What if I find problems after I move into my new home?

A home inspection is not a guarantee that problems won't develop after you move into your new home. However if a problem does occur and you believe that it was visible at the time of the inspection and should have been mentioned in the report, your first step should be to call and meet with the inspector to clarify the situation. Misunderstandings are often resolved in this manner. Remember that if the inspector couldn't see it or there was no sign of the problem during the inspection, it might be a hidden defect.

If the problem is a hidden defect, you should still contact the inspector since he might have contacts with contractors to get you a better price for the repairs and maybe even get the work done faster – remember the good contractors are normally booked weeks or months in advance. The inspector can also help document the problem incase you decide to pursue litigation against the previous owner. Again with this route, the previous owner will probably also want to bring in their own inspector/specialist so the repairs will have to wait until they can see the problem.

MD Inspect Plus inspectors carry Errors & Omissions liability insurance, and as such litigation should be considered a last resort. It is difficult, expensive, and by no means a sure method of recovery any money to fix the problem. Unless the repairs are required immediately for safety reasons (unsafe stairs, fire in electrical panel), lack of service (no heat) or the damage will keep getting worse (leaking roof), the inspector should be able to see the problem before repairs start. Depending on the problem, the inspector may wish to bring in another inspector or a contractor to look at the problem also before it is repaired.

List of issues that are hidden defects
- Blocked sewer lines.
- Vermiculite insulation in an attic (hidden under other insulation as the standard of practice states that an inspector should not lift insulation even if many do).
- Most internal chimney problems since inspectors don’t inspect chimneys (the report tells you to contact a chimney sweep however this normally only occurs after you move in).
- Furnace does not heat the house properly in the winter (furnace does not run is something the inspector should have observed).
- A/C does not come on in the spring (if the house was inspected in the winter)
- Deck/balconies in bad shape if the house was inspected in the winter and things were covered with snow.
- Damaged driveway/walkways (if the house was inspected in the winter).
- With winter inspections, most of the time the roof is not visible or inspected.

List of issues that the inspector should of reported if they had access to the component:
- 20 year old hot water tank that stops working
- improperly installed oil tank that leaks (if not underground)
- water leak with visible signs of water on walls or ceilings

One way to limit the possible problems is to make sure a Vendor Declaration is completed by the Seller prior to you making an offer on the house. This declaration gives a detailed history of the building to the best of the Seller’s knowledge.

Some Sellers intentionally or unintentionally cover problems in their house by doing the following (which are things agents tell their clients to do to make the house look better for selling):
- The worst thing for a homeowner to do is to paint a house before selling since the painting covers stains and cracks are normally repaired prior to painting.
- Painting decks and balconies – if enough paint is applied, it can even hide rotten areas
- Install a Bain Magique or bathtub insert. Inserts are a quick fix but they often hide a problem.
- Caulk around all windows and doors. New caulking is great but how bad were the cracks before they fixed the caulking and how long was the caulking missing for which could have resulted in a water infiltration – which is why they maybe did the caulking repairs.
- install plastic over the windows.