Disputes over home inspections or appraisals can arise for many reasons. In most cases, the home inspection is conducted in preparation for a home sales transaction. Both parties to a sale need to be in agreement regarding the price and value of the home, and a home inspection can help provide some common ground for the parties. However, the buyer and seller may have disputes over inspection issues, such as:
- Methods for calculating home values (for instance, fair market values vs. individual determinations)
- Considerations regarding defects, improvements, and additions
- Legal considerations such as zoning and land use
- Which party will actually sponsor the inspection
Thus, it’s important that the home inspection be conducted in a way that both seller and buyer can agree upon, so they can move forward with the rest of the home sales transaction.
In the event that there is a dispute over the home inspection process or results, the parties can choose to take certain actions. For instance, it’s common practice to bring in another inspector in order to get a second opinion on the property. Another way to resolve the problem is to review all contracts, inspection documents, and rework them so that they better meet the needs of the parties.
In instances of home inspection fraud, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit in order to resolve the dispute. This might be necessary especially if one party has suffered major losses or has lost the title to the home on account of fraud.
Legal remedies for home inspection disputes may include:
- A monetary damages award in order to compensate the plaintiff for losses
- An injunction requiring the defendant to take action (such as transferring the title to the appropriate party)
In some cases, violations can lead to negative penalties for the home inspector. For instance, a certified appraisal specialist might have to pay fines, or they might lose their license if they are found to be engaging in fraudulent practices.
Home inspections are an important part of the real estate process. It is highly recommended that you hire a real estate lawyer for assistance and guidance with home inspection laws. Your attorney can help you during the process, and can provide you with advice in the event of a dispute. Also, your lawyer can represent you in court if you need to file a lawsuit over your issue.