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Old 08-17-2010, 12:48 PM
 
1 posts, read 2,087 times
Reputation: 10

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I purchased a home 6 months ago (my 1st home.) I came home 3 weeks ago to find a lake in the addition that the seller had built in 08 (he was listed as the contractor). I immediately thought it came from the ceiling because it was wet and there was water stains. I then found out it also came from the ground (it was built on a slab.) Turns out the slab is about 2-3 inches below ground level (dirt/river rocks covered siding). I immediately called my home inspector who just apologized and suggested I find out about permits and inspections that were done. I discovered the seller got a permit in 2/08 but never had the final inspection done (therefore the permit is still open with the city.) The city inspectors are baffled because its been 2 years since the permit was issued, they don't know how exactly to proceed and are consulting a city attorney. Meanwhile I know that I have a grading problem outside around the foundation, I have a roof problem because where the old/new roof meet there is a leak, and last night I popped off some base molding (which was water damaged btw) on the inside of the house and have found black mold covering the drywall/carpet. I have already talked to a lawyer and my next step is to provide an estimate to repair damages and "fix" this situation. I am not sure how far I will need to go with repairs an dthe city is still scratching their heads....meanwhile I have called a few contractors to come and provide estimates for repairs. I would love any and all advice or past experiences. I have also heard that before I can sue the seller for nondisclosure and fraud that I may have to come out of pocket for repairs?? I can't afford any of that right now...I just bought my 1st house! I am also scared because lawyer said that its up to the judge when/if I win to award me legal fees or not?
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Old 08-17-2010, 01:08 PM
 
5,952 posts, read 8,965,029 times
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Your home inspector missed a lot!!!
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Old 08-17-2010, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Va Beach
3,506 posts, read 12,554,379 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spazkat9696 View Post
Your home inspector missed a lot!!!
He sure did! Question to the homeowner.....do you have a home warranty?????
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Old 08-18-2010, 06:42 AM
 
Location: Virginia Beach
486 posts, read 1,818,842 times
Reputation: 156
Your title insurance might cover this... Have you talked to them?
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Old 08-18-2010, 08:06 AM
 
Location: Williamsburg
1,181 posts, read 3,604,737 times
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Sorry to hear of your problems. I have had many similar situations as a real estate agent. The inspector I use always advises a search of building permit status to insure that it was permitted and finaled. That being said you still have a problem.

I would suggest seeking out an attorney who has dealt with similar issues and won or successfully settled. Not sure if you are locked in with an attorney yet but has he fought similar issues ?
How many times ? Did he win ?

Depending on the outcome you might want to give Brian Lytle @ Lytle Law a call. Ask for his success rate with issues like this and then make your decision. You can contact him thru his website www.LytleLaw.com

I wouldn't think this sort of thing is covered by a home warranty. They are primarily for systems i.e. HVAC, plumbing, electrical, appliances , etc.


Whenever find additions or remodels we check for permits to insure that everything was done properly. ( we hope)
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Old 08-20-2010, 08:36 AM
 
Location: Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
2,307 posts, read 6,777,626 times
Reputation: 3907
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlabonte206 View Post
I purchased a home 6 months ago (my 1st home.) I came home 3 weeks ago to find a lake in the addition that the seller had built in 08 (he was listed as the contractor). I immediately thought it came from the ceiling because it was wet and there was water stains. I then found out it also came from the ground (it was built on a slab.) Turns out the slab is about 2-3 inches below ground level (dirt/river rocks covered siding). I immediately called my home inspector who just apologized and suggested I find out about permits and inspections that were done. I discovered the seller got a permit in 2/08 but never had the final inspection done (therefore the permit is still open with the city.) The city inspectors are baffled because its been 2 years since the permit was issued, they don't know how exactly to proceed and are consulting a city attorney. Meanwhile I know that I have a grading problem outside around the foundation, I have a roof problem because where the old/new roof meet there is a leak, and last night I popped off some base molding (which was water damaged btw) on the inside of the house and have found black mold covering the drywall/carpet. I have already talked to a lawyer and my next step is to provide an estimate to repair damages and "fix" this situation. I am not sure how far I will need to go with repairs an dthe city is still scratching their heads....meanwhile I have called a few contractors to come and provide estimates for repairs. I would love any and all advice or past experiences. I have also heard that before I can sue the seller for nondisclosure and fraud that I may have to come out of pocket for repairs?? I can't afford any of that right now...I just bought my 1st house! I am also scared because lawyer said that its up to the judge when/if I win to award me legal fees or not?
In the process of inspecting a home the grading around the home should be reviewed for these problems and noted in the inspection report. Exterior claddings should be kept above grade level (4" for brick and 6" for siding is recommended) to prevent these, as well as other, issues. If this was not pointed out in your inspection report I would ask the Inspector why?

When additions are made to a home if they are properly performed then Inspectors might not catch these. However, a properly installed addition does not leak and there might have been signs that it was an addition. At this point without actually viewing the home it would not be possible to tell if these signs are present. The siding being at or below grade level is not necessarily an indication of an addition. That could have been just bad workmanship on the siders part. Some possible signs it was an addition might be:
  • The roof lines of the addition are out of character with the home itself, and potentially homes around it. For example it is a lower slope, has valleys in odd places or dead ending in walls or improper locations, etc.
  • The framing for the roof addition is different than the rest of the home, appears to be newer lumber, is using other different materials, was started on an existing slope and the original roofing material under the addition was not removed, etc. These would be noted in your report if the attic area was accesible and properly walked for an inspection.
  • The exterior cladding (siding) might be of a different type than the rest of the home, or newer and different coloring than the rest of the home, etc. This could always have been a repair also but added with other signs could have indicated a possible addition.
  • The basic floorplan of the home might not be in character with the homes around it as far as footprint size on the lot. If the homes in the neighborhood all have large yards and your yard is small for no particular reason (other than the addition) it too could signal a possible addition. This particular sign would not normally be considered unless other signs were there as described here.
  • Being up North you most likely have a basement with the blower unit for the heating and cooling system located there. Your new addition is a slab potentially with the supply ducts located at floor level, buried in the slab. The ductwork going to the addition might appear newer, of a different type or materials, newer insulation cover on it as opposed to other ductwork, etc. The supply grills might even be much newer, with less wear, that existing supply grills.
  • Depending on what was placed in that room for utilities there might be visual indications of new electrical conduits or plumbing piping to the room. The room itself might have been wired on its own breaker where the rooms around it share their electrical branch circuits (as is normal).
  • The windows in this addition might be significantly different than the rest of the home. This is another item that could be a potential repair as well but added with other signs could also indicate a possible addition.
The typical process with permits is that the permit is issued and has a general life of 6 months (can vary by municipality rules). If the homeowner/contractor/whoever does not call the city for an inspection then the city considers it void after the 6 months. It might take them time to reconcile records and close it out but for the most part they do. Unless your city is small, and the permit/building department has the manpower, they usually do not call the person the permit was issued to and check the status of the work. The city generally expects that the project just did not happen and the permit holder allowed the permit to expire. You will also find that in almost all cases the city, and the building department employees, will be immune from any lawsuit. The most you could hope for there is to get an employee fired. That generally does not happen unless there was severe injury, loss of life, or significant corruption occurring. In this case it sounds as if the permit process functioned as it is expected to.

It is very good that you are speaking with an Attorney. Hopefully you are speaking with an Attorney that specializes in residential real estate problems such as these.

For your benefit if you desire to read the regulations governing Home Inspectors they can be found at the Virginia DPOR site Asbestos, Lead, and Home Inspectors Board (http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/dporweb/asb_main.cfm - broken link). If you want to check the licensing/certification status of the Inspector there is a search function here License Lookup and Disciplinary Actions (http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/regulantlookup/selection_input.cfm?CFID=2409269&CFTOKEN=45818952 - broken link). It was interesting to note that anyone in Virginia can perform home inspections without a state certification/licensing. These rules here only apply to individuals who call themselves a "certified home inspector". From the HI rules:

Quote:
These regulations do not prohibit individuals from performing home inspections for hire provided they do not hold themselves out as or use the title of “certified home inspector,” or conduct or offer to provide a “certified home inspection.”
DPOR also maintains the licensing of RE Agents/Brokers. Information, rules, regulations, etc., can be found here Real Estate Board (http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/dporweb/reb_main.cfm - broken link). The license search above is also valid for RE Agnets/Brokers.

I will send you a PM with additional information. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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