Jeff Duncan Real Estate
Jeff Duncan
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What if my home inspector missed something?

Your offer has been accepted, and like the savvy homebuyer you are, you made it contingent on a home inspection. The inspection period can be a stressful time for both buyers and sellers- waiting for the report, hoping no major issues will surface that could sideline the deal.

You’re so relieved when the report comes back and the home is in good shape- no big problems to negotiate, and you close the deal and move in. But what happens now if you find a problem that the home inspector didn’t catch? Maybe there was a hidden plumbing issue or a roof leak that wasn’t evident when the home was inspected in the summer?

How can you protect yourself?

Start by finding the right home inspector

There’s no more important step home buyers can take to prevent that scenario than to select a good home inspector.

Make sure you choose an established inspector that comes recommended, and has adequate general liability and professional liability insurance (also known as errors and omissions insurance). This is what would potentially cover you as a buyer if there was a major “miss” on the part of the inspection.

If you want to be doubly sure, ask them for contact information for their insurance company and give them a call. Make sure they have adequate coverage if they are negligent.

Attend the home inspection

Any reputable home inspector will have no problem with you being there through the whole process, and will make sure you have a chance to ask any questions you may have. They’ll also walk through any concerns they discovered during the inspection.

 

If you find a problem later…

No matter how careful you are, the nightmare scenario does happen. But wait- the seller didn’t mention the issue on the seller’s disclosure statement, can I go after them? The problem is, proving the seller knew about something after the fact is nearly impossible, and the legal cost involved in trying to prove it is often too steep to even make an attempt worthwhile.

This brings us back to the home inspector. If you encounter a problem, bring it up with your inspector. As long as you used one with decent liability insurance that covers more than just the cost of the inspection, odds are decent you’ll be compensated for any damages. Again, you’ll have to prove it. For example, if the inspector said the roof was in good condition, but there was a leak months later during a big storm, you would have to prove that nothing happened in the intervening time that damaged the roof.

Problems and repairs are just par for the course when you become a homeowner, but hopefully you won’t have to deal with them the minute you step in the door of your new home.

 

2 Responses to “What if my home inspector missed something?”

  1. January 20, 2017 at 7:22 pm, Janet Riley said:

    We got shafted by our home inspector. He completely missed the fact that a new roof was needed, and neglected to say so in the inspection report. A week after moving in, we had a general contractor out to see about fixing the dry wall in the bathroom ceiling. He went up on the roof to check things out and told me that we needed a new roof. I was really upset and all the inspector said was: It’s not my fault. We had several other contractors and 3 different roofing companies come out to look at the roof and they all agreed that the roof was toast. We tried to get compensation from his insurance, but they found a sentence in the inspection report (not in the actual roof section) which hinted at the fact we may need to get rid of some moss on the roof. Absolute nonsense. The insurance company refused to compensate us and we have been left the $8,000 bill that the new roof cost.

    Reply

    • January 21, 2017 at 1:48 pm, Jeff Duncan said:

      Janet, I’m so sorry to hear that! Sadly, it’s not the first time I’ve heard a story like yours.

      Reply

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