DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > DIY Home Improvement > Walls and Ceilings > Help: Water damage. What to do?




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Old 02-02-2011, 06:39 PM  
leesiulung
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Default Help: Water damage. What to do?

So I just purchased this property in San Diego, California and my home inspector didn't catch the water damage around two areas around the windows. It seems to be some browning of the area, crackling and at the time moist/soft to the touch.

My current inspector isn't very helpful and I can't help, but feel like I got screwed by everyone from the inspector to my agent (that isn't very helpful either). The seller didn't disclose the issue, so I'm wondering what type of contractor do I contact to:

a) assess the damage and determine if it was a pre-existing condition (it is!) to support my case in a civil lawsuit?

b) determine what needs to be fixed and the estimated cost?

Help would be much appreciated, as I'm at a loss on where to start and completely in over my head.



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Old 02-02-2011, 07:07 PM  
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This sort of thing does not just happen unless there was a hurricane or something. Any handi man, or contractor could figure this one out.
Just a guess but I'd bet when they look outside around the window there going to see something wrong with the way the window was flashed, trim was install or rotted sill if it's an old house.
If it's vinyl siding the first thing I do is remove the siding to see what's missing or done wrong.
All the casing needs to come off on the inside and sheetrock removed to assess the damage. If it's old damage you can bet there's going to be black mold growing inside the wall and wet insulation if not rotted studs or bottom plate. Any wet insulation or sheetrock is trash.
Black mold also does not grow over night. Often times before the sale people just paint over the flaws. If there's mold then they knew the window was leaking. A home inspector does not have X ray vision so if it was painted over he may not have seen it.



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Old 02-02-2011, 07:24 PM  
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Sorry to hear of your problems with your new house. If you would post some pics of the interior and the exterior, we may be able to help in some small way.

Be sure to document ANY conversations, e-mail or corespondance you have with realtors, contractors or inspectors. Do you have a copy of the initial home inspection? Who hired the inspector, you or the agent? I always advise people to hire their own inspector NOT one the real estate companies suggest. Were there any disclosures from the previous homeowner about any issues to your house?

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Old 02-02-2011, 07:43 PM  
leesiulung
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The inspector was recommended by my real estate agent, but hired by me. I do have a copy of the initial home inspection.

There were no disclosure of the issue from the previous owner.

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Old 02-03-2011, 06:15 AM  
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I don't like it any more than you do, but if the inspector is not helping you to determine if it was old damage they missed,and be honest about it, get ready for court.
We are the professionals , and need to act accordingly. And this goes for everyone out there.... next time, Choose and hire your own Inspector. In some states the realtors are not allowed to recommend Inspectors.Check yours.
Sometimes we miss things, we are human. Sometimes things get covered up and hidden on purpose, I would think the inspector would want to help you in this task, as it helps to spread the cost in the long run. I would try calling and see one more time, what they can help you with, and lay out the options. In court ,there is no winner, only lost $$.
Hopefully the inspector will do the right thing.
Lastly, follow Olddogs advice, you may need it.
And if you are going to do discovery, hire an Inspector to oversee the issues, not just a contractor. Because if this goes to court, only another Inspector will be compared to the one who did the job. Try American Society of Home Inspectors, ASHI and ask around.
Good luck, this happens.

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Old 02-03-2011, 06:37 AM  
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Inspector, please correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is a home inspector cannot take anything apart or do any kind of probing to determine deficiency in a structure. They are limited to visual inspection. Turning water faucets on/off, testing electric circuits, running a dishwasher etc. A water leak that had been covered up and freshly painted may not have been visual in their inspection? Also home inspections are basically an opinion and not a guarantee of a structure, am I correct in my understanding?

I really hope this doesn't turn into litigation, because the only one who will be satisfied will be the attorneys when their bills are paid.

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Old 02-03-2011, 07:40 AM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldog/newtrick View Post
Inspector, please correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is a home inspector cannot take anything apart or do any kind of probing to determine deficiency in a structure. They are limited to visual inspection. Turning water faucets on/off, testing electric circuits, running a dishwasher etc. A water leak that had been covered up and freshly painted may not have been visual in their inspection? Also home inspections are basically an opinion and not a guarantee of a structure, am I correct in my understanding?

I really hope this doesn't turn into litigation, because the only one who will be satisfied will be the attorneys when their bills are paid.
Yup, All that is correct for a house which will be purchased. However if the person owns the home, we can do whatever they let us do to find issues.
My guess is the Inspector just missed it due to belongings in the way or large curtains in front of the window. And all this will come out in discussions of what was there when the inspection was done. Hopefully someone took pictures and can go back to see the way it was on Game day. That's usually the problem. Everyone forgets what was where. And sometimes the issue pops up after the inspection is done. They did get lots of rain for this area during the time period. And yes, this is a visual inspection only,someitmes folks in other professions forget this little problem. I have been in homes with paths to each door through rooms we can barely see anything in. The home closes a month and a half later, then the folks move out.Next the new folks move into an empty home and find issues, then everyone else who gets called in becomes an expert on what we should have found plain as day. We cannot see into walls or even get an Idea of how bad it may be, and we cannot move belongings.
Bottom line, If you trusted your inspector, and you think they did not rush the job and educated you on your property, just fix the issue and move on. Sometimes you just end up spinning your wheels and get no results in the end, accept a headache., and a Lawyers bill.


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