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

I'm sorry if I'm repeating another member, but I'm short on time and didn't want you to miss out-

My sister had the same leak/black mold issue, and she went against her insurance company- no on e should have to rip out half the house right after buying it, and it caused her otherwise healthy daughter asthma in the 4 months it took to discover the problem/cause.

Make a claim, appeal it, and if that fails, report to the Insurance Commissioner for your state. It will all be covered. Insurance companies hate to pay out on black mold, but it's usually a part of the policy, and often notably so. You have to force them because it's so costly and can come back if not ripped out and replaced. I was an agent and saw other cases refused over and over, and appeal and reporting to the state always wins. They do fight it to start...

Best of luck, and spread the word if your inspector was that inept!


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

angelom: "Well, when Consumer Reports, Associated Press, Congress and for that matter, College Football's BCS starts rating Home Inspectors, maybe we'll have a practical way to know who to choose without spending research hours on it equivalent to holding a second job."

Good luck with that. ;-)

In the interim, the tools are there by which a buyer can make far better decisions. If one has no time to do all they can to protect their own interests in the largest investment they are most likely to make, where will they get the time...and $$$$$$$....to handle all of the issues that the they may have to deal with...that may have otherwise been avoided?

A few hours spent early on will save many, many, many hours and $$$$$$ down the line.

IMO...its a no brainer...home ownership entails a LOT of responsibility......but once again.....to each his/her own.

rscrvc, as far as I know, most major insurers no longer cover claims for mold....especially if it is considered to be pre-existing....so, that most likely is not an option for the OP.

This is yet one more reason to practice due diligence...and have the house tested for mold BEFORE closing by a qualified environmental firm that employs people educated in the bio-sciences and the practice of proper sampling protocol.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

rscrvc, when we got quotes for HOI when buying our house every one of them SPECIFICALLY had a modl EXclusion. i think, but am not 100% sure, that older policies have to cover mold if it was not excluded originally, but all insurers in my area refuse to offer coverage for it on new or customer modified policies. yep, if you HAVE mold coverage and wish to change the coverages of your policy you lose the mold coverage.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

logic: I'm sorry, but your comments on finding a home inspector are rather presumptuous. We did our homework in looking for a Home Inspector and, I'm sorry, but it *is* a hit-or-miss proposition. A buyer can increase the chance of getting a better inspector by doing his/her homework, getting references, familiarizing themselves with at least the basic run-through, etc., but in the end, there is no guarantee that any inspector will catch all of the problems. In addition, I think most people here are perfectly aware that "home ownership entails a LOT of responsibility."


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

organic smallhome, you generalize.

I never stated that if one does their homework there is a guarantee that the home inspector will be perfect. However, that is not an excuse to do no homework at all......as is the case with most homebuyers.

I consult to the HI professionand if my statements are indeed as presumptuous as you imagine them to be, those HIs who carry no insurance, provide generic same day check lists, or pages of boiler plate about homes in general, where you get to guess which of it applies to your home (if any); who dont supply their contracts before inspection, and who perform inspections that last about an hour would all be out of business.

As they continue to inspect enough homes to make a nice living at doing so (3 or 4 a day in the height of the market, bargain basement prices), apparently they are being hired by buyers who have clearly NOT done their homework. Last but not least, visit the home buying forum....and the many inspection stories that appear only support my point as well.

I could go on...and while I agree that one could do all in their power to make sure that the HI they hire is the best possible, but still have an inspection that is not up to par, the chances are drastically reduced.

organic small home: "I think most people here are perfectly aware that "home ownership entails a LOT of responsibility."

Probably so. However, my comment was in response to angelom, who seemd to indicate that the process I outlined was too onerous for people who are swamped with other responsibilites....my point being if one can't take a few hours to perform due diligence, they may want to re-think homeownership...as home maintnance and/or repair responsibility takes a LOT more time than the few hours needed to have the best chance of finding a good HI.

That said, what exactly did you find to be lacking with your HI?


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

Logic: I just re-read the thread---exactly what process did you outline? I see a couple entries that talk about "finding a good inspector before you need one" and performing "due diligence," but I didn't notice a process outlined. Beyond referrals, what is the process for selecting a qualified home inspector? Looking at the contract to know what they are going to check for up front is fine, assuming the buyer knows what they should be looking for. Having other "experts" for those things not covered by an HI is fine---lead paint, radon, etc., and you're usually walked through this, at least in my experience. It still doesn't answer the question of whether you're getting a competent home inspector---does the industry to anything to police itself? Are there licenses that can be revoked if a single HI receives too many complaints? Is there a board to complain to? By the way, I have no problem with those generic notebooks some HIs give you when they're done with the inspection. Sure, it's a lot of pages and not all of it applies to your house, but they usually do splice in pages that tell you the specific findings/systems of your house, and then you can read more detail from the notebook. Some of the advice seems good.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

angelom: "I have no problem with those generic notebooks some HIs give you when they're done with the inspection. Sure, it's a lot of pages and not all of it applies to your house, but they usually do splice in pages that tell you the specific findings/systems of your house, and then you can read more detail from the notebook. Some of the advice seems good."

There you have it in a nutshell. Every home is different...and every home tells a different story. The HI, as the professional that you pay to perform the inspection, is the one that should be addressing the individual house specifically...as well as its individual issues if any...this should not be left to the buyers assumptions, interpretations, etc...

It is common knowledge wit those insurers who issue E&O insurance for home inspectors (and there are not very many) that those HIs who are sued most frequently are those who use checklists and/or boiler plate...leaving the buyer to interpret the findings.

That said, here is an outline to follow:
1. Hire an HI who actually takes the time to write a full narrative report about YOUR specific houseinclusive of digital photos with call outs specifying issues found, and recommendations thereof. Often such reports can be 50 pages or more...depending upon the issues found.
2. Prior to this, one can start the process early on, when you first decide its time to look for a house by determining if the state regulates the profession.
3. If so, the state will have any complaints, disciplinary actions, suspensions etc on file...but generally they are not listed on line..one usually has to call.
4. The states that do regulate HI's usually have the regulations and SOPs posted on line. If not, you can call and have them sent to you. Take the time to read them to discover what the HI is and isnt required to inspect.
5. Make sure that the HI who will perform the inspection is the one with the licenseand not an underling.
6. Ask to see a sample report and the contract before hiring.
7. Ask for three references and check them, thoroughlyask how long the inspection took, have any issue surfaced since, etc
8. Ask the HI how long he expects the inspection to take...anything less than 2.50 hours for an average size home of average age is too little.
9. Ask if he is insured.
10. If your state does not regulate HIs you can visit the website of ASHI and NAHI to view their SOPs as most states mimic those, in order to understand what the inspection does and does not include in accordance with nationally accepted SOPs.
11. If the HI offers other services, ask about his training and experience. Check to see if your state regulates those areasand make sure the HI is in compliance in terms of those requirements.
12. Make it your business to attend the inspection. Those HIs who inspect first on their own, and then take you around to explain findings are a much better bet in terms of thoroughness than those who chat with you as as they goas the distraction can cause them to miss somethingusually more along the line of what should be there that isnt (such as a missing lally column) as opposed to a glaring visual defect. You want an HI who gives the actual inspection his/her UNDIVIDED attention.
14. Keep your REA from chatting with the HI as he inspects..as that is an unneccessary distraction from the job at hand.
13.Last but not least, rememberyou get what you pay for.

As I said, there are no guarantees in life, but the above process will provide you with a far, far better chance of having a thorough and meaningful home inspection.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

Well, admittedly, the last entry is pretty damn good. I will print it and hold onto it.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

angelom: I will print it and hold onto it.

Great. I hope you find it to be helpful next time around. Best wishes. :-)


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

No, logic. You are the one who generalized: it was implicit in your commentary. Sorry.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

Organic small home, no apology needed. However, if you take some time to read over what I have posted, I sited very specific practices common to many home inspectors, which indeed, if avoided, provide a far, far better chance for the buyer to avoid your particular experience.

You provided no specifics at all explaining your conclusion.

However, as I have repeatedly acknowledged that performing due diligence imparts no guarantee of anything, Im still not clear on why you believe that I generalized by indicating otherwise.

So...one more time;

Practicing due diligence with anything...including in choosing and hiring a home inspector, serves to greatly increase ones chances of achieving the desired result.
However, there are no guarantees...on anything.

That said, Im sorry to hear that performing due diligence on your part did not work out for you. Hopefully, that will not deter you from doing so once again the next time aroundas the end result could be far worse.

Best wishes.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

logic: As you well know, I wasn't offering an "apology." I don't need to provide specifics: the details and tone of your posts are there for anybody to read. I have to say, though, you really are one of the best passive-aggressives I do believe I've ever come across. :)


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

orgnaic smallhome: "As you well know, I wasn't offering an "apology." I don't need to provide specifics: the details and tone of your posts are there for anybody to read. I have to say, though, you really are one of the best passive-aggressives I do believe I've ever come across. :-)"

LOL! Pot. Kettle. Black.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

logic: I don't think so, but nice try. What I wrote is straightforward. What you wrote in this thread practically drips sugar-coated condescension and rudeness. But whatever.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

organic smallhome: "What you wrote in this thread practically drips sugar-coated condescension and rudeness.But whatever."

Ad hominem attacks, and/or shooting the messenger won't change the fact that you are unhappy (and perhaps rightfully so)with the quality of the home inspection that you received from the home inspector who inspected your home.

However, if it does for some reason make you feel better to do so nonetheless, please continue.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

Actually, i'm not unhappy. Our home inspector wasn't bad, he just wasn't great. It wasn't a big deal. And besides, it was years ago.

As for ad hominem attacks? Again, whatever.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

organic snallhome: "Again, whatever."

Yes indeed...whatever.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

Not only does our HOMEowner's insurance policy specifically EXCLUDE everything having to do with mold issues, our AUTOmobile policies exclude MOLD issues also! Hello? Mold in an auto? In So. Cal?

State Farm is our carrier and has been for 50+ years.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

teedup1, mold in auto's is not as uncommon as you would think. people spill stuff and the carpet soaks thru, or they leave a window down/cracked and it rains, then with the high temps inside a car mold forms very quickly. a good friend of mine had to replace allt eh upholstery intheir car after his wife left the window cracked when they went out of town for a weekend. it rained for 2 days straight, no water was visibly standing inthe car, but the carpet and seats were wet to teh touch. they just shop vaced it and figured all would be good. within a week it began stink to the point that they could not get inside the car. they had to park it under a friends carport and open all door to let it air out for a few days JUST so they could handle ripping out the carpet. had to replace 2 of the seats as well. and no, their insurance did not cover it.


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RE: house from hell....new purchase

Wow, guess mold can happen in a car afterall. Whooda thunk it.

Once, many many years ago, I lost the diamond out of my engagement ring while working in our yard. A friend said to file a claim under our homeowners policy (yeh, sure, I thought). Lo and behold even though we had no jewelry rider, State Farm paid off the max ($1,500) possible under a then provision called "Mysterious Disappearance". That proviso is no longer available (LOL). My hubby to this day says to keep looking for that diamond when I'm working out there and that I WILL find it. I keep telling him, "It wasn't THAT big!"


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