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  1. #1
    Wade Johnson's Avatar
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    Default Inspection agreement

    Had a call today from a client with a complaint. I sent him the inspection agreement and he signed it in 2 places and initialed in 1 place. The problem is I just looked at the contract and it has the wrong name and house address. I had sent the wrong contract to him and he signed it but did not read it. Will this contract still hold up in court?
    Thanks in advance.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Inspection agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by Wade Johnson View Post
    Had a call today from a client with a complaint. I sent him the inspection agreement and he signed it in 2 places and initialed in 1 place. The problem is I just looked at the contract and it has the wrong name and house address. I had sent the wrong contract to him and he signed it but did not read it. Will this contract still hold up in court?
    Thanks in advance.
    If you put the wrong name and address on the agreement you just helped to invalidate that document. I honestly do not put much faith in inspection agreements, they are just a speed bump for a good attorney.

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

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Inspection agreement

    So, let me see if I have this right. You sent a prospective client your contract prior to doing the inspection. He signed and initialed it. You did the inspection. Now, he has a beef and when you checked the contract, oops, you had made it out for the wrong house. If I have that right, it sounds like he doesn't know that you filled the contract out incorrectly.

    Since I only pretend to know enough to give pretend legal advice, I'll offer some of that. Most HIs offer the inspection fee as their limit of liability in their contract. Offer the guy that, and hope he doesn't read the contract better.

    I disagree with Scott. A good contract is a high hurdle for a even a good attorney and can be one that a disgruntled complainer may be reluctant to try to get over. A Realtor told me that her whiner buyer took my report to his attorney who told him that to try to get the inspection fee back, because he would have a tough time cracking my contract in court. Of course, maybe the guy didn't have a "good" attorney.

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

  4. #4
    Wade Johnson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inspection agreement

    Yes, that is correct inspection agreement was sent a day or two before the inspection which was carried out back in June 22, 2012. After he called this morning I began my research and realized that he had signed an agreement for another address (I forgot to change the address when I was sending out the agreements).


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    Default Re: Inspection agreement

    I disagree with Scott.
    As do I.

    A good contract is a high hurdle for a even a good attorney and can be one that a disgruntled complainer may be reluctant to try to get over.
    A good agreement authored by a good attorney (and properly filled out and singed in all the right places ) will be recognized by other competent attorneys as a mountain to be climbed with little if any possibility of profit at the top.

    Texas Inspector
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    What the plainspoken man lacks in subtlety, he makes up in clarity.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Inspection agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by Wade Johnson View Post
    Had a call today from a client with a complaint. I sent him the inspection agreement and he signed it in 2 places and initialed in 1 place. The problem is I just looked at the contract and it has the wrong name and house address. I had sent the wrong contract to him and he signed it but did not read it. Will this contract still hold up in court?
    Thanks in advance.
    The question should be, does HE have a contract that will hold up in court.

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

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Inspection agreement

    What was the complaint about? What was the tone of the client?

    I don't think the contract would be null and void necessarily because there was consideration and good faith, an understanding, payment, a clerical error perhaps.. he did sign it regardless, but the contract was executed and an inspection and report completed.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Inspection agreement

    Firstly, he had a chimney guy come out to install a spark arrestor and he was the one that told the now current owner that the chimney was leaning at a 15 degree angle, he is upset because this was not mentioned in the report. However, in the report I had mentioned that I was unable to inspect 75% of the roof (metal) because of causing damage to metal panels. Secondly, he stated that there is water intrusion coming from the roof onto the decking (this is a two storey house with a balcony/decking on the second floor). I did mention in the report that the attic had a radiant barrier.

    Bearing in mind that this inspection was carried out almost 7 months ago, the water intrusion could have started anytime after the inspection up to now. My contract does state that the findings for the inspection are valid for the date of the actual inspection only.

    My wife who works with me took the call from him and she said that he was very polite. He did say to her that he wants to know what monetary payment I will be giving him, he has had two roofing companies out and is waiting on quotes.


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    Default Re: Inspection agreement

    Wade,
    Is this a metal chimney or masonry?

    that he wants to know what monetary payment I will be giving him

    That's troubling.

    Have you been back out to look and see and photo the issue with another inspector?


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Inspection agreement

    The house is wood frame - it's a metal flue with a wood and stucco flue chase. Haven't been back yet, got the call around Noon today and I was on an inspection. He told my wife it was ok for me to email him so I have done that to try and get more clarity and am waiting for him to get back to me.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Inspection agreement

    Depending on how much money the client is looking for from you, it may not even be worth a lawyers time to take on the case if he goes the litigation route.

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

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    Default Re: Inspection agreement

    Hard to deal with, I would ask to come see the issues, snap photos, lots. Check annual rainfall, temps for the time past. Maybe talk to the contractor to understand how he came up with 15 degrees(thats alot). Keep it simple and remain clam, most of all assure the customer you realize their concern and will to do your best to evaluate the issue and determine to the best of your ability, a resolution. Kill em with kindness and professionalism. In June 2012 cape got 6.51" of rain, that's 6-7 months ago.

    Last edited by Richard Skalski; 01-13-2013 at 07:12 AM. Reason: more info
    Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.

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    Default Re: Inspection agreement

    A 15-degree chimney lean is a lot. For a 10' tall chimney, that would be slightly more than 2'-8" out of plumb. Hard for most inspectors to miss, yes?


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Inspection agreement

    I spent my money in the beginning talking to my lawyer...I wrote a contract that protects both of us. It must explain what is and not done, not just disclaiming everything......

    As for phone calls from clients, first word out of your mouth shulda been ' thank you for your call, I know how hard it to make this call.....then follow that with. ' can I come over: now; this afternoon or tomorrow to re inspect....


    Good luck


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    Default Re: Inspection agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen G View Post
    I spent my money in the beginning talking to my lawyer...I wrote a contract that protects both of us. It must explain what is and not done, not just disclaiming everything......

    As for phone calls from clients, first word out of your mouth shulda been ' thank you for your call, I know how hard it to make this call.....then follow that with. ' can I come over: now; this afternoon or tomorrow to re inspect....


    Good luck
    I agree. Taking on complaints head on has always worked well for me.

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

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    Default Re: Inspection agreement

    Wade,
    Respond quickly and act quickly to find out exactly what the complaint is and if it has merit. Keep records of all contacts and notes on all conversations. If possible have someone else present for all meetings and discussions. Look over the FL law on recording conversations between parties. Diligent effort on your part will aid you in the long run. Roof guy may or may not be correct in his findings. Would not take it as gospel. After you look at it get an unbiased opinion. As always it is interesting that the second thing out of the clients mouth is compensation. Possibly due to the roof guy's comments/suggestions.

    For those in FL,
    I took a look at Fl Lic law. Interesting that I did not find a stated requirement for a contract/agreement nor a SOP section in the law. Did I miss it or is it just not there??

    Chapter 468
    MISCELLANEOUS PROFESSIONS AND OCCUPATIONS

    PART XV
    HOME INSPECTOR


    Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : Online Sunshine


  17. #17
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    Talking Re: Inspection agreement

    On the 1st page of all my reports:

    "By relying on this inspection report you have agreed to be bound by the terms, conditions and limitations as set forth in the INSPECTION AGREEMENT, which was presented to you prior to or at the time of the inspection. If you do not have a copy of the INSPECTION AGREEMENT please contact Alpha & Omega Home Inspections and a copy will be provided to you. If you do not agree to be bound by this INSPECTION AGREEMENT in its entirety, you must contact Alpha & Omega Home Inspections immediately upon receipt of this completed report. In addition, all electronic and paper copies of the inspection report must be deleted and destroyed, and may not be used in whole or in part for consideration in a real estate transaction."

    Last edited by Joe Funderburk; 01-16-2013 at 08:51 AM.
    Joe Funderburk, CBO, CMI
    Alpha & Omega Home Inspections, LLC
    Serving SC & NC

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    Default Re: Inspection agreement

    If you do not agree to be bound by this INSPECTION AGREEMENT in its entirety, you must contact Alpha & Omega Home Inspections immediately upon receipt of this completed report
    Little late to agree to the terms of inspection post inspection. The time for the client to object to the contract is before the inspection is carried out not post inspection and the courts have rendered numerous decisions on that fact fwiw..

    Last edited by Raymond Wand; 01-16-2013 at 09:39 AM. Reason: spelling

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Inspection agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Little late to agree to the terms of inspection post inspection. The time for the client to object to the contract is before the inspection is carried out not post inspection and the courts have rendered numerous decisions on that fact fwiw..
    Just another hurdle. Not especially relevant to this situation, but could be helpful if the client claims they never got an agreement and you are a poor record keeper and can't find the one they signed. They agreed to the inspection terms on its face by accepting the report.

    Joe Funderburk, CBO, CMI
    Alpha & Omega Home Inspections, LLC
    Serving SC & NC

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Inspection agreement

    I email a copy of the blank inspection agreement form to the client upon scheduling and ask them to sign, scan, and return via email or just bring it to the inspection. I take spare copies with me to all inspections and make sure that they have provided the signed agreement at the time of our meeting. This way they have been provided the agreement for review prior to the inspection.
    I then include the signed agreement as part of the inspection report, no agreement, no report.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Inspection agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Funderburk View Post
    On the 1st page of all my reports:

    "By relying on this inspection report you have agreed to be bound by the terms, conditions and limitations as set forth in the INSPECTION AGREEMENT, which was presented to you prior to or at the time of the inspection. If you do not have a copy of the INSPECTION AGREEMENT please contact Alpha & Omega Home Inspections and a copy will be provided to you. If you do not agree to be bound by this INSPECTION AGREEMENT in its entirety, you must contact Alpha & Omega Home Inspections immediately upon receipt of this completed report. In addition, all electronic and paper copies of the inspection report must be deleted and destroyed, and may not be used in whole or in part for consideration in a real estate transaction."
    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Little late to agree to the terms of inspection post inspection. The time for the client to object to the contract is before the inspection is carried out not post inspection and the courts have rendered numerous decisions on that fact fwiw..

    Ray, My interpretation is that 1) If you lost your copy of the signed agreement, made prior to the inspection, a copy will be provided, 2) If you change your mind on the contents/terms of the agreement you can cancel the agreement and the report is voided and non usable. Presumption, though not stated, is that the client gets their money back...

    I would think that Joe probably includes a copy of the signed agreement with the finished report.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Inspection agreement

    Ensuring that the client reads and understands all of what is to transpire, long before the inspection will help should legal trouble arise. The client cannot say that they didnt have time to read the contract, and therefore didnt know what happens during an HI...

    Like others, I send the agreement immediately and ask them to click accept, with an accept button...this is very acceptable in courts. I get the confirmation and print a copy of the agreement. Further, during my introduction I get them to sign it...

    Last edited by Stephen G; 01-16-2013 at 11:43 AM. Reason: missing phrase

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Inspection agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Ray, My interpretation is that 1) If you lost your copy of the signed agreement, made prior to the inspection, a copy will be provided, 2) If you change your mind on the contents/terms of the agreement you can cancel the agreement and the report is voided and non usable. Presumption, though not stated, is that the client gets their money back...

    I would think that Joe probably includes a copy of the signed agreement with the finished report.
    I get an electronic copy signed before I leave the house (99.9% of the time). However, recently I broke my own rules for an elderly man that couldn't do computers and began the inspection with his promise to sign the agreement on paper after he arrived. Long story short, I failed to get signed agreement and he got his report and refused to sign the agreement. Because of the statement I posted earlier, I let him know that he had consented to the agreement regardless of his signature unless he returned the report. He never did. It was a screw up for sure on my part, but I feel reasonably protected.

    Joe Funderburk, CBO, CMI
    Alpha & Omega Home Inspections, LLC
    Serving SC & NC

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Inspection agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Funderburk View Post
    I get an electronic copy signed before I leave the house (99.9% of the time). However, recently I broke my own rules for an elderly man that couldn't do computers and began the inspection with his promise to sign the agreement on paper after he arrived. Long story short, I failed to get signed agreement and he got his report and refused to sign the agreement. Because of the statement I posted earlier, I let him know that he had consented to the agreement regardless of his signature unless he returned the report. He never did. It was a screw up for sure on my part, but I feel reasonably protected.
    I never get any kind of signed contract prior to arriving at a property. At the start of every inspection, I give the client my canned speech about what I do, etc. I then present them with the contract and get their signature. So far.....so good.

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

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Inspection agreement

    Its not so much the signing of the contract. Its them having enough time to read and understand what it says. If presented as soon as possible they can read it at their leisure, not feel pressured into signing. Ive heard clients say the want their dad to look it over.

    Its my ten cents

    Lon
    Quote: I never get any kind of signed contract prior to arriving at a property. At the start of every inspection, I give the client my canned speech about what I do, etc. I then present them with the contract and get their signature. So far.....so good.Quote....


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Inspection agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    I never get any kind of signed contract prior to arriving at a property. At the start of every inspection, I give the client my canned speech about what I do, etc. I then present them with the contract and get their signature. So far.....so good.
    I used to do that until I once drove 50 miles to an inspection and the client didn't show. Lesson learned the hard way.

    Joe Funderburk, CBO, CMI
    Alpha & Omega Home Inspections, LLC
    Serving SC & NC

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