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  1. #1
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
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    Default When clients want to "shadow" you

    What do you tell clients when they want to "shadow" during the inspection. I find this to be very distracting and try to discourage it. What is your opinion?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Quote Originally Posted by mathew stouffer View Post
    What do you tell clients when they want to "shadow" during the inspection. I find this to be very distracting and try to discourage it. What is your opinion?
    I encourage it. After they follow me around for a few min. 90% go find something else to do.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Well this one had no such intentions. I told him to come back in 4 hours and we could discuss any issues. He acted like I stole candy from him.


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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Quote Originally Posted by mathew stouffer View Post
    Well this one had no such intentions. I told him to come back in 4 hours and we could discuss any issues. He acted like I stole candy from him.
    Despite telling them what the inspection consists of, I think most of them still do not have a clue what you are going to do, after they see you focusing on the home, and not chit chatting for a few min, they feel comfortable and leave you alone.

    I had one a few years ago, that had his "inspect your own home book'" he WAS a challange.

    It does help to offer them a tape measure if they start asking questions about appliance openings, or window sizes to order window coverings.


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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    As Dan says, many plan to stay right with you... 90%+ are gone within 5 minutes. I usually just tell people that they can do as they please but that a lot of what I do is really boring to observe. For the ones that look like they are going to be a hassle I will tell them that I like to have some space so I can focus.

    My general spiel when I first talk to everyone is that I break the house down into a few sections and it works best if I can do part of it and then let them know what I find, then move onto the next part.

    It's rarely a problem but once or twice a year there is the totally over the top buyer (or father-in-law) that I really have to have some patience with. In the end I try to give these people a break. I do this everyday... they only buy a house once or twice in a lifetime.


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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    I charge extra if buyer's fathers show up and I explain this when I give a quote. Do it in a humorous way, but it gets the point across that they take more of my time up. Time is money and money is time.

    Some buyers insist on following you around. Some of the loan companies that pass out information to the buyers suggest that they tag along with the HI inspector to gain knowledge of the home.

    I can't stand it when I see one jump out their car, clipboard in hand carrying a new maglight without a scratch on it and their tape measure in the other hand. You just know that they have a 5000+ dollar credit limit on that Home Depot card. You know the type.

    rick


  7. #7
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Quote Originally Posted by mathew stouffer View Post
    What do you tell clients when they want to "shadow" during the inspection. I find this to be very distracting and try to discourage it. What is your opinion?
    I welcome them. Clients are never a distraction to me, and I would never discourage them from following me, asking questions, whatever their little hearts desire. After all, a great supermajority of lawsuits against home inspectors are against those who thought their Clients were distractions, i.e., they didn't spend time with their Clients.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    I encourage it also. True, most will disappear and I tell them that if I run into anything that deems conversation I'll track them down. Part of what they're paying for with a building inspection is to have free rein of the house for a couple of hours with a building inspector. If they choose to shadow, play Bob Vila and tell them what you're looking at, what you're looking for, how it relates, give tips and recommendations, etc., etc. Present their house to them.
    I always say I'd really love this business if it weren't for people.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Personally I like people to follow and ask questions while I work. At the handshake I start a dialogue about what I am going to do 1st and where we will be going next. This sets the agenda that lets them know there is a planned progression that I follow and I don't deviate from this itinerary. Clients are encouraged to ask all the questions they want, it is there dime! I enjoy most people and can usually find ways to converse with most walks of life. Sometimes you get types that are abrasive, egotistical or just think they wasted their money. If you let the client bother you, you have lost. There are ways to keep the inspection moving and keep the client informed at the same time. Put yourself in their shoes. Justifying spending massive amounts of money with a 30 year commitment on a 3-4 hour fact finding tour. Although it takes a little longer, occasionally have to say, "I'll check it out when we move to that area." or "We need to keep moving". The rewards are plenty.


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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Interesting that there such a wide range of opinion about this.

    I'd just add one thing to the discussion: a client - even a client who is not at all sophisticated about buildings and construction - is another set of eyes on the property.

    I encourage clients to ask questions and to bring anything about which they have concerns to my attention, and I can't count the number of times a client has noticed something I might have overlooked.

    Almost always it's something minor - say, a nail a little proud of a floor which could cut someone's foot - but every once in a while it's something I really would not want to miss, a good example is the client who stuck her head up through an attic scuttle and spotted a broken rafter obvious from that angle but almost invisible once your head was above above the attic floor, the most dramatic example was a bathroom I would've missed entirely, it was accessed through a section of paneling at a stairway landing and without a knob, and I walked right past it.

    That's just the way I like to work though, I also know excellent inspectors who function on the basis of undivided attention, and for whom any interruption of their routine and concentration is a annoying distraction.

    As for excluding clients from inspections, in my market I just don't think it would be feasible.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 05-15-2009 at 10:29 AM.
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    I welcome and encourage them as well. As Dan said about 90% of the time they will stick with me for a few minutes. Most of the time I have lost them by the time I take my third trip around the exterior of the home.

    I have found that most really don't have a clue as to what we do and they are just curious. They have also been told to follow the home inspector so that they can point everything out that they find.

    On the rare occasion that my client is really bothersome, I will take them aside and simply tell them that they are breaking my concentration and I would hate to miss something because they distracted me. You have to be honest with them! I then add that I will inform them what I find after I get done with each major part of the inspection, this works well for those who want to know everything that you are doing. I tell them that when I get done with the electrical, plumbing, etc. that I will find them and talk with them then.

    This has worked very well for me over the years.

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

  12. #12
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    I agree Micheal, When the client finds something, small or important, I jest with them that I need to hire them as an assistant. Also it would be deadly, business wise, to deny them the chance to look around while you inspect.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    I always explain to the client that to be left to do the task at hand the likelihood of missing something or forgetting something you did see is much greater.

    Constantly talking through your inspection cannot be considered helpful in anyway in th outcome of your inspection. Talking on the cell phone while driving or eating a sandwich while driving are great examples of not keeping focus on what you are doing.

    If you are allowed to do you job completely and then do a walk around with the client in the end then you can devote your time to that client pointing out the concerns at hand. Also you will spend much less time on that inspection. I spent 4 hours with a client on a fairly do nothing home. Beautiful and well maintained. Yes I found some concerns but not many. 4 hours on a well maintained home doing nothing but walking Thur thru the inspection and chit chat chit chat about every item that had nothing to do with findings in the home. Now tell me. What possible good did that do for me or the client. Nice guy, good conversation but 4 hours at that home and another 2 hours for a do nothing report because it always takes longer when you are at home doing the report.

    This man got no more out of walking and chit chatting about his home and life and war stories ans pasta and upbringing and I got a 6 to 7 hour job when this home could have been three.

    Just my opinion. I for one do not go to any inspection thinking about not getting sued. I am also quite thankful that here in Texas you almost never see a realtor at an inspection with the exception of the occassional end of the inspection with their client WHEN YOU ARE DONE WITH THE JOB AT HAND.

    Just my humble opinion. I use to fill in doing termite inspections for a pest control company. I would see the clients at the inspection sniffing right up the back side of the inspector. That is like a mechanic having the customer literally on a creeper next to him on a creeper under a car saying "what ya doin". I just cannot see how that is conducive to a good inspection.


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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    If I find we are attached at the hip after the first several minutes, I make a slight adjustment to my routine. Tripping GFCI's one at a time and at opposite ends of the house. Works best with two story house but walking a quick pace from one end to the other usually leaves them looking at something else. If that doesn't work I spend a little extra time on a couple of outlets, take the cover plates off and study the connections intently. They get bored and go find more interesting things to do.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Ted,
    I understand what you are saying. In these cases you have to "steer" the client with stalling and commands. Examples "We are inspecting now, we will get there shortly." "Are there any fogged windows?" When talking with the client stick to inspection related or maintenance issues, ignore them when subject is pasta or war.
    You are in charge.


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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Put them to work for you.

    Give them a golf ball and show them how to find loose/hollow tile with it, how to roll it across wood floors and listen for loose/hollow areas, give them your cheap 3-light back-up outlet tester and tell them what to look for, have them open and close each and every window and tell you which ones THEY cannot open, things like that.

    1) That keeps them busy until they tire of it.

    2) They may find things you would miss, as Michael said.

    3) If THEY can't open a window, it does not matter that YOU would have been able to.

    4) With the golf ball, I would randomly check areas, they would be energized and check every square inch - it was, after all, the house THEY were buying.

    5) When *I* found something important, I would show them, and then send them off to find more stuff.

    6) Yes, if they are finding a lot of small unnecessary stuff, that can be bothersome, but all that means is that YOU did not provide good parameters for them to work under.

    7) Besides, it is the house they are buying and they are interested in all the small unnecessary stuff, even if you are not.

    I knew inspectors who INSISTED that the client NOT BE THERE, I could never figure out why or why their clients wanted to use an inspector who would not allow them at the house during the inspection.

    Most inspectors liked the client to be present, at least a some point, many only toward the end, some only toward the beginning.

    I didn't mind them being there the entire time, I mean, who is going to go out and get lunch?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    I expect my clients to play shadow. The inspection is not a race for me, it is about servicing the customer. Some of that servicing means I have to explain how the house works, how the problem developed, and how to avoid more damage in the future.

    I follow a standard routine of moving through the house. Talking and doing is not that difficult. As I find defects, I take the time to explain why it is a problem, the threat level, and possible repair solutions. When they get the report, they have seen everything first hand. They can talk intelligently about the problem and solution and know which items to fight for and which to let go.

    I have performed a few inspections where the client only wanted a recap at the end. It is very difficult for me to remember every defect or rank them. My note taking style is photos. Find problem, click, click, click. Move on to next defect. I don't keep a running tally of all the defects in my head, there is no need, it is in the camera. That frees up my mind to focus on the defects in front of me.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    I'm one who advertises and encourages client participation. I only ask them not to try to drag me off in another direction for something. Save it until I get to that area or at least finished with where I am. As said previously in this thread, some don't hang around too long and some stay the entire time. I try to tell them about what I'm doing and why. It is also a learning experience for the young ones and 1st time buyers. It may sometimes take longer but when I have happy clients, and my "client questionnaire" comes back top ratings and positive comments, I really feel like I've accomplished something.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  19. #19
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Though I truly hate to admit this, I fully concur with Ted on this one.

    An inspection is not HGTV; it is reality, and not reality TV either. Like any other professional it is the inspector's job to get into the zone during an inspection. Though the number may vary depending on whom you ask, there are at least several thousand issues to be observed and correlated during any given inspection. This is not the time for chit chat.

    An inspection is not a walking tutorial of a house. Most, if not all, prospective buyers have lived in houses all of their lives up until the point you meet them. If they need specific directions on how to flush toilets, open doors, make hot water enter the sink, etc., then they are in need of remedial training and perhaps close observation while heavily medicated in a facility designed for such things.

    Focus is the key word here. That may be a foreign term nowadays. Multitasking is the misguided model du jour. Multitasking has, and rightly so, been defined as "screwing everything up simultaneously". Only the highest level of hubris leads one to believe that they are actually capable of doing more than one serious thing correctly at a time. So then, while, sort of like what was said of Gerald Ford by Lyndon Johnson, you may be able "to chew gum and fart at the same time", you are not, I repeat NOT, able to inspect a house and chew the fat with your clients all at once. If you do it, to use the earlier statement as an analogy, your inspection is just so much expended gas.


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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    Though I truly hate to admit this, I fully concur with Ted on this one.

    You and Ted are missing out on some good lunches.

    The way I did it gave me the best of both worlds. Think about it.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    You and Ted are missing out on some good lunches.

    The way I did it gave me the best of both worlds. Think about it.
    JP: Perhaps, on both accounts. Think? How shall I while totally preoccupied warbling and observing for dollars?


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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    ...If they need specific directions on how to flush toilets, open doors, make hot water enter the sink, etc., then they are in need of remedial training ...
    Most, ok, many, alright, some of my clients are not complete idiots, and don't need directions on how to do the above, but they do need directions in how to change a furnace filter, where the main water shut-off is, how to test a GFCI, how to operate tilt-in windows, etc.

    The guy I did most of my training with INSISTS that clients shadow him, as closely as possible, and to pay attention. He's been doing inspections for over twenty years and is in great demand. But then, he's a very gregarious and chatty fellow himself. A lot of this depends on personality and personal preferences.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    I was going to make a statement about pseudo intellectualism but I really try to maintain the philosophy of Thumper in Walt Disney's "Bambi", "If you can't say something nice ... don't say nothing at all". Unfortunately, it always seems there is someone lurking around who cannot be helpful or constructive but preachy, condescending, and boring.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  24. #24
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Brooks View Post
    I was going to make a statement about pseudo intellectualism but I really try to maintain the philosophy of Thumper in Walt Disney's "Bambi", "If you can't say something nice ... don't say nothing at all". Unfortunately, it always seems there is someone lurking around who cannot be helpful or constructive but preachy, condescending, and boring.
    Stuart: Your childish attempt at superficial philosophy ala Hollywood speaks volumes about your lack of depth and is only surpassed by your seeming near complete lack of synapses.


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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Brooks View Post
    I was going to make a statement about pseudo intellectualism but I really try to maintain the philosophy of Thumper in Walt Disney's "Bambi", "If you can't say something nice ... don't say nothing at all". Unfortunately, it always seems there is someone lurking around who cannot be helpful or constructive but preachy, condescending, and boring.

    Let's see ...

    It is always interesting that someone comes on and posts something like that ...

    "who cannot be helpful or constructive but preachy, condescending, and boring"

    ... in a post which does exactly that. Nothing like the pot calling the kettle black, is there.

    Stuart, you nailed your 'not helpful or constructive' and 'preachy, condenscending' post.

    Your other post was far more helpful and constructive, and less preachy and condescendingcondescending.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    Most, ok, many, alright, some of my clients are not complete idiots, and don't need directions on how to do the above, but they do need directions in how to change a furnace filter, where the main water shut-off is, how to test a GFCI, how to operate tilt-in windows, etc.

    The guy I did most of my training with INSISTS that clients shadow him, as closely as possible, and to pay attention. He's been doing inspections for over twenty years and is in great demand. But then, he's a very gregarious and chatty fellow himself. A lot of this depends on personality and personal preferences.
    John, you make the point. Now you can add AFCI operation too. Then there is manual operation of garage doors with mechanical openers, getting rid of the unreinforced rubber washing machine hoses. I've had clients end the inspection with remarks like, " I feel like I learned so much about the house" and I didn't have to show them how to flush the toilet or empty the tub. However, I have had to inform them NOT to turn on the jets in a Spa tub until the tub was filled.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  27. #27
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Most people can multi task without screwing up any of items focused on. I just ask for a minute when one of them requires full focus. If you don't discuss your findings and explain maintenance items when you are inspecting, do you have a list of maintenance items from A-Z that you deliver with your report. Most people, although living in a house for years, few know the proper maintenance or the time and money involved.
    If you are relying on your report for the clients sole information source, you are not, I repeat NOT, giving your client their due.


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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Put them to work for you.

    Give them a golf ball and show them how to find loose/hollow tile with it, how to roll it across wood floors and listen for loose/hollow areas, give them your cheap 3-light back-up outlet tester and tell them what to look for, have them open and close each and every window and tell you which ones THEY cannot open, things like that.


    I switched to using a golf club.
    Sure beats chasing the ball from that pesky pooch that thinks your there to play fetch with him


  29. #29
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I welcome and encourage them as well. As Dan said about 90% of the time they will stick with me for a few minutes. Most of the time I have lost them by the time I take my third trip around the exterior of the home.
    Hey, Scott.

    What are you doing making three trips around the exterior of the home? Trying to lose weight or trying to lose the Client? LOL


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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harris View Post
    I switched to using a golf club.

    Dan,

    How do you roll that club along the floor?

    I used my probe (shown on another thread) to tap on tiles and wood floors (with the rubber bumper end), but (with tiles) nothing beats dropping a golf ball and letting it bounce back up.

    The probe also worked on wood floors, but what worked nicely on wood floors was rolling the golf ball over the floor ... the dimples in the golf ball allowed the ball to roll with a bumpity-bumpity-bumpity sound across the wood, and you could hear the hollow/loose wood that way (for wood glued down on slab on ground, it would not matter with nail down wood floors). That also worked to show the raised ridges of cupping wood floors.

    If Poochie chases the ball, just use your laser and have Poochie chase your laser away (dogs and cats love playing with laser spots - can never catch them, and cannot feel them when the spot is on them, they just watch it waiting for the spot to move and try to catch it). If need be, have Poochie chase the spot into a bathroom and close the door.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  31. #31
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    HEY SHADOW, GET OFF THE RAILING.

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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Dan,

    The probe also worked on wood floors, but what worked nicely on wood floors was rolling the golf ball over the floor ... the dimples in the golf ball allowed the ball to roll with a bumpity-bumpity-bumpity sound across the wood, and you could hear the hollow/loose wood that way (for wood glued down on slab on ground, it would not matter with nail down wood floors).
    Jerry, my grandson was playing with a string of Christmas beads, used to decorate the tree, and the bipity-bipity-bumpity was very obvious. Yup had a loose spot in front of the fireplace. Point is, with a string of beads you can cover the entire room in seconds where bouncing or rolling a ball is hit and miss.

    I like the idea of having the shadow open windows but who is responsible for the broken heirloom?


  33. #33
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Maybe I should allow them to start opening up all the mini-blinds throughout the house for me.

    I'm sure Jack Feldman will agree with this idea being a fellow blinds hater.

    rick


  34. #34
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    I'm also a "three time around the exterior" guy, myself.

    1) Look over the site, get the "big picture" re the structure, plan roof access.

    2) Everything above the bottom of the first floor windows.

    3) Everything below them.

    I'm sometimes quite surprised what I don't "see" the first time around.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Personally, I'm an "ENCOURAGER"...

    Clients (most, anyway) seems to learn lots from it & really find the experience very positive and then can't stop talking about that great experience they've had to all /anyone who will listen. Many of those others then want the same - it's actually a domino effect.

    Those ones then really remember their very positive experience and want more of it.

    It's just plain good business !


    CHEERS, all !

    -Glenn Duxbury, CHI /License #47730

    -Glenn Duxbury, CHI

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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    I'm also a "three time around the exterior" guy, myself.
    I never counted how many times.

    I would intentionally go around twice, first to the right around the house, and the next time to the left around the house, than however many other times I did to 'make sure' of what I saw, thought I saw, or thought I remembered and wanted to double check.

    You will see things differently going around the house in different directions - so I would recommend *at least* two times around the outside in different directions.

    I also went around the outside looking at the overhangs, fascia, gutters, soffit vents, etc., while doing the roof, so, yeah, I guess I was also an *at least* three timer around the house.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  37. #37
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    I expect my clients to play shadow. The inspection is not a race for me, it is about servicing the customer. Some of that servicing means I have to explain how the house works, how the problem developed, and how to avoid more damage in the future.

    I follow a standard routine of moving through the house. Talking and doing is not that difficult. As I find defects, I take the time to explain why it is a problem, the threat level, and possible repair solutions. When they get the report, they have seen everything first hand. They can talk intelligently about the problem and solution and know which items to fight for and which to let go.

    I have performed a few inspections where the client only wanted a recap at the end. It is very difficult for me to remember every defect or rank them. My note taking style is photos. Find problem, click, click, click. Move on to next defect. I don't keep a running tally of all the defects in my head, there is no need, it is in the camera. That frees up my mind to focus on the defects in front of me.
    Hmm

    I can tell you every detail of the home I did, say, Monday of last week. Had to think about that. I worked a little since then. My camera is my notes but the written part is imbedded in the brain calls. When I am explaining the defects it is like looking at a photograph in my mind. From the moment I arrived at the home until I finished the inspection, in that order and every detail comes rolling out of the large hole in my face. The pics I take are just for the finite details. No, I am not in a race when doing an inspection. But, in saying that I do not want to be in a darn traffic jamb all day either.

    Oh, by the way, I want everyone to take note that Aaron agreed with me. I already printed that one out to a PDF. He will be sorry when I can always say "Aaron, remember that time when you agreed with me back in May 2009?"


  38. #38
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Smith View Post
    Most people can multi task without screwing up any of items focused on. I just ask for a minute when one of them requires full focus. If you don't discuss your findings and explain maintenance items when you are inspecting, do you have a list of maintenance items from A-Z that you deliver with your report. Most people, although living in a house for years, few know the proper maintenance or the time and money involved.
    If you are relying on your report for the clients sole information source, you are not, I repeat NOT, giving your client their due.

    This is fun. I have been away all day and could not answer all this input.


    GIVING YOUR CLIENT HIS Due????????

    His due what??? He finds out everything he needs to know at the walk thru and the report. As Aaron said. This is not HGTV or TLC or MICKEY either.

    They get their due ten fold over from me in every regards but I am not their for them to learn how to use my cordless drill or count the gray hairs on the back of my head or me intaking there pizza breath with their face 2 inches from mine looking into a heat exchanger bottom. They only need to know the basic maintenance tips. None of them are going to do it anyway. Do you really think your client is going to be pulling the covers off of the HVAC unit and poking around inside. Do you really want to explain every single item at every single inspection over and over and over and over (Ithink you get my point). Maintenance tips are fine. When you explain the concerns with the water heater in your walk around you touch down briefly on things to look for. Do you really want them lighting the water heater based on your training and they for some reason or other burn the hair off their face and then blaming you for showing them. I think not.

    Maintanance tips only go so far. I also tell them to go to my site and a slew of association sites for further info.

    They are getting more than their due just knowing the concerns in their home they are byuing. That is what you are there for.

    By the way I have extremely happy clients. Never been sued and always get referrals from hords of past clients.

    Here is a tip for the client. Caulk every piece of trim outside and paint the house. Now give me my 3 hundred. Thank You. Have a nice day


  39. #39
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    So Ted, has business picked up over there in FW?


  40. #40
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Quote Originally Posted by Russel Ray View Post
    Hey, Scott.

    What are you doing making three trips around the exterior of the home? Trying to lose weight or trying to lose the Client? LOL
    Yes and Yes!

    I always go around the home twice in one direction and then a third time the other direction. Be surprised what you see from a different view point.

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

  41. #41
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    I had a Shadow today!!

    Actually it was more like a dark looming storm cloud! Really got on my nerves, and that takes a bunch! Anyway, I handed him a roll of blue painters tape, and a 3-light tester and asked him if he could help me!

    I told him that I needed his help if he did not mind. He just about cried he was so happy that I had asked him to help me. I told him to go and mark anything in the home with a piece of tape that he did not care for, like paint, nicks, etc. This was a 4,500 sf new construction! I then asked if he could check the outlets in the bedrooms (5 of them) and to let me know if the lights on the little tester did not light up properly (I showed him what to look for).

    I did not see him for about two hours! He had more tape on the walls and ceilings of the home, it kind of reminded me of a Picasso painting!

    He did get a little upset when I pulled out my SureTest and retested all of the bedrooms, but he got over it.

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

  42. #42
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    So Ted, has business picked up over there in FW?
    Now that I have been pushing the hell out of referrals from Realtors. The internet has not picked back up more than slightly. Maybe when it does I will have to higher Aaron or someone to do the crawls I get

    March was good but way off from last years. April started out good, died and then finished off so so. This month has been a little stop and go but seems to be working quite well so far. I am booked thru Tues Am including tomorrow and waiting on a couple of calls (you know how that goes). Lets keep our fingers crossed. I am hoping it stays at this rate and I can make up for Jan and February.

    Supposedly, Fort Worth is the third best Real Estate market with houstan then Auston then Fort Worth then Dallas so far for 2009. I have not seen it since the internet dried up. Now that I am doing the Realtor thing it is doing OK. A lot of North Tarrant County and then edging toward and into the northern part of Dallas County and that is fine with me. Like I said I cannot wait for the internet to pick back up.


  43. #43
    Linda Swearingen's Avatar
    Linda Swearingen Guest

    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    I find that clients who stay with me the whole inspection hardly ever complain. They had had their opportunity to get all their questions answered, plus they've seen first hand how thoroughly I do look over the whole house for them. I find that engineers are the most interesting clients. They come for the whole inspection, including the crawl space--they bring their own coveralls! And since they are not bashful about asking questions, they never complain afterwards. Give me an engineer who sticks with me over a lawyer who says, "There's no need to meet--just email me the inspection report" any day of the week. They are the ones who really make me nervous. And they're not even there when they do it. . .


  44. #44
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    ...He just about cried he was so happy that I had asked him to help me....
    That's hilarious. I'll have to try it sometime.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  45. #45
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Quote Originally Posted by Linda Swearingen View Post
    I find that clients who stay with me the whole inspection hardly ever complain. They had had their opportunity to get all their questions answered, plus they've seen first hand how thoroughly I do look over the whole house for them. I find that engineers are the most interesting clients. They come for the whole inspection, including the crawl space--they bring their own coveralls! And since they are not bashful about asking questions, they never complain afterwards. Give me an engineer who sticks with me over a lawyer who says, "There's no need to meet--just email me the inspection report" any day of the week. They are the ones who really make me nervous. And they're not even there when they do it. . .
    Thats funny. I have maybe one in a couple hundred that have a minor complait or that are looking for something for nothing.

    The nervous part is funny also. There has never been a client that has made me nervous. The only folks that made me nervous were on the phone inquiring about an inspection. Those folks I just do not book even if they agree to an outrageous price. To many questions about insurance and how much do I have instead of the qualifications I have and how much experience I have and how long I have been an inspector. It is always how much and do you have that insurance that covers you when you make a mistake questions. If they are more concerned with how much insurance you have and not about anything to do with an inspection you know they are out for something.

    As far as the lawyer thing I always take that as a challenge. They scare me the least out of any client. Lawyers are the easiest folks to over come. I have had a tremendous amount of lawyer clients. I love them. They are the easiest to work with and the last person to worry about. They have been some of my best clients. I can read everyone of them like a book and am usually yucking it up before the inspection is booked.

    A little hint. Never allow any client, no matter who, to intimidate you. If they try to intimidate you intimmidate them back. They will be your best friend as you have already bettered them. That is what they are looking for, gaining control. You are in control at all times. You are the inspector inspecting a home that they are thinking of buying. You are the boss, not them. They are not paying you to inspect . They are paying you for the purchase of a report and findings of concerns of the property that they are thinking of buying. You work for you. Always have the upper hand. Never let your guard down. You are in control. Not them. You will never have any serious problem or concern with that frame of mind.

    I get along great with all my clients. Money is no factor. If they make 30,000 a year or a million a year I treat them all the same. They are just another human being on this almost over crowded planet of ours.

    I joke about expecting to be invited to there first sit down dinner in their new dining room or their first big barbeque at the pool. I am invited often. I love people of all shapes, sizes, nationality and income level. Life is great.


  46. #46
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I had a Shadow today!!

    Actually it was more like a dark looming storm cloud! Really got on my nerves, and that takes a bunch! Anyway, I handed him a roll of blue painters tape, and a 3-light tester and asked him if he could help me!

    I told him that I needed his help if he did not mind. He just about cried he was so happy that I had asked him to help me.

    That's what I'm talking about ... ... put them to work, that IS what they want.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  47. #47
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Scott,
    Was there and sweat equity pay involved in this deal or are we going to have to report you for labor law abuse


  48. #48
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    If it wasn't for the buyer needing a home inspection, I wouldn't be there and I wouldn't be getting paid. The buyer pays me to be there. Like somebody else said, we do this every day. They buy one or two houses in their lifetime. It's not a big deal to me to have them shadow me and ask questions. I will say however that I don't need three people standing in a powder room with me while I look at a sink and toilet.


  49. #49
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Quote Originally Posted by mathew stouffer View Post
    What do you tell clients when they want to "shadow" during the inspection. I find this to be very distracting and try to discourage it. What is your opinion?
    We schedule the clients to arrive 2 or 3 hrs after I get there. By the time they arrive, I've got the report virtually done, panel and hatches are closed and ladders folded up. They get a guided tour, room by room, all questions anwered, laptop slideshow for the oldtimers, this is good, this is bad, caulk this, paint that.
    One out of 20 insist on being there the whole time, they get a fragmented tour of fits and starts, not ideal, but we have to be flexible, right?


  50. #50
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    I am invited often. I love people of all shapes, sizes, nationality and income level. Life is great.
    Ted: You must be smoking some really powerful stuff, or you've been over in the stock yards this morning harvesting those little mushrooms . . .


  51. #51
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    Ted: You must be smoking some really powerful stuff, or you've been over in the stock yards this morning harvesting those little mushrooms . . .
    Actually Bedford and Ridgemar is where it turned out that I went today. Both late sixties and very fortunate for me excellent well maintained and updated homes.

    The answer to your other question is no it wasn't any good

    All in good fun of course. I have enough dead brain cells.


  52. #52
    Rob Ferguson's Avatar
    Rob Ferguson Guest

    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    For me, talking with the client and learning about their home is part of what makes the work rewarding. Theres nothing more valuable than a word of mouth referral.


  53. #53
    Mark Northrup's Avatar
    Mark Northrup Guest

    Question Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    I think it is a great idea for the client to follow around. It builds a bond with them and you can show them you know what you are doing. It is great if your inspecting the furnace and find a cracked exhaust fan housing and point it out to them. Too many times after a inspection a new homeowner will remodel or add something. Most of the time they will hire a contractor that will find something that is not in the scope of a home inspection and say the home inspector should of found this. Which is crap but if you have done a excellent job with your client they will call you and ask about it.
    Then you can explain to the client why it is not part of the inspection and lead them in the correct way to get it corrected. Keeping lawyers and state licensing boards out of lame complaints. 90% of the time they get board and go thru the rest of the house. But you hav satisfied their thoughts on hiring you. I hear alot of complaints from realtors that home inspectors don't want the client there. This raises alot of flags of what does this inspector have to hide. "
    Time is money But they are paying for infomation on that house not just for a printed piece of paper they may or may not understand when handed to them. I have seen so many HI's do a inspection and just hand the report to the realtor days later without explaining anything. What's the point. How many callbacks does that creat. Just food for thought.......

    Mark


  54. #54
    Ralph Smith's Avatar
    Ralph Smith Guest

    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Had one last night, very scared, very young couple, 1st home, 2 family, $400. Turned a 3hr inspection into 4hrs. Big deal! That is what I get paid for. These kids walked out with not only knowing the condition and defects of the house but how to care and maintain for a home. Now they can go home read over the report and think of the words of wisdom from the inspector that is older than their Dad. If I was paying $100 an hour, I'd ask questions also.


  55. #55
    JORY LANNES's Avatar
    JORY LANNES Guest

    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    I ask my client (they are paying for my services)if they have any concerns before I start the inspection. The client is usually happy to help. Ask the father to watch the water level of the "Jacuzzi" so it does not over flow. The client/friend/expert can be an asset to you as an extra pair of hands and eyes. I encourage their participation. They in turn remember how you worked with them and refer you to there friends. A WIN-WIN


  56. #56
    Anthony McCloskey's Avatar
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    As long as it's safe for the client I don't mind if they want to follow me around and ask questions, it makes it easier when I review the report with them. I point out the things we viewed together, I feel it also makes them appreciate the work you do as an inspector.

    Anthony J. McCloskey
    A & V Home Inspections, LLC
    Hamburg, PA
    info@a-vhomeinspections.com
    877.297.1923


  57. #57
    K Robertson's Avatar
    K Robertson Guest

    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    I welcome, encourage, and even request their presence. As several have said, it's a bonding thing. If I bond with them and make friends, they...

    1) are far less likely to file complaints or law suits on anything
    2) are far more likely to send referrals, and I live and die off referrals
    3) simply make the "job" more interesting and fun for me to hear all the details of their future plans with the house. Putting this here, that there, etc.
    4) Lets face it, it's a lonely job. Since I am with my 10 year old about 95% of the time that I'm not on a job, I enjoy the adult conversation.

    Now, I do it a little different. I ask the client what time they want to be there. Then I will usually schedule the inspection about an hour to an hour and half earlier. I use this time to get a jump start and try to get areas done that I don't want them following me, like on the roof, in the attic, etc, where liability could be a concern. Then once they show, I explain that I was able to get there a little earlier and show them everything I had already found.

    In the end, it's about the client and what THEY want. What drives me insane is when the seller wants to follow me around and say things like, "I'm an engineer and can tell you that Truss I cut to give me attic storage space isn't a problem and this inspector is just trying to justify his fee." What he doesn't tell my client is that he is a software engineer and knows nothing about building construction.

    Last edited by K Robertson; 06-03-2009 at 07:49 AM. Reason: spelling

  58. #58
    Derek Ballard's Avatar
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    I certainly understand the inherent need for homeowners to want to attend their home inspection, but, I also understand that this is primarily because most home buyers and specifically first time home buyers are not familiar with what a home inspector does and more importantly does not do. I typically welcome clients to follow me , but, I too prefer that they do not talk to me while I am performing the inspection. I usually try to imply strongly that while I am performing the inspection, that it is important for them and the quality of their report for them to allow me to complete the inspection and then ask questions if they feel the need. I try to appease their curiosity by making them feel comfortable with my professionalism and qualifications. In most cases(90%) the client simply sets back and observes or they leave. Either way is fine with me.


  59. #59
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    Cool Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    I do only focused inspections since I'm not a HI. I perform my inspection then bring the client to the areas of special interest I feel they need to see and comprehend with me there. Often, I'll let them use my mirror and flashlight to see a feature of interest. I make sketches on my notepad to illustrate particulars. When completed, I advise them there will be a LOT more in my written report and I may find additional details upon review of the downloaded pics, review, and research as needed. That way I leave the door open for additional defects not discussed onsite.

    As for the shadows, not too many want to follow me up onto a roof. I explain that's why I have a camera and they laugh in agreement. I do not allow anyone to use my ladders. If they try to shadow me, I explain that I will circle back with them before I leave but in order to give them my undivided attention and to do the best job possible, I require them NOT to shadow me on my initial inspection. I've never gotten an arguement when explained that way.

    I do get the nosey homeowner wanting to shadow me during a service. I remind them of my policy as explained at the time of booking that I require uninterrupted access which includes no kids, pets, loud tv or music, and not playing 20 questions during the service. In fact, back when I was a Regional Manager over 8 service departments, I trained my techs to pack up and walk out if need be and I would support them, which I did on several occasions. I've had homeowners follow me out to the truck trying to snoop on my phone calls to the point I've actually backed out of the driveway and driven to the corner to talk in private. I've had irate homeowners mad over previous failed service by other techs insist on watching me to "make sure I do it correctly". I ask for their credentials first. I let them know I am concerned for their safety and to give them a properly working system. I care, too and that's why I need to focus on my work so I don't miss anything. When I assure them I will circle back and review with them and answer questions, they almost always back off and later thank me. The few who insist on harrassing me get to read my tag as I drive off. As said before, do not let anyone intimidate or harrass you.

    99% of the people will understand and the few weenies don't take long to identify themselves.

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  60. #60
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    I ask for their credentials first.
    BH: This works on buyers and agents just as well.

    99% of the people will understand and the few weenies don't take long to identify themselves
    BH: You may be to generous with that figure. In my experience maybe 75% of the people will listen when spoken to. The other 25% must be from Flahdah.


  61. #61
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Oh well

    I just pull up the biggest fart I can muster and blow them out of the house

    Man, I have been waiting for some cracker to say that since the thread started

    I nice New England breakfast with baked beans, eggs, crab cakes and the rest of the fixins will about ward off any unruley client.......


  62. #62
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    I welcome them to follow me around. They can ask all the questions they want.
    I always tell them this first....
    1. A lot of what I do is like watching paint dry, just not all that exciting.
    2. I do have a routine, and please do not distract me from it. Do not double team me, and do not ask me to "come look at something". If they pull me away from my routine, I may miss something important on THEIR house.
    3. I am available, after they read the report, for all the questions they may have. Just call me.

    I find if they follow me around, I will have less questions later.
    It also gives me a chance to get to know them, and have a dialog with them. If they "like" me, they might be less likely to sue me.

    They are my client. They are paying me. Without them, I would not be earning a living. I see no reason for them not to be there. I WANT them to be there to SEE just how hard I am working for them.

    While I make not like the kids, or the in-laws, it's only 3 or so hours out of my life. I can live thru just about anything for 3 hours.

    If I was so easily distracted, and could not do a good job just because there were some people talking to me while I was working, I think I would look for another line of work.
    As far as homeowners go, I AM a guest in their house. I am always polite to them, but also let them know I am working for my client, and can not discuss my findings with them, without my clients permission.

    I have had very few homeowners harass me. However, I have fired a couple clients, been tossed out of a few houses, and driven away with a huge headache more than once.

    But I have also had sellers that threw me out of their house, call me later to schedule an inspection for them.


  63. #63
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Plano, Texas
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    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    I welcome them to follow me around. They can ask all the questions they want.
    I always tell them this first....
    1. A lot of what I do is like watching paint dry, just not all that exciting.
    2. I do have a routine, and please do not distract me from it. Do not double team me, and do not ask me to "come look at something". If they pull me away from my routine, I may miss something important on THEIR house.
    3. I am available, after they read the report, for all the questions they may have. Just call me.

    I find if they follow me around, I will have less questions later.
    It also gives me a chance to get to know them, and have a dialog with them. If they "like" me, they might be less likely to sue me.

    They are my client. They are paying me. Without them, I would not be earning a living. I see no reason for them not to be there. I WANT them to be there to SEE just how hard I am working for them.

    While I make not like the kids, or the in-laws, it's only 3 or so hours out of my life. I can live thru just about anything for 3 hours.

    If I was so easily distracted, and could not do a good job just because there were some people talking to me while I was working, I think I would look for another line of work.
    As far as homeowners go, I AM a guest in their house. I am always polite to them, but also let them know I am working for my client, and can not discuss my findings with them, without my clients permission.

    I have had very few homeowners harass me. However, I have fired a couple clients, been tossed out of a few houses, and driven away with a huge headache more than once.

    But I have also had sellers that threw me out of their house, call me later to schedule an inspection for them.
    Well said.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  64. #64
    JORY LANNES's Avatar
    JORY LANNES Guest

    Smile Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    A friend, A fellow inspector had a seller's realtor get angry with some of his observations as she shadowed him thru the house. The realtor and seller told my friend to leave. The inspector had his tools in the basement when this happened. The seller would not let him go down and retreave his tool bag.

    My friend called the police. The officer told the broker and the seller to let the inspector get his tools. The broker got angry and hit the inspector.

    My friend got his tools as the broker was being led AWAY in handcuffs to the police car. She was charged with "simple battery". She spent a couplle of hours in a JAIL cell until she was bailed out.

    TRUE STORY...HAPPENED IN APRIL. THE CASE WAS DISMISSED.

    DON'T YOU LOVE STORIES WITH HAPPY ENDINGS.


  65. #65
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: When clients want to "shadow" you

    More and more agents are getting in the way. They guard these inspection like I have never seen before. Almost like sticking there fingers in the buyers ears. Don't say things like that to them they will walk

    Best

    Ron


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