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  1. #1
    RugbyCanada's Avatar
    RugbyCanada Guest

    Exclamation Fire after Home Inspection

    Hello all, long time lurker, first time posing a question.

    I did an inspection for a client {real estate agent} who was buying a home for investment and rental income. The home has an elderly tenant upstairs, and an illegal basement apartment downstairs with a single mom and her young child.
    This home was arguably in the top 5% of the worst electrical systems I have inspected.

    The Agent was present during the entire inspection, and I physically showed him the defects and the dangerous conditions. In my report, I created a Cover Sheet that had special emphasis on the electrical system.
    I was concerned enough that I called the agent 3 days later, and he advised me "that his sister is an electrician, and they decided to buy the house."

    Well, the house caught on fire on Sunday, electrical fire.

    Everyone is ok, but there is serious damage.

    The agent contacted me today and asked me to not talk to any insurance or bank people, and asked for MY back up Copy of the report {Not a chance in hell thats happening}.

    My question is, should I have advised ESA or The fire Department about this property at the time of inspection? I am part of a Real Estate group and depend on Agents for most of my living--If it gets out that I call the Authorites, I most likely would be out of business.

    So......any thoughts or ideas, or anything you guys/gals might see happening in the future?

    Best Regards,

    RC

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    Damned if you do, and darn well damned if you don't! But I think you already know the answer to your question--you have to do what's right, and report what you knew to authorities asap. Not doing so will make you culpable for all sorts of claims that are likely to appear on the not-too-distant horizon. Losing the business leads of one unethical Realtor is not worth destroying your career.

    My home inspection career was rather short-lived, primarily because I quickly developed a reputation among Realtors as a deal-breaker. Even though my clients loved me, for pointing out significant findings in properties they were about to purchase.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    My question is, should I have advised ESA or The fire Department about this property at the time of inspection?
    Thats a difficult call. I don't think I would, but I have told tenants and vendor that something needs attention right away due to...

    I am part of a Real Estate group and depend on Agents for most of my living--If it gets out that I call the Authorites, I most likely would be out of business.
    Thats a conflict if you pay to be part of this group? I don't solicit Realtors I have developed my biz by referral and reputation. If I get a referral from an agent fine, but I am not beholden to them, ever.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    u sold the report to the client, what they do with it is up to them.
    I would politely tell the agent that, You do not release reports to anyone but the client and what they tell the insurance company is up to them.
    Also tell the agent that in order to insure lack of liability on your part, your copy must stay with you.
    Unless a release of liabilty written by your lawyer is signed and payed for by the agent.
    And then I would still keep one for insurance
    They must also be made aware that, If you were called into court, you would be telling the truth
    If they give you the 'you willnever work in this county again" BS
    Have you're lawyer call their manager
    Their insurance company is at fault for not asking for the report prior to insuring so they are f'd no matter what
    be nice, help as you can as long as it leaves you in te just being honest category.
    You did a good job
    leave it at that


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    The fire department will likely determine the cause of the fire. If the fire was put out in time, electrical fires are generally pretty easy to determine.

    The local fire inspector would love a phone call from you. Simply let them know that you inspected the home a short time before the fire. No need to say more, don't point fingers. If the fire inspector wants your report they will have subpena power to obtain it which takes you out of the middle which can protect you from an action by your client.

    Fred Comb, ACI
    Mahtomedi, MN
    www.homeinspectionsofmn.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    I would not relinquish my copy of the report. I hope you have an electronic version of the report and not just a paper copy. If paper is the only thing you have I would scan it and retain an electronic copy as well.

    You are the one that has to make this decision, nobody else can do it for you.
    You are the one that will live with the consequences, good or bad.
    You are the only one that can set your moral compass in the right direction.

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

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    My guess is he wants your backup so that he can (confidently in his idiot mind) hide the electrical system as being a 'known defect' from his insurance company; thereby having less hassle getting it covered.
    It's his report. Just let him know you aren't giving it out or discussing it with anyone unless subpoenaed by a court.
    As far as dropping a dime, I've done it and will do it if there is an imminent threat to the public health and safety. It isn't something you shouldn't do lightly, especially in a single family setting. The impact and financial hardship can be substantial. In a multi-unit slumlord type setting, screw the SOB, bring the full resources of the system down to him.

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

  8. #8
    RugbyCanada's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    Hi folks,

    Thank you so much for the prompt replys, and opinions. I will respond to them once I get back to my home office.

    Bit of good news (for me). Fire Marshall and Police have ruled the fire as Arson, are looking for the ex-boyfriend of the girl downstairs.

    The Agent is in hot water due to the Illegal basement conversion, but thats secondary at this time.

    Anyway, will be back on later.

    all the best,

    RC


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    Wow! Thanks for the update.


  10. #10

    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    Do nothing, but if you have E&O, call your agent and have a quiet talk. You will have notified them of a potential claim but suggest they do nothing until the whole scenario plays out. The buyer may want your copy because he altered the original copy you gave him to make it look like there were no problems so he could get financing. When his homeowners insurance gets into investigating and paying they may be looking for a scapegoat. Insurance companies like to subrogate damages whenever they can. There is also the possibility that the fire was one that was an accident on purpose. If the house needed a good deal of renovation this (an electrical fire) is one way to get the process started.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by RugbyCanada View Post
    My question is, should I have advised ESA or The fire Department about this property at the time of inspection? I am part of a Real Estate group and depend on Agents for most of my living--If it gets out that I call the Authorites, I most likely would be out of business.

    So......any thoughts or ideas, or anything you guys/gals might see happening in the future?

    Best Regards,

    RC
    Regarding your question, contacting ESA or the fire department at the time of the inspection is a call only you can make. I personally haven't seen anything so significant to require that type of call right after the inspection but maybe I'm just desensitized due to seeing so much crap work and potential fire hazards on a regular basis.

    As for worrying about lost business with the agent group, I echo what the other have said. Depending primarily upon agent referrals to make a living obviously is a conflict of interest in this situation because you're letting that relationship factor into your decision about how to handle the reporting of a hazardous situation.

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

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by RugbyCanada View Post
    The Agent was present during the entire inspection, and I physically showed him the defects and the dangerous conditions. In my report, I created a Cover Sheet that had special emphasis on the electrical system.
    I was concerned enough that I called the agent 3 days later, and he advised me "that his sister is an electrician, and they decided to buy the house."

    Well, the house caught on fire on Sunday, electrical fire.

    Everyone is ok, but there is serious damage.

    The agent contacted me today and asked me to not talk to any insurance or bank people, and asked for MY back up Copy of the report {Not a chance in hell thats happening}.

    My question is, should I have advised ESA or The fire Department about this property at the time of inspection? I am part of a Real Estate group and depend on Agents for most of my living--If it gets out that I call the Authorites, I most likely would be out of business.
    You did your job by inspecting the home and generating a report. You took extra precautions to warn the buyer of significant issues. There is no legal requirement for you to contact any authorities about the conditions of a property you inspect. Moral or Ethical requirements maybe. If you feel for the life of the tenents, then warning them could be the proper thing to do.

    I have called the fire department on one inspection. There was an immediate life safety issue. There was a puddle of home heating fuel about 15 feet in diameter. A bale of wheat straw had been scattered overtop the heating fuel presumably in an effort to soak it up. In the center of the puddle was a natural gas fired furnace, operating. Fuel, tinder, ignition source all in one place, the center of the crawlspace. The smell of fuel oil was so strong it made me sick to my stomach the few minutes I was in the crawl. Yep called the fire department, sent color photos in an immediate email to the buyers agent (the buyer in this case). Felt sorry for the tenents but they lived to complain. Became a hazmat cleanup. The agent called me for more jobs inspite or because of the call to the FD.

    Keep a copy of the report no matter what the agent asks for or threatens. He may turn around and blame you saying that you did not adequately warn him of the possibile issues. If you have no copy, you have no way to protect yourself.

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

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    One consideration - as a home inspector you are expected to more readily recognize what significance is present in the conditions you find. If an inspector finds a truly hazardous condition then I believe that he/she has a responsibility to let someone (AHJ) know.

    Let me compare it to seeing a car weaving down the road (DUI), would you ignore it or would you step to the plate in an effort to protect others? I have no hesitation in turning off power and gas supplies or calling an authority when a life may be at stake. Whether or not I PO a RE agent or occupant, it is the furthest thing from my concerns. If you're going to preach safety then you have to take responsibility and live it.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    I'm ashamed to admit that once, a long long time ago, I left an oven on broil for a week. It sure was clean though.

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
    www.mazzainspections.com
    Level III Thermo-picture-taker-er...er

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    I'm ashamed to admit that once, a long long time ago, I left an oven on broil for a week. It sure was clean though.
    I had a seller call me once and thank me for preheating her oven for her while she was gone, but that she really had not intended to bake cookies that evening.

    Fortunately, she was a good sport about it and it was only on a couple of hours.

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

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I had a seller call me once and thank me for preheating her oven for her while she was gone, but that she really had not intended to bake cookies that evening.

    Fortunately, she was a good sport about it and it was only on a couple of hours.
    I purposely leave the oven door tilted open to remind me it is still on and generally turn it off right after it starts up and shows it is heating.

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

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    I purposely leave the oven door tilted open to remind me it is still on and generally turn it off right after it starts up and shows it is heating.
    How funny...I do that too. But the client shut the door and I guess I didn't notice.

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
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    Level III Thermo-picture-taker-er...er

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    Yikes
    Leaving the oven on is my biggest fear.
    Very easy to forget ,and the other is leaving a tub running when filling to check the spa.

    Going down the list would be furnace switch left off followed by thermostat setting.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    I turn on the kitchen fan when I turn on the oven as a reminder to turn off the oven. I mention to whoever is at the inspection not to turn off the fan, it is a reminder to turn off the oven.

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

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    But the client shut the door and I guess I didn't notice.
    It's a pain in the neck when people monkey with your methodology.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    I would not notify your E+O unless there is a demand letter from a lawyer. Regardless of what they tell you, when you notify them they will document a possible claim and they will calculate future rates based on risk.

    2) I would not share the report with the fire investigators but you can let them know there was an inspection and who got copies of the report.

    //Rick

    Rick Bunzel
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    I did an inspection a few years ago and wasnt sure if I shut off the electric oven. Of course by then, I was already home. The occupants of the house were on their way out of town (long 4th of July weekend) when I started the inspection and asked me to lock up when I left. They didnt leave a phone number for me, and they didnt have a Supra key on the door. They also had about 6 cats that they left in one room of the house.

    It worried me so much, I went back to their house and shut off the circuit breaker for the oven. I left a nice note for them and a $5 gift certificate for Blockbuster explaining the issue and offering to come back and turn the circuit breaker on for them when they got home. When they returned home, they sent me a nice email thanking me for shutting the breaker off.

    Now I have an end of inspection checklist that I methodically go through prior to leaving the property.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by imported_John Smith View Post
    I did an inspection a few years ago and wasnt sure if I shut off the electric oven. Of course by then, I was already home. The occupants of the house were on their way out of town (long 4th of July weekend) when I started the inspection and asked me to lock up when I left. They didnt leave a phone number for me, and they didnt have a Supra key on the door. They also had about 6 cats that they left in one room of the house.

    It worried me so much, I went back to their house and shut off the circuit breaker for the oven. I left a nice note for them and a $5 gift certificate for Blockbuster explaining the issue and offering to come back and turn the circuit breaker on for them when they got home. When they returned home, they sent me a nice email thanking me for shutting the breaker off.

    Now I have an end of inspection checklist that I methodically go through prior to leaving the property.
    Been there....done that..

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
    www.mazzainspections.com
    Level III Thermo-picture-taker-er...er

  24. #24

    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Bunzel View Post
    I would not notify your E+O unless there is a demand letter from a lawyer. Regardless of what they tell you, when you notify them they will document a possible claim and they will calculate future rates based on risk.
    //Rick
    The first thing the carrier will ask is when you became aware of the problem. There is a clause in every policy about not notifying them about potential claims that allows them to deny coverage. Your choice.


  25. #25
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by RugbyCanada View Post
    Hello all, long time lurker, first time posing a question.

    I did an inspection for a client {real estate agent} who was buying a home for investment and rental income. The home has an elderly tenant upstairs, and an illegal basement apartment downstairs with a single mom and her young child.
    This home was arguably in the top 5% of the worst electrical systems I have inspected.

    The Agent was present during the entire inspection, and I physically showed him the defects and the dangerous conditions. In my report, I created a Cover Sheet that had special emphasis on the electrical system.
    I was concerned enough that I called the agent 3 days later, and he advised me "that his sister is an electrician, and they decided to buy the house."

    Well, the house caught on fire on Sunday, electrical fire.

    Everyone is ok, but there is serious damage.

    The agent contacted me today and asked me to not talk to any insurance or bank people, and asked for MY back up Copy of the report {Not a chance in hell thats happening}.

    My question is, should I have advised ESA or The fire Department about this property at the time of inspection? I am part of a Real Estate group and depend on Agents for most of my living--If it gets out that I call the Authorites, I most likely would be out of business.

    So......any thoughts or ideas, or anything you guys/gals might see happening in the future?

    Best Regards,

    RC
    Lots of things going on here.

    I will be real short on the Realtor part of things due to the aggravation and upset from so many when I go on about it.

    You belong to a Realtor group where you get almost all of your work! T^hat is a serious problem. You are already thinking of satisfying Realtors to "keep your job". That should be the furthest thing from your mind. First and foremost they should be completely discounted when making any decision about the inspection or report or who you should inform about what.

    Second point. You should report the Realtor that asked for you to "hand over all evidence" about the inspection. You should also notify your carrier immediately exactly what took place and give them a complete copy of all paperwork. If the insurance company or lender for the residents ask you any questions you should immediately give them a complete copy of all material in your possession and immediately throw the Realtor under the bus.
    Yeah yeah, I said it would be short about the Realtor and Realtor group. Cannot help it. This is the worse case ever that I have heard in so long I cannot remember for the reason why no Realtors should be involved in any way shape or form with the inspection business. I know by listening to your written word that you willlo surely do the right thng but the fact does not change that your open thoughts were already out there about going out of business if you report all as facts to any party involved.

    Not many on here will speak up about this but I honestly pray that everyone starts thinking about this much more seriously.

    Just so you and everyone that reads this forum takes pause and seriously thinks about my rantings on this matter


    " The agent contacted me today and asked me to not talk to any insurance or bank people, and asked for MY back up Copy of the report {Not a chance in hell thats happening}. (the best thing said in this entire post)

    My question is, should I have advised ESA or The fire Department about this property at the time of inspection? I am part of a Real Estate group and depend on Agents for most of my living--If it gets out that I call the Authorites, I most likely would be out of business."

    The last highlighted and embolden words are the absolute nightmare that should not exist with any home inspector. These types of things happen all the time. Yes all the time. Even if what is said or eventually put right it is still in the forefront of every inspector that gets all their work directly from realtors. Even if it is only part of their work load the thought is still somewhere buried deep in the brains cells about losing work.

    The part about the nightmare electric situation and whether you should report it (with all the Realtor crap aside) yes you should. Exactly to whom it should be reported is always a question. I would (if I thought it was as bad as you stated) at least have sent a message onto the home owner or at the absolute very least to the listing agent. As long as you extended past the "Realtor", especially this "Realtor" you have done your job. I have called the gas company and the city officials once or twice due to extreme dangers, leaks etc. But in saying that it really takes a lot before I go that far.

    Hey folks

    Yellow pages, Internet, other Home Inspector listing companies, mailing campaigns etc etc etc etc etc. There are a serious amount of ways top get your name out there and the absolute best one is your past clients.

    To ignore this Realtor fool and simply stop accepting referrals from him only moves it down the road and accomplishes nothing. You can refuse referrals from a multitude of Realtors (I do for the sake that they rub me the wrong way) but if you are refusing referrals to make the problem go away after an event like this happens due to them being unscrupulous morons like this one then you solve nothing. Every Inspector association on the planet should be teaching their member Inspectors how to get work with out the Realtor and they should also be petitioning their state licensing board to get the Realtor/Inspector relationship completely severed with threat of loss of license to both the Realtor and Inspector.

    Thanks for listening. Sorry if I upset anyone. If I did then, well, sorry.



  26. #26
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    It is a shame that some people do not trust themselves to be honest when the opportunity presents itself to be dishonest. But I guess they know themselves so they have a reason to feel that way. Sorry if this upsets anybody...


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by RugbyCanada View Post
    Hello all, long time lurker, first time posing a question.

    I did an inspection for a client {real estate agent} who was buying a home for investment and rental income. The home has an elderly tenant upstairs, and an illegal basement apartment downstairs with a single mom and her young child.
    This home was arguably in the top 5% of the worst electrical systems I have inspected.

    The Agent was present during the entire inspection, and I physically showed him the defects and the dangerous conditions. In my report, I created a Cover Sheet that had special emphasis on the electrical system.
    I was concerned enough that I called the agent 3 days later, and he advised me "that his sister is an electrician, and they decided to buy the house."

    Well, the house caught on fire on Sunday, electrical fire.

    Everyone is ok, but there is serious damage.

    The agent contacted me today and asked me to not talk to any insurance or bank people, and asked for MY back up Copy of the report {Not a chance in hell thats happening}.

    My question is, should I have advised ESA or The fire Department about this property at the time of inspection? I am part of a Real Estate group and depend on Agents for most of my living--If it gets out that I call the Authorites, I most likely would be out of business.

    So......any thoughts or ideas, or anything you guys/gals might see happening in the future?

    Best Regards,

    RC
    You be fine with the rest of the group if they're the honest, stand-up type Realtors. You'll only lose the dishonest ones, and you don't want them anyway. I'd point fingers and name names without missing a beat. That Realtor would be first in line to throw you under the bus if you missed something - return the favor. I've had many "One Hit Wonders" over the years because of two things: I'm Honest and I'm Thorough. Funny how some agents don't like those qualities in an inspector. JMO.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Lots of things going on here.

    I will be real short on the Realtor part of things due to the aggravation and upset from so many when I go on about it.

    You belong to a Realtor group where you get almost all of your work! T^hat is a serious problem. You are already thinking of satisfying Realtors to "keep your job". That should be the furthest thing from your mind. First and foremost they should be completely discounted when making any decision about the inspection or report or who you should inform about what.

    Second point. You should report the Realtor that asked for you to "hand over all evidence" about the inspection. You should also notify your carrier immediately exactly what took place and give them a complete copy of all paperwork. If the insurance company or lender for the residents ask you any questions you should immediately give them a complete copy of all material in your possession and immediately throw the Realtor under the bus.
    Yeah yeah, I said it would be short about the Realtor and Realtor group. Cannot help it. This is the worse case ever that I have heard in so long I cannot remember for the reason why no Realtors should be involved in any way shape or form with the inspection business. I know by listening to your written word that you willlo surely do the right thng but the fact does not change that your open thoughts were already out there about going out of business if you report all as facts to any party involved.

    Not many on here will speak up about this but I honestly pray that everyone starts thinking about this much more seriously.

    Just so you and everyone that reads this forum takes pause and seriously thinks about my rantings on this matter


    " The agent contacted me today and asked me to not talk to any insurance or bank people, and asked for MY back up Copy of the report {Not a chance in hell thats happening}. (the best thing said in this entire post)

    My question is, should I have advised ESA or The fire Department about this property at the time of inspection? I am part of a Real Estate group and depend on Agents for most of my living--If it gets out that I call the Authorites, I most likely would be out of business."

    The last highlighted and embolden words are the absolute nightmare that should not exist with any home inspector. These types of things happen all the time. Yes all the time. Even if what is said or eventually put right it is still in the forefront of every inspector that gets all their work directly from realtors. Even if it is only part of their work load the thought is still somewhere buried deep in the brains cells about losing work.

    The part about the nightmare electric situation and whether you should report it (with all the Realtor crap aside) yes you should. Exactly to whom it should be reported is always a question. I would (if I thought it was as bad as you stated) at least have sent a message onto the home owner or at the absolute very least to the listing agent. As long as you extended past the "Realtor", especially this "Realtor" you have done your job. I have called the gas company and the city officials once or twice due to extreme dangers, leaks etc. But in saying that it really takes a lot before I go that far.

    Hey folks

    Yellow pages, Internet, other Home Inspector listing companies, mailing campaigns etc etc etc etc etc. There are a serious amount of ways top get your name out there and the absolute best one is your past clients.

    To ignore this Realtor fool and simply stop accepting referrals from him only moves it down the road and accomplishes nothing. You can refuse referrals from a multitude of Realtors (I do for the sake that they rub me the wrong way) but if you are refusing referrals to make the problem go away after an event like this happens due to them being unscrupulous morons like this one then you solve nothing. Every Inspector association on the planet should be teaching their member Inspectors how to get work with out the Realtor and they should also be petitioning their state licensing board to get the Realtor/Inspector relationship completely severed with threat of loss of license to both the Realtor and Inspector.

    Thanks for listening. Sorry if I upset anyone. If I did then, well, sorry.
    Nobody could've said it better than that Ted - you're a Good Man !!!


  29. #29
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    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    Look at it this way, if somebody had died in that fire, would you be asking whether you should have reported the conditions to somebody?
    I don't know the circumstances or what caused the fire. I once had a fire investigator call and get a copy of my report on a home I had inspected a month before. There were electrical issues but nothing I would have considered "reportable to an authority', but several items that could have started a fire under certain conditions. Turned out it was a range vent fan that was not spinning and got left on and burned the house down. I had reported it as "not operating" but wouldn't have considered calling anybody else about it.
    (Hello, Fire Department, I have a non-working range vent fan here, send somebody out).

    If you reported it to your client, you did your job, but If there are residents at the time of the inspection you should let them know any major safety concerns. I think it stops there unless it is a hazard for more than the people living in the house.

    Point is, if you see really major issues maybe you should report it, but unless you know how that fire started you can't second guess yourself. Hindsight is 20-20.


  30. #30
    RugbyCanada's Avatar
    RugbyCanada Guest

    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    Sorry for the delay in responding.

    First off, thank you all very much for your responses, I really do appreciate the comments, and the time it takes to reply. Cheers.

    Sorry if my reply may seem long, but I'd like you guys {and girls} to have an understanding of my background, my dilemna, and what I ended up doing.

    The real estate network I am part of consists of over 200 agents, and covers many different Brokers. I am a General Contractor by trade, and over 80% of my customer base comes from this group. I employ 6 people, and hire trades based on the job, and rarely ever 'swing a hammer' anymore.
    I got into Home Inspection at the request of an Agent, who was frustrated at the lack of ability and thoroughness of some Inspectors she had used in the past.
    {As an ethical point, I NEVER mix the two business', and refuse to do work for or recommend contractors to my Home Inspection clients.}
    I did a 40 hour on line course, (ya ya, I know what yer gonna say) then decided to go to Tennesee for a ten day 'hands on' course. {You guys know the one} Once passed, i shadowed two inspectors up here (ten inspections per inspector, plus another 5 by the franchise owner, and 6 more as an Eco Energy auditor---all without getting paid}. After 1 year of [paid} servitude, I went out on my own.
    Since then, a little less than 100 inspections under my own Company. {Not much AT ALL, i know}.

    In regards to the fire and what my role should be, I talked to the agents Broker, and asked for her advice. I also talked to Insurance and a Fire Department rep.

    Coles Notes: Fire Department Position: Immediate life and safety issues should be handled/reported 'immediately". This situation, while dangerous and stupid, was not immediate, but should be mentioned to Prevention Division for follow up. They have no legal right to enter a house based on my observations.
    BROKER: I did my job to the best of my ability, and went beyond in regards to my report and follow up. She is 'pissed" at the Agent, and thanked me for the info. She has since placed me on a "Preferred Inspectors" list, and emailed my contact info to her Agents.
    INSURANCE: They offered no real opinion, just wanted copies of the report. I declined at this time.

    My personal feelings: I honestly beleived the Agent purchasing the property was going to have the hydro repaired. I showed the Tennant the major problems I saw with the main panel, and advised her to speak with the agent about remedying the situation.

    I think I did the right thing, and would most likely do the same again. I would like to note that had someone had gotten injured by this, I would bring my copy of the report to the Police and Arson Investigator. My conscience and ethics tell me thats the right thing to do.

    Best regards, and thanks for reading,

    RC


  31. #31
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    I guess this brings the question to a point of .... When does it become time to talk to the multitude of brokers about one or 2 or many Realtors in that office that may not go as far as this Realtor did but along similar lines. When should one such as in a state like mine that has licensing through the same governng body for Inspector and Realtors.

    The answer to that is pretty simple. There is no written proof 99.999% of the time that a Realtor asked you in maybe not so direct way to go light on a report. To cry wolf every time some fool says something in relation to softening a report or not writing this or that would be insane.

    The suggestion that "this is an as is hud home so we only want to know the big things that might keep a deal from going thru and all those little things really don't matter". "My inspector does this and talks like that and smiles even when the home is falling down and nothing is a big deal and this or that is grandfathered or to be expected" etc etc etc etc Should you ever have to be in the situation where this conversation ever takes place?

    When does it come to that head? How many inches does the line have to be crossed before a broker or licensing board is brought into the picture. What is no big deal and what is to much.

    Should those questions ever have to be asked?????????????????????? Should the situations that arise ever have to arise with the Realtor/Inspector relationship????? Should there be a Realtor/Inspector relationships?????????

    Or should there just be a client/Inspector relationship. My answer is there should never be a Realtor/Inspector relationship and it would remove 90% of all these situations with the exception of a few as in any trade there will always be riffraff.


  32. #32
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    358

    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    BROKER: " I did my job to the best of my ability, and went beyond in regards to my report and follow up. She is 'pissed" at the Agent, and thanked me for the info. She has since placed me on a "Preferred Inspectors" list, and emailed my contact info to her Agents."

    You see, being honest and disregarding realtors and their requests to go-lite always comes back as more work and good referrals. The honest realtors will always stay with you until you screw up big or retire, but the best referrals are from previous clients or the sellers whose house you tore apart top to bottom and inside out that want you on "Their" team...It happens all the time.


  33. #33
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    89

    Default Re: Fire after Home Inspection

    A realtor called me recently to complain about my usage of the word "excessive" and "numerous"; they were the correct terms. Another realtor complained that I was "too detailed"; I was. Another realtor suggested that I not spend so much time during the walk-thru: I do and always will. And finally, a broker called and threatened to file a claim against me with TREC because I "lied and exaggerated" on a recent inspection; I did not and I did not. All of this happened in the last three weeks.

    Another recent problem is that several buyers have twisted my verbal comments and used them as a way out of the deal. Of course these bad realtors believe them over what is in my report which they never read. It is always my fault that the deal didn't go through. I decided this morning to take along a digital voice recorder to every inspection. I know some day this will come in handy now that I'vd gotten to the point of being threatened with claims to TREC. My insurance agent told me to notify him immediately of any legal threats no matter how trivial. Just in case.

    Another long-time inspector in this area said that on certain occasions he has to video tape the entire house in front of the realtor and buyers five minutes before they walked out the door at the end of the inspection.


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