Issue #66 July 21, 2002
Staying Out of the Court Room
By now you should be well aware that my goal in writing this newsletter is to educate and inform you about home inspections, but there is also an
ulterior motive. That motive is to hopefully help keep you out of trouble. Without even being aware of it, this year you may be stepping into a new realm of potential litigation relative dealing with your clients and their home inspections. One of your required continuing education courses this year is about "Home Inspections." Guess what, up to now your knowledge of the requirements for home inspection in the state of North Carolina was most likely based on your own experience and various speakers who you may have been exposed to. Not anymore, after this year you knowledge is based on education. Now don't be confused, I think this is a good thing, and I am one of many home inspectors who encouraged this development.
Before I go any further, let me make it very clear that I am not an attorney and what will be covered here is my own personal opinion and not necessarily based on findings established by litigation.
Do you think you have a fiduciary responsibility to your client to direct them relative to how they select their home inspector? Let's have a little test to observe how you might relate to a specific issue. This is based on an actual event which occurred recently. As I understand it, the buyer in question chose to hire their home inspector without the involvement of their Realtor. At least I hope that is how it went down. Up to this point, I don't think this is a bad thing, but it goes down hill from here. The names and some details have been changed for protection of the parties involved and I am not going to address how this was handled since I was not personally involved. Here is the basic inspection report received by the client for which they paid $250.00. As you read this over, look for issues you should address with this client if you were the Realtor in question.
Some Old Construction, Co.
1234 Some Street
Phone: (???) ???-????
ADDRESS: 5678 SOME OTHER STREET, ANYTOWN, NC
INSPECTION OF HOUSE AS FOLLOWS (CHECKLIST)
Bedroom #1 - needs sanding around cable outlet.
Bedroom #2 - OK
Bedroom #3 - OK
Bedroom #4 - OK
Bathroom #1 - needs GFI receptacle; needs stopper in sink.
Bathroom #2 - carpet in bath needs to match up to tile; side of shower and overhead needs to be enclosed with access door; storm door needs weather stripping; vent for shower needs to be secured on outside of house.
Bathroom #3 - OK
Living Room - OK
Dining Room - Door needs weather stripping; security system does not work.
Kitchen - Door needs weather stripping.
All Kitchen Appliances - OK
Den - Right and left side of fireplace needs to be caulked and sealed; fireplace brick on inside has cracks and needs repair.
Garage - Garage door 1 needs adjustments to fully close; garage door 2 needs replacement of bottom panels or entire door replaced.
Roof - needs replacement of shingles for entire roof; replacement of plywood above Bedrooms 1 and 2; needs ridge vents installed for entire roof; needs flashing around chimney and where the roof line changes (junctions).
Outside Windows and Doors - OK
Insulation - OK
Miscellaneous - OK
No sign of termite damage or further structural damage.
Any Old Construction Co.
Well, what do you think? Does this look like any report you have received lately?
I HOPE NOT. One thing you can be very sure of, being less than 22 pages (my smallest report), it is not one of mine. Let me give you a few other tell tell signs of a problem. This so called "Inspectors" card was printed by a paint manufacture and had "Inspections" written on it by hand. The card also stated "Residential & Commercial Renovation & Restoration, Licensed & Insured." No license number was visible on the report or on the card. If your client gave you a copy of this report, what should be your response? Here are my recommendations.
First you should be alarmed and you should make your alarm very clear to your client. Ask your client these questions:
- Did you sign a contract with this inspector? A signed contract is required by the State of North Carolina.
- Is this "inspector" licensed by the state of North Carolina? What is his license number?
- Where is the rest of the report? This report does not meet state requirements. The details are covered in your required class.
- Where is the summary page? A summary page is required by the state and sort of insinuates that a report will be more that one page.
- Is this inspector licensed to perform pest inspections?
- If this inspector makes comments relative to the "structural adequacy" of the home, is he a structural engineer?
You should recommend that your client contact Kenneth Giovanni, Investigator for "The North Carolina Home Inspector Licensure Board" in Raleigh. Phone: (919) 715-0991 and you should do the same. Be assured that Ken will take the appropriate action in a timely manner. This so called "Inspector" is in deep, deep trouble part of which might include handcuffs and the inside of a jail, not to mention return of the funds paid by the client. You should strongly recommend that the client hire a licensed inspector to inspect this home.
Given your "KNOWLEDGE" if you fail to react immediately and take clear action I think you are setting yourself up for a big problem and possible litigation for failure to meet your fiduciary responsibility to your client. Not to mention allowing someone like this to continue duping others with his unlawful and potentially damaging services.
Thought for the week
You read about all these terrorists,
most of them came here legally,
but they hang around on these expired visas,
some for as long as 10-15 years.
Now, compare that to Blockbuster:
You are two days late with a video and these people are all over you.
Let's put Blockbuster in charge of immigration.