Local News

Sep 19, 2013 6:00 PM by Janine Reyes

Home Buyer vs. Seller, Could Inspector Have Been Tiebreaker?

CORPUS CHRISTI -- A buyer says the house he bought from a local broker needs about $120,000 in repair, but the seller disagrees. Could an inspector have solved the battle? As we found out, a home inspection is not required, but it's not a bad idea.

"All the sheetrock is rotten, the ceiling is no good," said homeowner Michael Bullock, as he listed off all the problems with the home he's owned less than a year.

"The doors are not even set right," he told us as he tried to close one.

Sal Lacono with First Choice Inspection says that's a red flag. "When we see doors don't open and close properly or windows are misaligned, that's usually a red flag for us to say there's possible structural movement in the area," he explained.

Lacono says since its not required for home buyers to have an inspection, some opt not to.

"It was naive on our part, he said 'don't worry about the money for the inspector, I had it all completely done,'" Bullock told us, referring to Chris Montalvo, who sold him the home.

He admits he flipped the house and says he stands behind it's quality. "The appraisal came in $15,000 or $20,000 over," Montalvo said, "everybody won, everyone was good."

Montalvo also works as a broker in town, and sometimes represents buyers. He did not represent the Bullocks as a realtor in this transaction.

"I always recommend getting a home inspection, but in this case it was a little different because everything was brand new," Montalvo told us.

Brand new or not, Lacono says when you're buying a home, it's definitely worth the money to get an inspection. On average, it'll set you back about $300. "We often find repairs totaling more than $300 in value," said Lacono.

If the home you buy ends up with big problems after the inspector approved it, the liability falls back on the inspector. Then maybe this case wouldn't be a case of buyer versus seller.

The Bullocks did file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Montalvo does have an F rating with them and that's based on a number of issues. One of them being a closed complaint.

The dispute in this story is still under review.

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