Homeowner w/ inspection question (long--sorry!)

Originally Posted By: andrew peduzzi
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I’ve owned my 60-year-old house for four years. I had an inspection when I moved in. Homeowners were required to repair very old minor termite damage and repair a floor joist that was notched through to make room for washer/dryer installation. The inspector noticed that some outlets tested open ground & reverse polarity. The inspector noted that the flashing on the chimney was not the “preferred method” but it hadn’t leaked in 10+ years, so he wasn’t concerned. He also noted that there were a few knotholes that had popped out of the roof decking, but he was not concerned about any leakage – he just wanted to be thorough.

I'm now selling my house and my buyer just pulled out after her home inspection. Her inspector stated that all of the outlets were "improperly wired for grounding safety." He also stated that there was "possible leakage due to improper flashing" and "missing roof decking." In addition, he believes that the house is missing a "main pier" underneath.

I live in Kentucky, where inspectors are not required to be licensed (although a bill was just passed to that effect), but how can two inspections sound SO different? And how could one inspector miss or overlook a "main pier" that may be missing under the house?? I have no structural problems -- no sagging floors or cracks in the walls. I've had no major repairs since I've lived there.

What do I do at this point? Is my only recourse to pay a contractor to determine whether major structural repairs are needed? Did my inspector de-emphasize important problems? Or is the current inspector blowing them out of proportion?

Can someone give me some guidance on where to go?

TIA for any suggestions.

Originally Posted By: dfrend
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OK, I will help and I am sure others will chime in.

improperly wired for grounding safety

The first inspector most likely did not check "all" outlets, as I am sure the second may not have (a representative number should be acceptable). thus his evaluation.(
some outlets tested open ground & reverse polarity
) is the same, though you did not say what he suggested you do. Thishould be evaluated by an electrician, but is typical in many older homes.

possible leakage due to improper flashing

Does not say there IS. Which may well mean that he saw the SAME thing as the first but wanted to have it noted to have evaluated by another(ie. roofer) to protect himself from liability should it leak.

missing roof decking.

as opposed to:

a few knotholes that had popped out of the roof decking

This may not be a big difference, just adifferent way of putting things. On the other hand, alot can change in 4 years, so maybe there is now roof leakage and further damage than was present 4 years ago.

As for the main pier:
he believes that the house is missing a "main pier" underneath.

"believes" is probably the key word. He is most likely not a structural engineer(else he would Know), and this should be determined by one. Without knowing for sure, don't fault the origanl inspector for this. And if they did miss it, call them to discuss it. But in there defense, they(unless a structural engineer) would not be required to know this, and could likely miss it.

All in all, again being short all the facts and reports, the evaluations do not seem too different to me, in my humble opinion. You likely just had a buyer who freaked out without thinking about what is important and bailed. You will get those. If that is the list of problems, on a 60 year old house, you probably don't have much to worry about

My advice, call the original inspector to discuss. But given what you presented, it may not be a big difference in what was found. If you wish to discuss my thoughts, feel free to contact me at dfrend@freestatehome.com or by phone.

Daniel R Frend
The Home Inspector Store

Originally Posted By: ecrofutt
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Unless you’ve seen the report itself, remember that the buyer may be overblowing the inspection report as an excuse to get out of the deal because they are suffering “buyer remorse”.

Get the buyer to give the latest inspector permission to talk to you about the inspection (if he won't without it, most won't.)

Call the inspector and ask them to clarify their report on those issues, so that you better understand what the problems are before spending tons of money on additinal consultants. Be aware he may charge for this, as the time he spends with you may keep him from performing an inspection for someone else.

After that conversation, you'll have a better idea of where to go from here.

Erby Crofutt
B4U Close Home Inspections
Georgetown, Kentucky


Originally Posted By: dbowers
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There’s too many variables to say whats right. As several others have said other than the pier comment, it sounds like both inspectors said the much the same thing - BUT WORDED IT DIFFERENTLY.

The glass is half full of milk
Some of the milk is missing - its half empty

Same comment, but one conveys optimism, the other pessimism.

Same as the 2 inspectors.

The pier statement can be a different scenario or not - "He believes its missing" is the key word. In my area the typical engineer would not have gotten into a crawlspace, so we would need a competent home inspector or foundation contractor to determine this.

This sounds really wierd to me - either its there or not there. I can't ever remember looking at a beam or girder and thinking - "I believe the pier is missing". If I read that statement in a report I would have serious doubts or red flags about the inspector. I'd check him out further.

Originally Posted By: rmoore
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Don't be too quick to blame your original inspector. At a glance it doesn't appear that he did you any disservice. He pointed out a few items that, while imperfect, did appear to be functioning (leaving aside the outlets which I'm assuming nothing was done about). You have lived in the home for four years without problems in those areas, so it seems he was correct. As you stated, there were no indications of any structural problems in a 60 year old house so it seems unlikely that this mystery pier is needed. Old houses were built in a multitude of fashions, some unconventional, and I do believe there is such a thing as "passing the test of time". If the pier had been there and somehow failed, or it was very obviously needed at, say, a beam connection, then yes, he should have called it, but then the buyer's inspector also should have been more specific.

It does sound like you have a buyer who was looking for any excuse to get out of the deal. Whether or not they used, abused or coerced their inspection to that end is just too hard to say from a distance.

Hopefully, you will have better luck with the next buyer.

Richard Moore
Rest Assured Inspection Services
Seattle, WA

Originally Posted By: andrew peduzzi
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You provide helpful information – especially given the limited facts you have. I appreciate it. Because of unseasonally bad weather (i.e. snow and sleet), the contractor who agreed to come review the reports and give us an evaluation of the situation has not made it to our house yet.

We already have two more showings scheduled, so let's hope the "real" buyer has a better idea of what to expect in a 60-year-old home.

Thanks again, guys. I really do appreciate your input.

Originally Posted By: jmyers
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The difference you have there is one inspector was a realist and the other was a cover his A$$ alarmist.

I would have to say that the first inspector gave you the better inspection, than the one that did it when you tried to sell your house.

Regardless, what we say and how we say it does have a big effect on the outcome. I disagree that one was a pessimist and the other was an optimist, the first one just gave you the realistic information that you needed in terms you could understand, so you could make an informed decision when your purchased your home.

If you want, I can send you a span chart, that should give you an idea if you need additional support beams in your home. I have to say, at 60 years old if it would have needed them it would have needed them a long time ago. ![icon_biggrin.gif](upload://iKNGSw3qcRIEmXySa8gItY6Gczg.gif)

Joe Myers