Q: I bought a house 6 months ago. So far, I’ve had water in the basement and found out the garage supports have rotted out. I bought the house in as-is condition.

I know that I have no recourse against the previous home owner but I hired a professional home inspector to tell me what was wrong with the property before I bought it. He was paid for a general home inspection, a radon test, and an insect test. None of these issues came up in the inspection report.

Can I be reimbursed by the home inspector for the price I paid for these worthless reports? How do you recommend I go about getting my money back?

A: It’s unfortunate that you tried to do the right thing by hiring a professional home inspector, and then it backfired. Some home inspectors are better than others, but one thing is always clear in a home inspection, if the problem is not visible, home inspectors can’t pry walls open to inspect the insides of a home. That is generally a risk a homeowner takes when he or she buys a home.

If the issues you have raised should have been uncovered by a competent inspection, you have a good claim against the inspector.

You should certainly go back to the home inspector and demand that he refund your money for a job poorly done if he could have discovered these issues but performed poorly. But first, read the fine print on your home inspection contract to see if you are limited to the amount paid. You may be able to sue him for further damages.

A real estate attorney can advise you further. Good luck.

Published: Jun 14, 2007