Sunday, August 19, 2007

When to Get an Inspection Report

I have recently been thinking a great deal about when a homeowner should hire an independent expert to review the work that a contractor has done at his/her home. This usually arises when the quality of the work has come into question. The homeowner is concerned that some items may need to be re-done, and subsequent contractors may have alarmed the homeowner with sweeping statements about extensive repairs. In addition, the renovation work may have failed the rough inspection, or the building inspector may alert the homeowner to violations of the building code.


I used to tell homeowners to get two or three quotes from subsequent contractors. If the quotes were all similar, then the homeowner would be able to verify the problems. However, as with new hairdressers or dentists, each contractor has his or her style, and there is a fair amount of subjectivity in looking at someone else's work.

The advantage with an independent home inspector is that he has nothing to gain from finding problems, and his opinion will carry more weight with the court. I will often bring a motion to attach real estate as potential security against a contractor. In my experience judges are more likely to grant the motion when an independent inspection report is attached.

Independent inspectors also help ferret out exxagerations on the part of the homeowner and can verify whether work has been done to industry standards. In some ways, this can also support a contractor who is being unjustly accused by an over demanding homeowner who finds fault with the work.

An independent inspector can inject some reality into an emotionally charged situation, and help both sides have a more realistic view of potential damages. This can only serve to help resolve the situation.

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