Should I have?

I did an inspection in September, I got a call back today becuse the owners found a hole in the cast Iron pipe at the intersection of the vent and 2 drain lines. The hole was covered by a bag of potting soil with 3 or 4 clay pots lined up on the rock foundation next to it. They claim they have been getting headaches since they started living there.

The repair is going to cost several hundred dollars. Not only was this hole there, but I did miss a crack further down the line behind the furnace in the cast Iron. What I want to know from you guys who have been doing this for a while, should I have picked up this little 10LB plastic bag of soil to look underneath it. In your guys opinion, am I responsable for not finding this defect?

It is also the opinion of the buyer that the previous owner knew about this problem and failed to disclose it. I think he knew about it too. But I think that ultimately if I missed it, I should be responsable for the repair. It will cost everybody a whole lot more money, for me too, if the buyer goes to the attorney and tries to go after the seller.

Looking forward to your comments.


The seller should have disclosed that and you can take it to the bank that he knew about it. If you are sued, be sure to invite the seller to the party and the listing agent, too.

I am a newbie…I don’t want to comment…but I want to make a comment.

How many people on this board would honestly call their home inspector almost 6 months after buying a house if they found something like this?

I’ll vote first

I would not.

Sorry to hijack your thread…but I just don’t understand people anymore…now I also understand they may or may not be calling you to get money out of you…but regardless…I wouldn’t call my inspector to even ask him about it…I would call a plumber immediately or I would fix it myself…but I wouldn’t call the guy who came to my house 6 months previous to look for significant problems that I may have missed. Sigh.

To answer your question…I’m not sure I would have moved the bag…but like I said, I’m sorta new and I’m still only doing ‘visual’ inspections and not moving things out of the way of other things…sorry I can’t help…sorry about the rant.

I would do the same as you, Tony.

I do have a cast iron disclaimer in my report for whenever I find cast iron.

Can You share this Russell? Your stuff is always very perfeshunal.


Like Tony,
It hacks me that we spend so much time writing disclaimers and trying to cover our collective a$$es… I did a home yesterday with so much stuff piled in the garage (prior to the moving out) That I simply photographed it and disclaimed it all… and that’s NOT how I want to do business, I want to look at that garage for the family that’s moving there to do what they paid me for.
Like Joe,
It hacks me that the PO likely sat that bag there to cover the fault…

Coffee pot overflowed this morning and I think a lot of stuff is going to ‘hack me’ today…:mad:

Hi Joe,

For the $600 it is going to cost, is it worth bringing my insurance co. into it and fighting about it, or should I claim responsability and pay the damages? I review some of my pictures, and I most certainly did misa a large crack in a section of the cast iron.

Try and meet them halfway… maybe halfway between a refund and the full repair… try several options before you pay for it all…including casting a few aspersions at the previous owner and their disclosure…

Save the insurance for a ‘real’ problem…

The reason for the call back was, they got home from vacation, did a load of laundry, found the bsement half full of soap suds. After investigating a little, they noticed an elbow and a long piece of cast to be cracked and broken. I want to do what is right and as cheaply as possible for myself and my client.

I understand the seller should have disclosed and should be liable, but in all reality, is that going to matter for me if I go to court and there are pictures of a crack which I didn’t report on?


Are you sure there crack was there when you did the inspection. If they discovered it from soap suds in the basement shouldn’t they have found it sooner. Maybe they do laundry every 6 months.

Very good point! I do laundry ever 3 months… would have found it sooner.

That would depend on your insurance.

I’m not aware of any insurance provider that has less than a $1,000 deductible, so you’d wind up paying $600 with or without insurance.

Many insurance providers, however, require you to notify them if there is a demand for money. The reason is that such demands can escalate from small amounts to significant amounts once other people start examining the problem and assigning blame.

Well, sonny boy, that’s 'cause ah is a perfeshunal. :smiley:

I forgot to post the cast iron disclaimer. :oops:

Every time one of us inspectors rolls over and takes the blame for unscrupulous sellers or buyers we reinforce the notion that they can come back to us months or even years later for small discrepancies we could not have seen unless we did something such as move furniture, bags of potting soil, boats (yes that happened to me). Six months is long time to be held responsible for something you could not see.

Hi Scott,
we are not perfect, if you missed a crack and they want $600
I would just pay it, have them sign a release and learn from it.


I did miss the crack, I looked through my pictures and in one of something else, you can see the upper end of the crack. It was there when I did the inspection.

My contract specifically excludes requiring me to move personal property, debris, etc. to look for problems. I think the crack is a no-brainer, but the hole that was covered by the bag is a different story.



How old was the Home?

Hi Joe,

House is 100+ years.


Great advice! And move on.