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  1. #1
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    Default Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    Hi All:
    I live in the Fort Worth, TX area and I just passed the Texas and the National ProfessionalInspector exam and I want to set up a new Pre-Inspection agreement, but I do not know any lawyers experienced in this realm. I have a few questions if anyone might be kind enough to answer: 1) What should a good pre-inspection agreement contain? 2) Do I need a lawyer to set oneup? 3) If I do need a lawyer to set one up, can anyone recommend a lawyer in my area?
    Thanks for your help,
    Michael Coviello


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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    There are many inspection agreements available on the web,and from report writing companies.
    No matter which one you chose or make up,consult a lawyer to ensure it meets your needs.


  3. #3
    Stephen G's Avatar
    Stephen G Guest

    Default Re: Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    The best money I spent was for an hour of my lawyers time...


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    Why reinvent the wheel? Join an inspector association and get all of that, plus, cheaper than a lawyer.

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

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Why reinvent the wheel? Join an inspector association and get all of that, plus, cheaper than a lawyer.
    John:
    Thanks. I am trying to get up to speed with everything. Do both Internachi and ASHI offer some type of a generic pre-inspection agreement with membership? Or are you speaking of more local organizations?
    Thanks in advance,
    Michael


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Coviello View Post
    John:
    Thanks. I am trying to get up to speed with everything. Do both Internachi and ASHI offer some type of a generic pre-inspection agreement with membership? Or are you speaking of more local organizations?
    Thanks in advance,
    Michael
    Look at your local state organizations or chapters of the national groups. Many chapters have already paid for an attorney to design an agreement that works for their state and they offer it or their members. The basic's of a home inspection agreement are all pretty much the same, some state laws require specific verbiage but for the most you will find little difference between the vast majority of them.

    I have a sample agreement on my webste if you want an example. Mine was the brainchild of an attorney friend who became a US District Judge about a month after he worked on my agreement. It even has a little bit of humor in it to make sure everyone understands it.

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

  7. #7
    sanjeev supayia's Avatar
    sanjeev supayia Guest

    Default Re: Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Why reinvent the wheel? Join an inspector association and get all of that, plus, cheaper than a lawyer.
    John i am agree with you.
    Brampton Home Inspections Mississauga Home Inspector Toronto - Home


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    Scott, All:
    Thanks for your advice, and Scott, thanks for the offer to take a look at your pre-inspection agreement on your site. I will look into joining a Home Inspectors organization that offer this as one of their benefits.
    Regards,
    Michael


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Coviello View Post
    Hi All:
    I live in the Fort Worth, TX area and I just passed the Texas and the National ProfessionalInspector exam and I want to set up a new Pre-Inspection agreement, but I do not know any lawyers experienced in this realm. I have a few questions if anyone might be kind enough to answer: 1) What should a good pre-inspection agreement contain? 2) Do I need a lawyer to set oneup? 3) If I do need a lawyer to set one up, can anyone recommend a lawyer in my area?
    Thanks for your help,
    Michael Coviello
    All good answers. More specifically, contact a contracts attorney. I too have a sample agreement on my website you can review. I use this for NV and TX (with some changes of course). Your insurance company will require a copy of your agreement as well.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    Your attorney probably isn't qualified. InterNACHI invested hundreds of specialized legal hours over many years to get our inspection contracts right and they get reviewed and possibly tweeked when there is a new court ruling. We have in-house counsel in on Tuesdays to help you one-on-one at no charge. You can also have your attorney consult with ours for free. Free, Online, Signable Inspection Agreement System - InterNACHI



    Lisa Endza
    Director of Communication
    InterNACHI

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    My advice: do not use small fonts, use numbered or bulleted lists of what is inspected and what isn't. As a Virginia Certified inspector, the state does not allow the use of statements like, "in accordance with [Association Name] standards of practice." We must specify what is inspected and explicitly state what is not normally inspected.

    I use front and back of 4 pages of 8.5 x 11 paper then purchase a bunch of NCR paper signature page with a section at the top that states "Special Provisions" and is several blank lines that allows a statement of something added that is to be or not to be inspected and why. Initial blanks below that. Uses N/A when nothing changes. The client information, inspection fee, method of payment, and permission to share report information or talk to repair people block.

    This way I can change the primary inspection agreement at any time without having to trash unused preprinted forms. I have a sample on my web site too that you can look at although a lot may not apply to Texas. Virginia Inspection Service - Home Inspections in Fredericksburg, Stafford, & Spotsylvania

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

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa Endza View Post
    Your attorney probably isn't qualified. InterNACHI invested hundreds of specialized legal hours over many years to get our inspection contracts right and they get reviewed and possibly tweeked when there is a new court ruling. We have in-house counsel in on Tuesdays to help you one-on-one at no charge. You can also have your attorney consult with ours for free. Free, Online, Signable Inspection Agreement System - InterNACHI

    It's only free if you buy your certification from INACHI, but then is it really free?

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

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    It's only free if you buy your certification from INACHI, but then is it really free?
    Well, free if you don't value your soul.

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

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    Best thing is to really sink your teeth into your local area as far as rules and what not. What may be standard in a contract in one state may not even be legal in another state. Also, consulting an attorney is good advice but don't just do that and stop paying attention. Home Inspections is still a fairly specialized thing and you won't likely find an attorney who REALLY specializes in it without some real digging.

    Also, in my experience, attorneys like to go to court (of course, because that's where they make their money). Circling back to what I say about checking your local rules/laws, really see what you can do as far as dispute resolution. Things like mediation and arbitration are good and MUCH cheaper than court. I've had attorneys tell me with a straight face I should change my contract and just go straight to circuit court to solve a dispute!!!! Yikes.... IMO, you want as much low cost dispute resolution as possible. And that's almost always going to be anywhere but a courtroom.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    Things like mediation and arbitration are good and MUCH cheaper than court. I've had attorneys tell me with a straight face I should change my contract and just go straight to circuit court to solve a dispute!!!! Yikes.... IMO, you want as much low cost dispute resolution as possible. And that's almost always going to be anywhere but a courtroom.
    No, that's not right. Maybe if you are the plaintiff in a dispute, you would want to bring the action against the defendant for as little cost as possible. However, if you are a home inspector, you are likely the defendant in the dispute, and so want to make it as difficult and expensive as possible for the plaintiff to bring an action against you.

    Lisa Endza
    Director of Communication
    InterNACHI

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa Endza View Post
    No, that's not right. Maybe if you are the plaintiff in a dispute, you would want to bring the action against the defendant for as little cost as possible. However, if you are a home inspector, you are likely the defendant in the dispute, and so want to make it as difficult and expensive as possible for the plaintiff to bring an action against you.
    Making it as "difficult and expensive as possible" is not going to help in a dispute. Really, you can follow the logic in any dispute. Why is it EVER best to make a resolution as "difficult and expensive as possible?"

    In the real world, most disputes that occur after a well trained inspector performs an inspection are due to a lack of communication or a misunderstanding. In these cases the most important thing is to get with your client quickly and help them through the problem. If that fails the next step needs to be some assitance in a resolution - mediation, etc. "Lawyering up" is NOT what's needed and inevitebly results in a HUGE bill for someone to pay.

    Of course, if you're an inexperienced or poorly trained inspector you may have little choice but to hide behind a lawyer which is truly ashame and a real black eye on our profession.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    Arbitrators are good at amicably settling disputes and usually down the middle, meaning the defendant often pays about half of what the plaintiff wants. But since most claims against home inspectors are completely without merit, InterNACHI doesn't want our members to pay for even half of nonsense claims. Of course if you are regularly in the wrong, I can understand your desire to settle quickly by paying half of what you owe to make up for your negligence.

    However, if you are a technically strong inspector, making it painless, inexpensive, easy, and financially rewarding for plaintiffs to file a frivolous claim harms our industry by encouraging such claims.

    Unlike arbitrators, courts don't exist to settle disputes amicably. Courts exist to enforce contracts, contracts that InterNACHI artfully crafted to protect inspectors from frivolous claims. If you're right, make them pay to fight you for money they don't deserve and in most cases, they'll choose not to. And that's a WIN.

    Last edited by Lisa Endza; 03-16-2013 at 11:35 PM.
    Lisa Endza
    Director of Communication
    InterNACHI

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    Ahhhh.... personal attacks leading into making assumptions - good job, Lisa.

    Not really sure what the reason is - I'm one of the few regular contributors on this board who has no agenda against you. It's too bad a good debate has to turn into that.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    Oh don't be so sensitive. You said that an inspector who fights back is "inexperienced", "poorly trained", "hides behind his lawyer" and is a "shame" and a "black eye on our profession" when actually, just the reverse is true. The technically strong inspector with a strong contract who is willing to defend his hard-earned money and his professional reputation is a hero.

    I wonder how many inspectors on this message board who carry EO insurance would agree with you and think it's awesome when their insurance company settles instead of fights for their client? I wonder if they would agree with you and say the insurance company that fights for their client is "hiding behind a lawyer." Did you know that when an insurance company settles on your behalf, even when you did nothing wrong, they tell every other insurance company that you had a claim? What happens when, through no fault of your own, you can't afford or can't even purchase insurance in a state that requires it because your insurance company settled instead of fought?

    Do InterNACHI members a favor. You keep advising NON-members to make it painless, inexpensive, easy, and financially rewarding for plaintiffs to sue them and I won't interrupt any more. LOL

    Lisa Endza
    Director of Communication
    InterNACHI

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    So, to sum up the last few posts of our debate, INACHI's stance is that most claims from buyers are frivolous and an INACHI inspector's contract and basic stance post-inspection is "talk to my lawyer?"

    I'd love to see some quotes from this thread on a brouchure to hand out to prospective buyers. I'm sure it would really put them at ease.

    In case you're looking for some marketing help, here's what I'd start with:


    "and so want to make it as difficult and expensive as possible for the plaintiff to bring an action against you."

    "contracts that InterNACHI artfully crafted to protect inspectors"


    Wow.... you just can't make this stuff up! Thanks for the entertainment and the help!.... LOL right back at you


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    So, to sum up the last few posts of our debate, INACHI's stance is that most claims from buyers are frivolous
    Most claims against home inspectors are totally without merit. Yes.

    Which is why you don't want to harm our industry and encourage such claims by making it painless, inexpensive, easy, and financially rewarding for plaintiffs to file them. Make them hire an attorney and pay to sue you in a real court that upholds your contract. When you take away their cheap "Judge Judy" option and demonstrate that you are willing to fight for what's right, most go away.

    Lisa Endza
    Director of Communication
    InterNACHI

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    Hey this thread is like a tennis match. Endless love!


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Hey this thread is like a tennis match. Endless love!
    That, was funny...


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa Endza View Post
    Oh don't be so sensitive. You said that an inspector who fights back is "inexperienced", "poorly trained", "hides behind his lawyer" and is a "shame" and a "black eye on our profession" when actually, just the reverse is true. The technically strong inspector with a strong contract who is willing to defend his hard-earned money and his professional reputation is a hero.

    I wonder how many inspectors on this message board who carry EO insurance would agree with you and think it's awesome when their insurance company settles instead of fights for their client? I wonder if they would agree with you and say the insurance company that fights for their client is "hiding behind a lawyer." Did you know that when an insurance company settles on your behalf, even when you did nothing wrong, they tell every other insurance company that you had a claim? What happens when, through no fault of your own, you can't afford or can't even purchase insurance in a state that requires it because your insurance company settled instead of fought?

    Do InterNACHI members a favor. You keep advising NON-members to make it painless, inexpensive, easy, and financially rewarding for plaintiffs to sue them and I won't interrupt any more. LOL
    Lisa,

    I know this is unusual for me to agree with you, and its also uncommon for me to over use the quote function, but I do agree with your assertions.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Looking to write an Inspection Agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa Endza View Post
    Most claims against home inspectors are totally without merit. Yes.

    Which is why you don't want to harm our industry and encourage such claims by making it painless, inexpensive, easy, and financially rewarding for plaintiffs to file them. Make them hire an attorney and pay to sue you in a real court that upholds your contract. When you take away their cheap "Judge Judy" option and demonstrate that you are willing to fight for what's right, most go away.
    Unfortunately, there is no one shoe that fits every scenario. I agree making it difficult for people to frivilously sue you is important but IMO instantly escalating a dispute to involve lawyers without any attempt at reaching an ammicable settlement is foolish..... and is going to be really expensive for someone.


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