Member says Leesburg home inspector missed obvious damage
I hired Home Inspections Inc. of Leesburg, Va., to inspect a home my husband and I were considering purchasing. Steve Messerschmidt completed the inspection, and we trusted Steve to do a good job with the inspection and identify any major repairs before closing to minimize unpleasant surprises and difficulties after move-in.
Within hours of being in the house, we identified several major problems that Steve completely missed. Our home has several major issues that are apparent to an untrained eye, including a warped wood floor, rotted and molded subfloor, rotten wood on the two main pillars, around the front of our home, on our front porch and broken fans on two different levels of the house.
Steve was ill when he arrived at the house and wouldn’t even shake our hands. We don’t know if this illness caused his negligence, or if he’s just a bad inspector. We are absolutely outraged by the errors on Steve’s part. Another inspector — also a contractor — is completely appalled at the missed damage.
We offered Home Inspections Inc. the opportunity to make it right. I sent an email to the owner of the company, Robert Rust, and he didn’t return my messages or calls for days. Later, we learned that he forwarded my messages straight to Steve, his employee. A few days after emailing complaints and leaving voicemails, Steve called my husband’s cellphone after 9 p.m. It should be common sense that a call after 9 p.m. is unprofessional and inconsiderate. The real issue is that we were expecting a call from the owner, not Steve, the employee with whom we had the grievance. Waiting days for a return phone call after a major complaint is unacceptable in virtually any profession, yet not surprising given our experience with Home Inspections Inc.
In the return call and email messages, we were led to believe a contractor was coming to examine and fix the damages Steve overlooked. We have several dated emails from Steve Messerschmidt explaining the details of the contractor. Nonetheless, the contractor never showed, and we were given excuses multiple times.
A month and several canceled appointments later, Steve told us that he was no longer handling the issue. Instead, the owner of the company was going to take over, and that he may have a contractor to refer to us for repair.
The owner showed up at our home after canceling two appointments to tell us that he could offer us our money back for the inspection. Why, after a month of waiting for answers, did it take that long to come to that decision? Why lead us to believe it was going to get fixed? I want a refund of $525 plus repair of damaged floor minus cost of the door we already purchased.
Jessica Rauhala, Bristow, Va.
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