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  1. #1
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    Jan 2016
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    Illinois
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    Default Inspecting without clients present?

    What are the pros and cons of doing a home inspection without a client present? (This assumes a buyer inspection.)
    What if you have a two-income family? Can they send a stand-in such as a relative?
    What percentage of inspection do you do with the buyer not present? You would not have the bank send a representative to a REO inspection would you? Or do you require it? Do banks even know what they own?
    This question has a tie-in to another thread that asked about cancellations. If the cancellation was a result of the client becoming unavailable, why would you simply not go ahead and do the inspection without them?

    Thanks to all for their input here on this forum.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Osceola, AR
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    310

    Default Re: Inspecting without clients present?

    About a third of my clients don't attend inspections. Several regular clients are investors from out of state, I have done over a dozen inspections for one client that I have never met. I send agreements by email and they sign and return. Credit card payments prior to the inspection have become the normal payment means and I have had no issues there. I always urge buyers to attend, but sometimes it just is not possible.

    Alton Darty
    ATN Services, LLC
    www.arinspections.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
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    5,005

    Default Re: Inspecting without clients present?

    1. Having client attend from start to finish reduces liability. Besides Realtors now will not let anyone into house unattended, and no lock box keyes either. Which I am pleased with.
    2. Yes its not uncommon for relative or agent to attend the inspection on behalf of purchaser.
    3. Less than 1 percent are not present most always due to out of town or out of country. If this is the case I up charge for inspection. Why? Because inevitably you end up making long distance phone calls to answer questions or in some instances there agent needs info.
    4. I suggest you post cancellation fees on your website and contract, and state so many hours prior to scheduled start.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: Inspecting without clients present?

    Quote Originally Posted by John C Hansen, LEED AP View Post
    What are the pros and cons of doing a home inspection without a client present? (This assumes a buyer inspection.)
    What if you have a two-income family? Can they send a stand-in such as a relative?
    What percentage of inspection do you do with the buyer not present? You would not have the bank send a representative to a REO inspection would you? Or do you require it? Do banks even know what they own?
    This question has a tie-in to another thread that asked about cancellations. If the cancellation was a result of the client becoming unavailable, why would you simply not go ahead and do the inspection without them?

    Thanks to all for their input here on this forum.
    Pros, faster without answering questions but cons because they were not present there will be questions by phone.
    Liability is pretty much a wash either way in my opinion.
    As long as they tell me ahead of time I have no problem with talking with a stand-in.
    My clients are almost never present from start to finish. I ask them to show up at the end if possible. If they can't, I will talk with them over the phone with questions. I spend pretty much the same amount of time either way.
    We have access to key boxes here and I'm happy with it that way. I've never had an issue due to being in a house alone in over 20 years.
    I feel I do a better inspection if I'm alone for the inspection and then talk to clients at the end. This is how I have set it up for most of my career and it works for me.

    As far as cancellations, yes I go ahead and inspect even if they cannot make it and plan on some phone time once they get the report.

    No cancellation fee for me, just enjoy the unexpected time off. Although, I have fired a client or two after repeated cancellations at the last minute.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Chicago IL
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    1,984

    Default Re: Inspecting without clients present?

    Pro's: you can concentrate on your job and probably get done a bit faster to go have a decent lunch
    Con's: If you are a good HI expect more follow up phone time with questions since they weren't there. You'll spend more time explaining things they would have gotten if they were present.
    For me its a small percentage of clients who don't attend; mostly busy upper bracket. If they want to send Dad to the inspection that's fine but I don't encourage it. Bad idea. You show Dad, Dad tells them and there is always a percentage of credibility that gets lost along the way.
    REO work has dwindled down to a large extent around here. Not like during the good old days. Don't worry about it. Still some out there but nothing to count on. REO's typically give me the Code and I go do the inspection.
    Around here some agents will let you in, some won't. Depends on if they know or have heard of you.
    I hear of guys having cancellation fees but I've never done it.

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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
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    1,078

    Default Re: Inspecting without clients present?

    30% have no one in attendance other than me. Have lockbox access so 50% or greater no agent shows up at all.

    Pro: Quicker inspection time because no one asking questions.
    Con: The only call backs I get are from clients who do not attend. Those who attend, see what an inspection entails.

    Client at end of inspection is not my favorite. Feels like doing the inspection all over again.

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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
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    2,446

    Default Re: Inspecting without clients present?

    Very few of my clients attend the entire inspection. If they want to show up at the end, I tell them to come for the last hour. I explain I have another appointment, and I will have to leave at xxxx. After having a few clients that show up at the very end and want a blow by blow description, I put an end to that by putting a time constraint.
    Very few Realtors attend the inspection at all. Those that do, show up the last 1/2 - 1 hour.
    I had a Supra, so I let myself in.
    Many times a relative will show up for the inspection. Often they come to bring me a check. I don't really care who is there, I do the same job no matter who's watching me.

    I see no difference in liability. I have never been accused of stealing anything. Same goes for damaging things (except things I have broken by accident - that's another thread).

    Obviously, if no one is there, it goes faster. Not a huge amount, but some. When clients have questions, I really don't stop my inspection process, I am able to carry on a conversation and work at the same time. Of course, if its a question about something we are in front of, or I need to show and tell something, I will not keep moving.

    If my clients are there, I explain that I can do my job best, and keep focus, if they do not try to pull me away to look at something in another part of the house. I tell them I have a routine I like to follow, and if I get pulled away, I might forget where I was, and miss something. While that may not be entirely true, it makes the point.

    I explain to my clients that are not going to attend, that I am always available to answer questions by phone or email. Phone calls need to be early in the am, or after I get home in the pm. I do not answer phone calls when I'm working. That said, I get very few follow up questions. That tells me that I am doing a good job communicating my findings in my report, and that its easy to read.

    While I like clients to be there, so they can see what kind of job I am doing for them, it really doesn't matter. Even the client from hell is only going to add a half hour to my inspection. I have a schedule, and if they have too many questions, I tell them that I have another appointment, and they are welcome to call me that evening to continue our discussion. I probably only have to do that once or twice a year.

    About cancellations.. if they cancel, they cancel, I don't do the inspection. If you mean they say they are going to be there, then don't show up, then it makes no difference to me. I will have a signed contract before I get to the inspection. They have to pay before they get the report. Most of my inspections are paid by credit card on line, so its not an issue for me.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Maryland
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    2,777

    Default Re: Inspecting without clients present?

    John,
    Not to jerk your chain or seem like I am chastising you, but...

    Have you made an effort to search through this forum for the topics that you are interested in???? There is a tremendous amount of information and opinions presented in the threads over the years. Also the process of searching is very beneficial to developing research techniques and methodology.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
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    3,473

    Default Re: Inspecting without clients present?

    98% of my clients attend the entire inspection and most are with me the entire way expect for roofs and attics. It's funny how different the inspection process works in other areas of the country. Telling people to show up in the last hour around here would go over like a fart in church. I expect the buyers to be present but enjoy the rare inspections where they just leave me alone or don't attend at all and I am the only person in the house for the inspection.

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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: Inspecting without clients present?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    John,
    ... Have you made an effort to search through this forum for the topics that you are interested in?
    Garry,
    I appreciate you asking this question. There are two reasons I ask the questions that I ask.

    Yes. I often spend 20 minutes to an hour per day reading many of the recent threads as well as the older threads. I do use the search feature and do not always find threads that seem to address the topic in the way I intend to ask the question. I am also challenged by the search engine. (We all have a blind spot of one kind or another.) Even though I try my best to get the answers using a search, at times my search returns too many message threads that simply do not relate to the heart of the question. Being new here does not give me the historic perspective that you have. Sometimes the answer may be in a thread that asked a different question. But not always. I think you might agree that the message threads drift off topic (and downhill) more than is productive. So, some long threads I simply stop reading when I suspect they are going nowhere even when I have read 10 to 20 responses. In the case of this particular topic, I read many threads and wanted to dig deeper than what I had read before I asked.

    And, I notice that message boards in general change readership and contributors over time. There are a few members like yourself who have been here a long time, but those who might contribute this time may not have been around a year or two ago when a similar question was asked. So, I hope to get a fresh perspective from members who are active right now. Message threads that are a year or two old reflect the membership of this forum at that time. Perhaps a member who joined in the past six months has a valuable contribution and I would like to read it.

    And thanks again for asking this valuable question.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Knoxville, TN
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    2,446

    Default Re: Inspecting without clients present?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    98% of my clients attend the entire inspection and most are with me the entire way expect for roofs and attics. It's funny how different the inspection process works in other areas of the country. Telling people to show up in the last hour around here would go over like a fart in church. I expect the buyers to be present but enjoy the rare inspections where they just leave me alone or don't attend at all and I am the only person in the house for the inspection.
    Nick, its funny! It used to be the clients were at the entire inspection, and most attended. I'm not sure when the shift happened, but it was probably from the shift in Realtors attitude. That happened several years ago when the Brokers advised their Agents NOT to attend the inspection for "liability reasons", and about that time we were able to get access with Supra keys.

    While I would like them to attend, it is nicer to be all along to do my job.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lake Barrington, IL
    Posts
    1,363

    Default Re: Inspecting without clients present?

    My report indicates whether of not they attended, if they arrived late or if they left early. My personal notes indicate if they followed me, asked questions or they appeared to have no interest at all in what I was doing. Much of that is ammo I wouldn't hesitate using down the road if needed.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

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