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  1. #1
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    Default Contract signed on-site or before?

    This caught my eye in the escrow billing thread so I thought I would throw it out there. How many of you secure a signed contract before leaving for a job and how many present it and have it signed on-site?

    And for those of you who do it ahead of time will you really not leave for an inspection before it's returned? I can imagine a HUGE percentage of people just say they'll bring it with them.

    I realize in the 'old' days pre-computers and such it must have all been on-site so there has likely been some change over. I'm curious how much.

    I'm mainly thinking about it from a legal perspective. It's much harder for a person to argue that they didn't have time to read the contract when they had it for two days before they met you.

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  2. #2
    Deleted Account's Avatar
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    Default Re: Contract signed on-site or before?

    I still bring mine to the site, unless the client won't be there or is out of state, but it is a simple language one page contract, not much to read.

    NACHI has created a Free, online, signable inspection agreement system - InterNACHI


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Contract signed on-site or before?

    I try and tell clients that my contract is on my website and to review it. The same contract will be presented on site for their signature.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Contract signed on-site or before?

    I e-mail the contract to the client. It is a MS word .doc and can be altered.
    I ask the client to fill in their name, address and phone# on the doc and ask that it be e-mailed back to me.
    I then save the e-mail as proof that the electronically signed document originated from the client.

    Critical Home Inspection Services
    www.Home2Spec.com

  5. #5
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    Ft. Lauderdale Fl
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    Default Re: Contract signed on-site or before?

    I don't use a contract.

    MLC


  6. #6
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    Philadelphia PA
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    Default Re: Contract signed on-site or before?

    I email the contract in advance as a pdf file, then I bring the hard copy to the inspection so they can't change anything in it. I ask them if they read it, if they have any questions, etc.
    If they have not read it or I was not able to send it out, I present it to them at the inspection and stress that they should take as much time as they need to read it, before signing. Then they start walking around the property with the paper dangling from their hand and I keep badgering them about reading it. What a pain.
    I actually take two identical copies and have them sign both. They keep one and I keep one.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Contract signed on-site or before?

    I e-mail my cleints a blank PDF copy of my agreement before the inspection so they can read over it. I bring the original document containing all their info to the inspection.

    I have had a couple people in the past call back to cancel the appointment after reading my agreement. I don't know what it was they found so objectional but at that point, I figured I was better off without their business.


  8. #8
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Contract signed on-site or before?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    I e-mail my cleints a blank PDF copy of my agreement before the inspection so they can read over it. I bring the original document containing all their info to the inspection.

    I have had a couple people in the past call back to cancel the appointment after reading my agreement. I don't know what it was they found so objectionable but at that point, I figured I was better off without their business.

    Do you think it might have something to do with the fact that you cannot be held liable for anything but the inspection price no matter what. The silly little thing like that warding them off. I just don't understand it.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Contract signed on-site or before?

    "I e-mail my clients a blank PDF copy of my agreement before the inspection so they can read over it. I bring the original document containing all their info to the inspection."

    Same here. I also tell them to call prior to the date of inspection if they have any questions.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Contract signed on-site or before?

    I really don't care what their reason is at that point Ted. It may very well be the limit of liability thing, or it could be something else. I'd rather get them out of my hair before I've driven to the house and they decide then and there they don't like my contract. Let somebody else try and appease them.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Contract signed on-site or before?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Do you think it might have something to do with the fact that you cannot be held liable for anything but the inspection price no matter what...
    How about 3X the fee? That's what mine says. Still sarcasm worthy?


  12. #12
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Contract signed on-site or before?

    That was not sarcasm. I just know there are folks that back off and cannot recover when you want them to sign something limiting the recovery to one to three times the inspection cost.

    Funny thing about insurance. You pay a few thousand a year and never had a claim against you but they want to see the contract one uses to limit liability. The actual amount of claims and especially the amount paid out compared to the multiple thousands of inspectors out there is a joke as far as I am concerned. It is one of the highest profit insurance scams out there.

    No, John, not being sarcastic. Just stating facts. A 1,000 bucks just ain't a whole lot if one calls a foundation wrong and it cost multiple thousands for repair. WC Jerry called it right with the amount of no back ground inspectors out there causing these claims and insurance costs and bad names to good inspectors. I am one of those firm believers that anyone entering the home inspection field should have some kind of back ground. Engineering, building inspector, architectural something or other, but most of all, real life experience in construction (preferably rehab and or remodel) so they see these things everyday and are repairing them and such. Preferably there own business for such so they are acquainted with all aspects from roofing to plumbing, from electric to foundations, something.

    If someone screws up a break job and someone dies there is no little disclaimer that the family can just get the break job fee back.

    Gotta go do a final inspection on a home. Sorry if you take what I said as sarcasm. None intended.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Contract signed on-site or before?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    ...The silly little thing like that warding them off. I just don't understand it.
    This is what I was referring to as sarcasm, not that I'm complaining. Now that would be the pot calling the kettle black.


  14. #14
    Evan Grugett's Avatar
    Evan Grugett Guest

    Default Re: Contract signed on-site or before?

    Here in NY State a contract agreement is required by the general business law and the Professional Home Inspectors Licensing Act.

    I bring two copies of the agreement to the site and go over it and my report format with the client at the beginning of the inspection. The agreement states the terms, the standard I'm doing the inspection to (ASHI), the fee, and the fact that reports will not be issued until full payment of the fee is received. I limit my liability to the inspection fee (which will stand up in court here in NYS unless there is "gross negligence").

    No Inspector around here bills or waits til the closing to get paid. Remember, if you need the closing to get paid, you now have an interest in the closing and therefor might not be so independent (i.e. the appraisers in past. They now too get paid at the site here before their reports are issued to avoid that conflict or pressure from the lender or realtor).

    I have a "user friendly" one page agreement. I have never had a client refuse to sign the agreement, since I've been using one (more than 12 years) even in NY, the most litigenous area in the country. I rarely have a client ask to review the agreement beforehand. I only email or fax agreements before the inspection if the client is not able to attend. Many non-attending clients will be requested to have their "representative" sign the agreement and pay the fee on site. That has been an agent, a relative, and in a few cases the attorney.
    To to the prior poster who does not use a contract, your a** is really hanging out!! In these parts you are breaking the law, may not get paid, or may be subject to nuisance claims, without it. I would strongly advise you to use a contract.

    Evan Grugett


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Contract signed on-site or before?

    NC requires a contract. I email the PDF contract to the client in advance. I bring two copies to the inspection, client and I each get signed copies.

    Folklore says that if you present a contract at the inspection for the first time and state you will not inspection unless they sign, you have coerced them and the contract is not binding. I email my in advance filled out with their name, address, date, and fee amount as PDF attachment.

    Those out of state, print, sign and fax or mail before the inspection (along with a check). The state recently updated the law that the contract has to be signed before the inspection can take place. The law used to say you had to have a signed contract.

    Apparently getting a signed contract within a couple of days of the inspection was common practice and upset someones sensibilities so they changed the law.

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

  16. #16
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Contract signed on-site or before?

    Evan

    Sorry, but I gotta do it. Every time someone uses that word below or anything like it I am going to state over and over.

    NO ONE SHOULD EVEN KNOW WHAT THAT FREAKIN WORD MEANS


    "litigenous"

    The little green men have to do a fly over and erase that word from everyones memory.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Contract signed on-site or before?

    Can't say I follow you on this Ted. What is your issue with the word "litigenous"?


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Contract signed on-site or before?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    What is your issue with the word "litigenous"?
    I think it is spelled litigious.

    Beak, Breach, Break, Brake job.

    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.

  19. #19
    Kevin Barre's Avatar
    Kevin Barre Guest

    Default Re: Contract signed on-site or before?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Can't say I follow you on this Ted. What is your issue with the word "litigenous"?
    You mean other than the fact that it's not a real word?

    The applicable word is "litigious."


  20. #20
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Contract signed on-site or before?

    Well

    One issue. I have a serious complaint about Realtors. In general I have some serious professional Realtors the handle things as they should and don't act like idiots constantly discussing with one another words like "litigious"

    Where do you think all this comes from. I use to go to MLS meeting offering lunch to Realtors for a few minute introduction spiel for a meet and greet. I would sit in on some of these meetings (and others). Every meeting you would not believe how long the Lawyers speak about litigation and insurance and you are going to get sued and you have to protect yourself from inspectors and so on. Well, all and good to a point. I know Realtors that are scared to death about everything and push this onto their clients. Litigious, litigation. I will be your lawyer, I will protect you, I am looking out for you.

    Lawyers come to the new realtor meetings and go over legal with them. Pushing their services in I am here to protect you from the world, just call me. You must protect yourself from litigation from the home inspectors and blah, blah, blah. I guess it is more the lawyers (damn do I hate that word),

    I posted elsewhere about this subject.

    Example. I have a Realtor that has been referring me for the 4 years in Texas. A concern arose about an overflowing toilet (valve going bad after a cleaning woman yanked on it). The house flooded. The Realtors lawyer said to separate herself from the home inspector because he obviously missed the bad toilet. The woman (great woman and Realtor) called me while the buyer was there and the first words out of her mouth was "Ted, how did we miss this one" Her office manager told her to call legal and protect her and the office. I have done countless numbers of inspections through this woman. First off we found what went wrong and it was not a miss from me.

    This legal bull s**t took the fine wonderful woman and Realtor and turn her in to an avoid litigation and put it on the home inspector before anyone checked where the fault lied. First off my contract states that I must be the first to be contacted, not third or fourth. The state contract even says that.

    Anyway this post is to long and I will end it stating that I hate the words, Lawyer, Legal, litigation, litigious or anything like it. If any of you are lawyers forgive me for the next statement but I think you all should go for an extremely deep swim and stop pumping bull into the general public's brains.

    The upper example is only a very very slight example.

    I will state as always. I must either be the best inspector on the planet (not) or I handle my clients extremely well. I have never been sued or an insurance claim against me in 36 years of working for myself. My way of doing things must obviously work.

    Yes I knew what he meant "litigious"

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 07-22-2008 at 05:19 PM.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Contract signed on-site or before?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post

    Folklore says that if you present a contract at the inspection for the first time and state you will not inspection unless they sign, you have coerced them and the contract is not binding.
    So if I sign any of the following I was coerced (unless I had a copy for a couple of days. )

    Buy a car.
    Purchase an Appliance.
    Sign the Repairman's receipt.
    Accept a Parking lot stub.
    Attend a Major Sporting event.
    Sign The Nice Policeman's Ticket.
    Sent the Permission slip back to the school.
    ect.

    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.

  22. #22
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Contract signed on-site or before?

    I
    - email contract ahead of time for review
    - bring two copies to the insp for signing
    - accept payment at time of insp
    No signed contract, no insp
    No payment, no insp
    No escrow, no delayed payment, no BS
    If client is buying house and 'don't' have money for HI, they are either full of it and want me to finance their deal or they are a client for someone else.
    Exceptions: ongoing clients in good standing
    All others pay now. I'm not in the finance business.

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

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