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  1. #1
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    Mar 2007
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    Default Buyer Asking Me to Attend House Visit

    Somebody contact me and asked me to come with him to look at a house. He doesn't have an offer in and wants to know if it's worth making an offer. I've already told him I don't do this but he said he's willing to pay me my fee to come with him. Full fee, no contract, no report.....sounds appealing but I'm not biting. It just seems like there could be a problem is something went awry.

    Has anybody done and inspection/walkthrough for somebody like this? I even told him I couldn't do the things that I would do during a normal inspection but he seems unfazed.

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

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Oregon, USA
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    Default Re: Buyer Asking Me to Attend House Visit

    Business must be that good, eh, Nick, that you can turn down some easy $$$? If it was me, I'd make the potential buyer sign a waiver, releasing me of any and every possible glitch that comes along, and go for it. If you're just worried about being sued, in this day and age you can be sued for just wearing the wrong colored shirt. And the sun continues to rise in the east.


  3. #3
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    Feb 2008
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    New York
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    Default Re: Buyer Asking Me to Attend House Visit

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Somebody contact me and asked me to come with him to look at a house. He doesn't have an offer in and wants to know if it's worth making an offer. I've already told him I don't do this but he said he's willing to pay me my fee to come with him. Full fee, no contract, no report.....sounds appealing but I'm not biting. It just seems like there could be a problem is something went awry.

    Has anybody done and inspection/walkthrough for somebody like this? I even told him I couldn't do the things that I would do during a normal inspection but he seems unfazed.

    So give him a contract and a report.If he wants he can throw them in the garbage.

    Or go with him and do not do a Home Inspection". Go as a consultant. Either way I would have a contract, and some type of report.

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

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Buyer Asking Me to Attend House Visit

    Well part of the PA Home Inspection Law says that a report must be issued if payment is accepted. If I don't mind running afoul of the state law for home inspectors, I could easily do so and nobody would know. But I like keeping my nose clean too.

    I have had people ask me to just come in and look at most of a house but leave other parts out. I have a hard time doing that because often times the deficiencies observed with one system can have a trickle down affect on other systems. And not being able to do a full inspection where the service panel is opened, roof climbed up on and walked, attic entered and walked, etc.

    I told him I would more than happy to help him out when he has an executed agreement of sale in place. I'm not interested in being a home shopping consultant.

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

  5. #5
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    Nov 2011
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    Oregon, USA
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    Default Re: Buyer Asking Me to Attend House Visit

    You're not doing a home inspection. It's called a consulting evaluation, with no written report.

    Two different things.


  6. #6
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    Mar 2012
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    North Central Texas
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    Default Re: Buyer Asking Me to Attend House Visit

    Like BM said, if the client says it is not a home inspection and wants no report, then it is a consultation. Consultations are not covered under the inspector SOP, even in Texas. I do these - with a singed consultant agreement that waives the inspection SOP and spells out my responsibilities.

    Texas Inspector
    http://www.texasinspector.com
    What the plainspoken man lacks in subtlety, he makes up in clarity.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Chicago
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    Default Re: Buyer Asking Me to Attend House Visit

    Quote Originally Posted by BridgeMan View Post
    You're not doing a home inspection. It's called a consulting evaluation, with no written report.

    Two different things.
    Right. I still have them sign an agreement stating that this is not an inspection. I call it a "walk and talk" and will do it for less than my regular fee.

    Mike Lamb
    Inspection Connection, Inc.
    http://www.inspection2020.com/

  8. #8
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    Columbus GA
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    Default Re: Buyer Asking Me to Attend House Visit

    I had something like that 2 years ago.
    Investor wanted me to go with him to look at 4 houses.
    Took about 2&1/2 -3 hours.
    I charged him $300
    He paid me, and did buy one of the houses.
    It was just a walk and talk.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  9. #9
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    Feb 2008
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    Caledon, Ontario
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    Default Re: Buyer Asking Me to Attend House Visit

    Its an assessment and your contract should state that such inspection does not meet the criteria under state licencing of home inspection.

    If I was asked to do this inspection I would take the opportunity to provide the service, or the client will simply find someone else.


  10. #10
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    Nov 2009
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    St Paul, MN
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    Default Re: Buyer Asking Me to Attend House Visit

    I've done that a few times in the past. $125 per house, no report or contract. No proof I was even there.

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

  11. #11
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    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Buyer Asking Me to Attend House Visit

    I did several of those, and never had any problems doing them.

    Nothing beats walking through the house with your hands clasped behind your back and doing the 'walk and talk' show where all you do is walk with your client and talk, telling him what you see.

    Excellent money, no liability, no report, and, yes, as Aaron said, it is a "consultation" and not a "home inspection".

    I am sure that I am not the only one who has done them. Not sure why anyone would have a problem doing them.

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

  12. #12
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    New Mexico
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    Default Re: Buyer Asking Me to Attend House Visit

    Full fee for one house? I wonder why he doesn't just pay for a home inspection on it. I've done numerous houses for a buyer that did not have an offer on it at the time of the inspection, but wanted to know what to factor in on his offer. It's not like they have to have an offer on it to get a home inspection, unless the seller has a problem with it.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  13. #13
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    Dec 2008
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    Default Re: Buyer Asking Me to Attend House Visit

    Nick,
    Take the field trip as a personal shopping consultant. Been there done that. Buyer sets up a series of properties to look at with agent. You look for problems and potential issues. Take some notes (and pictures) as you go, helps keep the properties from blurring together. It becomes a tactical exercise to identify problems and issues and get out as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon to find several high cost problems, you point out what they are and often it is at that point the client says lets move on. You can, depending on proximity, hit 7 properties in 4 hours or less. You are not there to pick out potential colors or design the furniture layout. You are there as a objective observer that is cold and heartless, blunt yet truthful.

    The idea is to help weed out the prospective properties for the client. You then do a full paid inspection on the contracted property. The money spent on shopping is well worth it by reducing the time and stress in the process of looking at the properties. You can turn the process from weeks/month into days/weeks. Saves the buyer/client time, money and stress. Figure a cost/hr for 3 or 4 hrs with a cost for running over the allotted time. Usually I would write up what I saw with the costs for repair for the client, so they could have a reasoned discussion as how to proceed. This process also works real well for investor/buyers in the rental market along with flippers.

    Sort of like speed dating. Most people only have ideas of what they want, though they know what they do not want.


  14. #14
    Join Date
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    Philadelphia PA
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    Default Re: Buyer Asking Me to Attend House Visit

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    ...
    Excellent money, no liability....
    How is there "no liability"? The client is hiring you to look for major issues. What if you miss one? Not that Nick would miss one. I'm just saying.

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

  15. #15
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    Dec 2007
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    Holladay, UT
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    565

    Default Re: Buyer Asking Me to Attend House Visit

    Do any of you have an example of a consulting contract you could post?

    Tom Rees / A Closer Look Home Inspection / Salt Lake City, Utah

  16. #16
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    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
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    Default Re: Buyer Asking Me to Attend House Visit

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    How is there "no liability"? The client is hiring you to look for major issues. What if you miss one? Not that Nick would miss one. I'm just saying.
    That's how I feel John. I wouldn't feel comfortable trying to find significant issues while working within a much smaller window of time and without full run of the house. Say somebody performs one of these walk-and-talk consultations and nothing significant turns up. But during the follow-up home inspection when the inspector has the ability to do his/her full inspection, there are major and costly defects found. Isn't that the type of thing the buyer asked the inspector to find during the consultation? And now the buyer has paid for a full home inspection and possibly other services like radon, termite, septic, etc.

    Maybe I'm different but I won't take a job if I think I will not be able to provide real value to the client and especially if I will not be able to perform the inspection to my personal standards.

    I don't have a contract for this type of inspection and I'm fairly certain if something came up, my insurance carrier would not extend coverage to me. As for those who say there is no proof they were ever at the house after performing one of these consultations, I believe the cashed check on file at the bank would say otherwise.

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

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Chicago IL
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    1,984

    Default Re: Buyer Asking Me to Attend House Visit

    I do these no problem. Doesn't bother me and has never been an issue. However I do have a couple stipulations.
    - I only do these if I have already done a full inspection for the client on a previous home, commercial clients, repeat investor clients or if its a strong, reliable referral. I don't do them for cold calls.
    The potential problem is that the walk through assessment (as I call it) could provide a warped perspective of what a home inspection actually is. People with a poor understanding might agree to what you discuss but in their mind afterwards, 'it was a home inspection'. Therefore why pay again for a full home inspection.
    - Reduced fee
    - Sign walk-through assessment agreement
    - These take anywhere between 30-60 minutes, no tools, no clipboard, no camera. Just a flashlight just in case. I usually tell buyers to schedule 2,3,4 houses back to back and we'll go through them.
    You mainly want to look for major cost items that are post purchase concerns.
    Furnace, AC, water tank 3 years old or 20 years old
    Obvious signs of water intrusion, broken joists or illegal conversion, essentially big red flags
    For regular home buyers it has always translated into a full home inspection for the house they eventually settle on.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Default Re: Buyer Asking Me to Attend House Visit

    There is a meeting of the minds, a service provided and fee paid. You are not any less liable fwiw just because there is no report or contract...


  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Bennett (Denver metro), Colorado
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    Default Re: Buyer Asking Me to Attend House Visit

    For a full fee, I do a full report. It doesn't matter to me if the property is U/C or not. However, like others have said, I do "consultations" too. I have one investor who often has me do consultations before he buys a house and then one when his crew has finished their work. (His crew actually likes me because I never throw them under the bus. I just recommend they also do this or that and the more they work, the more they make)

    My consultation report is very simple. It starts with a disclosure that this is just partial inspection looking for significant problems in my judgment. Even if a home inspector finds more later, it doesn't reflect on my limited inspection (unless of course, the inspector found a significant issue that I missed which so far has never happened)

    I do about four of these a month for this investor at a price of $150 to $200 depending on the property. I understand his expectations and needs, so it is a good deal for both of us. He started using me for these consultations several years ago, when I was the home inspector for one of his sales and found a significant structural problem that he and his contractor had missed.

    So my conclusion, is do the inspection. If they are willing to pay you a full fee, then do full inspection. Make sure they understand that it is a partial inspection consultation if they want a discounted fee. But you are helping them out either way and might as well collect a fee for the effort.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    358

    Default Re: Buyer Asking Me to Attend House Visit

    I'll be doing my 2nd "walk and talk" of the week later this afternoon. Client knows it's just the service panel and substructure/foundation. No contract, no report - Cash only! I'm getting paid for my opinion, that is all.


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