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  1. #1
    Joe Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Hi everyone, I haven't seen too many posts from clients so if i'm out of line coming here and asking this question, then let me know and i'll delete it or have the mods remove it. I just wanted some opinions from other inspectors as to whether my inspector acted negligent. This will be lenghty, so I apologize in advance.

    We bought our house in July of last year. One of my reservations about this house was the slope of the front yard from the road to the house. The front yard is probably 30 feet deep..approximately. As far as the slope, if you are standing on our front porch, the road level is probably equal to your knee or just below. When i'm checking my mail, its obvious that you walk uphill to get it.

    There was a small 12x12 drain just off the corner of the front porch. It had a pipe that ran north (the house faced east) and then west and emptied into the back yard. The slope of the yard was so that it sloped steadily towards the house until about 1 feet or so from the house where it was relatively level. By the way, we have no curb, just pavement onto the grass.

    My realtor asked if I had an inspector in mind, and I said I didn't know any. So he said he could call one and get one started soon. I agreed and he set up a time for the inspection. I met the inspector at the house and followed him through the whole inspection. He made notes on a notepad and found a few small things (exhaust fan not working, etc.). Out front, I specifically asked him about the slope and drainage. He looked casually at it, looked at the catch basin and said, "If you keep this drain clear you should be fine. Just make sure no leaves build up on it and that the inside is clear." That was all that was said about it, and I could tell he wasn't even going to address it at all because I had to bring it up.

    Fast forward a month or two later, we had a big thunderstorm with a heavy downfall, within 10 minutes our front porch was underwater and our welcome mat was floating. The drain quickly clogged, so I took off socks/shoes and waded out to clear it. The water receded as the thunderstorm passed and it was alright, except lots of dirt on the front porch. This happened numerous times throughout the next few months. About 2-3 times the water got so deep it was touching the metal threshold of the front door. It never came in, but one storm this April, it was just 4 "notches" on the threshold from coming in. This was with the drain free and clear, as I was obsessed and stood at the door during every thunderstorm.

    Since it didn't come in the front door, we thought we were okay. However, 2 days later we smelled mildew. Apparently the water was ponding against the side of the house that was lower than the drain and seeped through and got the carpet wet in two rooms (I looked outside the next morning and the water line was at least 1 and 1/2 bricks above the slab). We pulled up the carpet and took several pictures.

    We contacted a landscape professional, and he could tell immediately that I had a drainage issue and that it would only get worse. Without me disclosing that water had infiltrated the house, he said "Pretty soon after a big rain you'll get water seep through the bricks and into these two rooms". So he knew just by looking at it in less than 3 minutes that there was a potential problem. He quoted me $4,000 to lower the existing drain, add 2 new drains, dig down away from the foundation, put in a retaining wall, french drain, tie in 2 gutters (the gutters emptied uphill, which the water turned around right towards the house), and run it out back to the creek behind the backyard.

    Then we contacted a lawyer. He wrote a letter to the inspector (as well as the real estate company and the previous owners) demanding compensation to pay for the damages and costs to prevent it from happening again. He got a call from my inspector who left a message, who he then tried to call back and left a message but never heard from the inspector again.

    Now, after the inspection...we stood around in my kitchen and he briefly went over the things he found and said, "Alright, well i'll type up a report and get it over to the title company. I'll send them the bill and they'll just collect the fee at closing. Sound good? Thanks". So, I never saw a report at all, not even at closing because I didn't have to sign it (I didn't even have a copy in all of my paperwork afterwards). I just looked over and read the things that were put in front of me to sign. The only time I saw the report was after all of this happened and I called my real estate agent who faxed me over a copy. Thats when I saw his "limitation" on the front that said something to the effect of, "This is not a warranty or gaurantee of any kind. My limit of liability equals to that of the amount paid for my service, and acceptance of this report and payment for service constitutes acceptance of this limitation."

    I can't see how that is enforceable. Otherwise, what is the point of hiring an inspector if he/she is only liable for the $175 that I paid for the service. Another thing, he is sponsored and even listed as a real estate agent for the real estate company that I used as my agent AND the selling agent.

    To prevent further damage, we went ahead and had the landscape professional do the needed work to prevent it from happening again. We have since had some good rains and the front porch hasn't even so much as gotten moist. It all works perfectly.

    The 30 days that he had to pay to come to a settlement have passed and now we are preparing a lawsuit for small claims court. Was he negligent? Am I in the wrong? Any help, ideas, would be greatly appreciated.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Joe,

    Welcome to THE home inspectors forum.

    That was indeed a long post, with lots of information to digest.

    I skimmed through it, knowing I will have to come back and read it again, and again, and again ... to digest everything in it, however, after first skimming through the information, ...

    I see where it looks like every party has some slice of "the fault", including you, your agent, the home inspector, etc.

    It's kinda like running a red light and being hit by a car going twice the speed limit - both parties contributed to the accident, so now it is down to 'how much did each party's actions contribute to the outcome'.

    Being as no one died ... that's the good part.

    How much was your fault for running the red light and how much was the other person's for speeding - that's what will have to be debated.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Joe
    I echo Jerry Peck's comments and would only add that your agent did not properly represent you and the recommended inspector appears to be less than qualified. Bottom line; make sure you retain a lawyer familiar with Texas real estate and home inspector litigation.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Hi Joe,

    I agree with Jerry and the other Jerry.

    The $175 dollar fee for he home inspection should have been a clue that you were not getting much. The old saying of you get what you pay for holds true with most everything.

    Anyway, it is what it is. It sounds like you have a major water drainage problem with the home and that the previous owner most likely new about it, and your agent screwed you.

    You are asking if the home inspector was negligent? Well that is hard to say without reviewing the report, viewing the home and other pertinent matters. I would recommend hiring a litigation consultant who specializes in matters like this. You can find several just on this board alone or you can Google and come up with some others. Anyway, it is not a real simple process. Just about all will travel to other states. I know of a couple in TX, depends on your location. Expect to pay in upwards of $200 to $250 an hour plus all expenses.

    Most likely the inspector has little to no insurance, so your best bet would be against the previous owners and their agent who was most likely aware of the problems with the home.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  5. #5

    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    I skimmed through the post as well, so forgive me if I ask a question that is in there somewhere. How old was the house? Did you get a copy of the seller's disclosure form? It is likely that the inspector could have forseen something, but it is almost a given that the seller should have disclosed this issue during the sale of the home. I just get tired of hearing of inspector's being blamed for problems that should have been disclosed during the home's sale. Let's put more of the blame on the seller's, RE agent's, and of course the builder's and contractor's who screwed up to begin with.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    I can't see how that is enforceable. Otherwise, what is the point of hiring an inspector if he/she is only liable for the $175 that I paid for the service. Another thing, he is sponsored and even listed as a real estate agent for the real estate company that I used as my agent AND the selling agent.

    Now there is a big case of conflict of interest which is against all Standards of Practice for Home Inspections. Some states do not allow the liable for fee only. Hopefully some of the Texas Inspectors will chime in and give you some good info.
    Joe. Sounds like you were wronged mostly by Seller, Real estate agent and possible Home Inspector but you also have your self to blame for not doing your homework and hiring the Home Inspector yourself. You certainly seem intelligent enough to have known better?


  7. #7
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    I am from Texas. I will state that. no, I did not do your inspection.

    Now that is clear.

    I am not going to comment on who may be at fault. What I will state though is in Texas, the biggest issue is always grading and drainage due to the expansive clay soils and will write up high or low soil. Soil sloping toward the home. No gutters (even though they are technically not required and as far as the slope, unless it is obvious or raining I will not comment on the slope). In that case it is written up in every state that I know of. Especially due to are soil concerns.

    As far as your inspector being a Real Estate agent in the office that your agent was from. Gees, not cool. There is a particular Real Estate company that is owned by the same company that owns a national franchised Home Inspection Company and referred that Home Inspection company in a major way. This is nation wide. Yours may not be the same situation but being polite here, it is not cool.

    I have many Realtors referring me solely and some that just add me to a short list of Inspectors. I give my clients and Realtor verbal and written acknowledgement that under no uncertain terms can any party, including the buyer sway what goes into my report, period. I am performing this inspection for the paying client, period.

    Now to be slightly in the defence of the Home Inspector. His visual assessment of the property at the time of the inspection may have concluded, by sight, that there was slope to the soil away from the home and pitch or slope of the soil to transfer the water around the sides of the home and that that one drain *appeared* to be enough. Again, I have not seen the report and was not privy to the actual inspection. For all I know, he may have conveyed all this to you. If he did not see a concern then he more than likely would not have written anything about it but if you examine the TREC - Home Page and go to the home inspector section for the Standards of Practice. This will tell you what at least the minimum was that he should have inspected and written/commented on.

    175.00, Gees. That in itself is an insult. How much do you pay by the hour for your car to be worked on. I do not know if you live in a depressed area but if you don't it sounds like you did some serious price shopping for the home you were going to live in. If that is the fact and you called a bunch of inspectors and went for the bottom dollar then, well, shame on you. At least inform friends and neighbors not to do the same.

    Oh yeah. In case you are wondering, No, you cannot use my statements for anything or pass them off to anyone for any reason what so ever.


  8. #8
    Joe Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Thanks for the replies so far.

    Yeah, hindsight is always 20/20. This was our first home purchase, 23 and 22 years of age as this was going on. Not that age or inexperience is an excuse, but I was certainly feeling my way through all of this as I went...doing as much research as possible, but wasn't able to catch everything. I know I should have hired my own inspector, but I just didn't know to. My realtor said, "I know a couple of guys, i'll call both of them and whoever can get to it first i'll go ahead and schedule." My realtor was a family friend who sold my parents house, of whom I trusted very well (used to go to church with them).

    No I did not price shop for the inspector, I simply said I didn't know any and my realtor hired the guy and thats when I found out how much the inspection was. I thought it was fair (cheap), but I wasn't going to say, "hey wait, I want to pay more than that!".

    The house was built in 1997. Yes real estate is cheap here, but this is a nice brick home in a nice neighborhood.

    As far as the previous owners. We did contact them through the real estate agency, and they of course said that everything worked perfectly when they had the house. The letter from my lawyer was also sent to the real estate company and the previous owners. The previous owners had their lawyer write a letter saying they had no liability and we not responsibile. The real estate company had their lawyer call mine and say pretty much the same thing.

    Proving that the previous owners were lying would be very difficult in my opinion. It would come down to my word against theirs, and obviously the burden of proof lies on me. The real estate agent/company is liable too, but I don't know exactly how I could pin something specific on them. The only hard tangible proof I have is really against the inspector, at least in my opinion. The only thing he wrote down under drainage/sloping was there was some dirt on a completely different side from where the water entered that he thought was too close to the foundation. He told me I should lower that to where several inches of the slab showed, which I promptly did after moving in. But on the rest, sloping/drainage, he didn't write anything.

    I had two different guys (the one that performed the work) and another who mainly dealt with dirt work for new construction and they both said it is obvious there is a problem and it should've been spotted. I know you guys don't like to hear that, as I saw somebody say they hate it when the inspector is blamed for something that should've been disclosed. But, even if it wasn't disclosed, shouldn't the inspector have been able to pick up on something like this? That was severe enough to have 2 inches of water on the front porch and float my welcome mat around the side of the house?

    Thanks again for the input.


  9. #9
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Not putting blame on anyone but

    "Float my mat away around the side of the house." This may be exactly what the inspector saw. Enough slope that it appeared to drain around the home.

    If you have pictures of the water at your front door it will blow the sellers argument away that there was never a problem away.

    Just a thought. The listing agent could not have known this either unless they were there when it rained before the sale and there was water there on your front patio.

    Your comment about us (home inspectors) not liking a particular concern or not liking home inspectors blamed all the time. Well, If you new some of the crazy things that home inspectors are blamed for then you would under stand where that is coming from.

    "That darned inspector should have known that my plumbing was going to back up 2 months after I was living in the home. I'll get him"

    Sounds to me that the home sellers pulled one over own you if you want my opinion. Can't say about the inspector. Just going by the actual concern.


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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Heading on page 4 of my report 'Soil, Grading and Vegetation conditions'.
    - $175.00 for an HI, you got what you paid for, crap!
    - The realtor recommended the inspector and he sucked, imagine my lack of surprise. The HI works out of the same RE office. If your attorney can't make something out of that, look for another one.
    Nothing against you personally Joe, really, but this is a good opportunity to rant.
    I am so sick and tired of hearing people whine about how they got screwed when they bought their car, their house, their mortgage. These items are often times the largest financial obligations that many people take on in their lifetime. But do people do their homework before they sign on the line? NO.
    Wake up people, the folks involved in these transactions are making a living doing it, often times a very good one at that. All these people whining about their mortgages now. Shut-up. You should have done your homework before the deal.
    You as the consumer have the power, as long as the money is in your pocket. Before you pull the money out for the deal make sure you have exhausted all available options for more & better info on how to make the deal best for you.
    As far as who's at fault in this case, it sounds like there's plenty of blame to go around.

    www.aic-chicago.com
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    So a first time home buyer should be infinitely wise in all aspects of home buying? I consider myself a very wise consumer, I buy nothing without lots of research (how do you think I found this forum?). I shopped for a mortgage, researched all the aspects of getting a mortgage, research buying a house, what to watch out for, etc etc. I guess I just didn't read to get your own inspector and make sure you pay over $XXX amount.

    Just because something went wrong doesn't automatically mean somebody didn't do their homework. Like I said earlier, hindsight is always 20/20. Of course I won't hire an inspector without doing lots of research. I just relied on my real estate inspector, of who I knew several years and had done many things with my parents. He of which, recommended an inspector that "was a good guy, a good inspector" etc. I am guilty of just trusting those of whom I thought I could trust, I guess.

    By the way, my attorney did tell me that we'll pursue him in small claims court and go with a case of his limitation is unconsionable and unenforcable. Plus, the fact that he is a reatlor in the RE company's office, etc.

    I knew I would get some flak wandering into the lion's den for help, so thats okay.

    Last edited by Joe Thomas; 07-17-2008 at 02:48 PM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Don't worry Joe, thin-skins are universal and even some home inspectors suffer from that malady. Like I said, a smart lawyer should rip a few new ones.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    This young mans experience is why I wish the day would come when Realtors would have to quit giving out referrals for HI's.

    I get these type of calls monthly of someone asking what they can do to the realtor or the HI for such complaints. All have the one thing in common, they let the realtor make their choices.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    The only calls I ever get from clients, no matter how well I school them and talk to them are those that were referred by Realtors.


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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Rick is absolutely correct! The only individual who has no "horse in the race" of the transfer of title in a real estate transaction is the property inspector.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    The only calls I ever get from clients, no matter how well I school them and talk to them are those that were referred by Realtors.
    .
    That's cause you don't never use that Dreaded MMMM (shudder) pardon my Stutter
    .
    M word.
    .

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Thomas View Post
    My realtor asked if I had an inspector in mind, and I said I didn't know any. So he said he could call one and get one started soon. I agreed and he set up a time for the inspection.
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Thomas View Post
    I knew I would get some flak wandering into the lion's den for help, so thats okay.

    Joe,

    I would not consider it flak that you are getting (not overall, anyway), but that you are getting "an education" and "street smarts".

    First lesson (for almost everything): Don't let the person who is to gain financially from the deal direct you to someone who can cause that other person grief with the deal.

    That was part of the 'your fault part'. As was the 'I didn't get a copy of the report part'. I was in the business for over 16 years and I only had a couple of people *not realize* that 'not getting a copy' was a bad idea.

    As for the inspectors fault, I am sure there is enough to go around, but without seeing the report and the physical property, it would be hard to stated that categorically.

    As for the agent - BOTH AGENTS - they should *buy the house back from your and make you whole*, meaning you get everything you paid and everything you put into the house. Talk about the "appearance" of collusion and fraud, that just makes my head spin.

    Your attorney should not forget to include those two agents, their brokers, and everyone else in the chain of command over them. They should have known better. They should have been taught better. They should have had better supervision not to allow that.

    You also need to realize that most inspectors here on this forum are here because we want to better ourselves, and that those who do not participate in forums like this (or at least lurk and read) are not necessarily out to make themselves better inspectors.

    Finally, a real estate agent acting as the inspector??? In the same office as the agent involved in the deal??? One is bad enough, both is insane.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Joe
    Your post will certainly help many inspectors throughout the country and possible 1000s of home owners. So thank you for sharing your experience with us.
    Jerry Peck said it well, some blame to all.

    You said a "landscape professional" could tell there was a problem in a few minutes.
    After a "heavy downfall" and with the smell of mildew on the carpet almost anybody would recognize a problem.
    However, with the problem you described, I would think an inspector should have included that in the report.

    Were ALL those things ( gutters, drains, grading...) really necessary, or did someone sale to your fears?

    My paster says:
    Experience is what your left with after someone else has your money


    PS Congratulations on buying your first home.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    The only calls I ever get from clients, no matter how well I school them and talk to them are those that were referred by Realtors.
    You need to market more to your previous clients.

    Many HI's forget this valuable source of referrals.
    STAY IN TOUCH WITH PRIOR CLIENTS.
    DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR THEIR REFERRALS.

    If I had to depend on realtors for work, I'd be having to pick up several new ones a week to make a living since most of them will drop you the first time they lose a sale because of your inspection report.

    I quess one could stand out there in front of the real estate schools and whore themselves out to the new agents being cranked out daily.

    rick


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Had a call today from a buyer that I performed an inspection for yesterday. I was at the home for 6.5 hours and he never showed up during the inspection.

    After receiving a 40+ page report this morning, he calls me and asks "What do I do with this now?" Do I give it to my realtor, the title company or the mortgage lender?

    I asked him if he had read the report as of yet and he said no, he was working on moving the closing date up several days ahead so he wouldn't have to pay out another months worth of rent.

    He then asked what I thought of the house.

    I told him I would pay out another months worth of rent on that apt.

    rick


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    First of all, blaming Joe for ignorance is unreasonable. A real estate transaction is something most of us are involved with only a couple of times in a lifetime. The process is very nearly overwhelming. At some point, it is necessary to accept a referral or recommendation. If Joe had gotten a referral from a friend or relative, it could still have come out the same way. The agent has a responsibility to recommend someone who is competent and qualified. On a side note, it is my feeling that the primary responsibility of a buyer (or seller) is to research and choose the agent carefully. It is the agent that will be guiding their client through the transaction. A competent and contentious agent will work to protect the interests of the client. I realize that not everyone will agree, but I don't care. It seems to me that Joe did attempt to find an agent that would represent him. Cost of an inspection is less of a factor. Many people do not know how much an inspection should cost and I know of some inspectors that charge a premium and are not worth it.

    Joe,

    Obviously, it is difficult to evaluate buried systems like drains and to verify whether or not they are adequate. There are limitations to what an inspector can do and see. That said...

    Assuming that the drainage is indeed inadequate (It's not that I doubt you, it is just that I cannot see it for myself), it seems to me that the primary responsibility belongs to the previous homeowners. They lived in the house for some period of time, would have knowledge that the inspector would not and have a responsibility to disclose any known problems. At least, that is the case in California. The inspector was only on the property for a few hours. However, you did bring up your concerns which were essentially brushed-off by the inspector. At the very least, it seems that the inspector should have put more effort into addressing the drainage, particularly since it was of specific concern to you. The inspector certainly should have spent some time and effort looking at the slope and for potential drainage problems.

    I find it strange that you did not get a copy of the report directly from the inspector. It seems to me that this would enforce your position that he was not really working for you, but for the real estate agent.

    I do not know Texas law, but a $175 limit of liability does seem unreasonable. I doubt that this would be enforceable in CA. Where is the incentive to do a thorough job? I do agree in many ways with Ted and Brandon, we are occasionally blamed for conditions that we cannot have foreseen and are the responsibility of the seller.

    Having said all of that, it should be made clear that I am not an attorney and you should not listen to me.

    Department of Redundancy Department
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  22. #22

    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Joe, You got screwed. Notwithstanding all the above excuses and typos, your inspector was obviously unqualified to give the opinions you needed to make a good decision on the purchase of your home. If your attorney is competent he will take care of you. If the State of Texas limits the liability to $175.00 I feel sorry for you. Frankly, your realtor is to blame. She really should have recommended the meanest biggest baddest home inspector in the valley, but that may have caused a ripple in the selling process, and as you are probably aware, there can be no ripples in the process. That is why she used dick head, who is not a big ripple guy. This is just a small part of why we have a national real estate crises that will affect all of us for years to come.

    Call a local newspaper and ask for the meanest muck racking writer they have and tell him/her your story.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Joe,

    This is a home inspector message board so you should expect a certain amount of "wagon circling" and "blaming the victim" to creep into some of the responses. Try not to let it discourage you.

    Based upon your description of the problem and the actions & relationships of the various players, it certainly sounds like you've been screwed and there is plenty of fault to spread around.

    In addition to the excellent advice to hire an attorney and a technical consultant that is familiar with the standards of practice and the standard of care expected of home inspectors in your area, I would strongly recommend that you discuss with the attorney whether you should also retain the services of a licensed Professional Engineer, probably a civil engineer with experience in site grading and drainage systems.

    The engineer will be able to analyze the lot topography, the capacity of the existing drainage system, the soils, and the weather data for your area. The engineer should be able to tell you things like how high the water is expected to rise, how often, and whether the water levels you've experienced are typical for that system or if they were unusually high. It will go a long way toward answering questions like how long has this been a problem, and should the previous owners and the real estate agents have known about it and disclosed it to you.

    Only you know if it's worth the time, effort, and expense to pursue it and how hard you want to push. Good luck to you.

    Brandon


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    If this a slab house you got a bad inspection. If it is a crawl or basement the problem would not be as obvious and could be controlled easier.


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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Joe, I was going to just sit here and let all of the other more experienced guys answer your post. I wholeheartedly agree with Gunnar's post. There are a lot of issues with your whole home buying experience. You are young and I hope this does not sour the experience to buy another house in the future. I can appreciate your desire and willingness to research everything you want to do, but sometimes it is hard to do. I would imagine some of us here did not have the luxuries that you have when we bought our first house. We asked questions just like you but being the detailed people that we are, if the answer was not to our satisfaction then we asked some more.

    I am a member of a contractor board as well. If a client asks a question like Joe has, then the moderator comes in and makes a statement that they need to pursue another board and then closes the post. Joe, in your case, we do not know the specific facts and I not think we should not know anymore than what you have had already told us. I believe you do have some issues and I wish you luck with them but I think you might want to hold any more additional comments and let your attorney handle it.

    We, as inspectors, bounce ideas around, look for opinions, share experiences, and basically just talk shop. While I would be curious as to what the final outcome is, I would say be careful so you do not jeopardize your case.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Joe--
    I'm not an attorney. I don't play one on TV. I've never even stayed in a Holiday Inn Express. So I don't know the legalities, but here goes:
    1. If you had only been in the home a few months before it flooded, it's REAL likely that it had flooded (at least to some degree) in the 10 years or so prior to your ownership. UNLESS there has been some intervening cause, such as a change in drainage uphill from your property, it's likely that the previous owner knew about the condition. This may be very important. Any new development or other changes (uphill) nearby?
    2. It was a mistake to use an "inspector" also employed by the RE firm. I don't care how much you liked your agent. (Please don't take offense. I once knew a painter who refused to work for church contacts -- said they'd be the first to screw ya.) Give to Caesar what is his...

    3. The inspector probably should have had a clue that something was wrong. If it's as you describe, it would seem to be pretty obvious with a little looking around.

    4. You are at fault for not reading the report prior to closing. You may have been in love with the home, but with so much at stake, emotion can't overrule rational thinking.

    That said, we only heard your side of the story. As much as I hate to say it, it sounds as if you need a court room to fix this if the other parties are non-responsive.

    Last edited by Kevin Barre; 07-17-2008 at 07:51 PM.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    You paid $175 for a home inspection. The average price for a home inspection in most parts of the country are around $350+. You got what you paid for 1/2 of a home inspection.


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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trent Tarter View Post
    You paid $175 for a home inspection. The average price for a home inspection in most parts of the country are around $350+. You got what you paid for 1/2 of a home inspection.
    Trent,

    No matter what the cost, the inspector should do his job. At the very least, the inspector should have done the right half and looked at the exterior grade & drainage. What you just said is crap. You are blaming the victim.

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  29. #29
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Yes Gunnar I am blaming the victim, blaming them for there own ignorance of hiring a cheap inspector and not even getting a copy of thier report. I do however believe that the inspector was most likely negligent based on the conditions described.


  30. #30
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Thanks all again for the responses.

    As far as not reading the report before closing, yes I know that was not smart. At the time, I guess I didn't know how important that was. As he told me everything he found, I went over the list with him...and I could tell you right now everything he found. So I thought I didn't need to read the report.

    Mitchell: I have disguised my name on here, not sure how much it'd help but just in case I thought I would anyway.

    Brandon: I understand that this is a real estate inspector forum, and I did expect some defending of the inspector and to take a little heat, so no harm done. I belong to several other enthusiasts boards and well aware of how some of these things go . But I do know that some of the best information out there is places like these, right from source. So i'll endure a little biased opinions everynow and then to get good, honest opinions. And I think everyone on here so far (for the most part) have been very honest and fair in their opinions.

    I DO realize that inspectors probably get blamed for a lot of things that really isn't their blame. I work in an industry where I catch quite a bit of unwarranted blame, so I feel your pain, so to speak. I just wanted to make sure that my grievances were logical.

    Gunnar: Thanks for kind words. Believe me, I do wholeheartedly agree that the previous owners have liability. You cannot convince me that flooding issues were not a problem before, but I just don't know how I could prove that. Even my lawyer sees how difficult that would be. I don't know what "proof" I could provide. I've talked to neighbors, nobody has said anything that could prove to be helpful. This spring was a very very wet spring, but we've had wet springs before.

    I guess I just am basing most of this on, I relied on a professional inspector's opinion that this house, the biggest investment I will make, is safe to buy, and within 6 months we had a costly problem that I specifically asked him about. I KNOW I should have hired my own inspector, I KNOW I should've paid more than $175, but I just chalk that up to live and learn I guess. But like Gunnar said, he is a licensed real estate inspector and I am paying him for a service, he determined and told me the rate and should've performed a thorough inspection, right? I didn't know how much inspections cost, if he would've told me $300 I probably would've paid it and not thought anything about it. Its a relatively small town where everybody knows everybody, and I just got a little too trusting.

    Anyway, I don't want to string this out to a multi-page debate on victims and our "woe is me" stories. Thanks all for the advice and information, I am sure it will come in handy....



    ..now you all may be receiving subpeana's in the mail in 1-2 months...just kidding.


  31. #31
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trent Tarter View Post
    Yes Gunnar I am blaming the victim, blaming them for there own ignorance of hiring a cheap inspector and not even getting a copy of thier report.
    Captain Hindsight to the rescue.

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  32. #32
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trent Tarter View Post
    You paid $175 for a home inspection. The average price for a home inspection in most parts of the country are around $350+. You got what you paid for 1/2 of a home inspection.
    He did not mention anything about the house but that it was on a slab and it doesn't cost much to buy a house in that area. Even though $175 is still on the low side for my area, I can see somebody doing a home inspection for a house that is on a slab, under 1000 sq. ft., no attic and no garage. 2 hour inspection divided by $175 = $87.5 per hour. Depending on where you are in the U.S., that might be good money per hour. So to say that you get what you pay for in a negative way might be making the wrong assumption. Of course, that is assuming that the house has no garage, attic and is under a 1000 square feet.

    When it comes to the landscape professionals saying that the problem was obvious, ask them to put it in writing and see what they do then. I don't know how many times I had contractor say I should have caught something or what I called out as wrong is actually fine. But will they put it in writing? NO.

    When it comes to the cost of the inspection fee. When I went to an Illinois ASHI meeting about 5 year ago (guessing on the year but close), the speaker at that ASHI meeting was also talking about having that same wording (actually I think it was twice the cost of the home inspection fee) included in the contract since there were cases where it held up in court. Indiana (from the cases my wife has research) does not recognize that limitation.

    Last edited by Kevin Luce; 07-17-2008 at 09:18 PM.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Joe,

    I'm sorry for your difficulties but I think you got what you paid for - a very cheap home inspection. You really should not expect to receive a professional, thorough home inspection for $175. If you had done your homework you would have discovered that the fees that home inspectors vary widely based on many factors but you would have found that it is difficult to get a good home inspection for $175. (Sure, there are inspectors that will do home inspections for $175 but you generally get what you pay for - or less.)

    I don't think your Realtor did you any favors by recommending this home inspector for you. Many real estate agents, if given the opportunity, will recommend a home inspector that they know will not report anything that will kill the deal - and cost the Realtor her commission. The last thing these agents want is a professional, thorough home inspector that will report the true condition of the property.

    The fact that your home inspector is also an real estate agent who was the listing agent for the property that he inspected is a MAJOR MAJOR conflict of interest. If I were you I would report this to your state's Real Estate Commission. In my opinion this agent should lose his real estate license for this.

    I think the blame for your failue to receive a competent home inspection rests mostly with your real estate agent but a good portion falls on you for not doing your part to protect your interests by hiring your own inspector. The seller also had the obligation to disclose the flooding issue as they surely were aware of it.

    The fact that your home inspector was also the listing agent for the property greatly complicates this matter. As I stated above, I would let your state's Real Estate Commission deal with him.

    If you had used a "normal" home inspector (one who is not a real estate agent and one who is not the listing agent for the property he is inspecting) I would say that his liability for your damages is limited, and likely limited to the inspection fee per the inspection agreement. (I have a similar limitation in my inspection agreement.)

    I don't know about other inspectors but I do not shoot grades during a home inspection. I "eye ball" the slope of soil and flatwork around the foundation and comment accordingly. If the drainage is noticeably poor I recommend the drainage be improved. I only inspect the area around the property that affects the foundation; i.e., I don't inspect the drainage of an entire hillside or mountain. If I notice a potential drainage issue with uphill conditions that are readily apparent I will comment on them but I limit my inspection to the area immediately around the subject property.

    You stated that the street that is uphill from your house does not have curb and gutter. Does that mean that some (or most) of the water that flooded your property flowed from the street onto your property? If that is the case I think it would be a stretch to expect your home inspector to predict that. I don't know if you live in a rural area or a city but you should discuss the runoff issue with whichever government intity is responsible for the maintenance of the street. I would expect that they are not permitted to allow water to flow off the right-of-way onto an adjoining property like that. A ditch and catch basin may need to be installed.

    Again I think the seller bears some responsibility for not disclosing the known flooding problem. And your real estate agent and the listing agent/inspector should also answer for their parts in the sham of a home inspection that you received.

    I hope you learned a lesson here. Don't trust your agent with selecting your home inspector. And get a good inspection, not a cheap inspection. The cheap inspection has a tendency of costing you much more than you saved.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
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  34. #34
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    You need to market more to your previous clients.

    Many HI's forget this valuable source of referrals.
    STAY IN TOUCH WITH PRIOR CLIENTS.
    DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR THEIR REFERRALS.

    If I had to depend on realtors for work, I'd be having to pick up several new ones a week to make a living since most of them will drop you the first time they lose a sale because of your inspection report.

    I quess one could stand out there in front of the real estate schools and whore themselves out to the new agents being cranked out daily.

    rick
    Rick what I meant was, the only calls that I ever recieve *question on* from clients about the inspections are those that have been referred from *some Realtors*. It always turns out to be nothing. As I said if they get to me thru *some realtors* no matter how much I school them, those are the ones I get questions about things that are not valid or are just lookning for something.

    I get most of my work from the internet. *Actually the vast majority from my website*. I will say though I do have *some* awesome Realtors that refer me great clients and a lot of work.

    Actually, I do not depend on anyone for work but myself. I do market to realtors and get some good, some bad.


  35. #35
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    I agree that the price has nothing to do with the inspection. Inspector is still obligated to perform - even if it was $1.

    Did you (Joe?) sign any disclosure(s) regarding the affilliation of the inspector with the RE company? Were you asked to? Was the inspector also a licensed RE agent?

    The inspector may also carry errors and emissions insurance - depends on license / renewal dates.

    The other side - like someone said - we do not know the whole story - maybe.


  36. #36
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    I have clients who are buying their first home and clients who have purchased many homes who do not read the Inspection Agreement before they sign it. That creates a nervous situation for the client and the inspector. Add "read the contract" to the list of lessons learned.

    The Texas Real Estate Commission's code of ethics restricts realtors from directly referring inspectors. Pursuing this part of the issue through TREC may be less expensive than civil litigation. I don't know for sure, but it may be a course worth considering.


  37. #37
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Hood View Post
    The Texas Real Estate Commission's code of ethics restricts realtors from directly referring inspectors. Pursuing this part of the issue through TREC may be less expensive than civil litigation. I don't know for sure, but it may be a course worth considering.
    This is one direction I would go with no matter what.


  38. #38
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    'The price has nothing to do with the inspection'. What planet are you working on? Yes an HI is obligated to do his job regardless of price, especially since he is the one setting the price. I'm not doing my quality of insp for that price. Would you do a thorough insp for $175.00? How long would it by before you standards started to slide because you realized the time and money don't work out? I'd rather stay home and read.
    Let's not play games here. There are some real **** reports out there written by guys who don't know squat beyond what they learned in class. I've seen them and done real HI after them because the client realized their report was crap. Buying a house costs tons of money beyond just the purchase. There seems to be a good market out there for the chain, hand over the report at end of inspection $175. guys. Buyers cut corners where they can. When they do it on an HI this is what happens.
    Please do not think I was defending the HI in my post. I love hearing about $175 guys getting sued and run out of business. Their ilk should be driven out.

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  39. #39
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    By the way, don't know how it got misconstrued...the inspector was NOT the listing agent. He IS a licensed real estate agent that is sponsored by the same real estate agency as the listing agent. He doesn't have any active listings, but does have an active license. But he was not the listing agent, i'm not that ignorant.

    Everything in this part of the country is cheaper, so I thought home inspections were the same. My closing costs were incredibly cheap, does that mean I should've walked away and found a more expensive mortgage company?

    I realize I should've asked to see the inspection agreement beforehand, i realize alot of things. Just wanted to see if the inspector had some fault, and I realize its hard to do without seeing the property...but believe me, its obvious there is a large slope in the front yard. My sidewalk acts as a riverbed coming from the street. I did talk to the city, they said they have no legal requirement to build a curb there. A ditch is virtually impossible, as it would have to take up almost 1/2 of my front yard. The city said there isn't enough money to build a curb, as they would have to go to the crest of the hill.


  40. #40
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Joe,
    Apparently, we need more clients to visit this site. This is one of the most productive discussions I have seen. Welcome.

    Regarding lessons learned, don't take the comments as beating up on you and don't beat on yourself. I am also a real estate investor and I add to my lessons learned with almost every transaction. Some of the additions are expensive, some are not. If you make a list of lessons learned from this transaction, you will be a formidable buyer the next time.

    Keep plugging at it.


  41. #41
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    I disagree with those blaming Joe for hiring a $10 inspector - as Joe said *HE* *did not hire the inspector - the real estate agent did*.

    Joe was lead off track by the person who, theoretically, should have been looking out for him - his agent.

    Whether an inspector charges $10 or $1,000 for an inspection, the presumption is that that inspector is "doing to at least do that which is required by his licensing" (in states with licensing). Heck, when I was inspecting and down in South Florida, another inspector and I joked that if you hit the lottery we would off FREE home inspections ... just to nail those sleazy agents with what they deserve.

    As previously stated:

    1) We do not know all the facts.

    2) Joe should have at least asked for a copy of HIS report (you can bet he will next time).

    3) Joe should not have allowed the person who would gain financially from the inspection/sale to select the inspector (you can bet he will not allow that next time).

    4) The agents (*BOTH* of them) screwed up big time.

    5) The sellers (mentioned by others, I forgot about them) should have disclosed this problem.

    6) (the list could go on and on, but you can see that there is responsibility and liability for all parties involved)

    Which takes me back to my first example:

    "
    It's kinda like running a red light and being hit by a car going twice the speed limit - both parties contributed to the accident, so now it is down to 'how much did each party's actions contribute to the outcome'.

    Being as no one died ... that's the good part.

    How much was your fault for running the red light and how much was the other person's for speeding - that's what will have to be debated.
    "

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  42. #42
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    'The price has nothing to do with the inspection'. What planet are you working on?
    You are from Chicago where expectation and cost are much higher. When I was living in Kentucky, expectation was much less in the area I was in. People were happy with the hand written reports that included a lot less information that what I include in my report here in Indiana.

    When HI were doing home inspections 20 years ago, do you consider their report writing/reports crap at that time. Hand written reports that was likely not to include nearly as much information as we put in our reports now.

    Different areas, different stokes.


  43. #43
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    I understand that there are cost and expectation differences depending on geography and demographics. There are HI in many areas, including Chicago who advertise (and do) 150-200 HI. What reports were like 20 years ago is irrelevant. We are discussing today. I wouldn't doubt that Joe's report (if there is actually a real one) probably met the SoP. That doesn't make it a good report. Just like a new porch meets code minimum doesn't make it a good porch.
    This thread also reminds me of the incredible value of advertising. It never ceases to amaze me how so many people view realtors as good, honest, trustworthy people to deal with. All the dollars the RE industry spends on ads really works. Don't get me wrong I don't think all realtors are bad. I've known many over the years, some good some bad.

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  44. #44
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    My two cents as an arm chair pundit.

    If the inspector was negligent, I would think he would have to only make it right. IOW, if he could stop the flooding of your porch and moisture intrusion into the house for $100 then that is all he should be liable for.

    The $4000 of work may indeed be what was needed but it sounds to me there were improvements over and above what were necessary to solve the actually problem.

    The liability of the inspector should be limited to only that necessary to correct the problem, not the cost of any improvements.

    I can't imagine how the sellers didn't know about the problem.

    The judge is going to have a hard time with the fact that you didn't follow thru getting a copy of the report. IOW, how are you going to make the claim that you depended upon the inspectors report.

    You don't have a case against the inspector. You have one against the seller.

    Chris, Oregon


  45. #45
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    I dont guess I quite follow you Chris.

    I asked the inspector if the drainage/sloping of the front yard would pose a problem, he said no...so that eased my fears of buying the house. So I relied on his professional opinion that there wouldn't be any problems with the drainage or sloping. Whether it was on the paper or not, he told me it wasn't a problem and his report says so (I have a copy right here). Whether or not I physically looked at the report before I bought the house shouldn't be reason that I don't have a case against him.

    Say, I DID look at the report before I bought the house...it would have told me nothing I didn't already know (except his limit of liabilty limitation). Nothing on the report surprised me, as far as what was wrong with the house. Everything on there he discussed with me face to face before he left the house.

    I can't see how I have more of a case against the previous owners than I do the inspector. Here's how I see a very watered down version of a case against the prev owners:

    Me: "Judge, I think they lied...I think the house has flooded before"
    Them: "Nope, judge everything worked perfectly."
    Judge: "Okay, prove they lied."
    Me: "Uhh I have pictures that show water on my front porch."

    I just don't see how that would fly.

    With the inspector, I was curious out the specific problem..asked him...he said "you are fine", he didn't say "Well you might, just depends..." or "Well i'm not an expert on that, you might want to get an engineer to look at it." He said, "No you should be fine, just keep this drain clear."..and the exact thing that I asked him about, happened. How can I not have a case?


  46. #46
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    And BTW, I do think all the work that was done was merited. The room at which to work with, there was really no other option. If he was to dig, to slope away from the house, and make some type of a ditch or lowering...he would have to dig WAY down on the other side of the ditch in order to have enough of a lowering to prevent the water from overflowing.

    So thats why we have a retaining wall, and just at the bottom of the wall is the french drain. He added two extra catch basins because as he told me, the french rain doesn't remove water quickly...but several hours after the rain. So we needed more catch basins to get the water out faster. As before, the one catch basin would be completely submerged and water still rising if it was a good rain.


  47. #47
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    [QUOTE=Just wanted to see if the inspector had some fault, and I realize its hard to do without seeing the property...but believe me, its obvious there is a large slope in the front yard. [/QUOTE]


    One thing that would help greatly with this discussion (good one too...and I hope you can eventually work something out in small claims) would be if a picture or 2 was posted, prior to the work you said was done. Did you take any pictures and would you please post them? I agree with many or most of the posts that there is plenty of blame to go around, but you are going to have to have some documentation in a court of law that shows what was going on and what actual damage you have sustained that would justify the repairs and corrections made. Also, we, as Property Inspectors might have a better view of the condition and thus make a more accurate conclusion.

    Hope you can do this Joe. We are visual by nature of our profession.


  48. #48
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Deciding who is telling the truth will up to the judge or jury. IMO, its just not reasonable that the seller didn't know about it.

    As for the inspector, it's a point of the law that you can't claim you relied on his report when you never examined it before making the decision to buy the house whether or not he said nothing about the drainage in the report.

    His verbal comments are null and void since he produced a report under an SOP that required him to comment on the grading and drainage as it might adversely affect the building and you knew he was going to do so.

    Your actions were not prudent or reasonable. Yes, you have to be prudent and reasonable too just like the inspector.

    You have to prove that you relied on the findings of the inspector and that it was reasonable for you to do so. That's actually not as easy as it sounds.

    You were concerned there was a problem and it was reasonable for you to do so. You asked the inspector about it and given the fact that an area drain existed and the lack of visible evidence to support moisture intrusion into the house at the time of the inspection, the inspector gave some reasonable advice for an existing three year old house and for a $175 inspector.

    I would also think that you might have another problem since the inspector came so cheap. If more than %50 of inspectors would have charged $350 lets say to inspect the house and you knew that, you may not be able use what they would have done as the standard of care.

    If it was me I would have done it with the verbal caveat that I have no way of knowing what really happens in a downpour so go ask the seller and I would have said the same in the report.

    Actually if you had hit me with that question at the start of the inspection I would have deferred to answer it until after the inspection.

    You may well win your case against the inspector. If the inspector had some competent legal advice I would think that you wouldn't.

    As for the degree and expense of the work claimed necessary just proves there is no way the seller could have not known about the problem.

    The lesson to learn here is to next time find the best inspector you can and pay his fee even if its 3 - 4 times what this guy charged.

    Chris, Oregon

    Last edited by Chris Bernhardt; 07-18-2008 at 09:41 AM.

  49. #49
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Thomas View Post
    By the way, don't know how it got misconstrued...the inspector was NOT the listing agent. He IS a licensed real estate agent that is sponsored by the same real estate agency as the listing agent. He doesn't have any active listings, but does have an active license. But he was not the listing agent, i'm not that ignorant.

    Sorry. I misunderstood your original statement. It is written a bit ambiguously.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Thomas
    Another thing, he is sponsored and even listed as a real estate agent for the real estate company that I used as my agent AND the selling agent.

    Sorry for the confusion.

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  50. #50
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    I see where that sentence wasn't worded the best.

    I meant, that the real estate company that employs both my agent (buyer) and the listing agent (seller), also lists the inspector as an agent of that company.


  51. #51
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    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Now I understand. Still, the relationship between the Realtors and the inspector/Realtor creates a HUGE conflict of interest.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
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  52. #52
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    5,829

    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Well, if all three work for the same real estate firm in one way or the other then I would say that you have a good case against everyone involved in the transaction.

    I would have my attorney file on everyone. I would then hire a very good litigation consultant to show that the inspector did or did not follow the state SOP or that the inspector failed to perform to the "Standard of Care", then and only then will you know how your case stands.

    Joe, what part of TX are you in?

    Once all of this is said and done you also need to file a complaint on the agents and the inspector with TREC. I bet that they won't take kindly to this type of collusion.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  53. #53

    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Joe,

    please post some pictures..............


  54. #54

    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    I am still trying to figure out why the builder/ contractor's are not at fault for this whole problem................. Their installation was likely defective/ inadequate.

    I would be really shocked if the previous owners were unaware of a drainage issue, so there is a 99.9% chance they should be liable for not properly disclosing drainage issues.

    If the listing agent, buyer's agent, and inspector all work for the same company, that's a huge problem.

    Is the inspector at fault for missing a drainage issue? Possibly, more so if he works for the same company as the Realtor's are working for.


  55. #55
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Posts
    2,286

    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Joe,

    Once again, I personally do not feel that you should carry the financial burden for this. My only complaint is that you apparently did not contact the inspector personally once you became aware of the problem. My contract requires that I be notified before corrective work is done, unless it is an emergency. This gives me a chance to can see where I went wrong and make sure that I do not do it again. It seems to me that while the corrective work in this case needed to be done quickly, the inspector still had time to take a look.

    Other than that, I hope that you are fully compensated. I do hope that the seller has to kick in. I cannot imagine that this is something that never happened while they lived there. From your description, I believe that the seller has the lion's share of the responsibility. Maybe you can get a statement from the landscape contractor who did the work describing why it was inadequate and how this could be determined visually.

    Please let us know what the final resolution is. I know that I am interested and probably many others on this board are as well.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  56. #56
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Was the inspector the first person you contacted when the concern arose.

    Also did you check the Texas Real Estate Commissions website as I stated you should. It will tell you the minimum standards for the state of Texas and the procedure that should be taken. If you are not following that procedure you may not be able to do anything about anyone. Check it out for your own sake.

    TREC - Home Page


  57. #57
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    OK

    A little added note

    Contract, contract.

    Yes everyone has a contract. Personally I don't believe they should be allowed if in fact your state has licensing and there is some kind of general contract in place, and ethics, and Sop's

    All these contract stating that no "mater what", "no matter how bad I screw up" "no matter what hole you are left in" "no matter what I missed" you are only going to get the cost of the inspection, or even double the cost of inspection, is absolute crap. What a way for anyone to hide.

    Your auto mechanic screws up on your brakes and , WHAT, you get crippled and he has a contract saying that he only has to pay you back the cost of the break job.

    Absolute horse S**T. What a cowards way to hide. If you have to live by particular standards, then you have to live by particular standards, ethics, Sop's

    I seriously think that those contracts will not be allowed in the future. How far in the future, who knows.

    Every Insurers policy for E&O asks what you use for a contract and ask if you use one for every inspection. Why, because it gives them an out on having to pay if in fact you are negligent.

    Absolute bull S**T

    If I miss something or don't plain ole don't even inspect something all you can charge me for is my inspection fee. Weeeee Hoooooo

    Sorry my fellow inspectors. Seriously. Don't you think that is absolute bull crap. Come on, inside you are all smiling, come on, really, how do you feel. Stop giggling now, fess up.


  58. #58
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
    imported_John Smith Guest

    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Dont sugar coat it Ted, tell us what you really think.


  59. #59
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Memphis TN.
    Posts
    4,311

    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    I can't see how I have more of a case against the previous owners than I do the inspector. Here's how I see a very watered down version of a case against the prev owners:

    Me: "Judge, I think they lied...I think the house has flooded before"
    Them: "Nope, judge everything worked perfectly."
    Judge: "Okay, prove they lied."
    Me: "Uhh I have pictures that show water on my front porch."

    I just don't see how that would fly.

    [/quote]

    Joe,

    Plaintive :Your honor, The sellers failed to disclose a drainage problem.
    Judge: Is this true Mr. Mrs. Plaintive ?
    Plaintive: Nope never had a problem in the 10 years we lived at the home.
    Judge: Were there any grading /road work around the home during that time.
    Plaintive: Nope
    Judge: Has the home been in the same location these past 10 years?
    Plaintive: Yep
    Judge: Has it Rained Within THE LAST Ten Years You were in the Home?

    The burden of Proof in a civil matter is much less than in a Criminal Case.

    More Likely than Not is All you are required to Prove.


    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  60. #60
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Gees, not a taker


  61. #61
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Memphis TN.
    Posts
    4,311

    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Gees, not a taker
    I confessed that I once changed my own Oil in the 70's and did not recycle it on another thread.

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  62. #62
    Wendell Swedberg's Avatar
    Wendell Swedberg Guest

    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Joe,

    File a complaint with the Texas Real Estate Commission. TREC - Complaints & Consumer Information Main Page

    One complaint against the agent: reason - improper relationship with Inspector.

    The other complaint against the inspector: Reason: missing the drainage.

    TREC will not only investigate your specific complaints but in course of the investigation, they will nail them on any other issue they F*** Up on....

    Then, go ahead a sue both the agent & inspector. I disagree with a lot of the sentiment. No way, no how is this in anyway your fault..The inspector is the professional , not you. The inspector is held accountable for not providng you with the appropriate information so you can make a prudent decision on whether you should or should not purchase the home.





  63. #63
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    York SC Licensed in NC and SC
    Posts
    596

    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    One good way to possibly prove the sellers knew about the problem:

    Have your attorney deposition the builder under oath and ask him if his clients ever complained about a water/grading issue in their front yard.


    Also, I assume that original catch basin was about one foot square?
    These usually have a 4 inch pipe and can't move much water at all.

    Now would all inspectors know that or be expected to know that?
    It does not really matter, if the grading directs water towards a house the way you described, it should have been in the report with a recommendation to have an expert look at it. Especially when other areas obviously feed water into the area, like other lots or streets.

    I am usually against those lawsuits where everyone gets named but this is one for sure that should be that way. Since the damages were not astronomical I would hope that a full blown lawsuit would not be necessary and small claims court should be adequate. Don't count on getting your legal fees reimbursed though, thats not very common.


  64. #64
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    25,314

    Default Re: Need help, client here. Was I wronged?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce King View Post
    I am usually against those lawsuits where everyone gets named
    but this is one for sure that should be that way.
    I agree on both parts, which is why I split that up.

    Since the damages were not astronomical I would hope that a full blown lawsuit would not be necessary and small claims court should be adequate.
    In small claims court, you can act as your own attorney.

    Don't count on getting your legal fees reimbursed though, thats not very common.
    And the attorney's fees, and their experts fees, will (based upon what you stated the cost was) exceed what you are asking for in small claims.

    The main thing the attorney should do is shot gun everyone in the "defendants" blast, and fore go small claims, because to make it worth their while, the overall cost will be to make you whole again.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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