Home Inspector Sued By the Seller

81

Home Inspector Sued By the Seller

By Natalie Eisen, Isaac Peck and David Brauner
 
Can an inspector be sued for just about anything? The answer is, unfortunately, yes.

It’s a fact of life that a home inspector is likely to find some issues with the house he or she is inspecting. Inspectors know that even new construction has problems! If it’s an inspector’s job to report issues to potential buyers so they can make an informed decision before purchasing, when are they liable for just doing their job?  Can an inspector be responsible for how a buyer reacts to the findings in the report? One seller in Connecticut thinks they should be.

The seller, who is also a Realtor, has sued a home inspector in small claims court because the buyers lost interest in purchasing a house after reading the inspection report. This leaves inspectors scratching their heads and wondering how to protect themselves. Two issues seem to be at play: the accuracy of the report and who has standing to sue.

Regarding the report itself, liability probably depends on the quality, most agree. “I think an inspector may be liable if the findings are in error,” says Lawrence Transue, a Pennsylvania inspector. “If that is the case, I believe the seller has a legitimate gripe and possible grounds for a suit.” Transue says an exaggeration or mistake would mean that the buyer’s decision to walk away stemmed from a bad report and not any problems in the home, leaving the inspector with a difficult position to defend in court. On the other hand, if the report is accurate and the seller is just displeased about the buyer not purchasing the home, most agree that the lawsuit is frivolous.

Texas inspector Jim Starkey knows the drill. “I have had several sellers file complaints against me over the years,” says Starkey. “The sellers were angry that the buyer walked. They accused me of making false statements about the house which caused the deal to fall through, but when you read what I wrote and see the pictures of the defects, it was very obvious I did my job and they were totally clueless. These cases were all judged in my favor and that was the end of that,” says Starkey.

Covering Your Assets
Many inspectors keep scrupulous records of their inspections in order to avoid being sued. They recommend never advising clients towards or against buying the house – only presenting the facts and letting them make their own decisions. If the client is present during the inspection, many inspectors use a voice recorder or video camera to record the process. “I carry a voice recorder in my shirt pocket,” explains Steve Ott, an inspector from Ontario, Canada.  “I record every word I say during an inspection and file them all. If someone comes back to me in the future and claims that I said such and such, I can go listen to the entire inspection.”

Being able to stop a complaint or lawsuit before it snowballs is the preferable strategy. If the client isn’t with you, be sure to keep records of conversations you have with them. Save emails, and transcribe phone calls if you are concerned. When you are inspecting the home, it goes without saying that you should take pictures of any problems you may find. Record-keeping pays off when you need it.

But what if a suit occurs anyway? “I’d stand my ground,” says David Tucker, owner of The Inspector Inc.  “If the lawsuit isn’t retracted, I would hire a lawyer to first send the seller a ‘demand letter’ for retraction, then I would file a counter-suit in the county court. The seller is not the inspector’s client and has no contractual agreement with the inspector. The seller’s ‘contract’ is with the buyer,” says Tucker.   “Don’t let yourself be intimidated, and remember that you are accountable to the person who paid for the inspection– not the Realtor or the seller.”

Well…maybe.  In some states, third parties can sue even though they did not directly engage the inspector. To be sure about your state’s laws, you should consult a local attorney.

Non-Client Can Sue
Regarding whether a third party such as a seller or agent has standing to sue, Todd Stevens, experienced trial lawyer for inspector issues and past President of the San Diego Bar Association, says it depends on the specific laws in each state. Stevens says the legal term at issue is privity, which posits that only parties to a contract should be able to sue to enforce their rights or seek damages. “In some states, privity is required to file a lawsuit like this. However, in other states like California, privity is not required.  My advice to any home inspector in this situation, even if you believe the law in your state is on your side, is to take the threat of a lawsuit seriously and not ignore it,” says Stevens.  The reason, Stevens says, is that even if the seller isn’t able to sue you based on your contractual obligations to them, there still may be other ways for them to pull you into a lawsuit.

Joseph Denneler, another lawyer experienced in home inspector claims, concurs that the ability of a third party to bring a suit varies by state. “It depends on the particular state law. Generally in a contract-based relationship, a stranger to the contract has no standing to sue for non-performance or for flawed performance.  However, I have defended several third-party suits in New Jersey where inspectors were sued by someone with whom they had no relationship at all. Judges are not apt to dismiss claims even though there is clearly a legal flaw in the proposition. Every time I raise this argument in court I get a curiously blank stare from the judge,” says Denneler.

Whether a claim is considered frivolous is also defined by state law, according to Denneler.  “In [this] example, most states would not find that claim to be frivolous if it can be argued that the claimant is trying to change the law or proffer a new type of claim that the law doesn’t currently recognize,” says Denneler.

Michael Casey, principal at Casey O’Malley Associates, says that situations where the seller sues the inspector are very rare. “The seller suing the inspector because of the deal falling out is rare.  In my experience with over 600 inspector claims, only one was of this type.  We responded that the home inspector complied with the Standard of Care and reported material defects as required by published Standards of Practice, thus fulfilling his/her professional obligation. This particular claim went away,” says Casey.

The other type of claim that might arise from a seller is an indemnity claim, Casey explains. “I have seen some cross claims against inspectors by sellers for indemnity when they are sued by the buyers, and the inspector is not named in the original action (usually because the condition was in the report, but not properly repaired or nothing was done).  These are rare but must be defended like any other claim,” says Casey.

Veterans agree that if you find yourself in a similar situation and your case goes to court, present the best defense you can, armed with the facts and the confidence that you have done the right thing.

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments (81)

  1. I’m an experienced real estate investor. The main job of a home inspection is to give an out for the buyer to use or not to use to purchase a home. I have bought and sold many properties and have been on both sides. This is a fact of life in a real estate investor’s game. Take your emotions and leave them, the business of real estate is not for all.

    - Reply
  2. I am the seller of a home in NY. My agent had asked me to be present on a home inspection for the buyers to help out with any questions they might have. When I was her I found out that the buyers realtor was somehow related and the realtor new the home inspector very well. Long story short was they had the inspector write up a bad report stating I had mold in my attic that would cost over $1500.00 to repair. This was they way out of the contract because I believe after signing our contract but how can a home inspector put a price tag on something that he is not certified in?.. I contacted a mold assessor and showed him pictures of the attic. He said they were old moisture stains. This has prolonged the sale of my home and feels like it has ruined the sale of my home. Home inspectors should not be allowed to put a monetary figure on any report that they are not certified in to do so. I have been in the construction field all my life. If you want to be a home inspector, you should have background in the field .
    !…

    - Reply
    • First if all, no reliable mold professional will state anything of the sort without testing. Their SOP and insurer would both discourage that. So that leaves two possibilities. The mold pro is an idiot or he is not worth a darn. Now, that 1500 figure is likely the difference between what some of us call a MAJOR DEFECT and a SERVICE/REPAIR item. A good inspector will elaborate on this difference in the opening of his report and will also say that these are always ballpark figures as costs can vary from market to market and due to other factors. But I can tell you this after 20 years in the business. I don’t know a single certified mold guy who would write an invoice in any job for under 1500.00. That’s why we break it down that way.

      - Reply
    • The problem here starts with the (sounds like) undisclosed relationships between realtors & home inspector. I also take issue with the “mold assessor” who made very irresponsible comments based on photos- instead of actual testing. And do you really know what the actual inspector’s credentials were? There is more to this story, good luck. You might want to clear the mold concern by hiring your own mold inspector.

      - Reply
  3. Oh please. Let’s ignore the elephant in the room and reach for every other possible explanation than the obvious one. The reality is that MOST home inspectors are failed, wannabe contractors with GEDs or less.

    Anyone can hang a shingle after a few hours of online training. Frankly, they are the bottom feeders of the RE industry, which is saying a lot. Most don’t have the education, training, professionalism or regulatory oversight, that appraisers, loan agents and even realtors have.

    Many think their job os to come up with 100 overblown, exaggerated, hysterical and speculative crap. One inspector had 80 items on a brand new house built by a high end builder, including claims of a gas leak.

    The house was evacuated and the gas company came out on an urgent basis. Needless to say, they spent a half hour searching in vain for the leak. When asked to produce a photo showing his detector readings, wouldn’t you know it — he didnt have any. Smh!

    - Reply
    • We have been twice bitten by this crap. Once when an inspector wrote a whole page that essentially stated that a bad breaker box could arc and burn the house down. The report never said that ours was bad. After the buyer demanded replacement, we hire an electrical contractor to replace the system and his response was “with what?” . “If I replaced it, it would be with the same system you have (including brand) that is in most of the homes in this county. The scare tactic cost me more than $5,000 to close the sale. Too much leverage for a buyer and too much power for a home inspector whose only qualification was that he stayed in a Holiday Inn …… today we are going through a similar experience and I am madder than ….

      - Reply
      • Very hard to judge this without knowing what BRAND electrical panel was in the home. If it was a Zinsco or Federal Pacific, the Inspector was right and the electrician was wrong. Neither manufacturer / panel are made anymore and for very good reason. I’d love to see this inspector’s actual report- and know if the electrician actually viewed the panel in person.

        - Reply
      • I had a buyer send an inspector to a home. The buyer told seller the A/C system was near the end of its life and would need replacing. How can they reach that conclusion.

        - Reply
    • Umm have you met Real Estate agents? They usually fail highschool & take a week long course for $200… brainless idiots. The inspectors i know are retired engineers or work as Fire fighters. Sooo get your facts strait.

      - Reply
      • Get your spelling straight. And you are wrong. My experience so far has been inspectors aren’t educated enough to make the speculations they do.

        - Reply
      • Easy Kara. There are problem people in EVERY industry. The good news is realtors can and are regularly held accountable when they screw up or get out of line. I’m both an inspector and real estate licensee- one of the good guys out there who protects people every day. I keep my professions separate and have no tolerance for anything less than excellence.

        - Reply
    • I work in the HVAC trade and at least once a week I have to go behind some jacka$$ inspector who thinks they know what they’re doing but in reality don’t know their a$$ from a hole in the ground. Then I am forced to charge the seller for something that they didn’t need. It’s sad because buyers trust these idiots and take their word thinking the inspector knows what they’re talking about. You my friend hit the nail on the head in your description above of inspectors. I hate charging people for things they don’t need it gives my own trade a bad reputation.

      - Reply
      • oh my gosh, yes! We have bought and sold 10 homes and if I want a thorough investigation of a hvac system, I call an hvac professional! The dipwads who call themselves home inspectors can take a temperature reading and make sure the a/c and furnace come on and that should be it. I recently had one disassemble my air handler in a rather complicated setup with multiple floors, dampers and a whole house ventilation system. Now my 3rd floor will not cool and the ventilation system is all screwed up. Why in the world are they allowed access to something that they know nothing about? HVAC systems are complicated, that’s why they are left to professionals. Ugh.

        - Reply
    • I have been a highly respected professional home inspector for almost 20 years now and find your comments and broad characterization of home inspectors unacceptable. I save lives. I protect peoples finances. I protect people from liars, cheats, and unprofessional individuals. I regularly find and report serious mistakes made by contractors, electricians, plumbers, and the likes. I regularly find cover-ups in flips and renovations- homes advertised as Excellent by listing agents who in fact have no clue or did not ask the seller the right questions. I regularly educate realtors about what they are selling or showing to their client. I have the ethics, courage and confidence to report things I find and stand behind them. I’m ALSO a real estate licensee- and can safely say there are plenty of licensees out there, myself excluded, who give the industry a very bad name. (No, I do not inspect properties I have a financial interest in). Licensing is not the cure-all; there are problem people in EVERY industry. And by the way, gas is invisible and a leak can be intermitted and should ALWAYS be taken very seriously… photo of the sensor or not. Do you want to be responsible for a home exploding? I think not. As for new homes, some of them are shockingly poor quality, especially some of the spec homes. And here’s a little advise for licensees out there that go down the low-road of trying to minimize, or argue a home inspectors findings: You are now the responsible party for your comments- any comments in contrary to what the inspector advised. That creates significant liability and, the buyer client will see right through it. That’s actually why many clients walk after an inspection; they lose trust in their realtor, and cannot stand one or both of the realtors involved- especially when it appears the realtor is trying to save the deal for their own selfish reasons. To all, find and refer the best home inspector you can find and support regulation of that industry in your state. 33 states already did it. 17 to go. Truly bad people in any industry should be reported. I also recommend formally reporting any out of line realtor who interferes with a home inspection (during or after), if they in any way act in contrary to their licensing requirements, board and national code of ethics.

      - Reply
      • I recently bought a house and found my inspector opposite from what everyone is claiming here. The house is in the most northern part of NY and heat is a necessity, once I bought the home it was clear that there was no heat in the master bedroom & bathroom. That’s not even the biggest issue. one portion of the report, He sited a crack in the ceiling. Period. Not what it really was; there was a 2 inch drop of the walls from the ceiling and on the floor below that ceiling, there was also a 2 inch drop of floor from wall. At time of move in, i noticed these “drops” but did not understand what they meant or how to further investigate. Now, I realize I need to go to the basement because these problems happen from the ground up. In the basement there are several house jacks (4 in total) all along the same line as the one carrier beam. However, only three are on cement blocks and the 4th jack is sinking away in sand – yup, the one jack that is on the same side of the house where the drop in ceiling and floor are is where this one unsupported jack sinks in sand. Now, looking back to my inspection report, there were only photos of the three on cement blocks although hes stated that they’re on cement blocks, trying to imply that the three pictured are the only jacks. He also did not picture the failing carrier beam that is entirely affected by dry rot, with poor patch jobs and ultimately useless remedies of 2- 3 foot 2″by8″ scattered along the length of the 20 foot carrier beam.

        I cannot believe he passed this home. I wish I never bought it. Never trust or rely on the home inspector – seems there are ulterior motives at work. My realtor pushed this guy on me like he was the only person to hire. She was so money hungry calling nonstop near closing trying to get me in the house as fast as she could for her commission. bet she knew him and told him to push the house along as a pass so she could earn her cash.

        Disgusted! I am a single mother and worked so hard to fix my credit and save up a down payment to purchase the most expensive thing I have ever owned and not even 12 months later, I am forced to take out a second loan on my house to fix the home before it collapses, without a way out.

        - Reply
    • Having one degree in real estate and one in construction, combined with over 38 yrs of home building, inspection and RE brokerage ….. I’ve always been amazed that most states allow someone with only 30-50 hrs of training (real estate agents) to be permitted to advise clients regarding conditions like “what is OR is not important and should be repaired, etc in an inspection” when its obvious so often they have no clue what they’re talking about

      - Reply
  4. Nine days ago my house was inspected for a potential buyer. Fifteen minutes before end his inspection he suddenly claimed the air conditioning system, which had been serviced less than two befire, had died. After telling buyer and her agent he packed up his tools and left. Thirty minutes after they left I remembered he had been mess with circuit breakers for condensor were in the off position. I reset the breakers and the house is again cool. A footnote, the buyer did not want the here her inspector screwed up. A complaint has been filed with the State of Texas.

    - Reply
    • That will be very difficult to prove. The last person in the home may be the responsible party. Start with a conversation with the inspector; give them the opportunity to respond to the accusation before taking any other steps.

      - Reply
  5. Just closed on a house after the home inspector said that there is nothing wrong with the HVAC system which is part of the 4 point that I asked for and today I closed and noticed the air wasn’t coming thru the vents. Well I climb up the attic and right by the entrance the a/c ducts have holes in them. The inspectors report said that the air was good and did not leave any comments regarding the holes. Is this grounds for me to have the inspector fix this issue? Also he sent me pics of what he took the day of his inspection and you can clearly see the hole in the duct. Anyone please help me with this.

    - Reply
  6. I had an inspector that came out and said that the foundation basement wall was “bowing” in and recommended getting a “contractor” out to access the wall and put up steal beams. The problem was, I had just had a certified structural engineer out and there was absolutely no bowing in the wall. So he will get sued. He is not a certified structural engineer. He had no business saying that.

    - Reply
    • But you cant sue someone on hearsay, if he didnt have it in his report unfortunately. You need to go by the report or a judge will laugh.. trust me.

      - Reply
    • I’m not a structural engineer, but in over 23 cases when a licensed PE said a foundation was OK ……. I determined it was not and needed repair. Further evaluations by licensed foundation contractors OR other PE’s agreed with me. Just saying that the licensed professional specialist is not always right.

      - Reply
  7. The last home inspector I had said I could fix the sagging floor in the kitchen by adjusting the teleposts under the house! I bought the house thinking I could fix the problem. I had someone in to take a look at the posts and adjust them. I found out the the foundation has problems and repairs will have to be made to fix the sagging! If I had gone under the house with the inspector I would have noticed the problems that the inspector didn’t notice! That is the last time I will ever hire a home inspector and will do the inspection myself!!

    - Reply
    • People that do their own home inspections will have no recourse if THEY miss something. No judge in the land will sympathize with a buyer who failed to source, interview and hire a qualified professional when they had the opportunity to. Hire a good inspector, and attend & go through the home yourself as well-

      - Reply
  8. I would love for people to be able to find all inspectors that know how to do natural gas leak detection. All buyers should get some kind of a certificate showing at the house they plan to buy a house that the home they want to buy does not have any natural gas or propane gas leaks at the time of purchase. Hey smart Home Inspector would learn how to provide that service. I KNOW HOW, ITS NOT HARD AT ALL.

    - Reply
    • Seems to be a lot of agendas in these comments. I wish people were more responsible and had a greater level of integrity in regard to their home, its condition, and the reality of what the home is presenting, sometimes due to their lack of maintenance and attention. It wouldn’t surprise me if 90% of the issues or on the commenter’s shoulders. Look in the mirror people.

      - Reply
    • This is not actually the home inspectors role, unless there is a good reason to test for leaks. Additives are put in natural gas so a leak is evident. Yes, they should report any related suspicious odor and attempt to locate it, and the home inspector should refer to a qualified gas specialist for further and immediate review and repair if a leak is detected. I would go on to recommend staying out of the home or building until it is repaired and not operate anything electrical inside.

      - Reply
  9. by Morgan Home Inspection

    I am a home inspector and I don’t give a damn about the transaction. My job is to call’em
    like I see’em. My duty is to find safety hazards, material defects, and what is stopping the house from being a healthy house. If the seller is unhappy with the issues found he can lower the price or fix the problem. The client (usually the buyer) is who I have a contractual agreement with and they are due an honest, knowledgable report and that’s what they get. I want my clients to know the truth before they decide to buy. That’s my job and I’m sticking to it.

    - Reply
    • What if the report provided by the inspector is not accurate? In fact, a second inspection finds some similar items but others not at all, like mold or WDO issues? This happened to me as a seller and I felt like it was totally lack of knowledge on the inspectors part.

      - Reply
      • I am thinking about launching a website where Home Inspector’s can post their reports right after they do them including pictures of material defects and issues that they have documented. It will be a website where consumers home buyers can locate Home Inspector’s of their choice they still born. It is the big posted about other houses that have great detail in the reports people need to learn how to choose hey Home Inspector Facebook on their past performances of documenting troubledissues

        - Reply
        • VERY BAD IDEA. Ever heard of a little thing called confidentiality? And, a home inspection is a snapshot in time, conditions can and do change. Buyers would be idiots to rely on something performed and contracted to another party, and should always hire their own inspector.

          - Reply
    • I talked with real with you one of the problems in the industry is with a real estate agency just fired a particular Home Inspector in guns cases in my life many times the home inspector and the real estate agent we’re in big together I don’t know particular real estate agent in Scottsdale only uses one Home Inspector if you try to use a different Home Inspector she is upset.

      Home Inspector’s need to never take phone calls from real estate agents they need to stay away from the ages and properly market themselves that they are proidly not in bed with any real estate agent are any real estate broker.

      - Reply
      • This is an apparent problem in my state where the inspectors have spouses as agents. the inspectors count on those referrals as a “feeder system”, not realizing it is a violation of their first H. I. Code of Ethics regarding avoiding conflicts of interest or activities that compromise, or appear to compromise, professional independence, objectivity, or inspection integrity

        - Reply
      • The agent in Scottsdale is forgetting about a little thing called risk reduction. And their buyer is NOT doing their due-diligence. Most real estate Attorneys advise RE brokerages to give at least 3 names, every time, and recommend the buyer interview them and go with who they are comfortable with.

        - Reply
    • I had the same inspector last year and fixed everything but new septic. Just put in new and now same inspector found fault with outlets in garage, said need to be higher. The real joke is same I needed to replace the smoke detectors that were brand new!! He also came up with new stuff.

      - Reply
    • We’re selling our condo in a 200 year old house and the inspector noted that the original wide pine floor in the kitchen “squeaked” when you walked on it. He also advised our buyer that the furnace was a certain age, because of the “series date” on the furnace. There were at least 50 other questionable comments on his report, including a hole in the ceiling (where we had changed the location of a swag light). How do you make a big deal out of replacing drywall in a laundry closet “as a fire-stop” when said closet is adjacent to a 6-8 foot open doorway?? Sorry, but you guys are the used car salesmen of the realty world.

      - Reply
      • Don’t do that. Generally speaking the only firewall connects with the garage.
        The floor is a judgment call but his thinking may be the sub floor is degraded. You home inspector should only be saying the hvac is at or near the end of its useful life.

        - Reply
      • Based on what you wrote, it sounds like the inspector made several very good calls. A buyer may object to squeaking floors- it could also be a minor or major problem especially in such an old house. Rotted, cracked, undersized or termite eaten structure are all possibilities. An old furnace can be a fire hazard, leak carbon monoxide, or be unsafe generally. Maybe those NEW smoke alarms were recalled, or just not working… or not there at the time of the inspection. I’m just saying. We (inspectors) often make comments for reasons you may not be aware of. Questions are always ok, but it’s a bad idea to find fault with someone making good calls without understanding their reasons. I’d love to see this report-

        - Reply
  10. How about an inspector who openly lies (easily proven with photos) on his report for the buyers. Then he also damaged 2 items in the home, one the stainless steel fridge door handle when he pulled it to see behind the fridge, and the other when he ripped paint off the wall to see the electrical panel. I don’t mean a small tear, I mean a palm sized shredded area of paint.

    - Reply
    • Good inspectors generally will not pull out a refrigerator- and should not as water lines can break, floors can be damaged, etc. Further, a good inspector will score around an electrical panel with a box cutter before attempting to remove the covers. In the same breath, don’t paint electrical panel covers with wall paint. Use high quality spray enamel if you must paint it. Minor paint damage aside, I would ask the inspector to cover the damage-

      - Reply
  11. These comments are the perfect example of why, as an inspector, I like to include a code citation as to why something is wrong. It helps to remove all doubt about the subject. But I do feel your pain. I see reports that are very poorly written and where everything is deferred out to someone else. Why realtors keep referring these guys I will never know. I have also seen multiple reports where there are major deficiencies that are sugar coated for the realtors to help the sale go though and the poor buyer gets stuck with the bill after the fact. You want your inspector to be tough but you also want to be able to understand the report and know what is really a deficiency

    - Reply
    • There also should be A ethics violation when a real estate agent on eather the side gets between the buyer and the Home Inspector. Buyers should never listen to any real estate agent or any real estate broker when it comes to Home Inspector’s. Real estate brokers and real estate agents on both sides of the deal need to stay far away from that communication. Too many real estate agents in Phoenix Arizona it’s got spilled Arizona can’t stay away they have to get the nose in the communication between the home inspector and the buyer

      - Reply
      • It IS an ethical violation where the real estate agents are referring their spouse (inspector) to the buyer. The H. I. should not inspect for his/her spouse or any agent in his spouse’s realty firm, as the appearance of a soft report so as to “close the deal” is clearly obvious. See H. I. Code of Ethics # 1.

        - Reply
      • Anyone in NH can be an agent, but out Inspection rules are strict luckily! Ive met some real shaddy realtors when flipping houses, the buyer should definetly do their research on an inspector too! My first purchase, the realtor gave me a guys name.. totaly idiot on the phone. So i did my research & got a great guy who i still use 20 years later. Research research.. buyer beware is my moto! And sellers need to calm down! EVERY house sells!!

        - Reply
      • Actually, any Realtor who interferes with, diminishes, attempts to discredit, or otherwise override or alter a home inspector’s qualifications or comments can and will be held fully responsible for it. I encourage people to report this formally when it occurs.

        - Reply
    • What if the city codes inspector tells the people buying my house that it’s an unsafe structure because I didnt have water on with the city utility people is that a lawsuit because my house isn’t falling

      - Reply
      • City Inspectors are not the same as home inspectors. Not sure what you mean tho by falling? I do know you want water to eb running in the house youre selling, best idea to have all utilities on before closing sale.

        - Reply
    • I think a lot of sellers just find reasons when their house doesnt sell when they want it to. Its always the realtor, the inspector, the bank, the frigen towns fault. Sellers need to remember its a buyers market.. take a deep breath tho it will sell!!

      - Reply
      • You are an idiot! It’s a SELLERS MARKET IN TEXAS! Also, inspectors are mostly have no clue about new constructions or high end houses! One idiot could not figure out if seller house is made of stucco or EFIS!

        - Reply
        • Guess what- It is ALWAYS a buyers market. Why? Because no buyer, no sale. And when buyer sentiment changes, markets change. Buyers retain the control, and option to buy or not. Yes, even in a market known as a “Seller’s” market. Sellers market means limited inventory and some willing to pay a higher price because of it. Arrogant sellers need to always remember buyers are the customer. I’ve seen sellers refuse a perfectly reasonable offer only to sell for much less later. No customer, no sale. No buyer, no sale and buyers are getting smarter. Just because one area may be a Sellers market, doe not mean an entire state is. Further, EIFS / DEFS are both a form, and method of stucco. They are a synthetic system, versus the old much thicker cement based type.

          - Reply
    • I agree with you on all fronts except citing a specific code. We should never do that; instead I say “appears to be non-compliant” when I know it is. RE: Your municipality is going to take issue with you if you are acting as a building inspector- citing code, and are not employed with the city or county as a municipal code inspector. Similarly, codes can and change and local codes can override national codes, so it is way to risky to even go there… leave that up to the city or county. CYA by saying “appears non-compliant”, state your concern in the report, and give an example of how it could be better. Also- very important- codes are only minimal standard. There are always better ways of doing things that not only satisfy a particular code, but may appear different than what is customary or allowed.

      - Reply
      • Exactly. I am a seller who just had an inspector tell potential buyers that foundation needs redone to codes, engineer who never stepped foot in the crawl space but sent one of his buddies to give a quote. I called my county building codes and was flat out told the inspector was incorrect and how very little knowledge they actually have. Codes informed me that they take a few hour course and don’t know their head from there butts. I could go on and on about the blatant lies on this report and have actually taken pictures of his gross lies and have paid for numerous professionals to come in and document. If it cost me the sale, you bet your sweet arse I’m sueing. If an inspector is not licensed electrician, plumber, hvac specialist, they have zero business stating their half ass opinion. Ridiculous

        - Reply
        • As a code certified inspector ………. Many code inspectors have little or no formal training, other than reading the code book, a cram course and taking an open book test to get certified. We find conditions daily that the code inspector missed, did not report on or did not enforce.

          - Reply
  12. I lost a sale that cost me almost 50K in losses due to timing (winter snow). The inspector stated that the electrical panel was overloaded. I am a licensed Master Electrician former C10 Electrical contractor. without doing any calculations this inspector said a 2500 Sq ft house with a 225A service was overloaded. He just made up stuff. Said that the foundation was build wrong and many other structural problems existed and would have frost heave. After 40 years no frost heave and a signed statement from a structural engineer saying none of the inspectors statements were true. One of the most crazy statements was “I dont like how the roof was built. It needs to be replaced”. The roof was 2 years old.

    - Reply
  13. This article is slanted by representing inspectors as victims. I have lost 2 buyers after inspections. Both times the inspectors wrote lengthy boilerplate reports that point out issues that are trivial but overwhelming to a buyer. Biggest fear raising factor is the cover my ass call outs to have specialists in each area reload at the major areas: foundation, roof, HVAC, plumbing, electrical. My house had no significant issues….no leaks, no foundation issue, no electric or plumbing. I call in top notch tradesmeN from angus list, and repeatedly get estimates and feedback the issues are trivial…no action needed. The buyers is not helped…in fact the most recEnt incident involved a roofer who used high pressure sales tactics to push for a new roof and structural work. The buyer pulled out, and 2 reputable roofers have told us the roof is in good shape. So the buyers lost a sound home and we lost a buyer over an ugly but no significant issues inspection report. I never saw the report or had an opportunity to negotiate…. I think inspection is just a racket to make work for unscrupulous tradesmen.

    - Reply
    • I too lost a buyer because the inspector said we had truss and structural damage to our roof. Had in two roofers and both said no truss or structural problems. The only damage done was to scare off buyer and put us through a lot of crap because of his ignorance.

      - Reply
      • What do you do in this case? We just lost a buyer due to a bad home inspection report. Some of the items were not surprises as we were already aware of them and prepared to correct if the buyer requested. But half of the report was all out lies. He said our tree limbs were over the roof and touching our house (easy to prove that was not true), some comments were clearly opinions and not facts, such as we had just painted the house so we may have been trying to cover up mold or mildew. REALLY??? Don’t most people paint their house before putting it on the market? He put on the report that the floor SEEMED unlevel. He clearly did not read our structural engineers report or the foundation work report that showed we had our foundation repaired earlier in the year and the floor was NOW LEVEL. SEEMED, that was purely subjective. I have never seen such a bad report where he was speculating on why we painted our house. How do we challenge this inspector?

        - Reply
    • Who, then, protects buyers from unscrupulous sellers who hide material defects long enough to sell the house and leave the new owner holding the bag? In a real estate transaction, the inspector is sometimes the -only- party working in the buyer’s best interest. Agents can easily push a defective home on a buyer by glossing over details. Sellers have been known to hide damage and make subpar repairs that hold just long enough to make it through closing. Sellers too often just want to unload a house and leave the buyer with 30 years of payments on a money pit that they can’t get rid of.

      - Reply
      • Thank you for posting this, Carole! This just happened to me. I am a first-time home buyer. I trusted the inspector to represent me. The day after closing and moving in, I noticed mold and called several companies out for estimates. I have had the house for 3 weeks, and I just had mold remediation done to the tune of $7,000. Some of the mold was toxic black mold. My bathroom had to be ripped out so I need to remodel that. Part of my ceiling had to be removed because it had grown through from the attic. I can’t stay at my house in the mean time (only one bathroom) so my dog is staying at my mom’s 2 hours away and I’m staying at a friend’s house until the work is done. I talked with several lawyers, and I don’t have a case against the sellers because I can’t “prove” they saw the mold. This will cost easily $10,000 by the time it’s all done. I’m hoping the home inspector’s insurance will help out!

        - Reply
        • I’m sorry that happened to you that’s when you should’ve taken the whole expected to court and sue him or her for the cost that you had to pay. Having the appropriate documentation would’ve won the lawsuit

          - Reply
      • Carole, these are my favorite type homes to inspect. I catch coverups regularly. It takes the right background and instincts to put it all together sometimes. Sadly, some sellers lie. And some listing agents fail to disclose. Many buyers walk when they see my report on one of these homes- and because I let them know there may be latent defects (more hidden) as well based on the issues I could see. I always ask them to forward my report to the sellers side, because it then creates a duty to disclose- and when not disclosed, that licensee can loose their license or be punished.

        - Reply
    • We just lost a sale due to a home inspection also. The inspector put several stock photos, not photos taken from our home, on the report and said that IF such and such would happen then this MIGHT happen, and then in small print at the bottom put, no issues found. He marked that the roof caps weren’t terminated properly so we paid someone to come in to fix them only to find out they aren’t terminated because they are attic vents, he didn’t even know what he was looking at. We started smelling gas not long after he was in and also discovered that he had broken one of our gas fireplace logs when he was crawling around in it. We had a new inspection yesterday and was told we have a lovely and very well built home. It seemed the other inspector had something either against us or the house, I’ve never met the man and really hope not to.

      - Reply
    • its the inspectors job to find issues. Ive sold MANY homes that i thought were ok & then get my retired engineer inspector there & see things i would have missed that are real issues. You cant just sue people because theyre doing their job & your house wont sell. Not saying all inspectors are great.. im sure theres bad ones. In my state they are regulated luckily. Sadly its the realtors in my state that are idiots.. only a new one again lol ugh anyone can be one

      - Reply
      • I agree that it’s an inspector’s job to find issues. Where I have a problem is when they speculate about possible problems that aren’t even there. I’m selling a 70-y.o. house with a crawl space. I lost a sale after inspection. The report was full of gems such as “no broken window seals observed, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any.” “Due to the age of the home, there is probably lead paint.” There isn’t; we tested before we bought it six years ago, and I just tested a couple more places. Ditto with asbestos; he said it’s “probably” in the house; we had it tested and know there isn’t any. He also asserted that because the crawl space is only about 30 inches deep, the water heater must be lying on its side. In fact, we special-ordered and installed a “stubby” that is designed to fit in a crawl space.
        After 60 pages of similar nonsense, I’m not surprised the buyers walked. But it seems to me that I as the seller should have some recourse when the deal fell through due to nothing but speculation on the inspector’s part.

        - Reply
    • Sorry you experienced what sounds like a rathe paranoid inspector. I would be very curious to see his report, which you said you did not. Things can get misstated agent to agent. Also important to recognized- assuming when you do have a responsible report, is agent MUST know how to navigate through it afterwards, and work together with the seller an buyer toward a solution. I have seen many deals fall apart simply because the agents did not know how to deal with inspection findings. It is not really fair to judge this inspector- who worked for the other side of the transaction, without seeing their actual report.

      - Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *