Who's Responsible?

By
Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

Responsibility, it is a word I have begun to feel has lost the original meaning, its intent. Accountability I believe is the fiber of being responsible. In other words accepting the burden for ones actions, thoughts and or ideas. Instead it seems society has shifted the meaning of responsibility to another definition, blame. As in I do not want to take the blame or it's not my fault.

While I can understand to a degree why this shift has occurred. One only has to watch the T.V. or listen to the radio for a short while. Legal services touting how you may be entitled to a whopping sum of money are constantly filling the airwaves.

Sometime last month I performed an inspection on a small low priced one owner house. Going in I knew there would be issues, the agent and the buyers also were quite aware.

Mold on sheet rock wall in a basement

The basement was the area with the biggest issue. It was quite apparent to anyone without a white cane and a dog that the basement has a water infiltration problem. With water of course comes that dreaded four letter word....

wait for it......

MOLD

Mold used to tell us it was time to throw away that loaf of bread or created some unidentifiable food left in the back of the refrigerator. Now it has become a horror, a scourge, especially in real estate. The truth is, mold and fungi still are telling us something, unfortunately we have stopped listening. An entire multi-billion dollar industry has grown off of these microscopic organisms. This industry has done much to drown out the message mold has always sent us.

There is or was too much water in the house.

It's really that simple.

The buyers of this house at the moment can not close because the bank knows about the mold in the basement. How did the bank come to know this you ask. No, not from the inspection report, all though it was discussed there, but from the bank appraisal. Interestingly the home inspection report contained one photo, the one above of the moldy wall, along with several of the water stains, one being the second photo. The appraisal on the other hand had four pictures of moldy walls and no explanation.Water stains on and wood decay to basement finished walls

My focus was the water infiltration issue with photos of the mold, wood decay and water stains being used to reinforce my point about the water issue. I also made a point of including information from the Connecticut Department of Public Health which states in part that it is unnecessary to test visible mold. The fact sheet further explains it's the water not the mold that is the issue.

The "cure" for this basement is the removal of all water damaged materials and the installation of water control such as drainage and a sump pump. The buyers are fully aware of this and are planning on doing the repairs if the bank will close.

The road block to the closing as I see it is a lack of willingness to take ownership for ones job. The fear of being held accountable for allowing two adults to purchase a house with known and well documented water infiltration issues.

No one wants to take the blame for what?

 

James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
Former SNEC-ASHI President
NRSB #8SS0022
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

 ASHI Certified Inspector

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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
692,519
Clint Mckie
Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections - Carlsbad, NM
Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586

Hi James,

MOLD....YUK. I hate to see it. This means the owner of the home did'nt have a clue about the mold or just did'nt care at all. In any case it needs to be remidiated as soo as possible.

Kinda hard to miss the mold on this inspection.

Have a good day and good post. Suggested.

Best, Clint mcKie

August 29, 2012 05:25 AM #1
Rainer
276,790
Kathryn Maguire
GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

And one thing is for certain with water issues, they only get worse. Better to fix it and get on with life.

August 29, 2012 05:47 AM #2
Rainmaker
1,219,281
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

If the cause of and remedy for the water infiltration can be identified, what's the problem here?  Get rid of the water and moldy stuff.

August 29, 2012 09:50 AM #3
Ambassador
2,371,576
Patricia Kennedy
Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc. - Washington, DC
For Your Home in the Capital

James, accountability and responsibility are two interesting concepts that a lof of us just don't quite get.

August 29, 2012 10:05 AM #4
Ambassador
1,070,154
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

It is interesting that a huge component of the word "responsibility" is "respond"---respond the the issue and be done with it.

August 29, 2012 10:20 AM #5
Rainer
277,179
Steven Cook
No Longer Processing Mortgages. - Tacoma, WA
- Pierce, King, Kitsap, Thurston, Mason Counties

James -- you mean there are ways to get the water to go elsewhere without continuing to cause this problem?  Obviously, that is too much for the bank to understand.

August 29, 2012 10:37 AM #6
Rainmaker
229,671
Dee Mayers
Covina, CA
San Gabriel Valley, CA

How long has this been going on, is it more than 30 days since the discovery?  Banks are in the business of making money, period.  Before they sign off on this they have to know is the mold just in the basement or did it travel to other areas.  How big is the problem and do they want to lend on a home with mold.  The fact that they are taking time to access the damage seems to me they want to work with the buyer and not shut this loan down.  The way I see it, it is the responsibility of all parties concern to arrive at an amicable solution.  No?!!

August 29, 2012 12:44 PM #7
Rainmaker
359,427
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Jim, Water is always the enemey in homes. Take care of it and all of these issues are easily correct. Now I want some cheese, I want some good mold ; )

August 29, 2012 08:57 PM #8
Rainmaker
627,653
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Clint, Hard to say about the owner. Clearly there is a water problem that hasn't been corrected.

Kathryn, Yep, I couldn't agree more.

Jay, Exactly. Apparently logical thinking is not for everyone.

Pat, It would seem so.

Charlie, It has been, but someone wants their butt out of the responsibility loop.  

Steven, The bank only understands there is mold in the basement. Apparently logic shut down after that fact was revealed. 

August 30, 2012 04:43 AM #9
Rainmaker
627,653
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Dee, Perhaps I didn't explain the situation fully. The bank has refused to close because of the mold in the basement they learned of from the appraisal. The bank has not made any effort to assess anything. They have made demands. There is no negotiating. The buyers do not comply, they do not close. Doesn't sound very amicable. 

Don, Yep. The water is the issue here, except the bank and appraiser have made mold the problem. 

August 30, 2012 04:50 AM #10
Rainmaker
229,481
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis Home Inspections

Well put, James.  I completely agree.  Why isn't this post featured?

August 31, 2012 03:20 AM #11
Rainmaker
229,671
Dee Mayers
Covina, CA
San Gabriel Valley, CA

I'm sorry James, how could there be demands without some sort of negotiation?  What are they demanding, that the mold and water be cleaned up before forking over a ton of money?  Where is the owner, where are the agents, can't they make this right?  If this is sooo complicated, maybe the buyers should walk, just sayin. 

Have a great weekend.

August 31, 2012 03:44 PM #12
Rainmaker
627,653
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Reuben,  I can't answer that, the AR gods are fickle :) Anyway, thanks. 

Dee, The house is sold as is. The owner is out of state, his agent ???? The  buyers are more than willing to take the house. Their agent is busting her butt, jumping through hoops to try and get this house to close. It's the bank that is holding up the closing. No one else. And for what? Mold on the walls. It's a NON issue. Does the bank think the buyers aren't aware of the mold? So then bank is just trying look out for the buyer's best interest? Sorry, not seeing it. 

September 01, 2012 03:46 AM #13
Ambassador
2,371,576
Patricia Kennedy
Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc. - Washington, DC
For Your Home in the Capital

Hey, James!  I included this post in Last Week's Favorites.  Have a great week!

September 02, 2012 12:09 AM #14
Rainmaker
1,055,895
Ginny Gorman
Phillips Post Road Realty ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate - North Kingstown, RI
Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond

James, you are right that mold can certainly be mitigated...find out how much a problem & fix it.  Some buyers don't want to be anywhere near they see mold as most realtors have found out...good share.

September 02, 2012 04:15 AM #15
Rainmaker
627,653
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Pat, Very cool! Thanks!

Ginny, My approach to mold may be a bit different than most. I see it as a sign of a much bigger issue. In this instance the basement has chronic water infiltration. Waaaay more concerning than some mold. 

September 02, 2012 05:12 AM #16
Rainmaker
872,577
Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

I love mold, yup I do. Each time I see a property being advertised that indicated a mold problem, well that is opportunity for me, as I am always looking for homes to flip. Most all mold problems are correctable.

September 02, 2012 05:57 AM #17
Rainmaker
627,653
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Joe, I would agree, most if not all mold issues are correctable. Sounds like mold is gold for you :)

September 02, 2012 06:10 AM #18
Ambassador
1,229,022
Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

If the buyer is willing to buy, it's frustrating that the bank could say NO. This same thing happened when my niece tried to buy an estate. She was willing to fix it later. The big bank said no, so I found her a small local bank willing to work with her.

September 02, 2012 09:12 AM #19
Rainmaker
627,653
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Erica, Ironically the lender is a small local bank. Unfortunately mold seems to be perceived as a huge issue. 

September 03, 2012 05:24 AM #20
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James Quarello

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