The Cozy World of Litigation: “I Like to Give Business to People I Like”

Tip 40 - The Cozy World of LitigationA home inspector I’ve known for several years came up to me at an industry workshop with an issue: he had received a demand letter from a past client for failing to detect mold.

Shocking, the underlying facts of this claim were ridiculous. Leaving aside that mold detection is excluded from any extant standard of practice, and was not part of this inspection, the mold was only discovered after destructive probing.

The “I’ll fix this” home inspection industry cycle ensued. The inspector tried to (unsuccessfully) explain to the claimant’s attorney that the claim had no merit then subsequently turned it over to his insurance company, which appointed expert local counsel.

And that’s the worst of all possible worlds for the home inspector.

I explain the cozy world of litigation – a world that benefits the suits, not the home inspector – in this week’s video blog.



Why You Should Follow the Skeptic’s Creed on Seller’s Disclosures

Tip #39 - Skeptic's Creed on Seller's DisclosuresA Massachusetts home inspector recently asked me if he could rely on the information posted in the seller’s disclosures or responses provided by the seller or the seller’s representative to specific questions about the property.

The easy answer to that question is such: If seller’s disclosures were reliable, there would be no need for home inspections. And these seller’s disclosures are unreliable for various reasons, many which are completely unrelated to any skulduggery on the seller’s part.

Although, as I illustrate in this week’s video blog, sellers will oftentimes actively conceal material defects, and home inspectors need to realize that when locked doors prevent access to critical areas or furniture seems oddly out of place, what seems amiss is usually…amiss.

I provide an example on this topic and profess why you should follow the “Skeptic’s Creed” in this week’s video blog.



Claims on Concealed Issues: Why Didn’t You Take The House Apart?

Tip #38 - Concealed Home Inspection ClaimsA California home inspector recently contacted me about about a claim one of his prior clients was lodging against his former inspection company – the company that conducted the inspection in question.

This firm is exceedingly risk averse – so much so that it gas a standard practice of settling meritless claims at a moment’s notice. It’s a SOP (standard of practice) that I thoroughly discourage.

This claim in question dealt with an issue that was concealed at the time of the home inspection. “But why didn’t the home inspector dig up the kitchen flooring to find leakage in the sewer pipes?” (I asked this tongue firmly planted in check).

This week’s video blog looks at the prototypical concealed claim and why home inspection firms can’t make a practice of caving in to these complaints in the means of “customer service.”


The Cost of Your Lose-Lose Proposition

Tip 37 - The Costs of Defending Home Inspection Lawsuit (Part 2)The county sheriff arrives on your doorstep. Your heart sinks. A home inspection client of yours is demanding you pay for the bad results that occurred months after your original inspection.

Your goal is too be dismissed from this massive claim – which includes you, the seller, the seller’s agent, the buyer’s agent, so on and so on – but that is increasingly difficult when there has already been a substantial calorie burn on the defense attorney’s part.

And it’s nearly impossible to be dismissed once your home inspection insurance company appoints legal counsel because its financial incentive is to settle the claim for your deductible (or offer it as part of the settlement) and walk away.