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  1. #1
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    Default The 1 Hr Inspection

    Arrived a few minutes early today as usual to get a look at the exterior at a "last-minute" inspection booked at 9 PM last night: first thing I notice is that there is a big ol' sinkhole in the lawn between the external sump pump pit and the sidewalk, the second is that the shingles were so badly eroded that it appeared the property was roofed with cobblestones.

    Client (nice young woman) and her agent arrive, I'm putting my contract on the kitchen counter to get it signed and sort of listening to the agent; she's telling the client that's a hot property and be sure to get this house she should sign a waiver of the inspection and attorney review contingencies, and then she tells me that - by the way - I've got about an hour, cause then the seller is going to work.

    I eventually ended up returning the check and explaining that I just couldn't do an inspection that met either the state SOP or my E&O carrier's requirements under such conditions, and asked to have her lawyer give me a call.

    When he called back he was pretty much shrugging his shoulders over the phone, client was determined to buy the house.

    I hope they got it at a really. really good price...

    ... and I have to say, this was one of the few times when I really, really resented the fact that a real estate agent was going to be collecting a commission.

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    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 05-13-2009 at 05:38 PM.
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    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  2. #2
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    Default Re: The 1 Hr Inspection

    Michael,

    Your too nice. I would have taken that nice young lady aside and told her she should at least ask for a nice dinner and a movie before she gets screwed.

    rick


  3. #3

    Default Re: The 1 Hr Inspection

    Is that something to where you could put it in writing in the report that you wanted to do a full inspection, but the Realtor told you that you only had a one hour time limit upon arrival.

    At least then you could state that the house is crap, this is what you saw, and that you recommend a complete inspection at a specified price for a return trip. I would probably even state in the report what the agent was telling the client. I'm not sure this would fly, but it sure would be fun.

    It may not take an hour to see enough, and take enough pictures to freak the buyer out if necessary.


  4. #4
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: The 1 Hr Inspection

    Michael: I carry an Olympus DS-50 digital voice recorder for just such occasions. Once I have the agent's blather about waiving the inspection recorded in mp3 format, I ask if they would like that information sent to the real estate commission.

    They usually leave at about that point. I then can speak freely, as Rick suggests, about the realities of home buying.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: The 1 Hr Inspection

    That agent wouldn't survive my rebuttal. I agree with others, take the time to put together a one page or so email to the client about the issues seen upon arrival, recommend a full inspection, etc. Definitely refer to the agents comment in the letter. That's the kind of agent who will throw YOU under the bus when the client gets pissed about being a piss of crap.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: The 1 Hr Inspection

    Here's the catch, in IL home inspectors are prohibited from:

    "advising a client is whether the client should or should not engage in a transaction regarding the residential real property that is the subject of the home inspection"

    which the lawyers I've talk to interpret as commenting upon any "business" aspect of the transaction outside of providing a report compliant with the state SOP.

    So I have to be very careful about what I say and how I say it... especially in a situation like this one where my client is making - and IMO may be be manipulated and/or pressured into making - decisions he or she may regret later.... and later still may decide to make someone else pay for.

    There was an attempt made to work out some way for me to perform a minimal inspection and provide some kind of minimal report, but when I thought it through the risks just seemed way too high in comparison to the inspection fee, especially as my E&O insurance only covers inspections compliant with the state SOP.

    So while I really wanted to help this client out, it just didn't make sense to expose myself to financial and professional liability just because she was acting in a manner I thought unwise.

    And my takeaway from this is that if I find myself in such a situation again I'm not going to hesitate, I'm just going to explain that I cannot perform an inspection to the standard legally required of me under whatever conditions are preventing me from doing so, and decline to perform the inspection.

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

  7. #7
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    Default Re: The 1 Hr Inspection

    The other catch here is that the agent might have been providing good advice.

    This property was an estate sale, and I have no objective basis for determining whether the asking price was low in in relation to recent sales.

    Property does get mispriced in such situations, the house was in a good location, based on what I could see in the time available it was not an absolute wreck, so it's possible that even in this market it was a "hot property" with a number of competing offers on hand, and that waving inspection and attorney review contingencies and making a substantial non-refundable cash deposit really was a reasonable strategy.

    I also don't know what previous communications the agent may have had with the client regarding the wisdom of her actions, it's possible that the agent had explained in detail the risks involved, and the client demanded to proceed anyway.

    That was not my impression, but my impression could be wrong.

    All good reasons why it's reasonable for the state to prohibit me from commenting on these aspects of the transaction.

    What I could do, and did do, was ask the clients attorney to give me a call, and then explain what I observed of the properties condition, and why I was not able to perform the inspection as requested by the client.

    The attorney more or less told me that his client was determined to buy the property and was proceeding in some respects against his advice - once I heard that I felt I really had done all I could.

    In retrospect what I now better understand is that the agents failure to obtain sufficient time for an inspection meeting the state SOP, in combination with the clients determination to buy the property, created a situation which put me at risk.

    It was unwise of me to consider accepting that risk, and if I'm ever again in such a situation I'm going from the start to politely but firmly decline to proceed unless the inspection can be conducted in a manner I feel meets the state SOP, and I'm going to have my contract modified to include a provision to allow me to terminate an inspection at any time upon return of the inspection fee if conditions do not allow me to perform an inspection compliant with the state SOP.

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

  8. #8
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    Default Re: The 1 Hr Inspection

    Michael,

    If we cannot inspect all systems & components as specified by Illinois SOP then we must state in the report as to why. So, if the reason is due to a time restriction imposed upon you then you would have to write that in the report. I would think that that might quell an agent's pressure on you. I can't imagine a R.E. agent wanting IDFPR knowing about their interfering with in inspection that is conducted under state law. But then again people are a constant source of surprise.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  9. #9
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 1 Hr Inspection

    But then again people are a constant source of surprise.
    EB: Isn't that the truth?


  10. #10
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    Default Re: The 1 Hr Inspection

    Why do you have to leave the inspection because the agent or buyer do?

    Agent shows up, unlocks door, leaves key on mantle, asks I lock up on my way out. I perform the inspection, lock the house, put the keyback in the lockbox and turn combination lock.

    Agent was on site 10 minutes, I spend 2.5-3 hours on site. Called the agent when I left confirming I had completed the inspection and the house was locked. Buyer was in a different state and attended at all. Email report next day.

    The 1 hour limitation was simply there availability, not yours. Why give up the inspection fee?

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

  11. #11
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    Default Re: The 1 Hr Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    Here's the catch, in IL home inspectors are prohibited from:

    "advising a client is whether the client should or should not engage in a transaction regarding the residential real property that is the subject of the home inspection"

    I used to have a Hazardous Materials Cleanup Level 1 certification (or whatever it was, it was for the first persons on site and gave them the ability to contain and clean up hazardous spills within certain limitations). I had that because, as a pest control operator, many of us were certified at that level so if any one of us had an accident and a spill, that we could call 3-4 of the others and, with 3 minimum, we were allowed to contain and clean up the spill without bringing in the big cost haz mat guys. I never used chemicals, only did inspections, but made myself available for help if needed (never was).

    Any way, the point of the above is that the book contained all the hazardous material signs, truck shapes, etc., for recognition of what was in the trucks and what needed to be, what could be, done.

    The trucks with the tanks and rounded ends, containing pressurized gases, referencing the signage, then the book, would tell you how far to get back, stay back, and keep others back.

    Thus, the saying was, 'if a truck has round tanks with rounded ends and is tipped over, pull the book out and, as you are running, it will tell you how far and how fast to run'.

    I would explain that in a humorous way to my client as I showed them the book and a picture of the truck with the tanks with the rounded ends and say, 'see, this kind of truck with the tank and rounded ends? You run far and fast while looking up how far and fast to run ... Now think of this house as one of those trucks ... ' Always got my point across.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: The 1 Hr Inspection

    Well.. did this job last week were the listing brokers were absolutely furious at me - the house was only five years old but lots of problems, including two tiled showers leaking to the floors below - "You're destroying my clients property yada yada yada..." Nevertheless I did feel kinda' sorry for the brokers and seller as I assumed they had probably assumed I was going to find a lot less wrong than I did.

    Anyway... there were some odd things going on structurally, I was sorta' going back and forth in my own mind about about whether to call for a structural engineer, in the end I decided to do it - for one thing, the client was a real estate lawyer, but I felt bad about that too, as this property just barely met my threshold of concern for doing it.

    So... SE shows up, and says "Oh... THIS house... I did this one before for the owners, looks like they never corrected the problems"... seller had used the same SE, didn't correct the deficiencies, and didn't bother to disclose...

    Sort of hardens your heart, to deal with these folks.

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

  13. #13
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    Default Re: The 1 Hr Inspection

    Re: The 1 Hr Inspection

    How about the 10 minute inspection by a SE at a cost of 350.00

    My client this morning had scheduled a SE to come out and look at the foundation cause she was concered about possible movement.

    I enter the home with the SE coming in behind me. Within 10 minutes I hear this guy asking if she was paying with a check or credit card. Everything looks great he says. 10 min. inspection and he's done.

    What a rip off!

    rick


  14. #14
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 1 Hr Inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Re: The 1 Hr Inspection

    How about the 10 minute inspection by a SE at a cost of 350.00

    My client this morning had scheduled a SE to come out and look at the foundation cause she was concered about possible movement.

    I enter the home with the SE coming in behind me. Within 10 minutes I hear this guy asking if she was paying with a check or credit card. Everything looks great he says. 10 min. inspection and he's done.

    What a rip off!

    rick

    Jelous ??????

    Kidding of course. Why is it that someone will pay 350 for the engineer and beat the crap out of a home inspector for 3 or 4 hours on the property plus, plus, plus...Who knows how much longer and the cost of the inspection was 300.00

    I gave a guy a price earlier on the phone of 250 for a home that was as old as me but it was a small home on a slab. 54 years old. Would have spent considerable time on it. I gave hime the price on a referral from referral from referral. Three folks raving and this guy being an absolute putz.

    The guys responce was "you are kidding me right. 250 is outrageous" I did not wait for further comment and I made no comment but just hung up the phone.


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