Agent’s ‘foolish’ fix-it advice

Is inspector on hook for inappropriate disclosure?

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DEAR BARRY: When we bought our home, we noticed that the exterior paint looked worn and that the knots in the wood siding were showing through. We pointed this out to our home inspector and asked for his opinion. But our agent interrupted and said, "You just need to cover them with shellac." The inspector made no further comment and said nothing about the paint in his report. Sixteen months later, the paint was peeling off of two sides of the building. We had to sand, scrape, prime and repaint the entire exterior. What is your opinion about the inspector's liability? --Linda DEAR LINDA: The prime directive in home inspection is to report all defects that are visible, accessible and within the scope of the inspection. If a buyer points out a specific defect and asks the inspector for an opinion, there is no excuse for omitting that disclosure from the report. An appropriate disclosure, in this case, would have been, "Exterior paint finish appears worn, and d...