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  1. #1
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    Question Oh...what to do?

    This is going to be one tough post as for how to say it best, but here goes anyway.

    I am a GC, Realtor, and a HI. I do not plan on mixing them up on any transactions. I try to only do one thing because I feel that it is the ethical thing to do. However, a lot of times I do see the different sides of a transaction. This is my opinion of it all. Maybe I am just blowing off steam, maybe I am just pondering, maybe I do not know what I am talking about.

    1. The Realtor and the seller feels like the HI killed the deal because he was too picky. 2. The Realtor feels that the HI did not do a good job because now the buyer has found numerous things that should have been on the list and therefore he/she wants to know who is going to pay to fix it. Nevermind that it maybe should not have been on the list anyway. 3. The Realtor does not feel that everyone is doing their job and therefore the Realtor could lose thousands in commission they are supposed to get. 4. The seller gets mad at the realtor because they paid them a lot of money for just a few hours worth of work.

    1. The General Contractor (this includes other contractors as well, ie: HVAC, electrical, etc.) proposes to repair the problem but he looks bad because the seller feels like it cost too much. 2. The GC offers to fix the problem but he is not sure how it really needs to be fixed to satisfy the home inspector. The repair could end up destroying other things just to fix a small problem. 3. The Realtor/Seller/Buyer get prices on fixing items from GC and then try to do it themselves, albeit sometimes wrong, and then get mad with the GC when he has to come back and refix that problem which is going to cost more. They also get mad with the HI because they cannot satisfy him. 4. The GC has to charge for another trip because he was not given the full scope of work to be repaired in the first place, again everyone getting mad at him. 5. The Licensed Contractors have to compete with the unlicensed contractors.

    1. The HI goes in and tries to do a professional inspection and cover all the things that are wrong according to HI guidelines but he gets chewed out because he killed the deal. 2. The Hi misses some items because he is rushed or it is a last minute request to do the inspection. Then buyer gets mad because they want to know who is going to pay for the missed items. 3. The HI does not tell the GC how he feels that the repair needs to be done or at least what it should look like because of the liability. 4. The seller/Realtor get mad with the HI and blacklist him because ...Oh God, he told the TRUTH about the property! 5. And, of course, no one wants him there except the buyer themselves.

    Either way, it seems like there is going to be a loser in there. From my perspective the HI gets the most negative. The HI has to know just about everything, crawls around in places that a dog would not even go, get complaints about his work, has to be a counselor, etc. All for a few bucks.

    The Contractor can't satisfy anyone either because they charged too much (most cases, it was not even enough), or they did not do the work right. Or they lost the job because of some jackleg down the street.

    The Realtor loses because he has a lot of time in the deal and someone else killed it. Therefore they are mad at everyone else.

    And ultimately the seller and buyer lose because one wanted to sell and the other wanted to buy. But to their credit, they hire the people above to protect them. And then everyone is pointing fingers at the other because of a lost deal that was probably doomed from the beginning. While I did not include the lenders, insurance companies, etc and other involved with the transaction, I was trying to simplify this post and make a general point.

    It makes me wonder sometime why I became a GC, Realtor, and a HI. I wanted to help where I could and make sure my clients were well represented, but when the whole thing comes together, who is trying to help who? Please understand that there are good deals everyday and that everyone worked together to make it a good deal.

    Oh...what to do?

    OREP Home Inspector E&O Insurance 2

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Oh...what to do?

    Maybe you should try the appraisal business.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Oh...what to do?

    Mitchell,

    Have you considered getting into teaching? Or driving a taxi? What about becoming a policeman or a fireman?

    Is what you described all one property? If so it sounds extremely convoluted. Somehow the home inspector comes across as the bad guy. (Nothing new there.)

    How is it that, on one hand, (1) the home inspector "killed the deal because he was too picky" and, on the other hand, (2) the home inspector did not do a good job because "the buyer has found numerous things that should have been on the list". (What is this "list" you talk about? Is that what we call an inspection report?)

    When you state (3) "The Realtor . . . could lose thousands in commission they are supposed to get." the crux of the matter seems to be the Realtors commission. (I like how you stated the Realtor is "supposed" to get those thousands of dollars.)

    I don't understand the following statement: "The seller gets mad at the realtor because they paid them a lot of money for just a few hours worth of work." Around here Realtors typically get paid when they close a deal. It sounds like the Realtor in your example gets paid by the hour. Please elaborate.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

  4. #4
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    Red face Re: Oh...what to do?

    Mitchell
    Everyone has an agenda and as folks who questioned my bid as being high when I was a general contractor I would always reply, "It is what it is."
    There's nothing one can do about human nature so sit back and enjoy the ride because it can be mighty pleasant at times even though unfortunately short.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Oh...what to do?

    Mitchell,

    As I re-read your post again I see what your underlying thought is.

    It is everyone is "mad" or "upset" during the process of the home sale.

    Take the emotion factor out I say and truly negotiate the deal.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Oh...what to do?

    I say the HI crushes the house with their report, then says 'Well, it's really not all that bad', and adds, 'besides, the GC can fix it all for 100 bucks'.

    (just kidding)

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

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Oh...what to do?

    I just don't have any of those problems. It is all about communication and controlling your part of the sale, the inspection!

    I just don't have confrontations.

    I don't know if it is my Southern charm that plays into it, but I'm just not an abrasive person. I know many, many home inspectors, builder and real estate agents who are abrasive. It is their way or the highway, the only opinion that they will listen to is their own! These are the types that have all of the problems that you listed in your post.

    Ya, gotta enjoy life and what it brings!

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

  8. #8
    Jim McClendon's Avatar
    Jim McClendon Guest

    Talking Re: Oh...what to do?

    Mitchell, as a realtor/HI, my plan is to start therapy as soon as I sell...er...inspect more properties. (decided GC work was to hard)


  9. #9
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
    Richard Rushing Guest

    Default Re: Oh...what to do?

    Mitchell,

    Whatever part of your brain you are using as a Realtor... take a hammer and hit it realy hard!!

    First and foremost that person should not be anywhere in the picture when discussing/ conducting a home inspection for a real estate transaction. Anyone who has a commission involved when contemplating a home inspection, will ALWAYS have someone on the recieving end of that report wondering why some items were not included.

    Quote: The Realtor feels that the HI did not do a good job because now the buyer has found numerous things that should have been on the list and therefore he/she wants to know who is going to pay to fix it.

    Tell the realtor to but-out. He/she is not out of the picture. If the home did not close, then there is nothing to worry about from the buyers perspective.

    If they did close, why is the realtor (who should now be wearing a hammer) complaining about not closing the deal? Any request for repairs or re-inspection should come from the buyer-- not the agent. The inspection contract is between the buyer and the inspector, not the realtor. The buyer should contract the inspector BEFORE making any repairs to the items of concern. Once contacted, the inspector should make a good-faith effort to quickly respond and be pro-active with coming to an agreement or explaining why conditions were as they were.

    Upon reading your post above, it made my head hurt to the point of needing an ice-pick thru the ear...

    Rich


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Oh...what to do?

    Wow.... Jerry....... you're starting to sound slightly cynical.... ....Is retirement getting to you?

    Critical Home Inspection Services
    www.Home2Spec.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Oh...what to do?

    Richard,
    I thought we were at least passing friends. How come you didn't tell me about the ice pick in the ear before I drove the pool que up my nostril?

    Mitchell,
    Somebody on this site once said it perfectly. An Inspector never kills a deal. The most he can commit is assisted suicide.

    The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.
    - Paul Fix

  12. #12
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    Thumbs up Re: Oh...what to do?

    Someone also said, "The home speaks for itself, I just write it down"

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Oh...what to do?

    Whooooaaaaa!!!! This is not to hit any particular trade of any kind. It is stuff that I see and hear on a regular basis.

    Bruce-to answer your last question. I heard a story just the other day where the seller got mad with the listing agent because it was the buyer's agent that actually brought the sale. Nevermind that it was the listing agent that set up the deal in the first place. He was just thinking about the commission that he had to pay out for someone who looked like they did not earn it.

    Thanks Jerry M. you are right. It is what it is. GC is my bread and butter. I can pick and choose my real estate and HI deals. As for pricing, I can pick and choose my clients and if they do not like the price, I either ask them what do they want to remove from the bid or I tell them in a nice way price is final. Fortunately most of these clients are regular and want to know when I can start.

    And Mike, you are right as well. The house speaks for itself. A lot of what I have seen is the owner did not take care of something or he tried to do a short cut.

    This was not a specific deal, however, one deal that I am helping another contractor is what made me think about some of these things. I see complaints on each profession. There are a lot of good inspectors, realtors, and GC's out there. It is the bad ones that hurt the rest of the crowd. In general I am happy, even though contracting does have its days. I see a lot of jacklegged work out there by contractors, I see items that HI have missed that could have reached out and slapped them in the face, and I have seen realtors get mad because they have put a lot of time in the deal and then it is gone. You also have to sympathize with the Realtor some. He does not get paid unless the deal closes. I have seen deals get down to closing and then fall apart.

    Most of the time, it was the Home Inspectors that got the bad rap. Some of it was totally ludicrus. Some of it was justifiable. However, the buyer has to understand that not everything is perfect. The HI can not see everything. Maybe that is why E & O is so high for HI verse everyone else.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Oh...what to do?

    I think that if someone is trying to be a GC, HI and a Realtor at the same time, they are probably not doing some or all of them very well.

    As far as being too picky. I hear that I'm too picky sometimes. I ask the Realtor to tell me what I have put in my report that wasn't true. Haven't had too many takers there.

    I then explain that, to cover my butt, and try to deliver the best possible service to my client, I'm going to tell them everything I possibly can about the house. THEY, can then sort it out and decide WHAT needs to be fixed, and WHO they want to take care of it. I don't put in my report that the seller HAS to do anything, after all, it's their house.

    As far as someone finding something I missed during the inspection? I'm sure that Uncle Buddy, or the Father In Law will root around the house until they find something that "That inspector should have called this out". Most of the time when this happens, the "defect" was actually in the report, or it's such a small issue that it doens' amount to much anyway. Up front, I tell my clients that I'm there to hunt elephants (big stuff", and in the course of hunting them, I may let a few rabbits get by me. After all, I'm human, AND I'm just a "man", so I have two built in limitations. This usually gets a laugh, and it's make my point. It also sets expectations.

    As far as the contractor goes, I just don't have a dog in that fight, and couldn't care less what goes on between them and the seller, or buyer. The GC should learn how to run their business and deal with these issues and not whine so much. Like any other business, there will always be someone out there that will undercut your price - get over it. When I was a GC, I gave my quotes and if someone thought my price was too high, I would ask them what they wanted to take out of the job (same as I do now when someone says my HI price is too high and could I match Mr. Lowball). I have my cost of doing business, and that's what it is - take it or leave it.

    Same for the Realtor - it's not my business, or my problem. As far as being blacklisted? For evey windbag that is "blacklisting" me, there is another professional in their office that I saved their client from buying a craphole, and saved their butt from ending up in court. They are the ones singing my praises.

    I think I would pick ONE job that you think you can do best, or you enjoy the most, and go with that, and quit trying to "muti-task". Got to be a lot of grey areas ethics wise.IMHO
    JF


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Oh...what to do?

    I think that if someone is trying to be a GC, HI and a Realtor at the same time, they are probably not doing some or all of them very well.
    Ohhhhhhh that's hard Jack!

    I use to do two jobs and did both very well, and in my eyes couldn't be or done better. Just because some people can only do one thing doesn't mean others can't.

    Granted three seems a little extreme but realtors job isn't diffcult anyway.
    Sign here, pay me.

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  16. #16
    Jon Randolph's Avatar
    Jon Randolph Guest

    Default Re: Oh...what to do?

    Mitchell & Jim,

    You guys might use caution as you can not totally remove one hat and put the other on. While you are wearing your "realtor cap" you can still be held responsible for thing that the HI missed because you yourself are an HI and "should have" noticed it and made your client aware.

    ie. A gastrointestinal surgeon performing gall bladder surgery notices a aortic aneurism and just continues with his gall bladder surgery because he was wearing the gastrointestinal surgeons' cap. 2 days later the patient dies because the aneurism burst and all of his blod was pumped into his stomach. the gi surgeon will be responsible and liable for that persons death, even though he wasn't wearing the pulmonary docs cap.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Oh...what to do?

    Jon said it very well.

    Mike,
    What I was trying to convey was when someone tries to do three jobs, he is trying to serve too many masters. To me, there are too many areas where it "could" appear that there is a conflict of interest involved.

    Of course it is possible to be a GC and a HI and do both well. I think when you bring Realtor into the equation, things can get a little murky. Way too much chance for a conflict in my opinion.

    I guess the other point I was trying to make is, if things are so slow (or you are not that successful) that you have to resort to doing three careers, then possibly you are not doing that good of a job. If you were, I would think there wouldn't be a need to do three careers. I mean, how good can you really be at something, if you are only doing it part time?

    I know this might raise some hackles from the part timers because they think they are doing the best job they can, and probably can't imagine doing anything any better (been there, thought that). However, after they make the jump to full time, they will realize the difference.

    Just my opinion, and I may be in the minority.
    JF

    By the way, when I say "you" I'm speaking generally, and not directing this at you personally.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Oh...what to do?

    While I am a licensed GC, Realtor, and HI, I did this in order to diversify. I have employees in my contracting side. I think things are going pretty good considering I have been for the most part, out of commission the last 6 weeks as a result of colon cancer surgery with probably a few more to go. My employees even took over for me when I left and moved 10 houses for a client in a major downtown city. They are now almost ready to be renovated.

    I can pick and choose on the Realtor and HI. I am really just getting into it. "Part time" if you will. My plan is to dabble, keep up my license requirements, get my CE's, study, observe, and learn from all of you guys!!!! I am hoping in a few years I can semi-retire to the coast and concentrate more on the Realtor and HI.

    Jon, you have raised a good point about the potential liability. I choose my clients very, very carefully. I fully disclose to them my licenses. I will not beat around the bush on anything that I do see. I give them ideas of what they are up against. I have even lost a sale as a Realtor because of a house. The house had too many problems. It was "call it like it is". But at least I slept better that night.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Oh...what to do?

    [QUOTE
    You guys might use caution as you can not totally remove one hat and put the other on. While you are wearing your "realtor cap" you can still be held responsible for thing that the HI missed because you yourself are an HI and "should have" noticed it and made your client aware.
    [/QUOTE]

    JON,

    I'll have to disagree with you on this one. If a person who is a Realtor and a HI gives the client a disclosure stating that they are not representing them (the client) as a Home Inspector, that person cannot hold the Realtor liable.

    I have been through a court dispute on it and it did not hold water as long as the disclosure was signed by the client the Realtor.

    The judge looked at the disclosure and looked at the plaintiff and asked if they read what was presented to them. They said yes.

    The judge then said, Case dismissed.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Oh...what to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    I'll have to disagree with you on this one. If a person who is a Realtor and a HI gives the client a disclosure stating that they are not representing them (the client) as a Home Inspector, that person cannot hold the Realtor liable.

    I have been through a court dispute on it and it did not hold water as long as the disclosure was signed by the client the Realtor.

    The judge looked at the disclosure and looked at the plaintiff and asked if they read what was presented to them. They said yes.

    The judge then said, Case dismissed.
    Rick,

    I suspect that depends on the judge, another judge could well home the "real estate agent" negligent if they did not reveal 'obvious' defects that the real estate agent, being a duly qualified home inspector, could have, should have, seen, found, or known about.

    Many judges would hang the real estate out to dry because they were playing both sides of the fence.

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

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