A homeowner in Oakland, Calif., recently decided to put his older home on the market. At the recommendation of his real estate agents, he ordered presale inspection reports on the property. The home inspector noticed sloping in the floors and out-of-plumb door frames -- signs of settlement, which is not unusual for the area. The seller informed the home inspector that an engineer had inspected the property when he initially purchased it. The seller, who was then a buyer, had been present at the time of the inspection, which is always a good idea. The engineer found nothing unusual with the foundation, given its age. The settlement appeared to have occurred long ago and was not indicative of an ongoing problem. Based on this information, the buyer went ahead with the purchase. Years later when this buyer, now a seller, searched for the engineer's report to include with his disclosures on the property, he couldn't find it. He then recalled that because he had been present at...
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