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wzolla86 04-30-2012 11:47 AM

How to I legally pursue this home inspector?
I bought a three story single family home last year, and hired a home inspector to go through before I bought it. The home inspector gave me a report that said the exterior was acceptable and in no need of any action. I bought the house, took out home insurance, and the home insurance's own inspector came and saw withing minutes of being there that the brick needed repointing and around almost the entire unattached portion of the house. They also sent me a letter saying that they would no insure me unless I get it fixed, and that's going to put me at least $6000 in the hole. I spoke with a lawyer who does not handle a claim this small, and he recommended that I hire an expert witness/home inspector who can go through and find out what below the professional standard and would be considered negligent/malpractice. That could cost another $1000 (at least the person he recommended) and the home inspector may find even worse things that were missed the first time. I want to get at least the money back for the repairs and the original home inspection, plus for the second home inspection if I can. how do I handle this? It sounds like its too small to hire an attorney, but I thought small claims court (in Massachusetts) was only for claims $2000 or less? Should I contact them directly to try to settle it? I filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Attorney Generals office, but the lawyer I spoke to seemed to believe that it wouldn't get me anywhere. Any advice on how to move forward would be great.

joecaption 04-30-2012 12:26 PM

Tuck pointing is more of a minor maintance issue unless it's really really bad.
How about some pictures.
I'm having a hard time trying to picture something so bad an insurace company would have picked up on it unless the foundation was completly shot.
Unless there's something missing in you post that price to just tuck point sounds way off.
Around here you could build a whole foundation for a 1200.00 sq. ft. house for that.

hammerlane 04-30-2012 12:41 PM

At best you may be able to get back the cost of the inspection. I do not think you would ever be able to get back the cost of repairs.

Did you read any disclaimers in the report:

This report is intended only as a general guide to help the client make his own evaluation of the overall condition of the home, and is not intended to reflect the value of the premises, nor make any representation as to the advisability of purchase. The report expresses the personal opinions of the inspector, based upon his visual impressions of the conditions that existed at the time of the inspection only.

Inspections are performed in accordance with the American Society of Home Inspectors standards of practice a copy of which is attached to this report.
The inspection and report are not intended to be technically exhaustive, or to imply that every component was inspected, or that every possible defect was discovered.

No disassembly of equipment, opening of walls, moving of furniture, appliances or stored items, or excavation was performed. All components and conditions which by the nature of their location are concealed, camouflaged or difficult to inspect are excluded from the report.
Any opinions expressed regarding adequacy, capacity,
or expected life of components are general estimates based on information about similar components and
occasional wide variations are to be expected between such estimates and actual experience.
To the best of our knowledge and belief, all statements and information in this report are true and correct. In the event of a claim, the Client will allow the Inspection Company to inspect the claim prior to any repairs or waive the right to make the claim. Client agrees not to disturb or repair or have repaired anything which may constitute evidence relating to the complaint, except in the case of an emergency.

Mike in Arkansas 04-30-2012 12:48 PM

hammerlane beat me to it. Essentially, you sign a form releasing the inspector of any oversight or plain incompetence. Mine missed asbestos so I understand your feeling.

Daniel Holzman 04-30-2012 01:21 PM

You need to start by carefully and thoroughly reading your contract with the inspector. If the inspector did what the contract obligated him to do, you have no case, and should get on with your life. If the contract clearly obligated the inspector to inspect and offer an opinion as to the condition of the tuckpointing on the brick, and the inspector failed to do so, you may have a case, see an attorney. As to how much, if anything, you can collect, see an attorney. As to whether it is worth the money, time and effort to pursue this claim, perhaps a priest, rabbi or minister would be the party to consult on that question.

wzolla86 04-30-2012 01:55 PM

I should be a little more clear about the condition of the house. It's a rowhouse and is attached on one side. The the open side and the back are in such bad need of repointing that the mortar is missing, bulging out, and bricks are missing and falling out. I know nothing about masonry or what exactly consititutes as acceptable brick condition so when I was told it was acceptable, I took it at that. But upon consulting a mason, he showed me what was wrong, why it was wrong, and why it was so bad. The insurance company's inspector caught it withing minutes of being there because it's so apparent. I'll have to check about liability, but I think that this is willing misrepresentation and/or malpractice. This was a realtor's inspector, and I think this was swept under the rug. So he can call out the peeling paint on a bit of window trim, but totally miss a near-crumbling brick exterior?

joed 04-30-2012 02:29 PM

If it was the realtors inspector then may be able go after the realtor as well. It depends on your location what you are entitled to. I have read of some inspectors being held liable for the repairs. I think that was in BC Canada.

creeper 04-30-2012 03:01 PM

Not trying to rub salt but in Canada you won't find a major lender who will give you a mortgage without home insurance first. I don't mean mortgage insurance from CMHC either

Also Realtor's are not allowed to recommend individual inspectors or lawyers. We have to give a range

hammerlane 04-30-2012 03:54 PM


Originally Posted by wzolla86 (Post 911011)
This was a realtor's inspector

I know it is after the fact but never, ever, ever use a home inspector that is referred to the buyer by the buyer's realtor.

If the home inspector "fails" everything or finds and points out EVERY fault with the home, the buyer may back out and the sale falls thru.

The realtor gets no commision, the home inspector gets kind of black-balled in the real estate community and no realtors will want to use that inspector that often.

chrisn 04-30-2012 04:25 PM

Hire a lawyer, quick.

hammerlane 04-30-2012 06:19 PM


Originally Posted by chrisn (Post 911138)
Hire a lawyer, quick.

Save your money and time and just do the repairs. It will be tough to prove negligence and probably at most you will only receive back the inspection fee.

gregzoll 04-30-2012 08:04 PM

Honestly, there is nothing you really can do, other than if your state handles the licensing, contact the agency that does it, and file a complaint. The licensing authority reviews that info, and if there is enough bad complaints, they can review upon renewal of their license, when it comes time.

Really with home inspections, it is no different than you and your neighbor standing there looking at it, or really hiring the kid next door to do it. Take what they did and use it as a punch list to look further, or call in a GC to go over the report, and do their own inspection of the property to see what else was missed.

Our's mentioned about the roof appearing new, but could not see at where the wood 1x6's were not cut back, and rotting away. We only caught it after the previous Winter in 2006, we had a Ice storm, and it was enough to cause the roof to start leaking at that point.

If you ever watch Holmes Inspections, Mike Holmes even mentions every now and then, that us humans do not have x-ray vision, and stuff is going to be missed. Even if the inspector is very thorough, they will and do miss stuff, that you would not think that they could have, with the report they gave you.

gregzoll 04-30-2012 08:07 PM

Also to add, sounds like you need to find a new Homeowner's Insurance company. They sound more of the type that they want "certain" people and structures, and your's probablywould cost them too much money if something happened, and from the sounds of it, appears that from the start they really did not want you as a customer. Did you happen to get a second opinion with a competent Mason, after the idiot from the Insurance company threw you that curve ball?

Fix'n it 04-30-2012 08:22 PM

i want to see pics of this damage.

hammerlane 05-01-2012 06:29 AM


Originally Posted by Fix'n it (Post 911359)
i want to see pics of this damage.

Id like to see some photos also.

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