As a home inspection company we sell all sorts of things during home inspections. We also come across and read a variety of social media posts and message boards with various issues and complaints. One situation that I have read twice online in only 2 days is where a new home owner is taking down walls somewhere in the home and they discovered mold behind the wall. In both of those situations the home owner is threatening the home inspector for not finding it, in one of those situations the real estate agent is expecting the home inspector to pay for the remediation.
It is obvious that home buyers do not understand the limitations of a home inspection. Home inspectors can not damage walls so as to look behind them. Real estate agents should know this as well, if they do not then they need to take a class on home inspections.
It is very unfair to expect anyone to be able to see behind walls or to predict the future. We personally twice have had an issue due to an agent who failed to protect and advise her client appropriately. One time was regarding galvanized pipe that was old corroded and likely near the end of its useful life, however, water did flow through the supply lines ok. Shortly after moving in the the water flow became reduced (likely due to rust on the interior of the pipe getting loose) and the buyer complained. The agent tosses us under the bus. She even admitted to use that she saw the comment in the home inspection report and that she should have pushed to have the pipes replaced, yet she still expected us to pay to have the pipes fixed. I believe she confirmed to the client that she fell short of helping them.
At another home our home inspector noted a leak behind the master shower, however he could not see exactly where because it was behind the wall. This was also noted in the report along with picture of water dripping into the basement below. Apparently they were not going to request repairs unless the item will cost over $1000 to repair. Home inspectors do not provide estimates. They did not have it looked at and of course it is still leaking once they move in and actually start taking showers. They complained and then the agent on an email between the inspector, the buyers and herself makes a statement about not recommending us again for home inspections, despite having accurately called the issue out. The issue was also on the summary report which makes it hard to believe it was missed by anyone. As communications go back and forth they stop responding for approx 1.5-2 weeks. When they emailed us back they explained that they had left for vacation and when they returned the basement was flooded. I assume from the shower issue getting larger. They stated in the email that it was now an issue for their insurance. I hope their insurance company wants to see the home inspection report. If they do see the report they will see that it was a preexisting condition prior to their moving in, after they moved in and then they neglected to fix it and then they left the home and the problem allowing it to get worse. Sounds like insurance fraud to me. This agent also confirmed that she failed her clients. She should have encouraged them to have the leak evaluated for at least get an estimate.
There are home inspection companies such as Habitation Investigation that has warranties to protect home buyers from the unknown and unpredictable future. I recommend finding home inspectors that work for home inspection companies with warranties such as mold safe, 5 year roof leak warranty, sewer warranty, etc.
Inspectors are human and if they make mistakes they should help with the issue. However it is unfair and childish to blame them for not seeing behind walls or failing to predict the future. There is talk of inspectors getting interested in suing home buyers, contractors and real estate agents for slander and defamation due to crazy claims that inspectors should have seen the impossible. The future will be interesting.
Knowledge is king with Ethics as his Queen