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Old 05-27-2009, 12:30 PM
100 posts, read 328,091 times
Reputation: 39



New York -- My wife and I closed on our house last month. Upon having the place painted, we noticed some significant (fist-sized) rot in three window sills that went unnoticed by the inspector. These weren't blocked at the time of inspection - two were on the ground floor. The inspector was hired by us and also did the termite certification and has a good reputation in the area as being very thorough, so we had a false sense of confidence when he signed off on the house.

Dismayed, I called the inspector to review the rot in an amicable fashion (about two weeks after closing) and ask if there was a risk of further damage; he viewed it on a 2nd (post-closing) courtesy visit and said no.

Upon attempting to repair the sills myself, I found that the damage was (in fact) more extensive. Flipping to the outside of the home, we then found termite mud tubes on the exterior slab. We opened the wall, and the moist area is significantly damaged by termites, possibly up to the 2nd floor and clearly not "recent" damage. I had to pay Terminix close to $2k for the termite damage and will end up paying from $2k-$3k at least for the wall repair and replacement windows (the casing is rotted out). All were listed as satisfactory on the inspection. We have asbestos shingles on our home, further complicating repair jobs - to do a proper job, we hypothetically would need to replace the siding as well, since the siding around the windows can't be taken off in solid sheets.

I've consulted a RE attorney and was asked for a $5k-$6k retainer, which would put us at $10k in the hole. Although I'm not opposed to litigation, I'm wondering what's the best way to proceed: we can go through small claims court as well for a partial recovery, and I'm assuming that the inspector has Errors and Omissions insurance.

Everything is fully documented. Has anyone seen a recovery without going to court? Suggestions? I can send a letter with full documentation and estimates/bills to the inspector and he's seen the damage first-hand. Obviously, we're more concerned with getting the damage paid for than anything else, since we hired the inspector specifically to protect us from these kinds of damages. We may not have bought the house, may have renegotiated, etc..., had these items been caught.
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Old 05-27-2009, 01:16 PM
100 posts, read 328,091 times
Reputation: 39
Ack, looks like this was posted in the wrong forum - sorry - meant to post it in the main real estate forum.
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Old 05-27-2009, 03:43 PM
Location: Knoxville
1,155 posts, read 2,733,974 times
Reputation: 364
Hey Scott99999, sorry for the position your in, and sounds like your handling correctly. The inspector offer any help, and the thought of him being insured, could and probably your best way to pursue. He certainly should have seen signs or found part of your problem. Most lawyers, want to be guaranteed something for their time, and some will take a case and only charge 1/3, if they recover. Good luck, and keep us posted. Did you take out a home protection warranty?
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Old 05-27-2009, 04:53 PM
Location: Salem, OR
12,961 posts, read 28,287,306 times
Reputation: 10128
You would have to read your contract. The inspectors out here use a contract that says they are only liable up to the cost of the home inspection. So I think what you can recoup depends on what your contract says you can.
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Old 05-27-2009, 05:08 PM
199 posts, read 595,739 times
Reputation: 146
Scott, get the name of the inspectors insurance company. I went through the same thing after buying a home two years ago. Within weeks of moving in, many issues, bathtub leaking, addition roof blowing off, windows defective, electrical issues, etc. I got the name of the insurance, got another inspector to give me an updated report on issues that were not included in the initial inspection and handled the insurance claim myself. We settled within 120 days and I got most of what I wanted. By the way, the second inspector was half the price and twice as thorough, we did not tell the second inspector why we wanted this done, we told them we were thinking of selling the house and wanted to be prepared. You do not need an attorney nor small claims, make a complaint to whatever consumer agency handles this in your state, make a claim with the insurance and take it from there yourself.
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Old 05-29-2009, 12:44 PM
22,103 posts, read 32,674,657 times
Reputation: 11014
I agree with the prior person and would file a claim in small claims court and go from there and fill out every single amount and go for the full amount, I mean every little expense is needed to be stated.
Or there must be a clause in the contract that only through mediation a claim can be filled....

Good Luck you did the right thing and got screwed and by filling a claim you will help your self and others to prevent the same to happen to them...and report them to the BBB...I once did that with a major builder and it really helped to get the issue solved in a fast way.
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:07 PM
Location: WNY
1,049 posts, read 3,224,755 times
Reputation: 265
they have clauses that protect them - you do understand that? although I am sorry you went through this.
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:53 PM
Location: NW Las Vegas - Lone Mountain
15,756 posts, read 29,871,451 times
Reputation: 2661
Originally Posted by CAugust View Post
they have clauses that protect them - you do understand that? although I am sorry you went through this.
Generally does not work. You cannot preidemnify yourself against your own gross negligence. See a lawyer for the details.
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Old 06-03-2009, 08:40 AM
Location: Denver, CO
404 posts, read 1,037,830 times
Reputation: 289
Ditto what olecapt said!

I would definitely go the small claims route to save money. It seems pretty cut and dry that he missed the damage.
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