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Articles filed under Stone, Barry

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  • Who is liable for undisclosed septic problem? Dec 19, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. Two days after we moved into our home, the septic system backed up into the tub and toilet. This was a big surprise because the septic had been inspected and approved by a septic contractor before the close of escrow.

     
  • Understanding GFCI outlets Dec 12, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. We just bought an old house, built in the 1950s, so the electrical outlets are not grounded. We’d like to add GFCI outlets near the bathroom and kitchen sinks for shock protection, but our home inspector told us that GFCI outlets will only work if there are ground wires. According to the inspector, GFCIs are useless without a ground. Is this true?

     
  • In Illinois, a buyer’s agent represents the buyer Dec 5, 2014 12:01 AM
    In a recent column, I answered a question from a Washington, D.C., real estate attorney. A number of real estate agents and attorneys have written to express displeasure over my response to her. Therefore, I offer this explanation and apology.

     
  • Undisclosed water intrusion in addition Nov 28, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. Our house has a three-room addition that was built without a permit, according to the sellers’ disclosure statement. We hired a home inspector before we bought the property, and he reported no serious defects with the addition. But every time it rains, the floors in those rooms become wet.

     
  • Furnace recall overlooked by home inspector Nov 21, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. When we bought our home, our inspector said nothing about the furnace, except that it “appears functional.” Recently, we had it serviced by a contractor who said it is a recalled unit made by Premier.

     
  • Pinhole leaks common in copper water pipes Nov 14, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. In the past year I’ve had three pinhole leaks in my copper water pipes. My insurance company has refused to pay any more claims for damage caused by leaks, and the cost to repipe my house is more than I can afford. When I asked my plumber why these leaks keep happening, he didn’t have a definite answer. I thought copper piping was supposed to be good quality. Why do these leaks keep happening?

     
  • Home inspector didn’t disclose leaky roof Nov 7, 2014 10:03 AM
    Q. Before I bought my house, several friends said, “Don’t buy a place with a flat roof. You’ll have leaks.” But I didn’t listen. I figured that a home inspector would let me know if the roof was OK.

     
  • Inspector sent into darkened Victorian on Halloween eve Oct 31, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. You never do columns that recognize holidays. Even at Christmastime and the 4th of July, your articles are always about property defects, real estate disclosure and home inspections. Now that Halloween is here, how about a spooky house story?

     
  • Who is the buyers’ agent working for? Oct 24, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. Some of your articles suggest that a buyers’ agent has a responsibility to represent the interests of buyers. As a real estate attorney, I strongly disagree. The buyers’ agent is actually a subagent to the sellers’ agent because both agents are paid from the sellers’ commission.

     
  • Pros and cons of home inspection insurance Oct 17, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. In some of your articles, you advise people to hire home inspectors who have errors and omissions insurance (E&O). I’ve been a home inspector for 15 years and have avoided E&O insurance for four important reasons:

     
  • One too many roof layers Oct 10, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. The day after moving into our home, we learned that the new roof, installed by the seller during escrow, is in violation of the building code. In our area, only two layers of shingles are allowed. This is the third layer.

     
  • Basics of maintaining a septic system Oct 3, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. I have some questions about maintaining a septic tank. Someone told me to have my tank pumped every one to two years. Someone else said, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I’ve also been told that pumping can disturb the solids, causing them to seep into the leach lines and clog the system. My system is 12 years old and has never been pumped. What is your advice?

     
  • No one disclosed faulty furnace pilot light Sep 26, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. We bought our first home last month. It was built in 1948 and has a very old heating system. Our home inspector advised having the gas company check the furnace to make sure it was safe. The gas company said it was working fine.

     
  • Constructing air ducts underground was a bad idea Sep 12, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. The forced air vents in our floor fill with water whenever it rains. This has caused the metal ducts to rust out and expose the dirt. I have no idea who I should call or what kind of business does this type of repair work. Someone said I should seal the floor vents and install new vents in the ceiling, but that sounds very expensive and I would prefer to keep my floor vents. What is the most practical way of solving this problem.

     
  • Tenant worried about water heater safety Sep 5, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. We rent a one-story house with a basement and are worried about the safety of the water heater. Iit’s located high above the basement stairs, and you need to stand on an 8-foot ladder just to see the bottom of it. Should we be worried about this?

     
  • Home inspector overlooked faulty roofing Aug 22, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. My house and all the others on the block have flat roofs, but mine is the only one with shingles. During the last storms, my roof leaked badly, causing interior damage, and the insurance company denied my claim because of shingles on a flat roof. This defect was not disclosed by my home inspector when I purchased the property. I was told that he is liable for this omission. Is that true?

     
  • Handyman scams elderly homeowner Aug 15, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. I’m distressed about an unethical handyman who has been taking advantage of my elderly mother. She first called him because the nails in her roof were sticking up.

     
  • Do non-permitted additions add value to a home? Aug 8, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. Our home has a bedroom addition that was built without a permit. Now that we are selling, we want to know if the non-permitted addition adds value to the home, or will it not be considered when the property is appraised?

     
  • Badgered by belligerent bureaucrats Aug 1, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. I have owned my home for nearly two years and recently applied for a permit to build a swimming pool. That opened a can of worms with the building department. They discovered my septic system was installed 28 years ago without a permit.

     
  • Inspection gives added protection to owners with builders’ warranty Jul 25, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. I’m buying a new home and was planning to hire a home inspector before closing escrow. Two of my friends in a similar community advised me to save my money because the builder provides a new home warranty.

     
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