Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or have owned several houses in your lifetime, you want the purchase of your new home to be a pleasant experience. Few things are more frustrating than buying a home only to discover it needs extensive work. By collaborating with a qualified home inspector, you likely increase your odds of making a smart investment.
There are many good reasons to hire a home inspector before purchasing a piece of property. While choosing the right inspector is critical, you probably cannot guarantee the individual finds every problem with your new home. If your inspector misses something important, though, you may have some legal options for protecting your interests.
The inspector may have acted negligently
Home inspectors have a duty to act reasonably to find housing defects. An individual who only provides a cursory inspection of the home before vouching for its condition may violate this duty. Of course, if the inspector performs a comprehensive inspection and writes a detailed report, arguing that he or she acted negligently may be tough.
The inspector may have breached the contract
When you hire a home inspector, you usually sign a contract. If the inspector does not comply with the terms of the agreement, you may have a valid claim for breach of contract. Of course, many inspectors attempt to limit their exposure by writing exculpatory provisions into their contracts. If that is the case, you may only be able to receive compensation pursuant to the contract’s terms. Therefore, seeking legal guidance before signing an inspection contract is a wise idea.
The seller may have some liability
While you may rely on a home inspector to find problems with your new house, sellers may not always behave appropriately. That is, sellers may intentionally hide broken, dangerous or other problematic issues from you. If the seller knows about defects and does not inform you, you may be able to hold him or her liable for your damages.
Home inspectors are not perfect. While most make a good-faith effort to find housing defects, your inspector may miss something important. If he or she does, you may need to act both quickly and diligently to protect your investment.