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Failure to disclose and/or poor inspection


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I've been retained as an expert witness in a case where a realtor purchased a home about 7 months ago. He renovated the master bathinstalled a new shower, vanities, doors, etc., painted and flipped the house. The buyers hired a home inspector who was recommended by the realtor(seller). These are some of the conditions which became apparant shortly after the closing.

Roof leaks which obviously were present over a long period of time. I almost stepped through the roof.

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Due to the above leak most of the lower 4' of the sheetrock required removal and the following was discovered.

No bottom plate in the shower wall. It was eaten away by termites. Remember the seller installed this shower and had to open the walls. Where's the shower pan?

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The inspector ignored this stain on the floor which was the result of no shower pan.

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Seller installed a new entry door for the bathroom. New wood studs on the right side supporting termite damaged header.

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Fried 240 volt conductor which would have been clearly visable,to the seller, since it is located dead in the center of the shower wall.

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Inspector failed to report the discharge line was reduced to 3/8" at the 3/4" TPR valve and the use of PVC water supply piping at the water heater.

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Recognize this panel? The inspector made no mention of it.

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The seller re-piped the A/C condensate drain line through termite damaged framing members.

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The inspector never mentioned the tree growing out of the roof near the gutter. Nor did he note the roots which had traveled the entire length of the downspout and entered the ground.

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NORM SAGE

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The kitchen is adjacent to the bathroom. The 240V line ran through the shared wall. The outlet, which is covered with blue tape, is for the range. You can see the copper supply lines in one of the photos. As to the stud through which the condensate line runs it is notched on both sides. This was done in part by the A/C mechanic and the termites. This is a non loadbearing wall and the sole purpose of the stud is to provide a point of attachment for the sheetrock.

NORM SAGE

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Mike,

It's obvious that you are not a "team player", and are not being "fair to the house". You pick out all these so-called structural problems, but make not mention of the view or the location. You are a disgrace to our profession, and will likely never get a referral from that Realtor.

(PS: Been off my meds for a few days)

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It really is PVC. The PVC cement doesn't show up in the pics but it's there.Although PVC is specifically prohibited for use in water supply and distribution piping here in Florida it may be permitted in other geographic regions.

Why does "Florida" come up in spell check as incorrect? Is it possible that those of us here in Florida are, in fact, incorrect?

NORM SAGE

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Scott you are correct. We do have funky plants and other things down here. None of which compare to the family trees which resemble telephone poles. Remember that conversation a couple of years ago in Chicago?

Steve, I appreciate your perception of the situation. Shooting the alleged "home inspector"on site would have been kinder than the hell he will go through in court.

NORM SAGE

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Originally posted by hausdok

Uh...Chris?

I'm not the guy who inspected it. That would be Norm.

Ahem, just, what is it that you're,..uh...On, anyway? How about mailing me some? I can use a good stiff dose of non-reality every once in a while.[:-smile_green]

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Norm, Mike, whatever, you hard-ass inspectors are alls the same to me[:-dev3]

Norm,

I hope the Realtor falls as hard as the inspector. Both are equally guilty (allegedly) in my book.

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I touched the piping and tapped on it. The clear PVC cement with the little entrapped air bubbles was clearly visable you can't see that in the pics. The realtor is a defendant in the suit.

Charlie, that's not a ground clamp. That's where someone tapped into the supply pipe for the refrigerator water line.

NORM SAGE

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Norm,

Just out of curiosity, how do you approach your billing when you are dragged into court battles?

I was dragged right to the edge of the cliff recently, (court date set and systems go until hasty out of court settlement), and told the client I would just log my time and bill at an hourly rate as a consultant.

Another local inspector I contacted told me his standard reply to court appearances was $750 per diem.(Apparently seeking parity with the other "professionals" involved ((that is, the lawyers)) )

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Jim,

I have an expert witness contract which I am willing to share with you and any other participant of this forum. Basically the fee structure is as follows: 1. Investigation which includes on site work, research, and review of documents $150.00 per hour. Travel time portal to portal $100.00 per hour. Clerical time (office staff) producing and disseminating reports $50.00 per hour, Testimony at deposition, arbitration, mediation, and/or trial $300.00 per hour with a four hour minimum. This fee is payable at or prior to my testimony. I prefer to have the contract executed by the attorney rather than the plaintiff or defendant whoever is my client. Reason; the attorney is likely to be around far longer than any of the participants of the law suit. Also, should your client loose the suit they may attempt to blame you and withhold payment.

NORM SAGE

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My court/arbitration/mediation time is $600 per half day. 8-12 is one half and 1-5 is the other half

I charge $130 per hour for depositions minimum of four hours.

Document review and research $110 per hour.

Clerical time is $60 per hour.

I require a retainer fee between $500 and $1500. On the last billing the retainer is deducted from the amount due. I also charge $75 to close a file out and if I am required to maintain documents for more than 90 days after the end of the case I charge $25 to $75 to retain the records. All expenses incurred while working on the case are upcharged 15% before billing.

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Scott,

Given the pleasure of having met and spoken with you in person I am of the opinion that you are worth far more than you charge for legal exercises. Usually the requested damages are very high and our fees, since we are germane in the outcome of the cases, should reflect our expertise and contribution. Since we have an enormous impact on the outcome of the cases we are involved in I don't think we should short sell ourselves regarding our fees. When my fee exceeds the attornies fee I know I've done something right. After all, the attorney only argues the case, we decide the outcome.

NORM SAGE

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Norm, I'd appreciate a copy of your expert witness contract. I may be doing my first one shortly on a improperly installed hardie plank siding case.

Also, I'm wondering how you other inspectors charge for multi family units. Not price, how. For example; do you charge a base fee and then x amount of dollars per unit or something else. I've been charging by the total square footage and adding a couple hundred because I know there are a lot of kitchens, bathrooms and electrical boxes in these units.

Just priced a 34 unit condo today. Somehow I feel I under priced at 2 and a half G's.

Just curious what calculations others charge.

Donald

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Donald,

I use my per hour consulting fee which is calculated at $150.00 per man per hour, estimate the time it will take to perform the inspection and generate the report and add something should travel time exceed one hour. If you provide me with your fax number I will fax you a copy of my expert witness contract this weekend.

NORM SAGE

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Hi Norm,

I am already one of the highest in the state! The rates I am charging from what I can tell are fairly standard throughout the South. I wonder what the fees are in the Midwest, East coast and West Coat?

This is my expert witness contract, it was given to me by an attorney I did some work for. I think he borrowed it from someone else! It is in a PDF format.

Download Attachment: icon_adobe.gif Expert witness contract.pdf

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