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Do Real Estate Inspections Hold Up in a Lawsuit Against a Builder?

Copyright© 2010
By: Fred Willcox
All Rights Reserved.

Mine have. Of course, whether or not the inspection you had performed will stand up to the challenges of a lawsuit depends on the type of inspection you had performed when you bought your house.

Not surprisingly (and not limited only to house inspectors) many house inspectors perform very limited inspections and provide very little information on their inspection report forms. This type of inspector is very common. There are a number of reasons that this type of inspectors exist.

One is that many inspectors are looking to make as much money as they can with as little effort and energy as they can use.

Another is that inspectors market to Realtors and most Realtors do not want the house inspector to be thorough or detailed. In the Greater Houston area and in most areas of Texas, the more detailed a house inspector is, the more these Realtors grow to detest the inspector.

A third reason is the cost of the inspection. In the Greater Houston area, an inspector of a 2500 square foot house can range from $125 to $600. If you want a detailed inspection and a detailed inspection report, the inspection takes time to perform and the report takes time to prepare. Time is money. If you want a cheap inspection of the house you intend to buy, expect a general, cursory, casual, overview of the house. Expect the same of the inspection report.

If you have major problems with your new house and you have to sue your builder, your builder will have a set of standards that he builds to. It will be up to the information and detail that your inspector provided to show that the builder was negligent. Cheap inspections do not provide that information or detail for you.

Often, the defects in a new house are clearly the result of builder negligence. Occasionally, there can be a question as to whether the builder constructed the house improperly or if the builder damaged or misused equipment or systems in the house or if the homeowner caused the defect. In these cases, the cheap inspection is often of no use to the homeowner and, by the inspector failing to note defects or improper installations, tends to indicate that the builder was not at fault.

All real estate inspectors understand that house buyers really don’t want to spend money on inspections. And some inspectors recognize that buyers do not always get a quality inspection and that some house buyers may be skeptical of paying for a house inspection and getting a short report with little useable or understandable information.

Like your new house is an investment, a good, quality, thorough house inspection is also an investment. It is also your best evidence, whether the house you buy is new or not, of the condition of the house before you purchased it. Pre-owned houses have problems too. If you have to go to court, that couple of hundred dollars you saved on an inspection could cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Or your entire claim against the builder or seller.

Be wise. Choose to make the investment in a thorough real estate inspector whenever you buy a house. A good pre-purchase house inspection is always money well spent.