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Old 01-07-2012, 11:01 PM   #1
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House Inspector's Fault?


i have a closet with a severely damaged drywall. when i had the house inspector inspect it, he didn't express concern at all.

after closing on the house, a drywall contractor looked at it and instantly smelled mold. he suspects water damage from the roof. i will have to replace all the drywall in the closet and see if there is mold inside.

how could have the house inspector ignored something like this in plain sight? what are my options now? ask for a full refund from the house inspector? take the house inspector to court for what i am about to pay to fix this?



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Old 01-08-2012, 12:49 AM   #2
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House Inspector's Fault?


Unfortunately, there are many home inspectors who do not perform thorough or competent inspections. Some home inspectors lack the knowledge and experience needed to conduct a thorough and adequate property evaluation. Was this home inspector licensed by the town or city you are from.


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Old 01-08-2012, 12:52 AM   #3
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House Inspector's Fault?


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Unfortunately, there are many home inspectors who do not perform thorough or competent inspections. Some home inspectors lack the knowledge and experience needed to conduct a thorough and adequate property evaluation. Was this home inspector licensed by the town or city you are from.

yes, the home inspector is licensed. he was recommended by my realtor.
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Old 01-08-2012, 01:01 AM   #4
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House Inspector's Fault?


First, did you get a receipt/contract from your home inspector? Mine had me sign a little contract, some of which covered if the inspector missed anything. I don't have mine in front of me, but I do believe there was mention of insurance if the inspector missed anything obvious. Likewise, I believe the contract limited the forms of remediation if the inspector missed something. Now if you have a decent inspector, he/she may be willing to come to a compromise to avoid bad reviews on sites like yelp, angie's list, etc. Even more so, a complaint to the better business bureau. With a shadier inspector, you may have to drag them to court to even hold to clauses in the contract. If it does look like you'll have to take them to court, at least run it by a lawyer. Taking a WAG, I wouldn't be surprised if you can't get much more than the inspection fee out of them. But again, that's only a WAG.

Second, I'm assuming the home inspector at least called this out in his or her report. Would you mind posting what the inspector said? I'm half expecting that they'll call this out as broken drywall with water damage. At least that's how it looks to my untrained eye.

When you went through the house with the home inspector, did you smell mold? Do you smell mold now? Has it rained since then? If water has been introduced to the area since the inspection, there's the possibility that the mold is new. Additionally, remember that everyone's nose is different. Some folks can smell mold far before others can. Finally, this is your drywall contractor telling you that he needs to do additional work. Do you trust this contractor? If you can't smell mold there, you may want to consider getting a second opinion.
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Old 01-08-2012, 01:09 AM   #5
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House Inspector's Fault?


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First, did you get a receipt/contract from your home inspector? Mine had me sign a little contract, some of which covered if the inspector missed anything. I don't have mine in front of me, but I do believe there was mention of insurance if the inspector missed anything obvious. Likewise, I believe the contract limited the forms of remediation if the inspector missed something. Now if you have a decent inspector, he/she may be willing to come to a compromise to avoid bad reviews on sites like yelp, angie's list, etc. Even more so, a complaint to the better business bureau. With a shadier inspector, you may have to drag them to court to even hold to clauses in the contract. If it does look like you'll have to take them to court, at least run it by a lawyer. Taking a WAG, I wouldn't be surprised if you can't get much more than the inspection fee out of them. But again, that's only a WAG.

Second, I'm assuming the home inspector at least called this out in his or her report. Would you mind posting what the inspector said? I'm half expecting that they'll call this out as broken drywall with water damage. At least that's how it looks to my untrained eye.

When you went through the house with the home inspector, did you smell mold? Do you smell mold now? Has it rained since then? If water has been introduced to the area since the inspection, there's the possibility that the mold is new. Additionally, remember that everyone's nose is different. Some folks can smell mold far before others can. Finally, this is your drywall contractor telling you that he needs to do additional work. Do you trust this contractor? If you can't smell mold there, you may want to consider getting a second opinion.
my home inspection report is a 20-page PDF document with pictures...and not once, did he mention this cracked drywall.

i had no idea what mold smells like. this damaged dry wall was there when i first saw the house. it probably occurred years ago.

yes, i trust the drywall contractor. but you're right: a 2nd opinion is warranted.
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Old 01-08-2012, 01:16 AM   #6
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House Inspector's Fault?


Even though your real estate agent recommended the inspector you also should have double checked that inspector's qualifications. Some inexperienced agents recommend inferior inspectors because they don't want a full blown inspection that could blow their deal. To do an adequate job, most home inspections take at least three hours, sometimes longer.
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Old 01-08-2012, 01:21 AM   #7
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House Inspector's Fault?


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Even though your real estate agent recommended the inspector you also should have double checked that inspector's qualifications. Some inexperienced agents recommend inferior inspectors because they don't want a full blown inspection that could blow their deal. To do an adequate job, most home inspections take at least three hours, sometimes longer.
he was there for about 3 hrs. should i even bring it up with my insurance (statefarm) or mortgage co (wells fargo)?

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Old 01-08-2012, 01:36 AM   #8
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House Inspector's Fault?


I don't see any mold in the picture. It sounds like you don't see any mold either. Should the inspector have seen any mold?

It also sounds like the drywall was torn that way when you bought the house, and you knew about it.

Inspectors do visual inspections, not nasal inspections. I say he's inocent.
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Old 01-08-2012, 01:44 AM   #9
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House Inspector's Fault?


It is important for you to realize that in the “relatively” short time the inspector is at the home the inspector will do their best (hopefully) to be as inclusive of defects as possible. However, it would be unrealistic to expect the inspector to find everything. The inspection report he provides can be seen as a guide to the kinds of defects that are present and should be anticipated. Just wondering was the home empty at time of inspection? Reason I ask this question is if was not then he would have had a harder time inspecting things he could not see do to items being in the way etc. You can hand a copy of the inspectors report to your insurance company tell them your situation and see what they can do for you.
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Old 01-08-2012, 08:47 AM   #10
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House Inspector's Fault?


I have never used an inspector recommended by the realtor, and I ALWAYS participate in the inspection (it was a little unclear to me if you were present or not.) And, I have never hired an inspector who could not provide up front documentation regarding the scope of their inspection. If there was a concern that the inspector could not satisfy me about during the inspection, I would hire the appropriate professional to look at it, before signing off on the inspections contingency.

I know, costs a little more,........but ultimately less than buying an unexpected problem.

In the end, the buyer is the one spending the big dollars, and it is their responsibility to be comfortable with the condition of the property.
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Old 01-08-2012, 08:53 AM   #11
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House Inspector's Fault?


I see water indications in that picture but I don't see any mold.
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:08 AM   #12
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House Inspector's Fault?


This is a pretty common thread on this forum, usually goes something like "my inspector missed something, it's gonna cost me money to fix it, is he liable?". Simple question, surprisingly difficult answer.

If you signed a contract with the inspector, and you should have prior to the inspection, the inspector owes you exactly what your contract specifies they will do, nothing more, nothing less. So step one is to review your contract. Many inspectors in my location have preprinted contracts that discuss the fact that they are performing a visual inspection only, and they discuss the purpose and expectations for the inspection (see AASHI documentation). In all of the cases where I have reviewed inspection work, the inspector performs a limited inspection, they do not look at everything, and they have a number of specific exclusions, typically including structural opinions, hazardous material opinions, and mold opinions. In some cases, they offer these services as an extra cost item.

The other thing to realize is that many inspections are low bid, often on the order of a few hundred dollars for several hours of work. You may not think that is low cost, but a trained professional engineer or architect would probably charge two or three times what an inspector charges, so of course no one wants to pay that, so you often get relatively untrained individuals who are doing their best to stick to the AASHI prescribed investigation format.

Even if they miss something, you need to read your contract to see what the remedy section says. The inspector did not create the problem, so presumably your concern would be that you might not have purchased the house if you had known about the defect, or you might have paid less for the house, so I guess you could have a claim against the inspector for the additional money you paid, but that is a legal matter far beyond a DIY internet chat forum. By the time you get done hiring the lawyer, paying the lawyer, and litigating for a year or two, ask yourself if you come out ahead or not. Maybe the inspector has insurance, you might get something from that.
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:18 AM   #13
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House Inspector's Fault?


I don't see any sign of mold or any sign of water damage significant enough to cause any appreciable amount of mold, and trust me I know mold from my previous house.

If it's an old leak and the damage is old, I would just repair the drywall and be done with it. I certainly would not, based on what you show in the picture and some faint scent of mold (which could be "mustiness" for all you know since you don't seem to be able to smell it...did the house sit empty for any period of time before you bought it?) go ripping out a larger area in search of something that the contractor "thinks" is there.

And there is no way that you're going to hold the inspector to account for this, regardless, unless they are so unprofessional as to not have a well written contract that protects them from liability for undiscovered issues. If that was the norm they would all be out of business in short order, even the good ones.

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Old 01-08-2012, 09:41 AM   #14
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House Inspector's Fault?


thanks everyone for the input. i certainly would not fault the inspector if the water damage was completely out of sight. but this is such a glaring omission. being a 1st time home buyer, i had no idea what water damage drywall looks like.

there is an old water stain above the closet in the attic. i'm 100% positive that's the source. the previous owner likely put the hole there to dry it out.

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