Need advice on roof leak that happened after I inspected

I inspected a home Nov 11th, and yesterday the homeowner did a walk through and found that the roof had leaked when we had a two day rain here in Phx. a week ago. At his request I stopped by yesterday evening and took a look at it. The interior wall is wet, from ceiling to baseboards, I noted mildew on baseboards. I believe he may want recourse from me, even though he doesn’t own the home yet, he is supposed to close today. His agent has contacted the owners who have moved out of state. Home has been vacant. In my inspection I took pictures and noted in report exposed roof underlayment and missing tile above the area in question. I recommended that he have a licensed roofing contractor further review and make repairs. I called him today at his realtors request and he would like me to send over pictures I took yesterday and write up basically my opinion on the problem. Any advice on how I should proceed?

Ok, this is advice but in the end you know all the dynamics so must make the final decision.

I have had a couple issues like this over the past year. If there was not a leak or evidence of a leak at the time of inspection AND you found a potential problem that you reported on AND that is what resulted in the leak or even another issue that was NOT something you missed… Then I would write up your findings from the re-inspection and note that the problem could be associated with the defect and that you again recommend a roofing professional inspect the property to determine the issue.
As long as the results are not something you missed that you should have seen, then you are no longer obligated. Working to help them find a resolution will always pay dividend AND if something is found that you should have caught and didn’t… Hire someone to correct and repair the damages … This is how I feel professionals handle their business. Or at least my opinion… Worth exactly what you paid for it!!! Lol… Good luck

Mary Ann, Based on your posting I do not see any responsibility on your part. He doesn’t own the home…he is aware of problem prior to purchase, his agent is aware and presumably the seller has been notified. You identified a problem and recommended repair. If the buyer ignored your advice or the agent minimized the issue to keep sale together you are not responsible. No one likes to get the call about a problem but just because someone calls doesn’t mean we are at fault. Perhaps all the buyer wants is documentation to bring the issue to the seller for correction.

I sounds like your report speaks for itself. You noted the problem and recommended a qualified roofer make repairs. No one did that while the sellers still owned the house. Maybe it is their (the seller’s) homeowner’s insurance issue, but I can’t see how it is your problem. I would reiterate what your report stated and note that the repairs were not done before water damage happened. Let him address it at closing with the sellers. The home is not in the same condition as when he made his offer. You can not do anything about that. What if there was a landslide or tornado?

Mary Ann, not to pick on you, but I recall you recently giving me a little flack about some of my past client issue comments.
So now that you have that feeling in the pit of your stomach, I am sure you can understand.

TO answer your question, I would put together what he needs and email it over, including the past damage found. Sounds pretty cut and dry. Broken/missing tiles = leak in roof.
He doesn’t own it yet, and he will need your professional documentation to help make it someone else’s problem.

Thanks George, I completely agree with your advice.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


He actually asked for the roof repairs but the sellers agreed instead to drop the price to cover the repairs. I do think he is looking for documentation of the new issue at hand. Thanks Mark. Have a great Thanksgiving!


If I gave you flack about client issues it was probably regarding the way you went about expressing yourself here on the message boards. I hope there are no bad feelings. :mrgreen: No bad feeling in the pit of my stomach, I think I like confrontation, lol.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

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Up to you on Nathan’s advice but I might say " I usually charge xx for my time but I would be happy to write you up something at no charge"

I do this on occasion and my thought is A- it allows me to engage and control my part in this along with documentation in case I need it later…B- it is good business to go above and beyond especially if you have a true heart to help people C- it will always come back to you in reputation at a minimum.
I love to make money, but I don’t squeeze it out every time I can… Thee is a clean line there somewhere.

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I recommended that he have a licensed roofing contractor further review and make repairs.

I think using this type of statement leaves it open ended does not place enough importance on the repair. I basically don’t care for the word RECOMMEND, unless it is just what it implies a recommendation to be followed by someone elses interpetation.

My statement would have been (Repair as necessary shingles missing/damaged front slope NW quardant by a qualifed roofing contractor)

The first word they see and probally the only one they understand is the word repair If they see the first word as being recommend it takes them down a completely different path thus you get the call that starts out with you inspected my house on ???

“Necessary” is also open for interpretation .
Point in general is to stick to your report recommendations , don’t shy away from communication and step up if something is found to be leaking that is not the mentioned I shingle and is something that should have been reasonable caught on the inspection.

Not to argue, George, but how is “necessary” open for interpretation.

“I recommend handrails going down the steps”
“Handrails are necessary to prevent falls”

I recommend a self locking gate and pool alarm, especially since you have small children.
A locking gate and pool alarm are necessary to prevent accidental drowning.

Painting pink walls a different color is a recommendation.
A TPR valve on a hot water heater is necessary…

Definitaly a good way of looking at it Michael. Never thought about it that way and will be changing some of my narratives.:mrgreen:

I always say…

Consult with a qualified roofing contractor for further investigation/repair options.

Mary Ann,

If you identified the problem in your original report you simply need to tell him to act upon your recommendation to call a roofer. The roofer will have more clout with the seller than your report will for him. You have done your job.

November 26, 2013

Dear Mr / Ms Client:
Per your recent request yesterday evening I went back to the home that I had originally inspected on 11/11/13 to verify there has been some type of moisture leakage. Although not leaking while I was present, the interior drywall was wet from the ceiling down to the baseboard at XXXXXX location.** Reviewing my original report, I noted it stated there was “exposed underlayment and missing tile in the roof area above this”.** Since these type conditions lend themselves to moisture intrusion, I recommended having a licensed and competent roofing contractor review the roofing system, its accessories and their conditions; and then service, repair, or replace any deficiencies or unreliable conditions as needed to properly correct them. In my opinion this does not look like it has been done.

At this point in time, it does not appear my original advice was followed for whatever reason. I can not predict the future but if there are other recommendations we made in our report that have not been addressed, I recommend budgeting for other unexpected calamities like this. I once more recommend having a licensed and competent roofing contractor read my report and follow my original advice. I also recommend that you contact both the sellers AND your own insurance company to verify the insurability and acceptability of the roofing prior to closing escrow.

Although I normally charge $150 for re-inspections, I have decided to not charge for my service this 1 time and wish you the best with your problem.

MaryAnn Inspector

Mary Ann …

I try to be polite and emphathetic BUT not sympathetic.

I was hired for my skill, advice and opinion. I performed.

They VOLUNATARILY chose to NOT take my advice OR recommendations for WHATEVER the reason. THEY now have a problem, but its THEIR problem AND it is NOT my problem, NOR will I let it become MY problem…

I wish them the best, then move on down the road.

“Repair as necessary” doesn’t say that anything is necessary. It leaves that determination up to… who? If something is necessary, say so!
If, as the inspector, I make a recommendation, I’m taking the responsibility to say that something needs to be repaired. If a client chooses to ignore my recommendation, that’s their decision. Sometimes I use “strongly recommend immediate…” especially with safety issues.
No home inspector makes recomendations for wall color.