Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

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novembre
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Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by novembre » Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:27 pm

We put our home on the market last month and received an good offer fairly quickly. The buyer and family were very enthusiastic about our home...just what they they were looking for.

They ordered various inspections, septic, termite, etc, and all was well. Then in came the home inspector. The next day the buyer cancelled. Our agent managed to get a copy of the inspection report and here’s what it said:

Water pipes are made of plastic and “roober”, which is of course not true, they are the best quality copper, installed by our areas most-recommended plumber. There were several spelling errors in the report, which, btw, was very unprofessional-looking, very hard to read.

He wrote that the electric outlets on one of the rooms were not working.....untrue, he didn’t notice that they were controlled by a wall switch.

He couldn’t figure out how to turn on the cooktop, so labeled it “possibly malfunctioning”.

I could go on. .... there were more, and I will admit that there were a few legitimate concerns, non serious.

Now we have decided to terminate the listing and put it back on the market after Christmas. We had already committed to move to an apartment, so we will be moving out, leaving the house unfurnished, which I know isn’t good.

What I’d like to know is, how can we avoid this happening again? I know the buyer gets to choose the inspector, not the seller, but there must be some way of avoiding these incompetent types. BTW, this inspector says he is a member of ASHI, is this a reputable organization?

Thanks for any help or suggestions.

John Doe 123
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by John Doe 123 » Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:32 pm

Your realtor should be able to answer this question for you, and if they cannot then perhaps it's time for you to shop for a new realtor.

This sounds to me like something that would fall under the "right to cure." Google this for more info.

If you are worried about a buyer walking away then you should insist that you as a seller have the right to cure any defects that come up in the inspection report.

In a sellers market this is something that buyers will often concede to gain a leg up on other potential offers, however it might scare some buyers away.
Last edited by John Doe 123 on Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

corysold
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by corysold » Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:33 pm

If you are still wanting to sell your house now, perhaps it is worth it to have your Realtor inform the buyers that their inspector made a bunch of errors. You are happy to invite them over to show them how these things operate and also pay for a second inspector to come through the home. You might be out the fee, but who knows what your house will sell for in the Spring.

AJS
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by AJS » Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:44 pm

I have only sold one house before so my experience may not be typical. I felt, as a seller, that I had no control over the process. We also had a terrible inspector who would not touch the electrical panel because he was afraid he would break it (true story). So it cost me $100 to hire a electrician to certify that the electrical panel was in good order. The buyers have a lot of power in real estate contracts. As seller you just sometimes have to move on and hope the next offer works out. Unfortunately, the next buyer may use the same inspector so you may want to have your own inspection done to give to potential buyers. If I ever sell another house, I will be walking around with the inspector. I also don't have a mortgage so I will be more in control the next round.
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barnaclebob
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by barnaclebob » Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:57 pm

corysold wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:33 pm
If you are still wanting to sell your house now, perhaps it is worth it to have your Realtor inform the buyers that their inspector made a bunch of errors. You are happy to invite them over to show them how these things operate and also pay for a second inspector to come through the home. You might be out the fee, but who knows what your house will sell for in the Spring.
I like this. Tell your realtor to put in some second effort. Is it possible to put in writing that the outlets work and the supply lines are copper? Mabye the plastic pipes he is talking about are the drain lines and the "roober" is a common repair coupling.

barnaclebob
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by barnaclebob » Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:59 pm

AJS wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:44 pm
If I ever sell another house, I will be walking around with the inspector. I also don't have a mortgage so I will be more in control the next round.
Most buyers won't let a seller be present during an inspection.

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tyrion
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by tyrion » Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:10 pm

I would second the idea of getting a pre-inspection done. You could provide this to any potential buyers. Of course you would want to remedy any significant issues first.

Some of this could also be first time buyer jitters. The list of things a home inspector can flag can be a little overwhelming. When buying, I had the option to follow him around and talk about each thing. I would always ask 'is this a big deal' and the answer was almost always no. Most of the items were what he would call 'weekend projects' but on the actual report they appeared to be a lot more significant - primarily due to the limitations of the form he had to use.

With a pre-inspection report you at least have a baseline on which they judge their own home inspection report (should they choose to do one). Perhaps your detailed and professional report would carry more weight than a poorly written one by a less-than-ideal inspector.

FeesR-BullNotBullish
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by FeesR-BullNotBullish » Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:14 pm

This sounds fishy. I wonder if they buyers got cold feet and the inspector hammed up the report on their behalf. The "faults" you say the inspector found might prompt me to ask for a remedy, but they wouldn't make me walk away. To add insult to injury you might have to disclose this inspection next time you list the house depending on your state's laws.

daheld
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by daheld » Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:14 pm

corysold wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:33 pm
If you are still wanting to sell your house now, perhaps it is worth it to have your Realtor inform the buyers that their inspector made a bunch of errors. You are happy to invite them over to show them how these things operate and also pay for a second inspector to come through the home. You might be out the fee, but who knows what your house will sell for in the Spring.
I personally think this is excellent advice. If the issues the inspector noted are seriously not an issue, your willingness to walk through with potential buyers to assuage their concerns should at least mean something. I would prepare a "rebuttal" to the items you believe were unfairly noted and have that forwarded to the buyer with your offer to walk through the house with them. I would also argue that you paying for part of a re-inspection to further ease their concerns is maybe not a bad idea--just depends on how much you want/need to get rid of the place.

Also, keep in mind that generally buyers can back out at this stage for literally any reason and claim that it's because of the inspection report.

exigent
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by exigent » Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:19 pm

FeesR-BullNotBullish wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:14 pm
This sounds fishy. I wonder if they buyers got cold feet and the inspector hammed up the report on their behalf. The "faults" you say the inspector found might prompt me to ask for a remedy, but they wouldn't make me walk away. To add insult to injury you might have to disclose this inspection next time you list the house depending on your state's laws.
I was thinking the same thing. Although, in my state, the buyer has the right to terminate during the diligence period for any reason or no reason at all. So, around here at least, there’s no need to cook up an excuse. You can just say sorry, changed my mind. Once the diligence period (typically around 10 days) ends, then you’re on the hook for the earnest money.

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:27 pm

I've only bought, not sold. I asked my lawyer for inspector referrals. He provided three, I chose the one who was clearly the best (also most expensive), and he saved me thousands in repairs that the previous owner agreed to fix before we closed.

It probably depends on state law or local custom, but maybe in the contract there could be some contingency that any inspector has at least <whatever> level of credentials, experience, and bonding. Maybe that wouldn't work, I'm not an expert in housing contract law, but it's what occurred to me as a possibility.

PJW

rgs92
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by rgs92 » Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:29 pm

Just move on. It's never worth fighting these things. Buyers can just drop out for no reason and there is little you can do.

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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by bungalow10 » Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:30 pm

AJS wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:44 pm
I also don't have a mortgage so I will be more in control the next round.
um, your mortgage holder has no say over the sale process of your house. Their only involvement is receiving the payoff check when you close.
An elephant for a dime is only a good deal if you need an elephant and have a dime.

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tyrion
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by tyrion » Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:37 pm

What has your realtor said about all of this? It sounds like they were able to get their hands on the inspection report, although in my area both realtors receive the report so it may not indicate any actual work on their part.

At a minimum your realtor should be talking to the other realtor and providing you with concrete information on why the buyer walked. Your realtor should also be telling you about the reputation of the home inspector (or his company) and options for what you can do in the future.

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serbeer
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by serbeer » Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:45 pm

Yes, you don't know what is really going on. They may have changed their mind, found a better house in the meantime, etc. Inspection is just a legal clause to be able to cancel. Another two are lawyer approval and mortgage contingency. So don't be so sure that it was inspection that soured the deal, it is no different than with job interview--sometimes everything can go perfect and you can still not get the job, and inspections writeups are never perfect as inspector tried to justify their fees and find problems and find fault with slightest things to shield themselves from legal liability too.

When I see something in inspection report I did not like, I would simply demand sellers fix it or replace it. Then it is up to them to either do so or stop the sale. With the house I bought this year, sellers agreed to pay 10%+ of agreed upon selling price in various fixes and credits after inspection. It was a long process, 5 months worth of negotiations but eventually they sold and I bought. Because they wanted to sell and I wanted to buy. If I changed my mind, I had a period of probably over 3 months when I could simply walk away with loss of inspection fee and nothing else.

Anecdot: when inspector came over and spent the first 10 minutes looking at the roof, then came into the house and said: "I am sorry to tell you but I think the roof needs replacement. Do you want me to continue?" And I went like: "Aaaa, why would you NOT continue?" Him: "Well, many people would just stop here" Me: "Why would I stop here after paying you $500? If the roof needs replacement, it is their problem, not mine!" So "poor" inspector had to work for another 3 hours for his fee :)

hifromsocal
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by hifromsocal » Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:02 pm

FeesR-BullNotBullish wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:14 pm
This sounds fishy. I wonder if they buyers got cold feet and the inspector hammed up the report on their behalf. The "faults" you say the inspector found might prompt me to ask for a remedy, but they wouldn't make me walk away. To add insult to injury you might have to disclose this inspection next time you list the house depending on your state's laws.
In most places the buyer can terminate for any reason as long as it is before contingencies are up. Therefore there really would be no point to make this up.

stan1
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by stan1 » Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:19 pm

Your realtor should be talking to their realtor. Both realtors should be working together to close the deal by convincing the buyer to proceed. What information are you getting back from your realtor? I agree maybe the buyer got cold feet or decided they didn't want the house after all. If the buyer still wanted the house they'd be trying to get money out of you to lower the price (which to a certain degree you would probably give them because you want the sale to close so you can get on with your life).

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Watty
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by Watty » Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:37 pm

One thing you will need to figure out is if that if the things on the inspection report will mean that you need to update the disclosure statement for the house. I don't know how that works and it could vary by state.

barnaclebob
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by barnaclebob » Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:43 pm

Watty wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:37 pm
One thing you will need to figure out is if that if the things on the inspection report will mean that you need to update the disclosure statement for the house. I don't know how that works and it could vary by state.
Pretty sure you only need to update a disclosure if what is in the inspection is true. OP can't update the inspection to say that the pipes are plastic because they aren't.

dknightd
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by dknightd » Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:45 pm

novembre wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:27 pm

I could go on. .... there were more, and I will admit that there were a few legitimate concerns, non serious.
I guess fix those before you list the house again.

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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by bnes » Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:09 pm

What's the time frame? Is there a chance of saving the sale?
---
Definitely get right on fixing the true items, and get your own inspector out.

riverguy
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by riverguy » Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:18 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:59 pm
AJS wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:44 pm
If I ever sell another house, I will be walking around with the inspector. I also don't have a mortgage so I will be more in control the next round.
Most buyers won't let a seller be present during an inspection.
It’s your house...if you can’t even stand up to them that you are going to be there for the inspection then of course you are going to get raked over the coals

quantAndHold
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by quantAndHold » Fri Nov 16, 2018 7:40 pm

A buyer that’s serious about buying your house will use an inspection report as a bargaining chip. A buyer that just cancels because of an inspection report was never going to buy the house in the first place. Just move on.

I’ve had the opposite problem, where the inspector was incompetent and the buyer wasn’t there for the inspection for some reason. The inspection didn’t turn up anything actionable, even though it should have. But then in the walkthrough 3 days before closing, the buyers found a bunch of stuff they wanted addressed. That was awkward... The realtors talked them down out of the tree, I did a couple of the cheap and easy things, and the sale went through anyway, but it was touch and go.

CurlyDave
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by CurlyDave » Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:22 am

Around here seller's agents and sellers will not look at an inspection report. They will refuse delivery if you send them one.

The reason is that any known defects must be disclosed to any other buyer. What they don't know, they can't disclose.

The "plastic pipes" may have been drain pipes. These should be plastic.

Move on. If the house is priced right, it will sell. One of the few things a seller can do to make a house more attractive is adjust the price. Improving condition is not always going to return what is spent on the project.

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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by White Coat Investor » Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:51 am

Most of the time the contract is written such that they can just walk away after the inspection no matter what it finds. That's why the contract also says the inspection has to be done in a timely manner, so if they walk you can get it back on the market.

I wouldn't worry about it. The next buyer will have a different inspector.
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by criticalmass » Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:21 am

riverguy wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:18 pm
barnaclebob wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:59 pm
AJS wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:44 pm
If I ever sell another house, I will be walking around with the inspector. I also don't have a mortgage so I will be more in control the next round.
Most buyers won't let a seller be present during an inspection.
It’s your house...if you can’t even stand up to them that you are going to be there for the inspection then of course you are going to get raked over the coals

As a buyer, I am paying for a competent inspection, and there is no way I want the seller there to intervene, except perhaps to unlock the door if no agent. That has nothing to do with raking or coals.

criticalmass
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by criticalmass » Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:24 am

AJS wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:44 pm
I also don't have a mortgage so I will be more in control the next round.
That makes no sense. Having a mortgage or not having a mortgage is not relevant to home inspections or just about every other portion of house selling, until the payment/satisfaction of the mortgage. This is among the last steps.

Carl53
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by Carl53 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:39 am

CurlyDave wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:22 am
Around here seller's agents and sellers will not look at an inspection report. They will refuse delivery if you send them one.

The reason is that any known defects must be disclosed to any other buyer. What they don't know, they can't disclose.

The "plastic pipes" may have been drain pipes. These should be plastic.

Move on. If the house is priced right, it will sell. One of the few things a seller can do to make a house more attractive is adjust the price. Improving condition is not always going to return what is spent on the project.
Interesting. Might consider doing this in the future.

Nowizard
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by Nowizard » Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:11 am

Definitely contact the potential purchaser through your Realtor. We had a house that had no issues but rather complex electrical connections and connections to a backup generator. We wrote out explanations for lookers and offered to meet anyone who wanted a personal explanation. Realtors may be skittish about the last statement unless they know you are reliable and present a positive outlook. Based on the minor things you mentioned, it is possible the potential buyers simply got cold feet and used this as an out.

Tim

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jfn111
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by jfn111 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:22 am

CurlyDave wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:22 am
Around here seller's agents and sellers will not look at an inspection report. They will refuse delivery if you send them one.

The reason is that any known defects must be disclosed to any other buyer. What they don't know, they can't disclose.

The "plastic pipes" may have been drain pipes. These should be plastic.

Move on. If the house is priced right, it will sell. One of the few things a seller can do to make a house more attractive is adjust the price. Improving condition is not always going to return what is spent on the project.
This is 100% correct. I will never take receipt of an Inspection report, representing the seller. The seller just can't decide the Inspector was incompetent and fail to disclose. You would need to have your own inspection done.
As others have pointed out the Inspection period is a "get out of jail free card". If the Buyer's didn't try to negotiate repairs then they probably had other reasons to back out.
Also, if a home owner tried to follow the Inspector around arguing with him / her about their findings most professional Inspector's would refuse to continue the Inspection.

rich126
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by rich126 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:32 am

I felt, as a seller, that I had no control over the process.
I think that happens to people often in life. In real estate, I've learned to hire the best and let them do their thing. I always maintain final say on things but the top people usually know how to handle various situations and get the sale completed. Often people use friends, family, part time agents, etc. but in my experience its best to remove those things from business and interview and hire the best.

On a slightly different topic but related to the quote above, I had water damage in my finished basement and I just grabbed anyone to give me a quote to replace the carpet. The insurance company sent me a check but it was made out to myself and that person who gave me the quote. I hadn't done any checks on the person. I stupidly signed the check over to him and then heard nothing but excuses from him and eventually sued him (mostly for the principle of the matter since it wasn't a large amount of money). I got the money back, minus what I paid the attorney (he actually was pretty reasonable).

It was a valuable learning experience. I should have called the insurance company up and asked for another check or how I could avoid using the first company. Now I do better standing up for my rights or, if necessary, call an attorney and ask for his opinion to avoid getting into trouble.

And with real estate you don't ever have to use their "recommendations" with regards to anything (mortgage companies, settlement companies, etc.). And home inspections can be difficult since some will go overboard and ding you for trivial things and others aren't properly licensed.

Good luck.

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jfn111
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by jfn111 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:04 am

rich126 wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:32 am
I felt, as a seller, that I had no control over the process.
I think that happens to people often in life. In real estate, I've learned to hire the best and let them do their thing. I always maintain final say on things but the top people usually know how to handle various situations and get the sale completed. Often people use friends, family, part time agents, etc. but in my experience its best to remove those things from business and interview and hire the best.

On a slightly different topic but related to the quote above, I had water damage in my finished basement and I just grabbed anyone to give me a quote to replace the carpet. The insurance company sent me a check but it was made out to myself and that person who gave me the quote. I hadn't done any checks on the person. I stupidly signed the check over to him and then heard nothing but excuses from him and eventually sued him (mostly for the principle of the matter since it wasn't a large amount of money). I got the money back, minus what I paid the attorney (he actually was pretty reasonable).

It was a valuable learning experience. I should have called the insurance company up and asked for another check or how I could avoid using the first company. Now I do better standing up for my rights or, if necessary, call an attorney and ask for his opinion to avoid getting into trouble.

And with real estate you don't ever have to use their "recommendations" with regards to anything (mortgage companies, settlement companies, etc.). And home inspections can be difficult since some will go overboard and ding you for trivial things and others aren't properly licensed.

Good luck.
Whats worse is a lot of States, including MN, don't require Inspectors to be licensed. Print up some business cards, run an ad and wallah, you're an Inspector. People often rant and rave about not letting your RE Agent recommend Inspectors. I send my Buyer's a list of 4 Inspectors that I know are bonded and have a background in contracting. Anytime I give a client a recommendation I'm putting my license and reputation at risk. My partner and I are very careful about who we recommend to our clients.

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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by Lafder » Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:24 am

I would fix the valid items listed on the inspection report then hire an inspector recommended by your realtor to do a whole house inspection not biased by the initial inspector's report.

They may find additional items to repair. Fix those too, and then have your inspector come back and they will update their report to show the repairs have been done.

Then disclose your inspection report to potential buyers.

If I were the buyer, I might hire my own inspector even with the report present, since each report can be a little different. Or I might accept the report if my realtor knew of the quality of the inspector.

Having the report available helps buyers who would be scared off by the report, not waste your time with an offer.

When we sold our last house our realtor rec this prelisting inspection. Then they listed the home as "inspections done and repairs completed"

No home, almost no home, has ZERO issues found on inspection.

I agree your buyers got cold feet for who know what reason. If it was the report they could have asked you to make the repairs.

Unless major issues are found that are enough to cancel the deal , the inspection report is to fix issues before the sale is complete with who pays negotiated as part of the sale or written into the contract. I believe the last purchase agreement we did had something like "the seller will pay for up to $2000 in repairs identified in the inspection report, any amount above that will be negotiated" so we did not have to renegotiate if only minor issues were found such as "water heater shut off valve is frozen open" or "toilet is loose" and "window crank not operational" which were a few of the actual issues I recall.

Many buyers do use minor issues in the report to back out of a deal they are second guessing themselves on.

lafder

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FIREchief
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by FIREchief » Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:58 pm

I've sold two homes in my life, and never had these types of problems. Is this a recent development? I am about to sell my third (and last) owned home and am inclined to just price it slightly below market in hopes of having multiple interested buyers. That may not be "bogleheadish," but life's too short to play games (and waste time and money) around old appliances, worn out floor covering, aging paint and a door or window that is functional but not "perfect." A twenty year old house will likely require more maintenance over the next ten years than a two year old house.

Don't even get me started on this "professional staging" trend.... :oops:
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serbeer
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by serbeer » Sat Nov 17, 2018 5:24 pm

jfn111 wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:22 am
CurlyDave wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:22 am
Around here seller's agents and sellers will not look at an inspection report. They will refuse delivery if you send them one.

The reason is that any known defects must be disclosed to any other buyer. What they don't know, they can't disclose.

The "plastic pipes" may have been drain pipes. These should be plastic.

Move on. If the house is priced right, it will sell. One of the few things a seller can do to make a house more attractive is adjust the price. Improving condition is not always going to return what is spent on the project.
This is 100% correct. I will never take receipt of an Inspection report, representing the seller. The seller just can't decide the Inspector was incompetent and fail to disclose. You would need to have your own inspection done.
As others have pointed out the Inspection period is a "get out of jail free card". If the Buyer's didn't try to negotiate repairs then they probably had other reasons to back out.
Also, if a home owner tried to follow the Inspector around arguing with him / her about their findings most professional Inspector's would refuse to continue the Inspection.
One can refuse inspection report all they want, but most buyers would try to negotiate fixes for problem that report revealed, so seller will become aware of problems due to that. Therefore, refusing report can only have limited use, only the most minor issues buyer decided not to discuss with seller at all would be covered by "unawareness" clause.

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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by RudyS » Sat Nov 17, 2018 5:31 pm

What is required to disclose anyhow? Real defects yes, but surely not anything that's not true. But what if he/she says, for example, carpet is worn, or that a window sticks? Or exhaust fan is noisy? Sure, those could be up for negotiating, but I doubt I'd have to revise my disclosure statement.

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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by jfn111 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:04 pm

serbeer wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 5:24 pm
jfn111 wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:22 am
CurlyDave wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:22 am
Around here seller's agents and sellers will not look at an inspection report. They will refuse delivery if you send them one.

The reason is that any known defects must be disclosed to any other buyer. What they don't know, they can't disclose.

The "plastic pipes" may have been drain pipes. These should be plastic.

Move on. If the house is priced right, it will sell. One of the few things a seller can do to make a house more attractive is adjust the price. Improving condition is not always going to return what is spent on the project.
This is 100% correct. I will never take receipt of an Inspection report, representing the seller. The seller just can't decide the Inspector was incompetent and fail to disclose. You would need to have your own inspection done.
As others have pointed out the Inspection period is a "get out of jail free card". If the Buyer's didn't try to negotiate repairs then they probably had other reasons to back out.
Also, if a home owner tried to follow the Inspector around arguing with him / her about their findings most professional Inspector's would refuse to continue the Inspection.
One can refuse inspection report all they want, but most buyers would try to negotiate fixes for problem that report revealed, so seller will become aware of problems due to that. Therefore, refusing report can only have limited use, only the most minor issues buyer decided not to discuss with seller at all would be covered by "unawareness" clause.
Most Bogleheads, probably, live in upper middle class houses in the suburbs. Most of the houses I sell are 100 year old houses in the city. The inspection reports can be quite lengthy with all the problems cheap older houses have. Most buyer's will pick one or two major issues they want corrected.

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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by Carefreeap » Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:20 pm

jfn111 wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:22 am
CurlyDave wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:22 am
Around here seller's agents and sellers will not look at an inspection report. They will refuse delivery if you send them one.

The reason is that any known defects must be disclosed to any other buyer. What they don't know, they can't disclose.

The "plastic pipes" may have been drain pipes. These should be plastic.

Move on. If the house is priced right, it will sell. One of the few things a seller can do to make a house more attractive is adjust the price. Improving condition is not always going to return what is spent on the project.
This is 100% correct. I will never take receipt of an Inspection report, representing the seller. The seller just can't decide the Inspector was incompetent and fail to disclose. You would need to have your own inspection done.
As others have pointed out the Inspection period is a "get out of jail free card". If the Buyer's didn't try to negotiate repairs then they probably had other reasons to back out.
Also, if a home owner tried to follow the Inspector around arguing with him / her about their findings most professional Inspector's would refuse to continue the Inspection.
It's a state by state thing. In CA a seller must disclose EVERY home inspection the seller has received on the house. I believe this is done so the seller can't shop home inspection reports. In AZ one only has to disclose material defects.

I'm another one who believes in the pre-emptive disclosure because 1) If there are material defects with the house I want to deal with them e.g. repair or disclose before the property goes on the market and 2) Because I know how the reports can be used as a negotiating tool. I fully expect and encourage a buyer will get his/her own report.

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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by SeeMoe » Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:47 pm

We had a similar problem when selling our house and the buyer had a Government loan that required strict Inspection procedures. The house was fairly new, but the inspectors found several areas that needed fixing and reinspection. So we had them done and ate the costs! Did that with two properties that way, but had reliable and fair home repairmen doing the work each time.

SeeMoe.. :oops:
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by FIREchief » Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:19 am

SeeMoe wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:47 pm
We had a similar problem when selling our house and the buyer had a Government loan that required strict Inspection procedures. The house was fairly new, but the inspectors found several areas that needed fixing and reinspection. So we had them done and ate the costs! Did that with two properties that way, but had reliable and fair home repairmen doing the work each time.

SeeMoe.. :oops:
I'm curious. What types of "defects" were found?
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by Flyer24 » Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:31 am

novembre wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:27 pm
We put our home on the market last month and received an good offer fairly quickly. The buyer and family were very enthusiastic about our home...just what they they were looking for.

They ordered various inspections, septic, termite, etc, and all was well. Then in came the home inspector. The next day the buyer cancelled. Our agent managed to get a copy of the inspection report and here’s what it said:

Water pipes are made of plastic and “roober”, which is of course not true, they are the best quality copper, installed by our areas most-recommended plumber. There were several spelling errors in the report, which, btw, was very unprofessional-looking, very hard to read.

He wrote that the electric outlets on one of the rooms were not working.....untrue, he didn’t notice that they were controlled by a wall switch.

He couldn’t figure out how to turn on the cooktop, so labeled it “possibly malfunctioning”.

I could go on. .... there were more, and I will admit that there were a few legitimate concerns, non serious.

Now we have decided to terminate the listing and put it back on the market after Christmas. We had already committed to move to an apartment, so we will be moving out, leaving the house unfurnished, which I know isn’t good.

What I’d like to know is, how can we avoid this happening again? I know the buyer gets to choose the inspector, not the seller, but there must be some way of avoiding these incompetent types. BTW, this inspector says he is a member of ASHI, is this a reputable organization?

Thanks for any help or suggestions.
Be careful on leaving your home unoccupied. It can void your insurance policy due to vandalism potential.

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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by SeeMoe » Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:08 am

FIREchief wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:19 am
SeeMoe wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:47 pm
We had a similar problem when selling our house and the buyer had a Government loan that required strict Inspection procedures. The house was fairly new, but the inspectors found several areas that needed fixing and reinspection. So we had them done and ate the costs! Did that with two properties that way, but had reliable and fair home repairmen doing the work each time.

SeeMoe.. :oops:
I'm curious. What types of "defects" were found?
Stuff like the well had bacteria although we had it inspected regularly. It was easy to remedy, and made me think maybe the inspector just needed “ something” negative in his report. Another was the degree of runoff on one side of the house that was corrected with a pickup load of soil to get better rain runoff.

SeeMoe.. :annoyed
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by FIREchief » Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:47 pm

Flyer24 wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:31 am
Be careful on leaving your home unoccupied. It can void your insurance policy due to vandalism potential.
Our insurance agent recently told me that if it was vacant more than 30 days, we would lose the theft and vandalism coverage. I believe the remainder of the policy would remain valid. I'm curious what others have been told by their agents.
Last edited by FIREchief on Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by RudyS » Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:51 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:47 pm
Flyer24 wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:31 am
Be careful on leaving your home unoccupied. It can void your insurance policy due to vandalism potential.
Our insurance agent recently told me that if it was vacant more than 30 days, we sould lose the theft and vandalism coverage. I believe the remainder of the policy would remain valid. I'm curious what others have been told by their agents.
Even better, read your policy. 30 or 60 days is common.

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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by Fallible » Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:31 pm

novembre wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:27 pm
We put our home on the market last month and received an good offer fairly quickly. The buyer and family were very enthusiastic about our home...just what they they were looking for.

They ordered various inspections, septic, termite, etc, and all was well. Then in came the home inspector. The next day the buyer cancelled. Our agent managed to get a copy of the inspection report and here’s what it said: ...
Did your agent say why the potential buyers changed their minds? It would seem that if the agent doesn't know for certain, then how can the sale loss be blamed on an "incompetent inspector"? Did the agent talk to the buyers or their agent?
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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by mmmodem » Tue Nov 20, 2018 10:39 am

As others said, the buyer probably had cold feet.

I found it immensely satisfying to see 2 previous inspection reports on a home I eventually purchased. I of course hired a 3rd inspection for myself. But before I purchased the home, I saw exactly what was wrong with the home and I could price myself accordingly. There were no surprises when I did my own inspection.

I don't know if I would pay for a pre-inspection when I sell my home but I think I would show the inspection report of a previous buyer that backed out. If the report is incorrect, I will redline it. If there are actually problems, then I prefer fix it before I sell the home anyway. And I would state in redline on the report that it was repaired very recently. I would make a copy of the report you have with the corrections and leave it on the kitchen counter so all potential buyers can see it. Who knows, it may save you the trouble of another buyer backing out.

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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by Erwin007 » Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:06 pm

We recently sold a house to a buyer with VA lending, and had an incompetent inspector. I think incompetent home inspectors are a dime a dozen, and the rule rather than the exception in the home inspection world. The house we sold was 15 years old and had some typical cosmetic issues for a house that age, but the biggest findings, no joke, were that the A/C and furnace “looked old and the capacitor and condenser probably needed replacing or recharging.” He was not a HVAC professional and the units had had no issues. In fact, both units had been replaced in 2014 (which we disclosed on the listing sheet).

The buyers came back saying they wanted both the capacitor and the condenser replaced. I basically told them to pound sand. I told my realtor that the stove and fridge were older too and “might need replacing” in the next couple of years so they should just ask for us to pay to replace those as well. We eventually settled on a $500 payment to the seller to take care of the issues on their own, and the sale went through.

They basically have you over a barrel though if you really need to sell. This was a house we had been renting out since 2013 and we live far away so couldn’t do anything about it. But the monthly mortgage payment on the house only represents less than .1% of my annual income so keeping the house on the market wouldn’t have been a problem.

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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by Nutmeg » Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:09 pm

A buyer can back out of a contract to buy a house, but whether he can do so without losing the security deposit is determined by state law and the terms of the contract. For at least one house I bought, the cost of the repairs determined by the inspector to be necessary had to have been at least $10,000 in order for us to receive our security deposit back. Have you or your agent reviewed the contract terms?

Also, you are required to notify your insurance agent if your house will be vacant. It is possible to pay more for coverage for a vacant house.

It seems that you will own a house for a while longer and be committed to an apartment lease. You will have two potential places to live, and one will be vacant. However, why do you plan to move to the apartment instead of staying in your house a little longer? Why not leave the apartment, for which you don’t need to have insurance, vacant?

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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by FIREchief » Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:55 pm

Nutmeg wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:09 pm
It seems that you will own a house for a while longer and be committed to an apartment lease. You will have two potential places to live, and one will be vacant. However, why do you plan to move to the apartment instead of staying in your house a little longer? Why not leave the apartment, for which you don’t need to have insurance, vacant?
I can't speak for other posters, but in my situation I absolutely refuse to still be living in a house that is for sale and being shown to buyers. I want all of my personal belongings moved out before strangers start touring my home. When my financials were different, it was a different story.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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Re: Incompetent home inspector - what to do?

Post by Nate79 » Tue Nov 20, 2018 2:40 pm

Nutmeg wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:09 pm
A buyer can back out of a contract to buy a house, but whether he can do so without losing the security deposit is determined by state law and the terms of the contract. For at least one house I bought, the cost of the repairs determined by the inspector to be necessary had to have been at least $10,000 in order for us to receive our security deposit back. Have you or your agent reviewed the contract terms?

Also, you are required to notify your insurance agent if your house will be vacant. It is possible to pay more for coverage for a vacant house.

It seems that you will own a house for a while longer and be committed to an apartment lease. You will have two potential places to live, and one will be vacant. However, why do you plan to move to the apartment instead of staying in your house a little longer? Why not leave the apartment, for which you don’t need to have insurance, vacant?
While it might be true that security deposit is governed by state law the likelihood of a buyer losing their security deposit is infinitesimally small. I recently worked with a relocation company that sells hundreds and hundreds of houses in every state of the country and they said they have only seen one case in their history of a buyer losing their deposit. The reason was blatant walking away from a purchase without even giving a single reason.

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