Home inspector missed major items-how to proceed

Hello All,

My husband and I purchased a home on 8/31 and moved In over the next few days, so we have been there for 2 months now. We had a home inspection on 7/18 by a certified inspection company. Their report revealed lots of minor issues, as they were thorough noting that some close door were off the tracks, etc but seemed to miss a few major issues:

There is a 42’ long wooden support beam that runs the length of the back porch and supports the porch roof and is also connected to the metal pool cage. It is rotted through. We noticed this when we moved in and it rained…water was coming into our master bedroom at a very fast drip right above the back wall (but not a roof leak, it was coming from where the wall meets the roof). My husband went outside to investigate and also got on the roof to check. Turns out this support beam has been completely saturated and now needs to be replaced. Thankfully there is no mold damage in our back bedroom wall. But the support beam is a costly job…since it involves retracting the pool cage, supporting it and then reattaching it. We have estimates ranging from $7k-$14K (I suspect some were pulling permits, others not).

The air conditioner is old, yes from 1994. It was found to be in good working order although the outside unit was noisy. We know that in the next couple years we would have to replace it. My husband used to be in the A/C business so he knew this, though he also said he has replaced 30 yr old units before so we would plan to replace it in the future. We discovered that the unit in the attic has a HOLE in it, causing water to come out of it, rust on the drain pan and the wood trusses beneath it are actually black with mold. The ductwork is also full of holes, in some areas it is taped together with SUPER MARIO BROS wrapping tape!!! Our inspector noted none of these issues, only that it was old. In fact his report says “Heater Base in Good Condition”. Now we need a new unit before the leaking continues and and does any more damage (it has already flooded and the old tenant let us know that the ceiling has been replaced in multiple areas because of constant leaks). The age of the unit and new refrigerant requirements prevent us from just replacing one part of the unit because they will not be compatible. We also need new ductwork as it is in horrible shape and for a 4 ton unit (the home should actually have a 5 ton unit per the sq ft). This has been estimated to us as a cost of $12k-$16k!! We did not know the duct work was in such poor condition so that has increased the cost significantly.

The tpo porch roof has 2 leaks. We discovered this when it was raining which caused my husband to go on the roof to check it out. There are issues on the whole roof-no boots, only one exhaust, no flashing etc but the main roof is at least in good working order. The TPO roof is squishy when you walk on it because there is liquid trapped between 2 layers of roofing. It is also bulging around one of the support beams of the porch-this is visible. It is also spongy to the touch. We have been told this could be repaired but due to the nature of the current condition of the roof and that there is already moisture trapped between it would be a temporary fix. The estimates to repair the roof are around $4k-$5k.

The electrical system is a mess. The report did note that hot and neutral were switched throughout and that some junction boxes and wiring was not properly secured/sealed/whatever (don’t’ know the technical term) and that they presented a shock and electrocution hazard. So we planned to need several hours of a licensed electrician’s time. Fine. But when we got another home inspection because we had no faith in the first inspector) he noted all the junction boxes in the attic open and buried in insulation. a Fire hazard that could pose imminent danger since an arc could cause a spark and thus fire at any time. This cost us $1760 to repair (there were 16 junction boxes that needed attention). Our inspector argues that he is covered on his report because he said an electrician was needed because there was an electrocution hazard. We argue that there is a big difference between fire and electrocution hazard. Also, the scope of the work we would need from an Electrician was vastly greater than was indicated on the report.

There is wooden shed attached to the main house. The 2nd inspection showed there was current subterranean termite activity and significant termite damage. Our home inspection included a termite inspection. This was missed completely! This is about $1500 in costs though we figure we will just knock the shed down and get rid of the termites ourselves.

There are more issues but they are minor ones that we will handle ourselves and aren’t’ trying to be overly dramatic or make a mountain out of a molehill.

We have contacted the inspector who first wanted us to rely on the RWS Warranty contract he extends with each inspection. We did. They are a total joke and scam and have offered us $330 to repair the TPO roof. That is all.

We want him to make things right-we want the condition of the home to be that which was represented on the report. He has offered to give us $2800 towards the support beam. He has offered to take care of the termites. He has offered to buy us a $50 boot for the roof that has been missing. While we appreciate his kindness you can see that his offers don’t scratch the surface. Again, we aren’t looking for a payday. But we wouldn’t have purchased this home if we would have known about these items, or we would have negotiated a significantly lower price. The home was a rental property and in Florida the owner does not have to disclose items since he didn’t live on the property. Though we are definitely going to follow up with him and his realtor to see what the heck was going on.

We also have not trashed this company on social media, left any negative reviews, filed complains etc. We would like for his E & O insurance to cover these grave omissions.

Does any one have any advice?


Based upon your detailed (although one-sided) description of the events, call your Attorney.

As Jeff J. said for the amount and cost of damage you have described I would contact an attorney. Hopefully the inspector carries E&O.

I would also like to note this comment you made;

“We have contacted the inspector who first wanted us to rely on the RWS Warranty contract he extends with each inspection. We did. They are a total joke and scam and have offered us $330 to repair the TPO roof. That is all.”

That is very interesting. Though I must admit i am not surprised. Most home inspection warranties are not worth the paper they’re printed on.

Given the broad scope and serious nature of the deficiencies noted (to be fair, some items such as A/C sizing are beyond the scope of a home inspection), I would definitely contact an attorney.

I think you not trashing them online at this point is a wise and commendable thing.

Sorry to hear of your poor experience with the warranty company. Keep that in mind when the the alarm system sales calls come in.

Good luck to you in getting your house squared away.

Curious, how did you find out about the Home Inspector and/or did your Real Estate Agent recommend?

I maybe would double check with the electrician on this one. First, insulation is non-combustible, so there is not any real fire hazard.

Second, if the boxes were covered by insulation then they would have been easily missed, since inspectors do not dig through everything. If they were visible, or even partly then that’s understandable.

Buying 16 covers and installing them shouldn’t cost 1700 bucks.

The beam that you also say is rotted out, and leaking from the bedroom wall also is not clear. If the beam is rotted, then you would have moisture that’s been there for a long time. Long enough to create a huge mold issue. You stated there was no mold, so is the beam just wet or rotted?? If its just wet, then it may be OK and not need replacing.

Having the errors professionally documented is a smart idea, but make sure your not getting taken for a ride either.

True. If the inspector documented the existence of the defect, he did his job in this regard. It is not the inspector’s responsibility to provide an enumerated list of all instances of said defect, scope repairs or explain all potential hazards associated with a particular defect. Installing covers that cost pennies a piece on 16 junction boxes is not a $1,760 project. You need to seek out another electrical contractor.

Thank you so much for everyone’s input.

We are contacting an attorney and going to have him draft up a letter to the inspector. It is not our desire to sue and we hope it doesn’t get there. We are also going to open a complete with Internachi.

The electrical issue is the only one that is tricky. I liken it to a mechanic saying hey your brakes are a little soft you will need to replace them soon and then another mechanic coming along saying you have no brake pads left-get them replaced ASAP before you get back in your car. The second inspector we hired said get an electrician-fast-you have fires waiting to start up there. And I agree, the electrician was high but we got two estimates and they were both in the same ballpark. It took 2 people 4 hours to do all that work - I am in the wrong business based on what they are charging!!)

For the structural beam-there is no leak in our bedroom, which is directly below the beam. I don’t know if the beam has mold or not since it was painted over. But it is very visible to the eye. I know nothing about construction and I can look at it and see that it is not a hard surface like it should be, but mushy.

And I agree it is hard to get estimates from contractors and know who is trying to screw you over. Though they have all been in the same ballpark which presents another problem-are we also going to overpay for this work? So we have work that we didn’t know had to be done that is quite pricy and on top of it we are going to be paying even more because we aren’t contractors?

Will keep working through this.

Thanks, all.