Buyer thinks inspector missed HVAC issue



Question: I bought a house in June. My real estate agent hired an inspector and received royalties from me and my husband. The inspector wrote an inspection report that found minor issues. I paid a second fee to return it after the owners fixed the issues to keep everything in top shape.

We closed and moved into a house. On the same day we moved into the house, water started leaking from the ceiling and the ventilation and air conditioning system went out of order. We were contacted by an independent HVAC company to assess the problem. The temperature in the house was over 100 degrees and we have two kids. He stated that there was a previously obvious condition that everyone had to determine. This is especially true for the home inspector.

We paid the home inspector twice: $ 425 for an initial estimate and $ 100 to verify that minor issues were resolved. But the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system was clearly malfunctioning, and we spent the first two weeks in this house without air conditioning. What do we do: broker, home inspector or salesperson?

BUT: Let’s start here: when you get the name of a home inspector (or real estate agent, or anyone else who is going to provide you with a service during your real estate transaction), take the time to find out if that person or company is good. what they do and is the right person or company that you can hire.

We are very unhappy that your real estate agent has hired your surveyor. Usually, agents will provide you with a list of several inspectors, and then you can interview each of them to determine which one is best for you. This has several benefits. You will learn more about what the different inspectors offer in terms of price and service. And you figure out if your identity is associated with that person, which is important because you are going to spy on that person during the checkout to find out about the mechanical systems of the property you are about to buy.

While many real estate agents offer excellent (and personal) recommendations for home inspectors, you can’t just rely on their word and do your own research. You can still count on bad luck with agent service providers.

After closing, everything happens. It is not unusual for us to receive emails from readers informing them that they are experiencing problems when they move into the house. Last winter, we heard from a couple who closed an expensive house in New York. The roof leaked the night they moved into the property. Oftentimes, our readers will find problems with old air conditioning systems when they turn them on for the first time after winter or during a heat wave.

New homeowners of older homes find out that sometimes the systems don’t work. Yes, old air conditioning systems can suddenly fail after a long winter, even if they worked fine during the last refrigeration season. And heat waves like those seen this summer in the US Northwest and Southwest could seriously affect the old HVAC system, and it will simply die. For the most part, the home inspector does not have a crystal ball to tell them when and how the system will fail.

The actual problem for us is to determine what the inspector saw when he examined the object both times, and that his report informed you about the state of the HVAC system. We’re also wondering if the contractor you hired was legitimate and not just trying to sell you a new system.

We often get questions from readers telling us that their home inspector missed something, but in reality the problem is random. After heavy rain, you can get water in your basement even if the basement has never had leaks or leakage problems. During heavy snowfall (followed by an extended period of cold), an ice dam may form and new roof leaks may appear. The home inspector cannot see or find everything.

Having said that, we are seeing more and more home inspectors rely on checklists when inspecting homes (instead of using their eyes and ears) and are losing forest to trees. By this we mean that they might point to loose cabinet doors or a missing GFCI socket in an old bathroom, but not notice cracks in the foundation or other potentially expensive items.

Interestingly, you say that the air conditioning contractor you hired said that anyone could see the problem in your system, but you didn’t mention what the problem was. If there were no external compressor, this would be pretty obvious. Sam has a client who recently closed a house where the HVAC system suddenly stopped working and claims that the salesperson must have known the system was not working as expected, even though it passed the test.

Will my existing home warranty cover the cost of repairs? Many homes today are sold with an existing home warranty. We have checked with one warranty company and policy excludes existing defects or mechanical failures that could have been discovered by visual inspection or simple mechanical testing. If you have a home warranty and haven’t called the service number yet, you might want to do so.

At the moment, we’re not sure what the fault is. If you don’t find a smoking gun, it’s difficult to prove that the inspector was at fault or that the seller deceived you.

If we suspect that your inspector was incompetent and missed an air conditioner problem, you should call that inspector and discuss it. If the inspector admits that he did not notice the problem, you should try to get everything you can from him, which is usually a refund of the money you paid for both inspections.

If your salespeople did something wrong and were actively hiding the problem, you can also file a lawsuit against the salesperson. Seller disclosures are difficult to prove. A local attorney can discuss if you are lucky here and should you look for a seller.

Finally, unless you can prove that the agent knowingly lied to you about the air conditioning system, you should be spending your energy on something else. Good luck.

Contact Elijs Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin through her website


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