I want your home inspector to pay for the damage he did to our home!

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119

"My sellers want your home inspector to pay for the damage he did to their home!" That was the message I received from a listing agent recently. I thought he was joking. He wasn't. I asked, "What? What damage?" He proceeded to tell me my home inspector drilled a dozen holes in the wall of a bedroom. He, and the homeowners, wanted to know why. Why would the inspector have to drill into the drywall? What was the purpose?

I'll have to admit, it was puzzling. The only problem was, he didn't. I was there throughout the entire home inspection. I was in every room of the house, as was the buyer. There were no visible holes in the drywall. I asked for the listing agent to send me photos, which he did. There they were. About a dozen holes had been drilled in the drywall about 16" apart. That distance is important.

Sixteen inches is the center to center distance between studs in the average wall, and 14.5" between studs. The two inspectors, the buyer and I talked about it and tried to figure out how the holes showed up in the wall. The fact that they were center to center of the framing studs made it even more suspicious. Of course, my inspector never drills into anything, but that didn't pacify the sellers.

Why didn't anyone see the holes while the home inspection was taking place? Because there was a banner hanging in that room. The homeowners knew that, but for some reason, they decided this was a good time to get some money out of the home inspector. 

I touched base with the listing agent and made an offer. Since I have a close relationship with law enforcement, I offered to pay for each person involved, including inspectors, buyers, agents and sellers to take a polygraph to verify who was lying and who was telling the truth. I did push that opportunity hard and the sellers backed down. Why? Because they knew the inspector didn't drill holes in the walls and the polygraph would trap them in a lie and potential liability. 

This is one of the reasons why it is so important for agents to attend home inspections. There needs to be a confirming set of eyes on all of the events of the inspection. This is the second time in a dozen years a seller has tried to get our home inspectors to fix something for them. It hasn't worked so far, but they keep trying. 


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Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

I have never seen an inspector carrying a drill for an inspection!  I say what someone else said about cajones!

Apr 02, 2018 03:13 AM #45
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

That's ridiculous behavior on the part of the sellers. I wonder what else they were hiding.

Apr 02, 2018 05:03 AM #46
Joshua Frederick
Home Inspector for ASPEC Residential Services, LLC - Defiance, OH
Home Inspector in Defiance & all of Northwest Ohio

There are always going to be disgruntled sellers.  Having an agent and/or buyer sit at the house for 2 - 3 hrs watching an inspector work is ludicrous, IMO, and is not going to change the thoughts/actions of a psycho seller.  I've had buyer's and agents come at the end for a review for 10+ yrs. now and never had an issue like this come up.  If it ever does, I would trust a compentent and professional agent would be able, for something so foolish like this, to "nip it in the bud" with the seller right away...firmly, but tactfully and professionally.

Apr 02, 2018 05:42 AM #47
Christine Kankowski North SD and Temecula
House Match Inc - Poway, CA
Excellent Sales and Property Management

Wow unbelievable.  Way to stick to your guns!


Apr 02, 2018 08:11 AM #48
Michelle Finnamore
Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket - Vaughan, ON
Preparing your property for sale

Wow! humankind never ceases to amaze me with their underhandedness. Glad you were able to sort this one out. You can't even imagine having to safegaurd yourself from something like this.

It happend to us once when we were destaging a vacant condo. We went to open the condo door and it was hitting something behind the door so we stuck our arm inside with my cell phone to take a picture. It was the heavy duty spring arm on the door that was broken. We immediately sent the picture to the agent and asked him how he wished to proceed. Should I find the building super, call the home owner etc. He said he would handle it. Well the home owner called me every name under the sun and accused us of vandalizing her property and demanded payment. As I had worked for the provincial police I also offered to take a polygraph test. She immediately went silent and I never heard back from her. 

Apr 02, 2018 08:20 AM #49
Marney Kirk
Cummings & Co. Realtors - Towson, MD
Towson, Maryland Real Estate

Wow, why in the world would they even try that? That is CRAZY!

Apr 02, 2018 11:04 AM #50
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Such a silly thing to try over a few holes in drywall. I guess they didn't disclose them either. I wonder what else they didn't disclose?

Apr 02, 2018 06:15 PM #51
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Mike,

Never experienced that before. Good idea about how to handle it.

Apr 02, 2018 06:28 PM #52
Ellen Caruso
Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty - Glen Head, NY

Reminds me that I recently sold a home where I never met the listing agent or anyone that worked with him. Every time I showed the Home or had an engineer inspection there, no other agent was present. I believe both agents should be there especially for engineer inspections.

Apr 02, 2018 07:03 PM #53
Anna Hatridge
Goodson Realty - Farmington, MO
Missouri Realtor with Goodson Realty

congratulations on the feature.  It is important to know who you are working with on every transaction.

Apr 03, 2018 05:39 AM #54
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Thanks for sharing a personal experience with a great word of wisdom for all of us.

I attend inspections as I want to know what the inspector is doing and what he is finding.

I love the way you handled the sticky situation.

Apr 03, 2018 07:36 AM #55
Caroline Gerardo
CMG Financial - Newport Beach, CA
C. G. Barbeau the Loan Lady

One sad story about a bad seller who wanted to con the inspector

Apr 03, 2018 06:58 PM #56
Jim Horton
HyTek Home Inspections - Kokomo, IN

Mike Cooper - Thank you for defending this Home Inspector

Apr 04, 2018 04:25 AM #60
Foster Smith Summerville
Carolina One Real Estate - Summerville, SC
Summerville & Charleston Homes for Sale SC Realtor

Wow. That's a story you don't hear a lot. Thanks for sharing your experience and how you handled it. 

Apr 04, 2018 04:25 AM #61
Coldwell Banker Preferred - Exton, PA
For All Things Real Estate!

Mike, First of all, thanks for sharing this article. Seller and even their agent supporting this crazy fabrication about blaming home inspector is just unheard of .   Great resolution. Well handled!

Apr 04, 2018 04:52 AM #62
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Oh my! That is terrible--those sellers are dishonest!  I hope it worked out for you. 

Apr 04, 2018 05:47 AM #66
Brian Persons
Brian Persons Front Range Home Inspections - Greeley, CO
Certified Master Inspector

I take on average 150-200 photos per inspection to cma for those type situations, I also have found interesting things behind large pictures,tapestries, posters ect..You never know what to expect. Glad that one worked out for you.

Apr 04, 2018 09:06 AM #67
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line

Whoa! who are these people who would try something that underhanded. What else are they trying to hide or not disclose, makes you think.

Apr 04, 2018 01:21 PM #68
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

I've heard it's a iliability for us to attend, but I'd rather attend than not.  We are representing a buyer in the transaction so why would we not?!!  Great post!

Apr 10, 2018 03:15 PM #69
Lauren Selinsky Broker CRS
California Coastal Estates - Aliso Viejo, CA
"Your Real Estate Broker" #oclauren

I have seen this so much lately. So ridiculous! I am at all inspections now.
Lauren Selinsky

Apr 15, 2018 04:41 PM #70
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