October 2012 has been one of the coldest and rainiest since our move to the GTA three years ago. We learned all about Hurricane Hazel this past weekend as the media recounted that 1950’s storm, while reporting that Hurricane Sandy blew torrential winds and rain through the GTA. Power for thousands was cut as fallen trees, hydro lines and minimal flooding wreaked destruction on many homes and properties. The storm also took 2 lives in the GTA due to flying debris. Our hearts go out to all who have suffered.
As an Inspection company Iron View seeks positive ways to get around the limitations imposed by weather conditions or lack of access in order to offer the most thorough observations for our clients. Such conditions can occur at any time hindering safe access for observation reporting, even when there is no destructive storm.
We recently inspected a tiny 40+ aged bungalow in the centre of Toronto on a Monday in mid- October of this year. It was well before Hurricane Sandy whirled through. There had been a steady light rain with fog and drizzle causing high humidity ranging from 88% to 98% a few days prior to as well as on the day of Inspection. The saturation of the structure and surrounding landscape presented safety issues for setting ladders and walking roofs. However the wet conditions afforded positive benefits for the inspector when checking for leaks and humidity issues, of which he found none in the home on that day. The home was dry and cozy.
Our Inspector did note to the seller who was present during the Pre-Listing service being performed, that the roof was very old and probably in need of replacement soon. The seller agreed. The Inspector noted this information on the report and specified there was a missing shingle that should be attended soon to deter rotting of the sheathing. The inspector asked where the attic hatch might be since he had not observed one during the inspection. He wanted to see if there was any leaking present or signs of rot on the roof sheathing beneath the shingles. There was no access to the attic available.
Although the slope and pitch of the roof did not pose a problem for the Inspector to walk it; the age, slippery condition, loose shingles and potential to cause damage to the roof and injury to him cautioned him to safe practice. He opted to climb his ladder in the drizzle only to the roof edge, used his high powered binoculars and photographed the missing shingle which was easily visible from the ground without visual aids. He also did a moisture check on the interior ceiling area near where the shingle was missing. He found no signs of deterioration on the ceiling and no moisture registered in that area of the ceiling.
After the observations were made and the inspector consulted with the seller concerning his findings, the seller admitted knowing about the missing shingle for quite a while adding plans to have it repaired before listing the home. The seller also mentioned during the review of findings, that the neighbours were going to have their roof replaced in a few weeks. The seller was going to ask those roofers to look at the loose and missing shingles. The seller also informed the inspector that the siding was new because the insurance company would not insure the home when it was bought since it was originally covered by asbestos shingles. The inspector informed the seller that this information could not be documented in his report since he did not observe the asbestos shingles under the siding nor could he report what the seller was intending to do with roof repairs. Rather our inspector suggested the seller have their Realtor disclose that information to prospective buyers.
The home was listed with an open house viewing just 5 days following the inspection. Rain and wind continued throughout that week and weekend. The seller made copies and sent e-mails for prospective buyers during the open house. The seller told the inspector during a follow up call that the Open House was a success with 5 offers being made. The house was sold within ten days. Then…the seller’s satisfied tone changed admonishing our inspector;
”The roofers replacing the neighbours roof told us that you missed the hole in my roof where the missing shingle was and insulation was sticking out of that hole. This could have been a deal breaker.”
Our Inspector reminder the seller about the consultation they had on the day of inspection when the seller informed him about knowing about the missing shingle for quite some time before the inspection took place. He reminded the seller that the roof was inaccessible for safe observation on the day of inspection and that he noted those findings in the report along with up close and very clear photos showing no signs of a hole or insulation protruding where the shingle was missing on the day of inspection. He had done his due diligence within the parameters of safety with regard to weather conditions and lack of access. Then he asked;
“Did you disclose this information and your intentions for repair to the buyer?”
The seller thanked the inspector for his report and hung up. We encourage all parties, sellers, buyers, realtors and inspectors to due diligence. Ask as many questions of the realtors and inspectors that you can, keep a record of the answers and educate yourselves to the limitations that conditions affecting safety dictates. Although limitations present challenges they also present opportunity to find positive solutions. Iron View Inspections is dedicated to taking a Solid Look for clients and backing it with Honesty, Openness and Willing to report findings as thoroughly as possible.
~Be As Informed As You Can Be~