My mother bought her first home in 2009, we were looking at mild fixer-uppers because that was the best her budget could afford. Long story short is that our inspector looked the whole house over and only told us that the columns in the basement were temporary and should be replaced with new ones (and he said it would cost about $300 per column to do this).
Well funds finally came up to where we thought we could look into fixing the columns and we wanted to see if anything else had slipped by him (thinking maybe one or two small issues), so we hired an expert structural engineer to give us an inspection and frankly the news he gave us couldn't be any worse!
He told us first off, that the columns the inspector spoke of would cost around $1500 each because they each needed a footing dug in the floor to be legal. But that was the least of it, he said we have "many" cracked joists and several joists don't even connect to the sill plate! So there's essentially nothing holding them up on one end. The beams that the columns hold up are incorrectly assembled and insufficient for the weight they're bearing. Then once he examined the first and second floors he told us the house is in far worse shape than he thought, that the internal walls weren't holding any weight like they were supposed to. He said that we needed to stop using the 3rd floor/loft area because it was so woefully under-reinforced that we might fall through the floor at some point (it always was spongy, now I know why).
He essentially told us that the house was on the verge of being unsafe, and that to address the situation would require pretty much gutting the whole thing to find out how it is built and then repositioning the internal walls so that they carry the weight of the roof and floors all the way down to the beams in the basement. He seemed genuinely concerned about our house and he said many many times during the inspection that ANY insepector should have been able to see most of these issues!
So my question is do I have a possible case against my inspector? I haven't had the heart yet to dig out his inspection report and re-read what exactly his fine-print terms were, but I suspect they were the usual "I'm not an expert" and "I'm not responsible" jargon. But I've heard that these don't hold up well in court.
I honestly don't know what to do here, I'm looking at needing $100k in repairs to a $150k house! I am unemployed and my mother couldn't begin to qualify for borrowing that kind of money so what other option do we have than to at least try and sue him!? Do we have a chance here? Any other advice? Any info is much appreciated. Oh, and if it matters we made the rookie mistake of using an inspector that our Agent recommended, later hearing that you should never do this as they may be in cahoots with eachother! :(