Recently purchased a house that I had inspected prior to closing. The
inspector was an overly qualified proff engineer (PE) home inspector.
I recently learned that he overlooked two very obvious and important
defects. Not sure I wish to persue this matter, but I wouldn't mind
#1---Was told that this is a 1973 house, (county records on the
internet say this as well). However, I have found strong evidence that
this house was probably a total remodel of an older house built maybe
10-20 yrs prior. A)--there are exposed areas of the sheathing (siding)
in several places that are easily observed (where the exterior cedar
shakes don't quite cover). This sheathing is shiplap. I understand
that shiplap sheathing was replaced by plywood or particle board long
before 1973. Also, the foundation has lines etched all over showing
that before the shiplap boards were used as siding, they were used for
cement forms for the foundation. This is supported by the cement
stains seen on the shiplap boards.
#2--- This is a daylight basement. During the inspection, I pointed
out to the inspector that the basement was missing 300 sq feet in the
corner, when compared to the upstairs....I wondered what was in this
missing space. He just shrugged his shoulders. Well, I didn't know
enough to worry about it, but a recent re-inspection revealed the
obvious...the upstairs portion (above this missing 300 sq ft) is built
above a cement pad....presumably the old garage floor before the
remodel. While my original inspector may not have been expected to
know about the cement pad...he should have wondered what the upstairs
was sitting on, if not the basement walls. A quick look around the
outside shows absolutely no crawlspace access or even ventilation. It
was easy to see that part of the hous was built on a fully enclose,
inaccessable, unventilated void. It was obvious that this wasn't a
cement slab, because the hardwood floors above sound very hollow.
Obviously, this devalues the house because it is an undesirable defect
that cannot be fixed....who knows what condition the framing / subfloor
is down there after 30 yrs of unventilated...the old garage floor is
cement and could be damp. I'm guessing there is around 4 inches of
space beneath the 2x8 floor joists and the cement floor....not enough
of a void to ever put in access...ie cralspace.
I am not sure if I want to sue the inspector (I already know the bit
about liability waivers....and I don't believe that releases them from
negligence in my area). Some considerations are #1--even if my house
is a 1960 isntead of 73....it will be hard for me to quantify my
damages in dollar terms (court may say the house is still worth what I
paid....defense might claim that houses in the 60's are often built
better than the 70's) #2--the crawlspace/void isn't necessarily a
problem as there is no sign of mold/damage. How can I say how much
this defect is worth in damages? #3--If I persue this case and
research the records and find that the house is a remodel....someday
when I sell it, I will have to disclose this fact which might make it
hard for me to sell or lower the value.
This is all very frustrating for me as these defects were pretty
obvious (the second inspector found them in minutes....along with
completely worthless siding on the whole house.) As I said my first
inspector is a lic engineer (so was the 2nd) with 35 yrs of experience
and thousands of inspections under his belt...so this is unbelievable.
If I had known about any of this I would have walked away from that
house like it was on fire. Now I own it and am indebted for 30yrs.
Just curious if anyone has thought of anything that has yet to occur to
me....doubtful as I've been dwelling on it a lot.