Do you think I have a Case against US Inspect?

Originally Posted By: Ray Holt
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we purchased our home in Feb 2003, we hired Bob Holly from US Inspect who was referred to us by a local RE agent as someone who was honest, thorough and diligent for the buying party.

Mr. Holly spent 4 hours at our home before escrow closed and said that the home was in overall excellent condition and stated in his report that the roof was very good with at least 10 years left on it. He further stated to me while the inspection was taking place, that he walked the entire outside of the roof and inspected the inside of the attic looking for problems but that he found none. I took him at his word and trusted his judgment that the roof was in good shape, so I didn't inspect it myself.

We moved in on March 15, 2003 during a horrendous rain storm that lasted all day. About 2:30-3:00pm I received a phone call from a contractor who had done a ton of work on the house after we closed escrow because of undisclosed mold, water, drywall and dryrot damage that was covered up by the previous owner. The only room that we didn't touch was the master bathroom because we didn't have the money after having to resheet 1/2 the house, retexturing, paint, carpet and mold repair. We figured that since the previous owner had just repainted the master bath, we could use it until we had saved the funds to fix it the way we wanted to which was going to take awhile.

On moving day, my contractor called to tell me that there was a very large bubble in the master bath ceiling and that he suspected it was water trapped behind the paint which was just done by the previous owner to hide the persistent water staining & damage, we found out later. My contractor popped the bubble and approx 5 gallons of water poured out of it. When I got to the house, all of the walls & ceiling sheetrock were soaking wet to the point that it was starting to crumble. At that point it was obvious that there was a major roof leak somewhere and that water was going to be a constant problem. I was already very concerned about the extensive mold that I cleaned in the kitchen, both bathrooms and 2 of the bedrooms, so I told my contractor to rip out the entire master bathroom to the studs to prevent any further mold. I figured that I would have to repair the roof to prevent any further damage, but that the water damage was so extensive that I had no choice but to rip the bathroom drywall out to make sure that the black mold didn't reappear.

About 3-4 days later when the rains stopped, I had the opportunity to get on the roof to examine where the leak could be coming from and I was shocked what I found. A section of roof 10ft x 3ft had been previously repaired years earlier with clear indoor silicon caulking. It was obviously an old repair that was very poorly done, the caulking was split & broken by the sun damage, it was a horrendous and obvious oversight by the home inspector. Furthermore it's painfully obvious that he didn't bother to walk the roof because if he would have, he would have needed a seeing eye dog to miss the terrible patch job on the roof. When I walked the inside of the attic to see if there was any water damage visible on the inside, there were extensive water stains on the wood where the leak was and it was again very obvious that it had been a long term leak by the dried stains on the wood.

There were other problems like he missed a drain that was clogged shut by rust for the washing machine that cost me $150 to have cleared on a Sunday. Then he missed the other bathroom's bathtub porcelain which was so badly scored that rust stains are appearing over 30% of it. It another obvious oversight by this inspector who at the time I thought was doing a good job.

I contacted the company by phone to explain my problems, they told me to send a letter of complaint which I did, then Mr. Holly came back to the house to reinspect the problems. US Inspect then sent us a letter claiming that Mr. Holly had done a good inspection and that they weren't going to do anything to help with his poor inspection.

I know I have no claims against US Inspect for undisclosed or hidden defects. The mold issues aren't covered either because they weren't visible and their contract specifically excludes mold from being something that they have any liability for. However, it seems to me that the bathroom roof was such a terrible & obvious oversight by Mr. Holly and had I seen it myself or he had informed me of it, I would have either had the previous owner repair it or I would have made the repairs to it myself, which would have taken 30-40 minutes.

As a result of Mr. Holly's terrible inspection of my house, we've been without a maste bathroom since March 15, 2003, I'm so angry at US Inpect's careless attitude towards us that I'm spitting fire. I've taken ton's of photographs & video of the damage by the leaking roof and of the exterior silicon patch job that stands out like a sore thumb. The fact of the matter is because of Mr. Holly's not bothering to check the outside or inside of the roof, it's cost us $20,000 in damage and it seems that the only remedy I have is to sue US Inspect.

I'm thinking of suing US Inspect but I'd greatly appreciate any feedback on input by the members of this board and what you think of this situation. Is there a place I can post on a website my complaint of Mr. Holly's poor inspection and the way US Inspect has treated us. Is there a complaint form I can fill out so that others can know how bad these people are to their customers and that they won't stand by their clients? I'm happy to explore any other avenues but since US Inspect won't admit that Mr. Holly screwed up badly, I don't think I have any other choice but to take them to court.

I'd appreciate any help and thanks for your time,

Ray Holt

"There are only 2 things that are infinite, the universe and mans stupidity.........but I'm not so sure about the universe". Einstein

Originally Posted By: gbeaumont
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Hi Ray,

it is very difficult to offer you an opinion without seeing all the documentation, the inspection contract, inspectors report and photographs etc of the poorly repaired roofing. However if the inspector did as you say put in his report that he had visually inspected the roof from both its surface and from the attic it would appear that either he missed a major problem, or lied about the extent to which he had inspected. If either statement is true then in most circumstances I would expect that you would have some sort of case against USinspect. Please note that this is just my personal opinion, I would suggest that you talk to a real estate attorney about this issue.

The other areas that you feel he missed, I need to defend him over, firstly it is beyond the scope of a home inspection to report on the efficiency of appliance drains, if you can see nothing visually then we would not normally do any further evaluation, secondly the cracking of porcelain on a bath tub would be seen buy most inspectors as a cosmetic issue, and one that the home buyer would have seen in their initial viewing of the home.



Gerry Beaumont
NACHI Education Committee
e-mail :
NACHI phone 484-429-5466

Inspection Depot Education

"Education is a journey, not a destination"

Originally Posted By: jonofrey
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Without the benfit of seeing what the inspector actually put in the report regarding the roof, my opinion is that he should have reported the previously completed, obvious and poorly done roof repair. My guess is that he didn't walk the roof. I say this, because I once observed (from the ground with binoc's) what I thought was a funny looking ridge vent at the top of a single story home with a hip roof and 3 tab shingles. When I walked the roof, what I thought was a (funny looking) ridge vent was actually the edge flashing of 20 x 20 section of flat roof, which was holding water and the rolled asphalt was failing. No one involved in the transaction was aware that the home had a flat roof and it was not disclosed by the seller. I walk every roof that I consider safe enough to walk and if I see something funny from the ground, I really want to discover what it actually is.

I would have commented on the tub but I usually never run water through a washer drain unless the washer is part of the transaction, then I run it through it's cycles.

Gerry has the best advice, talk to a good Real Estate Attorney, especially one that understands the inspection process for your state.

Inspection Nirvana!

We're NACHI. Get over it.

Originally Posted By: hgordon
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If that is the case, what have you heard back from your agent?

3. Void of seeing ALL the documents related to ALL the work which was performed since the date of the inspection, I believe we would all here agree that we cannot really offer you too much advice.

4. As to the lack of Mr Holly in seeing the OBVIOUS, based on your comment, improper prior repair to the roof ("previously repaired years earlier with clear indoor silicon caulking.", ) I also would agree that what you have here is a case of did he or did he not walk the roof.

5. You state that the HI was at your home for about 4 hours. How do you know that?

6. Where you present at the time of the inspection? If not, who on your behalf was? If so, did you see the HI go on the roof or even in the attic?

7. Regarding the drain issue, on my part I operate ANY and ALL appliances that are IN the house at the time of inspection so that IF after my inspection an appliance IS negotiated to remain or go, I can be sure that they were tested. Was there a Washing Machine there at the time of the inspection?

8. One question and a major comment; "Did the seller disclose to you the previous repairs to the roof, or anything regarding the condition of the drains?" My point is that in the case of the Roof, the seller should have disclosed this to you and there you MAY have additional places to seek compensation.

Mr. Holt, I am not an attorney and surely you understand the importance of seeking legal counsel at this point. I encourage you to be sure to do that.

Some comments/questions I would have for the seller is that IF they were aware of the LEAKING in the roof (evidenced by the prior repairs of the same)....maybe the were aware of the issue with the mold!! Was the mold visible at ANY point? How did you discover the "undisclosed mold, water, drywall and dryrot damage that was covered up by the previous owner"?

Please keep me informed.

Harvey Gordon
SE Florida NACHI Chapter - President

Originally Posted By: Nick Gromicko
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Originally Posted By: Ray Holt
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Hello and thanks to everyone who replied to this post.

To answer a few questions about this house, the previous owner, the RE agent and the home inspector that you've asked about.

I was present at the house during the entire inspection, however, I only spent about 1 hours with Bob Holly because I also had 2 different contractors at the house during the same time for their bids to do a new kitchen. I didn't follow Bob Holly around all of the time, but I did ask him from time to time if he had found any major problems other than the issues already discussed by the owner. Bob said that the house looked in very good condition overall.

The previous owner was a 54 year old speed freak who had done no maintance on this house for years, he rented rooms out to kids who were also lowlife pieces of trash tweekers. He was going to lose this house to forclosure proceedings if we didn't close escrow on time. He sold this house for $200,000 MORE than he bought it for and he literally walked away pennyless because of back debts, child support and taxes. I did sue him in small claims for non-disclosure of defects and another small claims suit for not completing the repairs in the escrow contract. I was able to get some tools, $500 cash and some other minor stuff from him, but I felt bad that he was literally without a pot to pi$$ in. I understood that he was desperate, he was going to lose this house if he didn't sell it to 1 of the 3 parties who wanted it, but we paid fair market value not considering the undisclosed defects.

When we purchased this house, we had enough money to do a new kitchen, paint, carpet, baseboards, new lighting, new bath fixtures and we were going to remodel the bathrooms in a year or so after saving up. After having to do all of the repairs before moving in, we didn't have money to do anything but paint, baseboards & a Home Depot carpet. The previous owner had repainted the living room, master bath and hallway, but he then was in the process of wallpapering over most of the kitchen to hide mold and EVERY SINGLE room had at least 2 walls papered. I discovered the mold when I took the wallpaper off of the kitchen wall and the sheetrock fell off in my hands. I discovered the mold in the bathrooms when I was removing the baseboards and the wood was so rotted & black that it crumbled like a piece of pastry. At the back of the middle bathroom, there was a repair patch of sheetrock which was just placed in a hole. When I removed this 2'x3' patch of blue wallboard, I was shocked to see a carpet of black mold on the wall of the shower. It was about 1/4" thick covering the bottom of the wall, all the way up to the 7' mark and across the entire 3' wall. When I was taking off the corner bead of the exterior 2 shower walls, the steel corner bead was crumbled for the bottom 2' and it was completely rusted to the ceiling. The repair patch to the back of the shower was brand new, there was mold all over every inch of wallboard, EXCEPT for this patch of blue wallboard, so it would have been impossible for the owner, who claimed to have done the repair, not to have seen this horrendous mold.

At this point I knew I was in trouble, I called the state of California to ask about their recommendations for mold repair, because like everyone else, I'd also heard about the mold scare, but thought it was BS. As I was removing more baseboards, it turns out that the mold extended across a 15ft wall of the master bedroom and was about 3ft high. The mold there was pretty bad but not as bad as the bathroom, so after ripping out all of the drywall, I sanded the wood, scrubbed the corners with a steel brush and soaked the exposed wood with 1/4 bleach for 3 days. FYI, this was thick black mold, not a yellow, green or brown mold where are for the most part harmless.

Since I didn't have the money to pay a professional company to repair the mold, I wore an NBC US Military gas mask and I refused entry to anyone until the house was clean, which took me about 10 straight days at 18-22 hours a day. The mold was obvious and even Bob Holly told me that had he seen it, he would have told me during the inspection.

It turns out after speaking to some of my neighbors that the RE Agent, Randy Aguilar from Century 21 Huntington Beach, who represented both us and the seller, knew that there was mold in the house. During the 1st open house, the house was filthy, it stank of cigg smoke, was in such a state of $hit, that Randy was seen cleaning the place up with the owner by 3 of the neighbors. Every neighbor told me that they smelled mold & mildew as soon as they walked in the house and that it was overwhelming.

Randy also badly screwed me over when it was obvious that the previous owner wasn't going to finish the agreed upon repairs in the escrow contract. Randy promised me 3 times in front of many other people that if the owner didn't complete the repairs in the escrow contract, that he would pay for the repairs. Guesss what, the repairs didn't get completed, one week before escrow closed I wanted to hold it up until the repairs were completed or we were compensated. But Randy Aguilar told me that we couldn't hold up the sale legally and he told me that we had to close on time or else we would have lost our $5k deposit. It turns out we could have delayed it, but that our dual agent had lied to us, then when I approached him about paying for the repairs after escrow closed, all of a sudden he had amnesia.

The repairs that were in the contract consisted of the wood framing around the Jacuzzi which was destroyed by termites and pointed out in the termite report as needing to be repaired. The exterior stucco had some cracking and I had wanted to paint the house during the summer, so we wrote into the contract that I wanted the stucco in paint ready condition cause we didn't have the cash to do it. I wanted 4 ficus trees removed which were right next to the slab foundation of the house because as everyone with 2 brain cells knows, ficus tree roots destroy concrete foundations. There were a couple of other minor issues but nothing major and I allowed many repairs needed not to be included in the contract and just concentrated on the major issues.

Nothing was done when we closed, the owner tried to do some wood work but was completely worthless and I finally told him to get out because I didn't trust him or his lowlife friends.

To top it all off, after I've worked my a$$ off fixing this house up so my family can live in it safely, the roof leaked flooding the ceiling of the master bathroom and creating another chapter of hell in my life. I've lost a year of my life working on this piece of $hit house, everytime I look at it, I get sick to my stomach thinking of the nightmare I bought and how I wished we never would have never stepped foot in it.

I have gotten bent over by my RE Agent Randy Aguilar from Century 21 in Huntington Beach, Ca, byt the previous owner and by the home inspector from US Inspect Bob Holly. Out of the bunch, Bob Holly is a very nice guy who allowed me to walk the house with him and he explained what he was looking for. But being a nice guy isn't enough for me to try and recover from damages that were caused by his missing this obvious roof repair with clear indoor silicon. There was absolutely no way he walked the roof, or else he would have seen it and I would have repaired it myself.

I was going through some of the hours of video tape I took before & after we bought this house and I have Bob Holly on tape as saying the roof is in good shape with at least 10 years life before it should be replaced. Then we're also going to have to replace the bathtub in the middle bathroom because the previous owner used an abrasive cleaner so strong that it stripped the porcelian right off and now there are rust spots appearing over 30% of the tub. Hpw can a professional miss these glaring problems?

In any event, again, I appreciate your help and I'm going to sue US Inspect after getting all of your input. I can't afford a RE attorney but I've got a buddy of mine who's a lawyer and he's looking into representing me.

Thanks again,


"There are only 2 things that are infinite, the universe and mans stupidity.........but I'm not so sure about the universe". Einstein

Originally Posted By: dbowers
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Ray -

As a 26 year veteran home inspector and inspection trainer I'd like to make a few comments for your benefit.

Operating a washing machine or testing its drain pipe is way out beyond the Standards of Practice of any National or State Association I know of. You may run into someone that does that but it would be VERY RARE.

Reporting on discolored or surface cracks on porcelain would be considered cosmetic by the vast majority of home inspectors and something readily visible to a home buyer - therefore it would in most locations be something a buyer would factor into his purchase offer.

The roof issue sounds like the inspector either didn't really walk the roof or didn't report on a potentially significant condition. Either way it sounds
like something to discuss with the inspection company, the seller, the realestator, and/or your attorney.

Good Luck

Originally Posted By: Scott Patterson
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US Inspect have very deep pockets with high priced litigation attorneys on staff. I have worked beside their legal team a couple of times and all I can say is you are in for a long haul. They can afford to drag a case out for a very long time, it does not cost them all that much as they have staff lawyers.

With you having a tape of the inspector saying the roof was going to last for several years, it sounds like you were setting a trap. My question would be; Why were you video taping the inspection?

Good luck in you endeavors.

Originally Posted By: Ray Holt
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Sorry to disappoint you but you'll have to rule out your conspiracy web of intrigue that's rolling around in your mind. I didn't video tape the entire inspection and in fact I only have about 50 seconds of the inspector on video, which is about 1/500th of the time he spent evaluating my home.

I wasn't video taping the inspector while getting his comments about the condition of the roof, I was taping a buldge in the shingles next to the hot water vent where the flashing was picking the shingles by the corner of the flashing.. The inspector walked up behind me while I was video taping the roof and I ask him what his opinion is of the roof and if the buldge is any problem. Bob Holly, the inspector by US Inspect clearly says that the buldge is not a problem because he walked the roof and inspected it. It was a lucky chance happening, period.

The fact of the matter is that I knew the owner of this house was a hardcore dope addict who had thrown his entire life in the garbage for a line of speed. I was afraid that he wouldn't do the repairs promised, I knew he had not done any maintaince for years to the house and I wanted to document everything I could before we closed escrow. YEP....I wanted proof in case I had to fight him or the inspector or the RE agent in court, which is exactly what's happened and why I made the tape in the first place.

As far as US Inspect is concerned, I couldn't care if this case takes the entire 5 years to get to court because it's obvious that they'll lose and then I'll be able to recover my attorney's fees. I hope their legal team is stubborn, I hope they use every legal trick in the book, I hope they fight me tooth & nail because then when I'm in front of a jury and they hear what I've gone through due to Bob Holly missing this roof damage, I'll win more than I wanted. They really don't want me in front of a jury because I'm an expert witness in the firearms field, I've testified against some of the better defense attorneys in Calif and I've been instrumental in beating everyone except one and the guy was killed in prison before coming to trial. Not only that but can you say "bad faith"??? I can. The whole reason I hired an inspection company was to protect me from having to go through this nightmare which could have been very easily prevented if not for Bob Holly. The inspection has some major league exposure and if they don't want to step up to the plate and settle this like they should, it will cost them much more down the road.

I'm so angry at US Inspect that I'll do whatever I have to to make their life as miserable as they've made mine over this last 15 months.


"There are only 2 things that are infinite, the universe and mans stupidity.........but I'm not so sure about the universe". Einstein

Originally Posted By: jfarsetta
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Sounds to me that the Agent may be on the hook for some disclosure issues. In California, is the agent required to have you acknowledge that he is acting as a dual agent? If not, he has a problem.

The agent referred the inspector to a house where the agent knew (you alledge) there were hidden defects. Problem there.

As far as the Inspection goes, your excitement was the reason for the videotaping. That is quite obvious. The fact that you have verry little of the actual inspection on tape only helps your case.

Despite all the lawyers in te world, I suspect that the Agent's E&O carrier and US Inspect will indemnify you to some extent. Hey, you've got nothing to lose, right.

I'm not in favor of frivouous lawsuits, or anyone who blames the inspector for every little thing missed. The marred tub is a walk away, as is the washer drain. The roof and damage to the bathroom may be something to go afer. Certainly the roof, unless it was too high or steep to safely walk at the time of the inspection. If he wrote that he walked it, and he didnt, he has a problem. That is, of course, as long as you have the written opinion of a professional roofer as to the obvious nature of the damage, and its extent. That may help.

Get a lawyer, and DOCUMENT everything

Joe Farsetta

Illigitimi Non Carborundum
"Dont let the bastards grind you down..."