The Home Inspector Missed Problems-Now What?
The home inspector (as I like to refer to them as… “home buyer protectors“) plays a huge part in the decision buying process. Many home inspectors nowadays are complacent in their roles as home inspectors. I’m sure this isn’t news to those of you who have experienced this first hand.
” But Marc… what do you mean they are complacent?” I mean to say a business once looked upon as a protection mechanism for many who wish to truly understand the conditions of the home thoroughly before they make a purchase, is now just a JOKE.
Most full-time inspectors expect to get their business handed to them by your realtor (collusion). Thus, they don’t try as hard to find as much as they should for you the buyer. Why? Because the realtors will keep handing them their business no matter what. Or.. at least until their home inspector kills a deal for them. So the average home inspector grows increasingly complacent.
They don’t try as hard to look for things. Nor do many even care if they miss something. They know how difficult it is to generate a lawsuit and besides.. you signed away your rights with that contract they had you sign.
Don’t think for a second the home inspector is looking out for you… how can they when they are working for your realtor?MAZZA
At the present time, there are no California requirements to actually work as a home inspector. Wow right? I know. According to the California business and Professions Code section 7195-7199, A home inspector is not required to obtain ANY state licensing or certification.
So when you move into your new home and expect to paint it, carpet it and start decorating, and find (on your own) that windows don’t open, plugs don’t work, the roof leaks etc… you’re probably going to demand answers.
First thing you attempt to do is call the Realtor and exclaim “the Home Inspector Missed Problems!” Much to a surprised and dismayed realtor, the agent is sure to respond something like, “call the inspector“.
From here there are a few things you can expect to happen.
- The inspector will likely come out and explain how the issues are /were “beyond their scope”
- Your inspector and likely the agent will refer you to the home warranty company
- Home inspectors love to exclaim how they are not specialists or General Contractors which is why they don’t look for that issue
- They (inspector and realtor BOTH) pass the buck onto the home warranty company
- Say it was blocked and couldn’t see it
- Their standards of practice prohibit them from inspecting or otherwise testing your issue
- In many cases, the home warranty company denies the claim based on pre-existing conditions
What is “beyond the scope”?
Beyond the scope refers to a term used most often by home inspectors when they either missed something and do not want to take the responsibility for it or, they never even looked at it and classified it as “beyond the scope”. To put it differently, the inspector is basically saying the item which is in question, was not visible, accessible, something he just does not inspect, or he lacks the expertise in that item to effectively evaluate it.
Any one of these examples should cause concern and rightly so. Essentially it means that specific area or item was never inspected. Or you chose an inept home inspector. Or both. Many home inspector write their reports with this beyond the scope term riddled throughout the report. It’s a way that keeps them unaccountable and allows them to move through a home very quickly. Which BTW, pleases all realtors.
Home inspectors, after using the “beyond the scope” comment in their report will usually fall back on other terms such as for example;
- Have a specialized contractor evaluate it prior to the close of escrow
- Refer this to a contractor of this trade for further evaluation prior to the close of escrow
- We suggest having this condition evaluated by a specialists prior to the close of this escrow
Looking at these comments, you can start to see a pattern right. In my opinion, the inspector is simply trying to “pawn off” his responsibilities to another. Furthermore, when you sign the inspector’s agreement you likely signed something that says he will be inspecting the property according to some standard or SOP. Or, he’s saying he’s a “generalist” and not a “specialist.” You may have also signed away the right to sue him, but we’ll get to that.
Moreover, the inspectors as a whole understand that home inspection is a job that is performed from the perspective of a generalist and not a specialist. Which is why so many come from backgrounds that never even involved construction in any capacity.
Depending on the issues discovered you will likely consider them to be a big or large issue while you can expect the realtors and inspectors to consider them small, by default.
Keep in mind that the BOP section 7196-1 actually saves the inspector’s bacon. To break it down.. they basically say the inspector is just a Generalist and is in no way a Specialist.Marc Mazza
To begin with, let’s define the differences between big and small issues.
According to the BOP section 71953(b) A “material defect” is a condition that significantly affects the value, desirability, habitability, or safety of the dwelling. Style or aesthetics shall not be considered in determining whether a system, structure, or component is defective.
So in legal jargon, something which is considered to be a “big deal” to you like a damaged sash balancer in a window may in fact not be considered a material defect? Huh? I do have to say, however, although a sash balancer isn’t a significant concern when the repair of one is around $150. Still, when you consider that 20 of them in a house adds up to around $3,000 isn’t that significant?
I’ve personally inspected a house where there were 46 bad window balancers. As an inspector, I found that to be significant. And as a homeowner, once you move in and try to open these windows just to have them fall down, you would also.
Can you sue your Home Inspector?
Yes, you can… try. Many home inspectors will attempt to limit their liabilities by limiting your claim against them. How do they do this? In their agreement to you, they attempt to do this by having you sign something that stipulates you as the home buyer will only receive the inspection fee as compensation if the home inspector missed problems, no matter how significant.
According to the California BOP section 7198 the home inspector CANNOT limit their liabilities by reducing your claim down to ONLY the inspection fee.
Home Inspector Missed Problems…
How long is a Home Inspector Liable?
According to the California BOP section 7199, The time for commencement of legal action for breach of duty arising from a home inspection report shall not exceed four years from the date of the inspection. So sue away…
What is a Home Inspector and what are their duties?
The duty of a home inspector is clearly spelled out in the BOP. On the other hand, the public perception and ALL realtor’s expectations of what a home inspector is and what their duties are quite different indeed.
When you as a home buyer move into the new home you do not expect to say “my Home Inspector Missed Problems and that’s acceptable… just part of the process”. And why should you?
When you hired your home inspector or chose them from your Realtors list, ( haha.. I’m sorry but most realtors are morons with only one objective… close your deal at ANY cost) your expectation was that they would stay as long as it takes and find as much as they could in the time they had right? Never is this the case, unfortunately. no way! Home inspectors get their money from volume. 2-3 inspections like yours are what all inspectors strive for.
By and large, home inspectors are in this for the quick buck. Let’s face it, its an easy $300 or so bucks for about an hour. This is why when choosing the inspector for your home, vet vet vet.
Home Inspector Missed Problems- do they carry insurance?
Most professional full-time home inspectors do carry insurance. I say full time because you’d be surprised to find that there are more part-time inspectors out there who are basically posers… attempting to look like the real deal. They get a website… get some of their friends to leave them some reviews and boom, they look like everyone else. These are the guys who are more likely NOT to carry errors and omissions insurances due to the insurance costs.
Is this common? My home inspectors missed problems?
We are all human and because of this will continue to make mistakes. In spite of this fact, inspectors still must try their hardest to do their best.
We as home inspectors have one single duty and that is to protect the individuals who are buying property. Protect their safety, family, and investment. If you’re an inspector and are not in this for those reasons, you need not be in this business at all. Go sell used cars or become a realtor.
Share this Post