Buying a house in Pennsylvania or West Virginia is one of the most expensive purchases anyone will make in their lifetime. Many people scrimp and save, sometimes for years, before paying a hefty down payment on a property while others may be buying a high-priced property.
One of the essential steps any homebuyer takes is finding a reliable home inspector to assess the quality of the property and look for any major or minor defects that might exist, especially those that may not be disclosed by sellers.
Holding a home inspector accountable
Too many times, new owners discover troublesome issues weeks or months after closing that they should have known about before the sale took place. If a home inspector failed to do their job correctly, a homeowner can consider the following options:
- File a negligence claim: Claiming that the inspector didn’t do a thorough job of assessing the property can be difficult, especially if you signed off on a detailed inspection report. However, getting a second opinion from another inspector could identify whether the original investigator was negligent.
- Breach of contract: If you cannot prove the inspector was negligent, it’s possible they failed to perform specific examinations included in the contract. If one step was skipped, you might be able to sue them for breaking the agreement.
- Beware of exculpatory clauses: Read the fine print in the inspection contract. Some may include language that requires the inspector only to refund the cost of the inspection if a significant defect is discovered later. You might need $10,000 to fix the plumbing, but they must only reimburse their fee, which averages $350 to $500.
Consider whether the seller is liable
The first instinct for many people who find problems with their new home is to sue the inspector. However, you should also consider whether the seller bears some or most of the responsibility. If they knew about a problem and didn’t disclose it before the sale, you may be able to sue them. An experienced real estate attorney in Pennsylvania and West Virginia can answer your questions and help you recover compensation.