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We closed on a 30 year old house last July (New Jersey). The home inspection went well, a few minor details were in the report, nothing significant. While changing the furnace filters in early August I noticed some cracks in the exhaust pipe of the furnace (see photos). I sent the photos to the home inspector. He called me back and told me that he would stop the following week. He ended up not showing up for another 6 weeks or until we complained to our realtor (she called him and he listened...). His conclusion was that the previous owner should have fixed that, this is why he did not put it in his report ??? This was most certainly the only way out he could find. He told us he would send someone within the week to fix the pipes, so far no show after 2 weeks.

My questions:

- How serious of an issue is this problem? We have kids, they do play in the basement playroom.

- How could an inspector miss that? It is so obvious!

- Do we have any recourse to get him to reimburse us if he does not show up to fix the issue?

- Can I trust his inspection or should I get another inspection, just to make sure?

Thank you,

Bob

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Sure,

The previous owner should have repaired it and the inspector should have listed it in the report as a deficiency that needs repair.

Notify him in writing that you have complied with the terms of the pre-inspection contract by giving him an opportunity to come out, examine his oversight and make it right. Tell him that, since he hasn't made good on his end, and since winter is approaching and you have kids and need heat, you'll be contacting an HVAC firm to fix that flue and will be sending him the invoice.

Tell him that if he doesn't intend to pay for the repairs to let you know now so you can save time by filing a complaint against him in small claims court now instead of later.

Sign up for Angie's List, write a review of his services and send him a copy of the draft that you intend to post on Angie's List about his company when/if he doesn't live up to his end of your contract.

While you are at it, send him a draft of the complaint that you intend to send to New Jersey's home inspection licensing authorities.

That should do it.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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We closed on a 30 year old house last July (New Jersey). The home inspection went well, a few minor details were in the report, nothing significant. While changing the furnace filters in early August I noticed some cracks in the exhaust pipe of the furnace (see photos). I sent the photos to the home inspector. He called me back and told me that he would stop the following week. He ended up not showing up for another 6 weeks or until we complained to our realtor (she called him and he listened...). His conclusion was that the previous owner should have fixed that, this is why he did not put it in his report ??? This was most certainly the only way out he could find. He told us he would send someone within the week to fix the pipes, so far no show after 2 weeks.

My questions:

- How serious of an issue is this problem? We have kids, they do play in the basement playroom.

- How could an inspector miss that? It is so obvious!

- Do we have any recourse to get him to reimburse us if he does not show up to fix the issue?

- Can I trust his inspection or should I get another inspection, just to make sure?

Thank you,

Bob

Neither that inspector nor his report can be trusted anymore. Read the home page of my website, www.sherlockinspection.com for some basic information then look for another inspector in your area to complete an unabridged home inspection for you. Perhaps the rusted flue is but the beginning.

Marc

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Thank you all! All your replies were very helpful. Things are pretty clear now.

The home inspector I chose appeared to have a very good reputation, unfortunately he cannot be trusted.

I will find an HVAC guy to get everything fixed and will try to get my money back.

We do have carbon monoxyde detectors but it is still pretty scary to know that we could have ran these 2 furnaces for years without knowing about the problem.

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Curious, did your Realtor set up the inspection, or did you find your own inspector?

OM, before you go, would you mind answering Ben's Q ? I'm curious too.

I think he did answer the question in the reply above your post. He said that he "chose" the inspector.

OM, I would do as Jim K said. Get the flue pipes repaired and the system inspected. I would also put the inspector on notice that you will be sending him the bill for the repairs.

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I relocated back to the US from an overseas assignment. The realtor recommended a few inspectors without pushing me for any particular one. The one I chose has a lot of experience (since 1984), an MS degree in engineering, does consulting, engineering, inspections and construction management. He has an impressive list of reference including Fortune 500 companies. I thought he was a safe choice...

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I relocated back to the US from an overseas assignment. The realtor recommended a few inspectors without pushing me for any particular one. The one I chose has a lot of experience (since 1984), an MS degree in engineering, does consulting, engineering, inspections and construction management. He has an impressive list of reference including Fortune 500 companies. I thought he was a safe choice...

Seven years I've been in this business, yet I still become amazed at how some people, even with impressive credentials, cannot or will not, provide a decent professional home inspection.

Marc

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We easily forget one factor in home inspections: It merely takes a moment, when someone threw us off our normal routine and methods, to completely overlook an inspection item. It's almost happened to me many times. Does it make much sense to conclude that a guy with credentials like that "missed" such a condition? Would we?

We all have bad days, and can easily become distracted. Distraction, without any doubt, is enemy #1 to the home inspector. Early in my career, there were times that complaints would come in, and upon returning to the property I would VIVIDLY recall that condition, yet it wasn't documented. All it takes is a client dragging you off to some other area or concern seconds after you see a condition you were about to document.

My point: The guy may have failed to see or document something, but the conditions leading up to the omission, are most likely quite understandable - merely a human moment that any of us could have fallen victim to. Sometimes being a mere human being really sucks.

Not every omission is the result of some diabolical plot or gross negligence.

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Or, he missed it and, despite his alleged creds, isn't as competent as he'd like people to believe.

I've seen some inspectors with pretty impressive cred miss stuff that I would have thought a first day home inspection student would have known about.

One thing can't be discounted; if the OP is giving us the true story, he's not stepping up to the plate. In this business it's critical that one responds quickly to any alleged screw up. If one doesn't respond quickly, the issue just keeps compounding itself, as is happening here. He needs to take care of business. If he doesn't intend to make it right, he needs to grow a pair and tell the OP. If he intends to fix it, he needs to get off his ass do it. This kind of thing - avoiding responsibility - reflects on every home inspector.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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OM,

One other thing you need to consider.

If the inspector does pay for the repair, he will most likely ask you to sign a release which means you can't go back to him if you find anything else wrong.

So, if you are going to have your house inspected again, do it soon so you can hit him with any other problems that he may have missed.

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I chase more inspectors than most.

I am a real pisser about inspectors doing their "job".

I also must comment that we are hearing only one side of story.

I have read hundreds of reports, visited hundreds of sites that were inspected by others and now realize that no report is perfect.

I think I may know this inspector by the credentials listed and area served.

There is no excuse for not responding immediately!!!!! The third thing you learn as a professional is to respond as soon as possible. I know I have avoided trouble by calling my complaining client immediately. I have admitted fault many times. I make mistakes. A client that likes you will not sue you. A client that likes you will call and ask what brand of water heater they should buy, because you missed the burned out element.

This business requires you to be responsible and most of us are just that - responsible. Talk to me and tell me what you want and what you think I did. These days, I supervise more than work and apply the same rules of customer care.

None of us are perfect.

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This is one example of why I love the digital cameras. I take notes in a small note pad and take pictures. Before sending the report I go through the pictures and notes one by one and make sure you have all the defects in the report, especially the ones with deadly potential.

The last rusted vent I had, just a couple of weeks ago, had spots rusted at all visible sections from the crawlspace to the roof.

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This is one example of why I love the digital cameras. I take notes in a small note pad and take pictures. Before sending the report I go through the pictures and notes one by one and make sure you have all the defects in the report, especially the ones with deadly potential.

The last rusted vent I had, just a couple of weeks ago, had spots rusted at all visible sections from the crawlspace to the roof.

I'll second that. I end up inspecting a home twice - once physically and once through inspecting all of my photos (and I take a ton), as if I've never seen them before. I disregard why I took the photo and see what I see. It's a VERY helpful practice.

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I doubt the inspector is too busy to visit the house. I think there must be more to the story.

If true, the inspector's response was ridiculous.

If that is the only problem with your house I think you are doing OK. I am guessing that the repair cost will not be too much (if it is just the vent pipes).

If you have 30 year old furnaces I hope you are anticipating replacement soon.

I am not defending the inspector, just pointing out that sometimes you just have to fix the problem and move on.

Send the inspector the bill (not a BS inflated bill for the purpose of trying to stick it to him), and ask for reimbursement. You may be pleasantly surprised. If you are reasonable the inspector may just send you a check (with a release attached).

Good Luck.

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