I was in the grocery store grabbing some Chobani Greek yogurt at the dairy case when I bumped into my home inspector. We were standing their chit chatting when we felt the heat from someone moving around us on the perimeter. We stopped and acknowledged this person, who immediately queried, “Are you the building inspector” he said to my friend. Okay, we knew what he meant and after making the proper introduction this person proceeded to tell the building inspector his tale.
Remember the home you inspected for me? I knew right away this was not going to be a happy tale. Although he did preface what was to follow by saying he loves the house (now) and is perfectly happy with it. The fireplace chimney had cracks everywhere and it leaked like a sieve. It had to be torn down and rebuilt to the tune of $25,000.
I asked this person if he noticed the problem before he bought the house. “Nope”. Did your buyer agent ask the seller or the seller agent if they knew anything that was or would be a problem? “Nope”. Did your buyer agent notice anything or say anything? “Nope”.
The buyer actually defended his unfortunate circumstance by explaining to ME that Massachusetts is a ‘Buyer Beware State' and that unlike his home state seller's in Massachusetts are not required to fill out a Seller’s Description of Property form, and then admitting that no one asked the appropriate questions.
(Side note: Sellers on the Cape do fill out Seller's Description of Property forms)
At that point my question should have been, if you are so darn happy after hiring someone you expected to represent your best interests, paying for a professional home inspection, and then after you closed on the home discovering a major defect that ended up costing you $25,000, but you are telling us you happy and in love with the house, why did you interrupt our conversation? This poor guy might have had a case against the inspector or his agent, or the seller agent if he had been an informed buyer with competent assistance. Granted, I don’t know all the facts but if it were me I sure would be pissed and looking to see if I had recourse.
As a disclosure, I will tell my clients that Home Inspector’s cannot see every single thing there is to see. Some inspectors will issue the same disclosure as part of their contract. It is important to remember that real estate licensees are not home inspectors, builders or engineers. However, as with the mold and rot case I reported on, where there is smoke there is fire and in cases like the fractured chimney I would bet you there was a lot of smoke. And besides, if a buyer has concerns they can always bring a contractor or engineer to review the report, do specialized testing and look at the house they are buying. I always say, the more the merrier and the more eyes the better – except around the water cooler, or at the dairy case.