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  1. #1
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    Mar 2007
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    Default re-inspection question

    Hello all!

    I'm sure a lot of you do not do re-inspections due to liability or other issues. Those that do, I have a question.

    I provide a "Done/Not Done/Partial Done" status on items that I previously inspected after the seller has had repairs done.

    However, since I am back in the house, and the sale still hasn't closed yet, is it ethical to point out items that are not working properly at the re-inspection?

    In particular, the A/C was blowing cold when I started the inspection today, and blew cold at the original inspection a month ago. I then ran the furnace, it's a gas pack on the roof. (gas was not on for the original inspection, and I see that they have added a new thermostat) It ran fine, 112 degrees output.
    After about 25 minutes, I switched back to A/C. It would not blow cold. I had to shut the unit off for another 10 minutes, then it started working OK. The Agent said the last time they were there, it was not blowing cold either.
    This was not in the original report, but I feel that I should report my findings in the re-inspection report.

    Has this happened to you? Thoughts/comments appreciated.
    Thank you!

    Similar Threads:
    Inspection Referral
    Dave Hill
    Buyers & Sellers Property Inspections LLC
    WWW.BuyersSellersPi.Com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New York
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    869

    Default Re: re-inspection question

    Hi Dave,

    I don't have a problem doing a reinspection, but I recommend being very careful how you rate (qualify) a repair... especially if you weren't there to observe the fix. It's one thing to check on something like a handrail being installed, or a piece of glass being replaced, but something like a heating system (etc) may get a bit "thick".

    Using the heating system as an example; if during your initial inspection you note that the heating system (etc) is not functioning properly, and during your reinspection your report that it has been repaired, you may find youself in hot water if the repair turns out to be a quick (and temporary) fix, just to get the system working. I've seen all sorts of quick fixes that seemed to work, but a few weeks (or so) down the road go kaput!

    I would have no problem adding something new that was noted during a reinspection.

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Posts
    2,481

    Default Re: re-inspection question

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hill View Post
    Hello all!

    I'm sure a lot of you do not do re-inspections due to liability or other issues. Those that do, I have a question.

    I provide a "Done/Not Done/Partial Done" status on items that I previously inspected after the seller has had repairs done.

    However, since I am back in the house, and the sale still hasn't closed yet, is it ethical to point out items that are not working properly at the re-inspection?

    In particular, the A/C was blowing cold when I started the inspection today, and blew cold at the original inspection a month ago. I then ran the furnace, it's a gas pack on the roof. (gas was not on for the original inspection, and I see that they have added a new thermostat) It ran fine, 112 degrees output.
    After about 25 minutes, I switched back to A/C. It would not blow cold. I had to shut the unit off for another 10 minutes, then it started working OK. The Agent said the last time they were there, it was not blowing cold either.
    This was not in the original report, but I feel that I should report my findings in the re-inspection report.

    Has this happened to you? Thoughts/comments appreciated.
    Thank you!
    Yes. Your original inspection was for conditions on the day of the inspection. This is a new day and you should note any conditions that you find. Doesn't matter if you missed them the first time or if things have changed.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  4. #4
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    Mar 2007
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    Lake Barrington, IL
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    1,363

    Default Re: re-inspection question

    Dave,

    To stay on target with your question - I see nothing unethical about it. I would be careful how far you stray from what you were asked to come back for. I'd also document the limitation of your evaluation(s).

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
    Posts
    5,847

    Default Re: re-inspection question

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hill View Post
    Hello all!

    I'm sure a lot of you do not do re-inspections due to liability or other issues. Those that do, I have a question.

    I provide a "Done/Not Done/Partial Done" status on items that I previously inspected after the seller has had repairs done.

    However, since I am back in the house, and the sale still hasn't closed yet, is it ethical to point out items that are not working properly at the re-inspection?

    In particular, the A/C was blowing cold when I started the inspection today, and blew cold at the original inspection a month ago. I then ran the furnace, it's a gas pack on the roof. (gas was not on for the original inspection, and I see that they have added a new thermostat) It ran fine, 112 degrees output.
    After about 25 minutes, I switched back to A/C. It would not blow cold. I had to shut the unit off for another 10 minutes, then it started working OK. The Agent said the last time they were there, it was not blowing cold either.
    This was not in the original report, but I feel that I should report my findings in the re-inspection report.

    Has this happened to you? Thoughts/comments appreciated.
    Thank you!
    IMVHO, if you do reinspections you should only inspect what was corrected or replaced. It is either corrected or it is not, nothing in the middle.

    As for what you found today, many HVAC systems will act this way when you go from hot to cold. They have an internal sensor that will not allow the A/C to turn on until the unit cools down. My guess is that this is what you experienced.

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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Southwest US
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    585

    Default Re: re-inspection question

    It probably depends on what you call it. If you are calling it a re-inspection, then yes, you should go through the entire inspection again and report what you find.
    If you are calling it an inspection of repairs, then inspect the repairs.

    I would be very hesitant about calling out anything new unless it is patently obvious (like the deck fell down). I might mention something like the A/C didn't seem to be working to them verbally in person or on the phone but wouldn't put it in writing. Or tell the agent and let them deal with it.

    END GLOBAL WHINING

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Chandler, AZ
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: re-inspection question

    Excellent advice! Thanks for your input, much appreciated.

    Dave Hill
    Buyers & Sellers Property Inspections LLC
    WWW.BuyersSellersPi.Com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
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    3,473

    Default Re: re-inspection question

    I would stick to inspecting the specific repair items. When I come back to inspect repair items, I work off a set list of repair requests. Those are the only things I am there for and stick to those items only. Most of my reinspects last 30 minutes or so.

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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Southwest US
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    585

    Default Re: re-inspection question

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    I would stick to inspecting the specific repair items. When I come back to inspect repair items, I work off a set list of repair requests. Those are the only things I am there for and stick to those items only. Most of my reinspects last 30 minutes or so.
    Same here. I also include this at the beginning of the letter / report:

    "Inspection of repairs is limited to a visual inspection to determine if the item, as repaired, would have been "flagged" in the original report. The effectiveness or longevity of any repair cannot be determined.
    Some repairs, such as roof repairs, usually cannot be evaluated visually and unless obvious, are excluded from the inspection of repairs.
    I recommend that you inquire with any contractor who preformed repairs (roof or otherwise) about any warranties."

    END GLOBAL WHINING

  10. #10
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    Mar 2007
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    South-West Michigan
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    469

    Post Re: re-inspection question

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    I would stick to inspecting the specific repair items. When I come back to inspect repair items, I work off a set list of repair requests. Those are the only things I am there for and stick to those items only. Most of my reinspects last 30 minutes or so.
    This is how I do them, too. This is probably the best advice, Dave. Now, if you were requested to inspect the furnace during the re-inspection because it was not functional during the initial inspection, then give the furnace / heating system a full inspection, and document it as if you would have for the initial inspection. Occasionally, there will be "stumble-upons;" something that is now visible that was not. If I see it during a re-inspection, I will document it, stating that it was not visible / operating, etc. during the initial inspection.

    Randall Aldering GHI BAOM MSM
    Housesmithe Inspection
    www.housesmithe.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    New York
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    Default Re: re-inspection question

    I take commitment to provide my clients useful information. I cannot envision too many situations when NOT providing newly discovered, relevant information to my client is proper.

    Perhaps someone can present a scenerio or two.

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

  12. #12

    Default Re: re-inspection question

    While I myself do the occasional reinspection, usually for an additional fee, I think we walk a thin line here. I feel we may run the risk of becoming the warrantor of the work in place of the person doing the work when we bless it with a passing grade. Rightfully any warranties/guarantees for the work performed rests solidly on the back of the person doing the work. If we sign off on it and subsequently it fails, it is not unlikely that we will become embroiled in the dispute.

    Many times I find that it is difficult to determine if the work was done correctly, especially if it's not one of the specialty trades with which I'm familiar.

    The language in my original report always states "xxxxxx requires further evaluation by a qualified and licensed contractor". Far too often I have come back to find hack job repairs done by handyman or even the seller himself. If this is the case, and it's pretty obvious since they can't produce any work orders, receipts or other documentation, I will typically state something like "While the repairs appear to have been done, the quality and longevity/durability is questionable and the work does not appear to have been done by a qualified licensed professional as recommended. Always request all documentation, receipts, work orders and signed off permits (if required) for any work that has been done."

    Obviously, this type of statement doesn't win me any brownie points with the seller but then they are not my client.

    True Professionals, Inc. Property Consultant
    877-466-8504

  13. #13
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    Default Re: re-inspection question

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Thompson View Post
    I would be very hesitant about calling out anything new unless it is patently obvious (like the deck fell down). I might mention something like the A/C didn't seem to be working to them verbally in person or on the phone but wouldn't put it in writing. Or tell the agent and let them deal with it.
    What? Did I miss something here? ONLY if something was patently obvious you MIGHT mention it but would not be willing to put it in writing? You'd defer to the agent for their dealing with it?

    Please tell me that I have misunderstood.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Memphis TN.
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    4,311

    Default Re: re-inspection question

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Turetsky View Post
    I take commitment to provide my clients useful information. I cannot envision too many situations when NOT providing newly discovered, relevant information to my client is proper.

    Perhaps someone can present a scenerio or two.
    .
    The Agent's Moldy Body is discovered in the crawl space Stabbed Long, Deep and Frequently ( not by you naturally )

    Someones Punctured Plastic Playmate is Discovered crumpled ,discarded in an out of the way nook. ( minus the HI complimentary refrigerator magnet.(not yours naturally )

    You report what you see. ( it really is that simple.)

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    26,252

    Default Re: re-inspection question

    Quote Originally Posted by Dana Bostick View Post
    The language in my original report always states "xxxxxx requires further evaluation by a qualified and licensed contractor".
    That language is typically found in stock check list report or stock verbiage in computer software, that wording implies that you did not do your job, that you are leaving the "evaluation" to those who are "qualified and licensed", i.e., the "contractor" you refer the "evaluation" to.

    A better wording would be (my changed wording is underlined): "xxxxxx requires [B]repair/replacement/correction[I] by a qualified and licensed contractor".

    That is be *you* have already done the "evaluation", let the contractor do the "repair/replacement/correction", I also changed the wording and sentence around to be more inclusive: 'have a competent and licensed contractor repair/replace/correct all items which are in need or repair/replacement/correction, including, but not limited to xxxxxxx, and any and all items they find wrong or make wrong during their work'.

    I don't recall the exact wording I had worked out, but here is a close example of what my wording was: 'The electrical panel needs repair/replacement/correction of xxxxxx and any and all other items they find or create during their repair work.'

    The reason is, how many times have you gone back and found that the repairs/replacement/corrections leave the item in *worse* condition than before they touched it? *A LOT of times* would be my guess. Did a licensed contractor do the work? I don't know, it may have been a handyman or Uncle Bob who screwed it all up - I don't want to blame the contractor without knowing.

    Also, the reason for using "competent" is that, where licenses are required, the person who is "licensed" is, by virtue of being "licensed", "qualified". We have all seen "licensed" contractors who were not "competent" to be licensed, but they are licensed, and thus they are "qualified" to do the work.

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

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Maryland
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    2,778

    Default Re: re-inspection question

    Jerry,
    The problem revolves around the evaluation of the item in question. To many are not competent to make a valid evaluation of a situation. Thus the wording " Further evaluation...." as opposed to "xxxxxx requires [b]repair/replacement/correction[i] by a qualified and licensed contractor". The latter presumes that the problem is understood and the correction is known by the writer.


  17. #17

    Default Re: re-inspection question

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Jerry,
    The problem revolves around the evaluation of the item in question. To many are not competent to make a valid evaluation of a situation. Thus the wording " Further evaluation...." as opposed to "xxxxxx requires [b]repair/replacement/correction[i] by a qualified and licensed contractor". The latter presumes that the problem is understood and the correction is known by the writer.
    I agree. Constraints by the SoPs and liability issues dictate that I'm a generalist, not a specialist. I liken it to going to a GP physician. They are not going to handle every possible problem you may have. They are neither trained nor qualified to be specialists in every field. As a home inspector typically does, the general practitioner knows enough about all the different parts to know what specialists to send you to for "further evaluation" and possible solutions.

    I think we run the risk of increased liability if we "over evaluate and make recommendations for repairs" on areas that we are not legally qualified in. "Legally" meaning licensed in that particular trade. Telling a client that the roof needs replacement that will likely cost $10,000 when a qualified roofer can make appropriate repairs for $3000 is just stupid and irresponsible. I happen to be a retired plumbing contractor and I have no problem doing the "further evaluation" portion and making recommendations for repairs when it comes to plumbing. In that case, I am qualified.

    I am not a roofer, structural engineer, foundation specialist, geologist/Geotech, electrician nor HVAC specialist. I do know enough about all the various areas and systems of a home to determine that there are problems that require a specialist to dig a little deeper and come up with a solution and a price. That's not my job and that's not why I'm here. When I find a problem in those particular areas I'll refer them to the appropriate specialist for further evaluation by someone who knows what the hell they're doing.

    In an ideal world and from the client's perspective we would be experts in every possible situation and provide them with an in-depth evaluation of each system as well as accurate pricing/estimates for repairs. Not going to happen. Sticking to one's published SoPs May be seen as a cop out to some, I see it as making sure I don't end up in court for overstepping my bounds. So far this philosophy has worked for the last 10 years and well in excess of 4000 inspections.

    True Professionals, Inc. Property Consultant
    877-466-8504

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    26,252

    Default Re: re-inspection question

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Jerry,
    The problem revolves around the evaluation of the item in question. To many are not competent to make a valid evaluation of a situation. Thus the wording " Further evaluation...." as opposed to "xxxxxx requires [b]repair/replacement/correction[i] by a qualified and licensed contractor". The latter presumes that the problem is understood and the correction is known by the writer.
    Garry,

    If a home inspector does not understand the problem and what they are looking enough to make the call, then *that* home inspector should marked "NOT INSPECTED", in which case there is still no need for "further" evaluation, the need is for the item *to be evaluated* by a competent contractor.

    If one does not know ... DO NOT IMPLY THAT YOU INSPECTED (evaluated) IT ... check it off as "not inspected", defer it, then learn about it for the next time.

    There really are very limited choices for the home inspector:
    a) they knew enough about it to make a call
    - 1) a repair/replacement/correction is needed
    - 2) a repair/replacement/correction is not needed
    - 3) there is no need for "further evaluation"
    b) they do not know enough about it to make a call
    - 1) they make a call anyway
    - 2) they state they do not know and have someone come in who does know (and then they start learning about it)

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

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