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  1. #1
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    Question Ethics question about realtors

    This is my 1st official post in this forum so please bear with me. I have now reached the 2 year mark in owning my Home Inspection business and with the slowdown in the market, I thought I may try and reach out to a few more local realtors that have not used my services yet. My question is, Can I send out a mass email to them and possibly offer some kind of incentive to them for trying me out? I was thinking of a gift certificate for dinner or something like that when they book there first inspection.
    Does anyone offer anything in return or is this a Big No No! I have done presentations for them back when I got started and it seemed to create a few inspections immediately, some which are now steady customers but many I have not heard from. The majority of the feedback from realtors is positive and I have had no complaints from the home buyers.
    Chime in with what has worked for you,

    Thanks, Ron
    1st Class Home Inspection, LLC

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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Go into the office's of your best brokers and have them introduce other brokers to you.
    Offer your good brokers the dinner for doing this. That way you are feeding the deserved.
    Mass mailings are a waste of time and the feeding the masses thing just rubs me the wrong way.
    It's a tough audience out there and they don't trust you till you've made a few clients happy.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Quote Originally Posted by wayne soper View Post
    Go into the office's of your best brokers and have them introduce other brokers to you.
    Offer your good brokers the dinner for doing this. That way you are feeding the deserved.
    Mass mailings are a waste of time and the feeding the masses thing just rubs me the wrong way.
    It's a tough audience out there and they don't trust you till you've made a few clients happy.
    Great ideal Wayne.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Cleland View Post
    Great ideal Wayne.
    You asked about ethics questions.

    No, you do not buy Realtors anything or give them gift certificates for inspections. That is the most unethical thing you can consider doing. It is completely against any ethics in home inspection whether it be association or state licensing. It is simply not done.

    Oh, by the way. How did my Realtor get your name to refer you? Oh, it was easy. I bought her.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    You asked about ethics questions.

    No, you do not buy Realtors anything or give them gift certificates for inspections. That is the most unethical thing you can consider doing. It is completely against any ethics in home inspection whether it be association or state licensing. It is simply not done.

    Oh, by the way. How did my Realtor get your name to refer you? Oh, it was easy. I bought her.
    Thanks for the honest reply. that is what I was looking for.

    I guess its time to start pounding the pavement and stopping by in person to introduce myself.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    You asked about ethics questions.

    No, you do not buy Realtors anything or give them gift certificates for inspections. That is the most unethical thing you can consider doing. It is completely against any ethics in home inspection whether it be association or state licensing. It is simply not done.

    Oh, by the way. How did my Realtor get your name to refer you? Oh, it was easy. I bought her.
    How about promising to write "soft" reports? Do you think that will work?

    Steven Turetsky, UID #16000002314
    homeinspectionsnewyork.com
    eifsinspectionsnewyork.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    How about promising to write "soft" reports? Do you think that will work?
    He would be the busiest inspector in 5 counties


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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Realtors = love hate ralationship. You'll be selling your soul.

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
    www.mazzainspections.com
    Level III Thermo-picture-taker-er...er

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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    I might buy them a coffee, but that is where the incentive would stop.


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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    I have learned over the years that if you have to ask if something is ethical then it usually is not. Or, it is so far in the grey area that it is best to avoid it.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Cleland View Post
    This is my 1st official post in this forum so please bear with me. I have now reached the 2 year mark in owning my Home Inspection business and with the slowdown in the market, I thought I may try and reach out to a few more local realtors that have not used my services yet. My question is, Can I send out a mass email to them and possibly offer some kind of incentive to them for trying me out? I was thinking of a gift certificate for dinner or something like that when they book there first inspection.
    Does anyone offer anything in return or is this a Big No No! I have done presentations for them back when I got started and it seemed to create a few inspections immediately, some which are now steady customers but many I have not heard from. The majority of the feedback from realtors is positive and I have had no complaints from the home buyers.
    Chime in with what has worked for you,

    Thanks, Ron
    1st Class Home Inspection, LLC
    I would first say regarding such unsolicited email communications, to be mindful of the Federal "CAN-SPAM Act", in all its various generations and ammendments. Despite its name, the CAN-SPAM Act doesn’t apply just to bulk email. It covers all commercial messages, which the law defines as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,” including email that promotes content on commercial websites. The law makes no exception for business-to-business email. That means all email – for example, a message to former customers announcing a new product line – must comply with the law. I recommend this link at the Bureau of Consumer Protection, Business Center page at the Federal Trade Commission website as a good, first resource (clickable link): CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business | BCP Business Center


    Next, to be mindful of the CofE and SOP for whichever professional organizations you belong to or claim to abide by. Your own (signature line referenced link to your business) web-site contains reference to the Inter-NACHI "Code of Ethics" and links to the "Standards of Practice", and thereby the "Code of Ethics" (link upon THAT page) for THAT organization.

    Further to be mindful of the regulations, rules, and laws relative to realtors, business and advertising laws in general, and those activities in relation to the buisness of real estate and and real estate closings.

    Kick-backs, referal fees, "gifts", bribes, and disclosures for settlements, conflict of interest, etc. designed to enrich the "referrer" are perilous. Example federal prosecutions regarding same involving professions from medical/insurance to collision auto repair to financed and cash purchase home sale transactions.

    Discounts, rebates, or coupons provided directly to the HI Client, to be used by and for only the benefit of the client being referred, or perhaps an extra value-added service for the client - perhaps, but never a scheme to enriching or illegaly enticing, influenancing the referrer, especially that of a real estate professional, at least how I read the quoted section below of the Inter-NACHI "Code of Ethics" Part I, Number 6. What you propose is direct or indirect compensation of the real estate professional for the referral to a client.

    AFAIK MN still doesn't license HIs on a state level, but does regulate real estate professionals, and has general civil and criminal statutes regarding business practices, fraud, consumer protection, etc. I do not recall if they further regulate fax, telemarketing, "snail mail", "private delivery services", email and/or text messages generated from within the state.

    Your website has a "code of ethics" link, which takes one to the Inter-NACHI SOP, and indirectly via a link upon THAT page, affords one to a link to the Inter-NACHI CoE. This would indicate your advertised "practices" and "code of ethics" relative to YOUR OWN buisness activities, wouldn't it? Seems to me, as I read the following, the "scheme" you propose seems in direct conflict with the following (which I have bolded, underlined and colored "orange" for emphasis).

    below quoted from (clickable link): Home Inspector Code of Ethics - InterNACHI ; Under "I. Duty to the Public, number 6":


    The InterNACHI member shall have no undisclosed conflict of interest with the client, nor shall the InterNACHI member accept or offer any undisclosed commissions, rebates, profits or other benefit, nor shall the InterNACHI member accept or offer any disclosed or undisclosed commissions, rebates, profits or other benefit from real estate agents, brokers or any third parties having financial interest in the sale of the property, nor shall the InterNACHI member offer or provide any disclosed or undisclosed financial compensation directly or indirectly to any real estate agent, real estate broker or real estate company for referrals or for inclusion on lists of preferred and/or affiliated inspectors or inspection companies.
    Whether or not you are actually a member of the organization, it would seem that if one advertises one's business activities as abiding/ascribe/subscribing to a particular organization's "Code of Ethics" which is published, and especially in-lieu of legislated rules for same, one should actually do so.

    I would have thought your Kaplan instruction would have covered this. Perhaps some remedial self-directed education, including reviewing the updated SOP and CofE you prescribe on your own website. Consider conslting your business attorney for further assistance, direction, and advice.

    P.S.

    I note some conflicting and misleading information and LINKS on your website.

    For example in/on your "Qualifications" page, you proclaim that your activites are self-governed by ("follow") the ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors') Standards of Practice, yet you referal/link to the Inter-NACHI Standards of practice page on THAT page (nachi.org site) where you indicate one is directed to the ASHI Standards of Practice; and as mentioned previously your "Code of Ethics" menu page claims otherwise (references NACHI.org's SOP & CofE).

    quote from your "Qualifications" page: 1st Class Home Inspection, LLC

    We follow ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) Standards of Practice.
    quote from your "Code of Ethics" page:

    1st Class Home Inspection, LLC

    Code of Ethics
    Review our Code of Ethics/Standards of Practice at www.nachi.org/sop.htm
    You might want to "clear that up", even if you self-subscribe to BOTH organizations' Codes of Ethics - they both "cover" the instant topic in slightly different language.

    P.P.S.

    I am curious regarding your unusual "pricing" strategy (SERVICES page), based upon the "listing price" of the "house", not the contract price, not the size, age, type, distance, systems, etc. How is that working for you (in this post-bubble, ever-declining, repleat with short-sale desperatation listings & REOs, upside-down, buyer's market)???

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 08-23-2011 at 12:48 PM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    I'm curious how you do inspections starting at 6pm?

    The mass e-mail will probably get you taken OFF lists instead of ON.


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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Before Pennsylvania started including interior square footage numbers with listings, I had nothing to go on regarding knowing the size of the house so I asked about the sale price as well. It gave me the only possible clue about how big the house might be. It is obviously a flawed method and luckily PA now includes interior square footage numbers so I no longer ask about sale price.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    I would first say regarding such unsolicited email communications, to be mindful of the Federal "CAN-SPAM Act", in all its various generations and ammendments. Despite its name, the CAN-SPAM Act doesn’t apply just to bulk email. It covers all commercial messages, which the law defines as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,” including email that promotes content on commercial websites. The law makes no exception for business-to-business email. That means all email – for example, a message to former customers announcing a new product line – must comply with the law. I recommend this link at the Bureau of Consumer Protection, Business Center page at the Federal Trade Commission website as a good, first resource (clickable link): CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business | BCP Business Center


    Next, to be mindful of the CofE and SOP for whichever professional organizations you belong to or claim to abide by. Your own (signature line referenced link to your business) web-site contains reference to the Inter-NACHI "Code of Ethics" and links to the "Standards of Practice", and thereby the "Code of Ethics" (link upon THAT page) for THAT organization.

    Further to be mindful of the regulations, rules, and laws relative to realtors, business and advertising laws in general, and those activities in relation to the buisness of real estate and and real estate closings.

    Kick-backs, referal fees, "gifts", bribes, and disclosures for settlements, conflict of interest, etc. designed to enrich the "referrer" are perilous. Example federal prosecutions regarding same involving professions from medical/insurance to collision auto repair to financed and cash purchase home sale transactions.

    Discounts, rebates, or coupons provided directly to the HI Client, to be used by and for only the benefit of the client being referred, or perhaps an extra value-added service for the client - perhaps, but never a scheme to enriching or illegaly enticing, influenancing the referrer, especially that of a real estate professional, at least how I read the quoted section below of the Inter-NACHI "Code of Ethics" Part I, Number 6. What you propose is direct or indirect compensation of the real estate professional for the referral to a client.

    AFAIK MN still doesn't license HIs on a state level, but does regulate real estate professionals, and has general civil and criminal statutes regarding business practices, fraud, consumer protection, etc. I do not recall if they further regulate fax, telemarketing, "snail mail", "private delivery services", email and/or text messages generated from within the state.

    Your website has a "code of ethics" link, which takes one to the Inter-NACHI SOP, and indirectly via a link upon THAT page, affords one to a link to the Inter-NACHI CoE. This would indicate your advertised "practices" and "code of ethics" relative to YOUR OWN buisness activities, wouldn't it? Seems to me, as I read the following, the "scheme" you propose seems in direct conflict with the following (which I have bolded, underlined and colored "orange" for emphasis).

    below quoted from (clickable link): Home Inspector Code of Ethics - InterNACHI ; Under "I. Duty to the Public, number 6":



    Whether or not you are actually a member of the organization, it would seem that if one advertises one's business activities as abiding/ascribe/subscribing to a particular organization's "Code of Ethics" which is published, and especially in-lieu of legislated rules for same, one should actually do so.

    I would have thought your Kaplan instruction would have covered this. Perhaps some remedial self-directed education, including reviewing the updated SOP and CofE you prescribe on your own website. Consider conslting your business attorney for further assistance, direction, and advice.

    P.S.

    I note some conflicting and misleading information and LINKS on your website.

    For example in/on your "Qualifications" page, you proclaim that your activites are self-governed by ("follow") the ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors') Standards of Practice, yet you referal/link to the Inter-NACHI Standards of practice page on THAT page (nachi.org site) where you indicate one is directed to the ASHI Standards of Practice; and as mentioned previously your "Code of Ethics" menu page claims otherwise (references NACHI.org's SOP & CofE).

    quote from your "Qualifications" page: 1st Class Home Inspection, LLC



    quote from your "Code of Ethics" page:

    1st Class Home Inspection, LLC



    You might want to "clear that up", even if you self-subscribe to BOTH organizations' Codes of Ethics - they both "cover" the instant topic in slightly different language.

    P.P.S.

    I am curious regarding your unusual "pricing" strategy (SERVICES page), based upon the "listing price" of the "house", not the contract price, not the size, age, type, distance, systems, etc. How is that working for you (in this post-bubble, ever-declining, repleat with short-sale desperatation listings & REOs, upside-down, buyer's market)???
    Thanks for pointing out the error's on my web site. I will have my admin update them immediately.

    As far as my pricing by the listed price, in my area it seems to work out fine. I do occasionaly make adjustments, 1.) Lake Property 2.) Twinhome 3.) Duplex 4.) Mileage, The contract price doe not concern me as I don't care what the home buyer ended up paying for the property. I know the area well enough to know what i'm getting into.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    I'm curious how you do inspections starting at 6pm?

    The mass e-mail will probably get you taken OFF lists instead of ON.
    Not sure of the ?
    I often do home inspections in the evenings. As long as I can inspect the outside before dark, its not a problem.


  16. #16
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    Smile Re: Ethics question about realtors

    I am having more and more inspections requested after 5:00 pm. If it is an occupied house, the home owners usually go out to a movie or out to eat. Many of my clients are blue collar workers who want to be there for the inspection so this works out well with their work schedule. The Realtors just give me a code to the lock box, so they are never there anyway. During Day Light Savings time, it is not a problem. Now... in November that may begin to be a problem, but right now, it stays light up until 9:00 pm here in Oklahoma. Roofs and Attics are still really hot, but I usually get those over with, change shirts, and soldier on.

    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
    Jubilee Home Inspections

  17. #17
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Actually I do not believe you could be anymore rude than to boot the sellers outof their home at night for a few hours.

    Also, why are you working at night. They are buying the home, not you. They should work it into their work schedule to be there during the day. They should upset their schedule, not yours and the sellers family and your families schedule. How rude can they possibly be to expect you to join the night crew so their schedule does not get messed up. Or so they do not have to take a vacation day or sick day or juist a couple hours at best during the day to pop in and go over the report with you.

    Inspect into the night only to get back home and work on a report to the wee hours and mess your families schedule up. Work in life is far not more important than a life of your own. Once work exceeds certain boundaries it becomes, well, work. I like my job. I would not want it to take over my being.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Ted, you need to relax. If Dub wants/agrees to start an inspection at 6pm, that's his call. If the sellers have a problem with the timeframe, they can say it doesn't work for them. Maybe Dub doesn't have a wife or kids so working at 6pm - 9pm may be no biggie to him. Maybe he doesn't care if he starts an inspection at 6pm.

    The boundaries you refer to are your own. They are not everybody else's.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Cleland View Post
    This is my 1st official post in this forum so please bear with me. I have now reached the 2 year mark in owning my Home Inspection business and with the slowdown in the market, I thought I may try and reach out to a few more local realtors that have not used my services yet. My question is, Can I send out a mass email to them and possibly offer some kind of incentive to them for trying me out? I was thinking of a gift certificate for dinner or something like that when they book there first inspection.
    Does anyone offer anything in return or is this a Big No No! I have done presentations for them back when I got started and it seemed to create a few inspections immediately, some which are now steady customers but many I have not heard from. The majority of the feedback from realtors is positive and I have had no complaints from the home buyers.
    Chime in with what has worked for you,

    Thanks, Ron
    1st Class Home Inspection, LLC

    You've got your work cut out for you. Hutchinson only saw 216 homes sold last year. McCloud County currently has only 474 properties for sale.

    According to eFind4Business connects consumers with local small businesses - eFind 4 Business there are 35 home inspectors servicing Hutchinson. There are also 5 Nachi inspectors in the city. These are only the inspectors listed on these two sites, I'm sure there are more. There are no ASHI Certified Inspectors within 50 miles of Hutchinson. ASHI inspectors are recognized as the best inspectors by most of the real estate associations in Minnesota. If you can get ASHI Certified Inspector status you'll have something to offer which no other inspector in the area can.

    In the mean time you'll need to expand your area into St Cloud and the Twin Cities. Visit the offices, talk to the agents. Become a member of the real estate associations and partake in their vendor fairs.

    Stay in contact with those agents who have referred you in the past, but don't spam them. Yes, you can send out mass emails, but you'll piss them off and probably get your email blocked by their ISP. Break the emails down to 5 or 10 agents at a time. No, you can't buy their referrals by offering them incentives. But, you certainly could host a bar-b-que to thank them for their prior referrals.

    The average new inspector working the Twin Cities will do around 35 inspections their first year, 50 to 60 the second. If you're doing anywhere near that I'd be surprised. So you'll have to work extra hard, travel to extended areas and have a second job or big savings account if you plan on doing this full time.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Actually I do not believe you could be anymore rude than to boot the sellers outof their home at night for a few hours.

    Also, why are you working at night. They are buying the home, not you. They should work it into their work schedule to be there during the day. They should upset their schedule, not yours and the sellers family and your families schedule. How rude can they possibly be to expect you to join the night crew so their schedule does not get messed up. Or so they do not have to take a vacation day or sick day or juist a couple hours at best during the day to pop in and go over the report with you.

    Inspect into the night only to get back home and work on a report to the wee hours and mess your families schedule up. Work in life is far not more important than a life of your own. Once work exceeds certain boundaries it becomes, well, work. I like my job. I would not want it to take over my being.
    Whoa there Teddy ol' Boy! I seemed to have touched on a nerve. I will work around whatever schedule works for my clients and what they have arranged with the Sellers and their Agent. If everyone involved is cool with the arrangement, who am I to be the hold out? As for my family, they understand the demands this job sometimes takes, and I am sure to pay it back with "quality" family time later. Anyway, It's not being rude if everyone is in agreement..... it is being rude if I am the only one saying "No". But.... that's just one man's opinion.

    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
    Jubilee Home Inspections

  21. #21
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Ted, you need to relax. If Dub wants/agrees to start an inspection at 6pm, that's his call. If the sellers have a problem with the timeframe, they can say it doesn't work for them. Maybe Dub doesn't have a wife or kids so working at 6pm - 9pm may be no biggie to him. Maybe he doesn't care if he starts an inspection at 6pm.

    The boundaries you refer to are your own. They are not everybody else's.
    I am happy that you understand those last 2 sentences. That is exactly what I said

    As far as the first sentence? I am relaxed Nick.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Ted,
    Do you become concerned, about the employees, when you stop for gas at 11pm? Shop on a Sunday?

    Many years ago lived for a while where the stores on main street closed at 5pm M-Sa and were closed on Sunday. People would go home and be with their families. How old fashion.

    It seems that our society expects a 24/7 service.


  23. #23
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Ted,
    Do you become concerned, about the employees, when you stop for gas at 11pm? Shop on a Sunday?

    Many years ago lived for a while where the stores on main street closed at 5pm M-Sa and were closed on Sunday. People would go home and be with their families. How old fashion.

    It seems that our society expects a 24/7 service.
    No Garry

    Not old fashioned. Putting someone out when it is unecessary because someone that is buying the home works days and does not or will not take a half day or couple hours or a sick day or vacation day to come to a home inspection to find out about there home is rude and inconsiderate. That will never become old fashion.

    Just because things change over time due to appeal by some does not always make it better or become old fashion.

    The mass media and sales hype 24 7 in also something that we can all live without. Listening to the news and more than 50% of what you watch and listen to is screaming commercials is certainly something we can all live without but it is there and won't change any time in the future. It does not make it good or right.

    All I was saying is that there is absolutely no reason for a home inspector to work nights because that is what the client wants. It is not all about the client. It is not all about the client demanding to fit their schedule and screw everyone elses schedule.

    To each his own and I say, to each his own all the time, but when someone tells me that they want me to start at 5 or 6 I tell them that I work days as well and I will do the inspection and add a half hour on in the end so when they get there I will be ready to do a walk around and point out what I found. I also ask every single client if they can get off an hour early. In 99 percent of all clients that have this time hang up thing ..... they will change that hang up thing and usually get there around 4 ish so I can do a half hour (always turns into 45 to an hour) walk around and I can get out of there at a reasonable hour and the sellers can get on with dinner and the news without a group of people still in the home.

    No, not old fashioned Gary. Just curtious. That 1 percent of folks that do not change their time, well, they find someone else that does not care if they upset the apple cart and wants to follow the demands, with out swaying or give and take from that client.

    Sorry for the rammble but seriously. To each his own. I just think (as in my opinion) it is rude for a client to even ask you to start late and finish up some time late in the evening to accomidate their and only their needs. I would rather miss out on that fee from the rude and in conciderate and crude and unflinching, well, you know where that is going.

    Start at 6 pm. Get out of there at 9 pm. Get home and polish up the report. Get something to eat. Go to sleep after midnight. All because. Just because. What exactly. No need.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Ted,
    Had to go back and refresh myself of what the original post was....
    40 years dealing with the public has worn me down a little. I tend to do what ever works best for the client. With the Caviet of family comes first. I just don't get worked up over how people act or what they request anymore.

    On the ethics question. Spiffs to the agents/brokers, in any form, is the slippery slope.
    It is like bribing the Building Inspector to sign off on the permits. I have been lucky over the years that I have hot had the situation occur. Say lucky in that I would turn in the rat and make it a quest to nail them. Which would make many enemies in local gov. offices.

    Separation form real estate agent and home inspector would be good. Wish it was by law that there could not be any recommendation in any form by the agents. Good or bad agents are typically to self serving.

    To many HI are in the business for some easy money and will do anything to make a buck, sad to say.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Ron, on a side note, some things to consider with your website.

    Under qualifications, you of course list your credentials...but directly following that, you "advertise" the fact that you carry E&O insurance. To me, that sends mixed signals...I don't feel, and again, this is my opinion, that an insurance policy should be a selling point. Kind of puts a target on your back.

    Reading that, what I perceive is "Hey, I'm qualified and certified to do your inspection, but if I screw up, I have insurance". Be confident in your training and work ethic, and you won't need to advertise insurance as a selling point.

    Once again, just something to think about! Otherwise, looks good!

    (one more thing, not sure if you noticed, but your Radon softkey on the left doesn't direct anyone to your Radon page like the link at the bottom...just an FYI)


  26. #26
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    Smile Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Suelter View Post
    Ron, on a side note, some things to consider with your website.

    Under qualifications, you of course list your credentials...but directly following that, you "advertise" the fact that you carry E&O insurance. To me, that sends mixed signals...I don't feel, and again, this is my opinion, that an insurance policy should be a selling point. Kind of puts a target on your back.

    Reading that, what I perceive is "Hey, I'm qualified and certified to do your inspection, but if I screw up, I have insurance". Be confident in your training and work ethic, and you won't need to advertise insurance as a selling point.

    Once again, just something to think about! Otherwise, looks good!

    (one more thing, not sure if you noticed, but your Radon softkey on the left doesn't direct anyone to your Radon page like the link at the bottom...just an FYI)
    Good point on the E&O. Most realtors around here won't hire a HI unless they carry it so I just decided to make it clear. Since I created the website and been doing business long enough for them to know I carry it I may decide to omit it.

    Thanks for pointing out the Radon broken link.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    I see your point about the E&O, when Realtor's call me, I tell them yes or no...but it is ultimately your call. It just struck me as a little weird, that's all! It actually was the first thing I read, I noticed it before your credentials.

    No problem on the broken link...I'm not playing website police, I promise!! I like seeing other companies websites, I look for ideas. Everyone makes them different. Along the way, I notice things like that, and sometimes it helps when someone new looks at it for the first time. It's kind of like someone telling you your brake light is out...you would probably never know!!

    Take care!


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    I feel advertising that you carry E&O only puts a target on your back if you do a bad job.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Cleland View Post
    Thanks for pointing out the Radon broken link.
    One of your competitors, only one, has his business address registered with Google maps. I did a search for a home inspector in your town and his website comes up, number one, with that little map. You want to get yourself on that map. Google will always display the map first.
    Your facebook links and business locator links get you on page one, but you want your main website right there, top of page one.

    If you can establish an address on Google Maps in a larger town near you, it might help. Ken is right, you need to go to where the sales are happening.

    I don't know if you still are using that price guide, but square footage is a better way, IMO. You don't need to display your prices to get work. People are not calling you to ask, because they don't need to.

    Realtors are on the net every day. They see your prices go up for the higher end homes, so they might steer their clients somewhere else.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    I totally agree with John on the price point. I figured it worked for him, as was brought up earlier. I've never seen anyone price it in that fashion...I guess it could work though. With today's sales prices, anything's possible!!


  31. #31
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    I definitely agree that pricing by the square foot makes the most sense. I've done it that way for 9 years. Last thing I want is to get stuck inspecting a bunch of $30,000 nasty foreclosed homes at my lowest price point.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    I definitely agree that pricing by the square foot makes the most sense. I've done it that way for 9 years. Last thing I want is to get stuck inspecting a bunch of $30,000 nasty foreclosed homes at my lowest price point.
    And you could be doing them after 6pm!


  33. #33
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    What works is debatable and different for everyone. You can pound the pavement, social network amongst friends, families, their co-workers, attend open houses, leave business cards at the busiest coffee shop's bulletin board, attend real estate office meetings with a short and simple technical presentation, etc. You could build a phenomenal web site that hits all the Google search bots that puts you 1st in you area until Google starts to solicit your competitors to provided them the same #1 search result. But here's what I know works...write a clear, comprehensive report that is the most accurate assessment of that property performed within the standards of care required of our industry. Look like a pro, be confident, develop superior people skills (able to handle all types of personalities...or lack of), communication skills and be resourceful. When a seller challenges your statements in front of everyone--be authoritative, respectful and have the reference material to back-up what you claim. The realtors that use me trust me as the majority of their clients are their friends (or friend of friends) from which they really can't separate themselves from as these interconnected relationships are always crossing paths. A lot of inspectors have strained relationships with realtors...that's not been my experience even through I continue to write harsh and sobering reports. My buyers know I'm looking out for them and the agents I use appreciate it. I do no advertising, no mailers, e-mail blasts, no open houses, no web site optimization and only one agent meeting a year. It works for me.


  34. #34
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Morin View Post
    What works is debatable and different for everyone. I do no advertising, no mailers, e-mail blasts, no open houses, no web site optimization and only one agent meeting a year. It works for me.
    Wow Marc! If you do no advertising and don't have a website for web searches, then how do you get your clients? Is it all referral through your Realtor Contacts? It is pretty competitive around here, there a few around here who have gone over to the "Dark Side" and have aligned themselves with a Real Estate Brokerage Firm where they get all that agency's referrals. I don't think I could survive without the traffic my website generates, and the few calls I get from my Yellowbook Ad. But... like you said, what works is different for everybody

    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
    Jubilee Home Inspections

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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim E. Adams View Post
    And you could be doing them after 6pm!
    I generally start my latest inspection at 3pm. Sometimes 4pm in the summer if the client really needs it. In the winter it gets dark around here at 4:30 so clients are pretty understanding.

    Actually I tend to schedule my inspections after and before rush hour. 10am and 3pm. The clients and agents tend to appreciate it.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

  36. #36
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Dub,
    I have a web site, I just do not obsess over optimization. Less than 10 inspections a year are for agents & clients with no connection with past clients.


  37. #37
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Sorry Marc, I looked in your profile and couldn't find your website. Anyway, I wasn't being condescending, I am constantly editing my website and looking for ways to increase my visibility on search engines because the competition has gotten so stiff in my neck of the woods with a lot of "Low Ballers" that have sprung up. Any ethical edge is a good edge to have in today's economy. Best of Luck to ya!

    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
    Jubilee Home Inspections

  38. #38
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    You asked about ethics questions.

    No, you do not buy Realtors anything or give them gift certificates for inspections. That is the most unethical thing you can consider doing. It is completely against any ethics in home inspection whether it be association or state licensing. It is simply not done.

    Oh, by the way. How did my Realtor get your name to refer you? Oh, it was easy. I bought her.
    Agree 100%, Ted. Paying Realtors for referrals is a serious ethical issue that home inspectors need to stop doing. Offering a Realtor a free dinner for referrals just sounds so unethical in so many ways.


  39. #39
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Actually I do not believe you could be anymore rude than to boot the sellers outof their home at night for a few hours.

    Also, why are you working at night. They are buying the home, not you. They should work it into their work schedule to be there during the day. They should upset their schedule, not yours and the sellers family and your families schedule. How rude can they possibly be to expect you to join the night crew so their schedule does not get messed up. Or so they do not have to take a vacation day or sick day or juist a couple hours at best during the day to pop in and go over the report with you.

    Inspect into the night only to get back home and work on a report to the wee hours and mess your families schedule up. Work in life is far not more important than a life of your own. Once work exceeds certain boundaries it becomes, well, work. I like my job. I would not want it to take over my being.
    Agreed 100%, Ted!


  40. #40
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Dub,
    I take no offense...web site is beachpi.com


  41. #41
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    Default Re: Ethics question about realtors

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Morin View Post
    Dub,
    I have a web site, I just do not obsess over optimization. Less than 10 inspections a year are for agents & clients with no connection with past clients.
    I obsess... SEO got us three in the last two days.

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
    www.mazzainspections.com
    Level III Thermo-picture-taker-er...er

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