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Problems with just purchased home

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Posted by: from Sarnia
8/31/2011 at 6:16:50 PM

I just purchased a home that is about 60 years old. I had a home inspection done and there were no major issues noted - just replacing shingles and roof venting, etc. It does really need updating so, when I got the house the first thing I did was to contact a contractor regarding redoing the kitchen. When he got here, he felt the floors were uneven - they were carpeted at the time - so, upon investigation, found that the floor joists were sagging. And looking at the beams in the basement, it was very obvious that they were sagging.Someone at some point had removed some supports to open up the basement. We agreed that he would put in adjustable support columns to try levelling out the floors. there is another column not yet installed (?). Renovations on the kitchen are progressing, however, he wants me to pay him hourly and won't even give me an estimate of the number of hours it will take to complete this project. Last week cost me $1500 for the mudding and sanding of the kitchen drywall and it's not finished. As a result of our being unable to come to a mutually agreeable arrangement, we may be parting company. My problem is that he was to write a letter and attest to the condition of the floors and other issues he found (aluminum wiring, ground fault,etc) as I am intending on taking the home inspector to small claims court because of the shoddy home inspection. My question is how should I proceed from here? I really don't know what to do. How to find an honest and reliable contractor and what to do about someone who can deal with levelling the floors and willing to attest to the condition.

Any help or advise would be greatly appreciated.

REPLIES (4)
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Date/Time8/31/2011 at 7:24:09 PM

Hi Carolyn! Well the first thing you need to do is kick that contractor out the door. Always get three estimates and feel these people out when you meet with them. Also never agree to go by the hour on a big job like that. He will milk you till you run out of money. Any good contractor should be able to fix your floors and your kitchen and give you a quote. There are things that do come up and changes that are made as the work progresses but in any case a quote is always able to be done. Ask around and find yourself a dependable contractor. They are out there. Good luck!

Brent Smith

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Tim in Windsor
Date/Time8/31/2011 at 11:07:14 PM

Hi, Carolyn.

I would agree with Brent that it is time to part company with your current contractor, for a number of reasons. The "Sorry, no Quote" attitude suggests arrogance, ignorance or incompetence on the part of the contractor. These are not qualities one looks for to get good quality workmanship. These are also not qualities that would be of any use to you even if he wrote that letter you want for small claims court with your Home Inspector. For that letter to be of any use to you, it must come from a respectable, reliable, credible source, and even then, the court will likely only give it merit if the author attends at small claims on your behalf.

I do have a question regarding your home inspector. Have you contacted him/her to revisit your property to review the items you are dissatisfied about? From Day one in my inspection career, it was my policy to attend to a site revisit at the absolute earliest opportunity and never more than 24 hours after receiving a call.

You may very well be able to resolve this without going to court and before your current contractor alters/destroys any evidence and/or takes you for every penny. You need to realize that if the inspector did actually miss something that he/she SHOULD have been able to see (quite literally, see) during the inspection, that correcting it and after the fact suing for compensation, there may be no evidence of the deficiency to support your position.

I would strongly suggest that you contact the inspector and have him/her come out and look at the concerns you have and go from there. A good inspector will gladly come out and review things with you. It is in the inspector's best interest to look out for your best interests. That is why you engaged their service in the first place, isn't it?

Hope this helps.

Tim

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Carolyn in Sarnia
Date/Time9/1/2011 at 7:10:30 AM

Nobody, including my lawyer has suggested that I contact the home inspector, but I think that sounds like a good idea. I don't know what he'll do for me, but it's worth a try.

As for my "contractor" I will also take that advice and look for someone else to deal with.

Thank you for your help.

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Carolyn in Sarnia
Date/Time9/2/2011 at 10:05:54 AM

Well, I contacted the home inspector, which did absolutely no good. He maintains that he did a good inspection and I got my $400 worth. This, despite the fact that he failed to mention or notice the sagging floors. He said all floors sag over time and it isn't an issue. Is this true?

He said he couldn't inspect the attic, because there was no access to the attic. he said that he and his partner and the real estate agent all looked without success. I found it without any problem. It's in one of the upstairs bedroom closets. so, I have no idea if there are any issues up there. He also failed to notice some aluminum wiring. His report stated the wiring was 100% copper. When I mentioned this to him, he said it was possible that it was missed, but one strand of aluminum wiring isn't a problem.

At the end of the conversation, he said he guessed he could come out and take a second look, but it wouldn't change anything. I just thanked him for his time.

I feel, that although these may not be huge issues, they are all factors that would be taken into account when considering whether or not to buy a particular house and what one is willing to pay for that house. If this is how it goes, why even bother with a home insepction?

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