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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    15

    Default What is hiding behind those exterior walls

    My first inspection a few years ago was a log cabin. Several logs were failing which could cause a wall failure. Today I inspected the same house. Exterior was covered with T-111 siding. Couldn't even see the logs. Interior was covered with paneling as well so if I had not done that inspection, I would not have known what was behind that siding. Have no clue if the structural issue was addressed or just covered up. I am wondering how some of you would handle this situation? Would you tell your customer what was in the walls even though it could not be seen? I did find an old posting online which still showed the original house as a log home so I could use that as my source of information but if I hadn't seen that posting, would I tell what I know or what I could see in an inspection?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    2,541

    Default Re: What is hiding behind those exterior walls

    I assume you are positive its the same house, and it is a log home with siding and paneling installed, and not a new construction.
    If you are absolutely positive it is a log home under that siding, you might tell your client that you inspected this house a few years ago, and it had issues that are not visible today. You can only inspect what you can see. Anything else is a guess.
    Thats about as far as I would go with it, and leave it for the client to inquire about renovations that were done.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Posts
    3,035

    Default Re: What is hiding behind those exterior walls

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Huffman View Post
    My first inspection a few years ago was a log cabin. Several logs were failing which could cause a wall failure. Today I inspected the same house. Exterior was covered with T-111 siding. Couldn't even see the logs. Interior was covered with paneling as well so if I had not done that inspection, I would not have known what was behind that siding. Have no clue if the structural issue was addressed or just covered up. I am wondering how some of you would handle this situation? Would you tell your customer what was in the walls even though it could not be seen? I did find an old posting online which still showed the original house as a log home so I could use that as my source of information but if I hadn't seen that posting, would I tell what I know or what I could see in an inspection?
    Robert,

    As Jack already said, you cannot report what you did not see. However, In my opinion, you have a duty to let them know at least that you inspected this home before and your previous inspection was of a log home with problems that may well have been covered-up. I guess one way to look at it is - would you want or expect your home inspector to tell you this? I know I would.

    It is possible that the original home burned or was removed. Unlikely, but possible. I believe you still have a duty to your clients. In California (presumably other states as well), the seller has a duty to disclose any work done. This will help your clients ask the right questions. However, there may be laws governing how and what a home inspector in your state can report on. Obviously, keep within your state's laws.

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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Chicago IL
    Posts
    2,031

    Default Re: What is hiding behind those exterior walls

    Inform client of what you saw during your last inspection.
    Tell client to ask the Seller certain questions about the house based on what you previously saw. Consult client about asking good leading questions in order to see what kind of answers they get. While it would be nice to get good specific technical answers that not usually what happens (at least around here). Asking questions is about seeing what type of answers you get. Do the answers sound reasonable or they sound like a used car salesman? With that knowledge a buyer can make a more informed decision.
    Mr Seller?
    - I saw an old listing for this house, it used to be a log cabin type house, did you cover the house with siding and paneling?
    - How old is the house again?
    - Oh that's nice, by the way before you wrapped the house did someone inspect the log structure for any rot, WDI or other problems?
    - Oh really, your son in law inspected the log structure, oh well I'm sure he did a fine job, is he a licensed SE by chance. Is there any documentation on his findings.

    Those would be a few basics. On flipper rehabs I give buyers a list of questions to ask. The buyers call me and are often stunned at the types of nonsense answers they get from the flipper or seller. At that point its not about me or my inspection. Its about the buyer clearly hearing from the other party that they are full of crap.

    On a related note to this, here in Chicago rehabbing basements in vintage houses for additional occupancy space is very common. I explain to buyers that the foundation walls are +/- 95 years old. Because of that they should have been serviced prior to adding the framing and drywall for finished condition. They will have cracks, erosion, spalling, little mice holes, etc. Once explained, buyers get it. I give them a series of questions to ask the flipper. Once the flipper tells them 'oh no they were perfect, we didn't have to do anything', the deal is pretty much dead. Buyers know that's not realistic. Buyers understand it will likely lead to water intrusion problems.

    In these types of cases its about providing the client with guidance so they can ask the right questions in order to properly evaluate what they are getting into. A buyer doesn't know what questions to ask a flipper. Just like I don't know what questions I should be asking the doctor.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

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