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  1. #1
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    Default Inspection for an investor

    It was kind of like inspecting a fun house at the carnival. I told him to keep looking.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Inspection for an investor

    Ken, I see "marginal workmanship" but would be interested in what you wrote up as not functioning as intended?

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Inspection for an investor

    The "marginal workmanship" you see in the pictures are actually what the sider and roofer did to cover up structural issues. The siding isn't crooked, it's the entire wall. The roof isn't just sagging, the wall framing below it has blown out and they covered it with new siding.

    I'm not sure why the windows where installed crooked, then finished (outside and in) with diagonal cut trim, (that had to be a pain in the arse), much easier to put the window in straight. lol

    This is what happens when you build the addition without a foundation. The framing under that section of the house is just sitting on the dirt and was rotting away.

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    Default Re: Inspection for an investor

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    ...

    This is what happens when you build the addition without a foundation. The framing under that section of the house is just sitting on the dirt and was rotting away.
    Picky, picky. What a deal killer.

    !!

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
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  5. #5
    David Cortez's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inspection for an investor

    I'm surprised you "told him to keep looking". Seems like your stepping out of your lane offering the extra advise and maybe opening yourself up to legal action. I could be wrong, but I like to stick with reporting the facts and letting the buyer make the decisions on what to buy and what to pass on.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Inspection for an investor

    Quote Originally Posted by David Cortez View Post
    I'm surprised you "told him to keep looking". Seems like your stepping out of your lane offering the extra advise and maybe opening yourself up to legal action. I could be wrong, but I like to stick with reporting the facts and letting the buyer make the decisions on what to buy and what to pass on.
    I have also advised clients to "keep looking" a few times. Sometimes the situation seems to call for it, such as when the client is particularly clueless about such things and the property is particularly horrendous.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Inspection for an investor

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    I have also advised clients to "keep looking" a few times. Sometimes the situation seems to call for it, such as when the client is particularly clueless about such things and the property is particularly horrendous.
    Yup! I've given a discount to young couple on next inspection if they walked.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Inspection for an investor

    Quote Originally Posted by David Cortez View Post
    I'm surprised you "told him to keep looking". Seems like your stepping out of your lane offering the extra advise and maybe opening yourself up to legal action. I could be wrong, but I like to stick with reporting the facts and letting the buyer make the decisions on what to buy and what to pass on.
    Normally I would agree with you if these were the normal, everyday clients. But I haven't given you all the facts here. I've done at least 30 inspections for this investment company over the past 2 years. I know what they're capable of repairing and what they don't want to tackle. They trust me and use me because I'm totally up front with them.

    In fact, when I talked to them on the phone after the inspection I told their rep that I was very surprised that they even made an offer on the home. He then informed me that he had never seen the home, but the owner of the company drove by it and thought since it had new siding and a new roof it would be a good investment.

    Here are a couple more pictures showing the 2x6 floor joist set in dirt at the wall between the old foundation and addition. You can see the rot of the rim joist and sub floor. The undersized 4x6 main beam that's rotting at the end, and the large hump in the floor of the addition (kitchen).

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  9. #9
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inspection for an investor

    Most home inspectors feel and think their job is to just report issues in a one liner and add no further advise. Some also think that one is stepping out of his bounds and opening himself up for legal issues.

    Man doesn't anyone know anymore what a home inspection is? What it truly is?

    A home inspector is an experienced man with bountiful knowledge in all areas of building construction. Buyers rely on to tell them not only the facts in one liners and move on to the next but to inform them, if possible, what is actually going on in the home and what could possibly be creating that sag in the roof and that bulging wall and why one should not build a wall on the dirt with no foundation and what the ramifications can and will be for doing so.

    If someone is extremely limited in funds and they think they are getting a good deal on a home that is going to cost them a fortune then you should advise them, if you know, if they should walk or not. Being a home inspector for a long period of time as well as having solid knowledge of what it takes to put a home back together again is your job to bring this plethera of information forward to your client. If they do not care then that is another story. If they are coming into money or progressing forward in their work and income and do not mind putting out a serious amount of money over time then they may just want that home because of the neighborhood. They may like the schools in the area. They may have grown up 2 doors down and want to move back into their birth place no matter what.

    If Ken told them to keep looking or any home inspector that was there at the time and understood the future wants and desires and potential for a client then they did their job. It may not always be a sound idea but you are and should be more than just "There is a leak under the kitchen sink at the trap" kind of guy. and then the 6 other plumbing items listed in the same short paragraph with no explanations or possible fixes or pictures what so ever. and then on to the next subject matter. I lose referral bases all the time because I am not a one liner. Realtors hate it when one interjects with anything what so ever. It is a shame what home inspection is becoming.

    Some time ago I started adding more pictures to the report. I will putt a group of pictures about the roof shingles so the folks can see I was all over the roof and saw every angle. The Realtors say it just confuses the matter and with all those pictures the Realtor was still looking for something wrong even though it was stated that there was nothing wrong.

    They want short one liners and short buttery walk thru's with the client and softened phrases like this is typical for this year home. This should be expected and is no bib deal. You have to expect these kind of things, after all it is not a new home.

    Sorry to rant gents but I hear more and more of this every single month after month after month. Home inspectors are expected to be robots jotting down quick notes with a smile on their face and the everything is wonderful look so the deal will go sailing on smoothly. One liners allow the Realtors to explain everything away very easily. A picture with an explanation is horrifying to a Realtor.

    I was explaining to a client about the 25 year old HVAC system. It needed work to say the least but it was blowing hot and cold air when called for. As I was explaining it, the Realtor continuously budded in adding that they (sellers) don't give allowances anymore as long as the unit is running, that it what home warranties are for! etc etc etc etc. It was completely brushed aside as if this replacement cost of 8,000.00 or so was no big deal. With the unit being this old and having serious troubles the home warranty company was not going to pay for anything. Especially when I wrote of the age and serious need of work.

    He got pissed when I mentioned a 65 foot long brick wall that had at the least three cracks running up it. It was also flat next to the home and needed fill added and one of the main reasons was no gutters and the other bigger reason was not one expansion/control joint in the entire 65 feet of wall. "Why did you have to add all that Ted?" Well, because that is what was wrong with the wall and those were the reasons for it. And then you added all the pictures of everything you talked about! Well, that is my job. "For God sake Ted, I am just trying to sell some houses here and make a living" I am sure some of you have heard all of that before.

    God forbid we do are job anymore.

    Yeah yeah, long rant, sorry.


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    Default Re: Inspection for an investor

    I too have given the "keep looking" advice, most of the time it has been done more along the lines of fatherly advice for either a young couple, person or a single mom. I do not come right out and say it in so many words, but I do let my impressions of the property be known. Heck, if their agent is not looking out for them somebody needs to be doing the job.

    The key to staying out of trouble is to not give real estate advice. Never tell a person to buy or not to buy a home, let the home tell them!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Inspection for an investor

    Nothing wrong with that home that a little soil scraping with a caterpillar would not cure.

    Jim Luttrall
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    Default Re: Inspection for an investor

    I don't tell people to keep looking but I will tell the client they can pull the plug on the inspection at any point if they've seen enough and already decided they aren't going to buy the house. In exchange, I offer to reduce the cost of that inspection. Sometimes they take me up on the offer. Sometimes they opt to forge ahead. But I make it a point to let them know I'm not trying to sway their opinion or influence their decision.

    "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 for an investor

    What Ken siad, it depends on who your client is, and what he said in his post is a simplification.
    We don't normally tell people to walk, as that is their decision to make. I tell them what to expect if they go ahead, so it's a subtle way of saying the shack is #$%^%.

    A realtor made a point of thanking me yesterday for warning her clients about a serious structural issue in a house they wanted. The rafters were popping off the ridgeboard under a brand new roof. It was a hip roof with a tiny attic hatch. I told them how difficult the repairs would be and that it could be costly, including some reroofing. The realtor told me they got an estimate for $60 to 80G and they backed away quick.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Inspection for an investor

    The "fear of lawsuits" angle of this profession has gotten totally out of control. Yes, it's a chance but robots with pre-written comments get sued just as much or more than the rest of us.

    My take is that you can't live your life in fear. I'm not saying I'm not aware and don't try to cover my butt whenever practicle but I'm also not going to hold back an honest opinion when someone asks for it.

    My company has been involved in several lawsuits over the years and they suck but looking back there's little or nothing we could have done to avoid them... robot or not. The people that come after you usually have the least to complain about. On the other side of the coin, we've had things come up that we should have caught and people have been very reasonable about it.

    99.9% of my clients are great people and I enjoy working for them. I'm not going to let the 1 in a 1000 ruin it for the rest of them.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Inspection for an investor

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    I was explaining to a client about the 25 year old HVAC system. It needed work to say the least but it was blowing hot and cold air when called for. As I was explaining it, the Realtor continuously budded in adding that they (sellers) don't give allowances anymore as long as the unit is running, that it what home warranties are for! etc etc etc etc. It was completely brushed aside as if this replacement cost of 8,000.00 or so was no big deal. With the unit being this old and having serious troubles the home warranty company was not going to pay for anything. Especially when I wrote of the age and serious need of work.
    Recently purchased a home ... our inspector identified (among other relatively minor issues) the age of the furnace and the age/condition of the roof (both original on a 1987 house). As a result the seller installed a new furnace and gave a $1500 break on the price against the roof (in hindsight probably could have gone with up to $1000 more, but I guestimated low on reroofing costs ... and wanted the house).

    Really appreciated the thorough job & thoughtful advice provided by the inspector ...

    Bill Davis


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Inspection for an investor

    I have given the keep looking but it's rare. As previously mentioned, a young couple getting ready to invest their life savings and they ask what I think. It's not in writting so I tell them POS, move on. I would want someone to do the same for me. In todays world Im sick of everyone walking on egg shells over potential legal action. Lawyers.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Inspection for an investor

    I'm reading this post in TOTAL DIS-BELIEF!!

    I'm looking at comments from some very knowledgeable,
    experienced and senior members on this board and I can't believe what I'm reading!

    WHAT ARE YOU ALL SMOKING!!!!

    To tell a client to walk, discuss the advisability of the purchase or discuss market value or property value is TOTALLY UNPROFESSIONAL, UNETHICAL and WAY OUT of BOUNDS!

    If I were a Realtor and I had a home inspector that acted in an unprofessional manner (like telling the client to walk) I would sue their ASS, they would loose and they would deserve every dollar it cost them. If you work in a state that requires licensing - you would also loose your license.

    Also, NOT GOOD ADVICE to our new members or apprentice inspectors.
    I believe we need to act professionally and set high standards of ethics to strengthen our industry and improve demand for our services. We should be credible to our clients, the owners of the home and YES - to Realtors.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Inspection for an investor

    How I handle it is I tell the client I'll give them a 10% discount off their next inspection. They figure it out.

    rick


  19. #19
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inspection for an investor

    Sue sue sue sue. Su who? Sue everyone. Its the new American dream


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Inspection for an investor

    I don't tell a client whether they should or shouldn't buy a particular house regardless of condition. I don't know all their variables.
    Last saturdays inspection ... client really wanted the house, was set on making the deal go through, until I showed them the issues, time it would take to correct and costs. This client was ready for a partial rehab but not to the extent the house really needed. On their previous visits they hadn't seen that the roof was shot and leaking, among many other things. Another happy client, another pissed off realtor. They realized on their own the house was too much work for them to deal with.
    I've had clients buy houses I really thought they shouldn't because the place was a POS. They ended up happy though. The house was in the right location, price and various other factors for them. The HI report ended up being a blueprint for them to deal with the issues in the coming years.
    I agree it is inappropriate for us to steer clients in one direction or another. For the most part, I don't find it necessary to do so. The information contained in the report tends to open people's eyes.
    Nonetheless, once in a while I will have a client that is so starry eyed that they need a serious talking to.

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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Inspection for an investor

    So arguably, there may be some ethical issues in advising a client/prospective homeowner to walk away from the purchase but I simply can not see any legal ramifications or liability if they do so. If the facts present themselves and those facts are sufficient - as determined by the buyer (however small - I walked away from a deal once because of a small barking dog next door) - not to go forward with the purchase then there is simply no legal issue any realtor or seller can raise against the Inspector. The Inspector is there, bought and paid for by the would-be purchaser, to do a job. He/she has a sole fiduciary responsibility to the client only. The realtor(s) and seller can pound sand. Any information he gives to the client - even his opinion on whether it's a good or bad investment, is just that - an opinion and no one can be sued for having one or even sharing it (1st ammendment holds strong). If the client walks based on the Inspector's opinion, that's their perogative. The Realtor has simply no legal expectation of duty by an Inspector to perform an inspection that positively results in a sale.

    The affected realtor may not like it, the seller may not like and the Inspector may not get future referrals but there is simply no liability incurred, if supported by evidence. Most inspections contain opinion, largely based on fact, knowledge and expertise. IMO it would be remiss of any inspector not to share that opinion with the client, if called upon. Yes, lines cross between the Realtor and Inspector and we both have similar obligations to the same client but that does not mean the realtor holds the winning hand. In fact, an experienced Inspector who shares their knowledge - because they were paid to - trumps any realtor who has only an expectation of pay if the deal goes through. And, failure to do so incurs significant liability and is more unethical. Inspectors are supposed to give an unbiased opinion on the condition of the property but at the same time have an obligation to the client paying for the inspection. Now there's a legal dilemma, IMO the client wins out. Despite what they may infer, the seller, their agent AND the buyer's agent all want the report to read in their favor - nothing unbiased about that eh?

    I'd be happy to read any Court case whereby the Inspector was sued, and lost, because he provided factual information to a client concerning an inspection performed on their behalf and the client walked away based on that shared information. Inspections are more than, "...the facts Mam, just give me the facts..."

    Next....
    ip


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Inspection for an investor

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Page
    The affected realtor may not like it, the seller may not like and the Inspector may not get future referrals but there is simply no liability incurred, if supported by evidence. Most inspections contain opinion, largely based on fact, knowledge and expertise. IMO it would be remiss of any inspector not to share that opinion with the client, if called upon. Yes, lines cross between the Realtor and Inspector and we both have similar obligations to the same client but that does not mean the realtor holds the winning hand. In fact, an experienced Inspector who shares their knowledge - because they were paid to - trumps any realtor who has only an expectation of pay if the deal goes through. And, failure to do so incurs significant liability and is more unethical. Inspectors are supposed to give an unbiased opinion on the condition of the property but at the same time have an obligation to the client paying for the inspection. Now there's a legal dilemma, IMO the client wins out. Despite what they may infer, the seller, their agent AND the buyer's agent all want the report to read in their favor - nothing unbiased about that eh?

    I'd be happy to read any Court case whereby the Inspector was sued, and lost, because he provided factual information to a client concerning an inspection performed on their behalf and the client walked away based on that shared information. Inspections are more than, "...the facts Mam, just give me the facts..."
    Ian,

    You are confusing FACT with OPINION. FACTS are what we observe and report on. OPINION is your viewpoint.

    If we report on our viewpoint it should be (as you say) based only on the physical evidence that you observed and NOT on SUBJECTIVE opinion or trying to INFLUENCE the client's decision to purchase or not.

    If you think it's OK to tell a client to WALK AWAY, then is it also OK to tell them:

    1. Don't walk away - BUY THIS HOUSE.
    2. This HOUSE IS only WORTH $XXX.XX
    3. This HOUSE is way OVERPRICED.
    5. Your house FAILED the inspection.

    Those comments are UNETHICAL, and in most states if you conduct business in an unethical manner you are breaking the law.

    I leave you all with this question - DO you really believe that we should teach our new inspectors or "inspectors in training" to tell their clients when it is time to walk away???


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Inspection for an investor

    Those with State licensing may want to check their SOP's. The IL SOP along with prohibiting sharing inspection info without the clients permission also doesn't allow us to tell a client whether they should or shouldn't buy a particular property. Don't remember the exact wording. Never heard of anyone getting tagged for it.
    New inspectors should be taught, 'keep your mouth shut, you have no opinion, you don't know'. Letting new inspectors think there is ambiguity in the rule will do nothing but get them in trouble and make for under-served, unhappy clients.
    Let's say Joe inspector looks at a POS for a well heeled, woman attorney who shows up dressed for court. All he knows is she's a lawyer, well dressed and the house is a POS. Now HE assumes this house is the wrong purchase for her and tells her not to buy it. Guess what, he has now done her a huge dis-service. He made a decision based on his prejudices without knowing all the variables in the transaction. He doesn't know that she is the family baby, that Dad and her 3 brothers are all contractors, that they've told the family baby 'honey you buy whatever you want where it makes you happy and we will rehab it for you'. The house that she loved and thought was perfect for her got snatched away by a stupid HI who stepped out of his role and got into the clients business.
    We don't know all the variables that are going into the clients decision process. Joe average looking client may actually be Joe super deep pockets. Being 1 block from the train or school X may be the most important thing to that family. They can get a new back porch, they don't care about the basement seepage.
    I looked at a house for a 24 year 1st time buyer in the summer. The only reason I was there was because the bank wanted an inspection. She didn't care at all, her Dad is a contractor. He was going to tear everything out anyway.
    Please, don't tell the client what decision to make, give them the info and let them make the decision that is best for their family.

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  24. #24
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    Default Re: Inspection for an investor

    Like Markus said, different buyers come from different means and have different resources and skill sets. Some buyers can't work a pair of scissors without instructions. Some buyers can fix foundation wall failure themselves. To some buyers, replacing a a sink faucet will be a financial hardship because they are so strapped for money. Some buyers go in knowing they may need to replace the entire heating system and aren't fazed when told as much.

    Typically, the houses where I give the buyers an option for an early out are the ones where I the defects snowballing and I can tell from the buyers faces and body language things are not going anywhere close to how they had planned.

    I don't tell them to do. I just give them an option to abandon ship and save a few bucks off this inspection.

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

  25. #25
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inspection for an investor

    Sue, sue, sue, unethical, unethical, its says not to do this or not to say that in the state guidelines.

    Come on folks. We are all grown ups here

    If you have a young couple, first time home buyer and they have just barely enough cash to buy this home but can afford the mortgage, they have no other income, no friends that are handy, no dad or brothers that can do work for them......This home looks on the onset to be a relatively nice home until an inspector sets his eyes on it. Now it comes to tens of thousands right off in repairs and future outlay just around the corner. The sellers are adamant that they won't fix anything and it is as is.

    Now you tell the folks during the walk thru that multiple items need immediate repair. They are getting a conventional loan and the bank does not want to see a report. They ask you fo a wild guesstimate (that is all I give anyway). This guesstimate is a small fortune. You have inspected a dozen homes in this are and you know what all of them went for and what was wrong with each. This home is at or above what these other homes went for and none needed this kind of cash outlay at the time of the sale never mind a serious amount in the future.

    An inspectors opinion is just a view point????? Not sure what all that means. That opinion is based on this home and everything he saw and knows and what he has learned from his clients.

    Are you folks blind. Are you so stuck on the almighty....You must never....Do you have no background and experience on what it will take to put the items right that you found. Do you care nothing about the folks that you are hired by. Do you want to see a young couple that are more or less scraping into this home but can afford a mortgage go in to thousands and thousands of dollars in debt immediately after buying that POS

    You all come off as intelligent men. Do you just not know that these folks are looking up to you with respect for your extensive background and knowledge in the industry. They are relying on you to help them in their decision making. Some and most settle for just the one liners and they will figure it all out. Some pictures thrown in, great. Your job is done. Others really have no damn clue so why should you act clueless.

    I hear it all the time that a home inspector should not do this or should not do that. Before the regulations and guidelines and riles came about you were the father figure for the folks that had no clue. They both stand there staring at you, looking up to you, wanting additional guidance and you say.....tough crap, I am not going there.

    You got into the wrong business.

    You are intelligent folks. I am quite sure each of you know that there are times for this and that and can differentiate on when it is or is not time to give that begged for advise.

    The morning rant. Now back to my report on the POS I inspected yesterday....they have a family of construction folks and the husband was a past plumber and has electrician friends. Dad was a construction super for years and has contacts all over.They can deal with it. This home will be in the tens of thousands in the near future for repairs and needed upgrades.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Inspection for an investor

    Ken
    I am certainly NOT confusing FACT with OPINION. I fully understand what both are and of their respective implications, especially when incorporated into a report which may become the basis for legal action. VIEWPOINT and OPINION are somewhat synonimous, however an OPINION (my word) is typically based on knowledge, understanding and experience. A VIEWPOINT (your word) may hold none of these. In my case I provide OPINIONS - backed by fact. Often more than one conclusion can be drawn from a single issue or defect - e.g. a medium sized crack in a concrete subfloor (FACT). We, as Inspectors, base our 'OPINION' on what that crack means as the integrity of the structure. That's what the client needs, even demands, by paying for our services. It does them abolutely no good in simply reporting - as seen - when they are looking to you for answers.

    I recently inspected a home for a young single girl who did not know the difference between the main water and gas shut off valves amongst other things, or why they were there. She had no financial or other resources to resolve the many (an costly) items I uncovered (new furnace, significant plumbing issues and large tree roots pushing up through the garage floor and driveway). Did I give her the facts,YES but I also posed the question, was she prepared to make the necessary repairs? Because in my OPINION she would be getting in way over her head. She walked and I slept well that night. Any unethical act, IMO, was perpertrated by the realtor - who knowing the client's monetary constraints etc. tried to persuade her the place was the deal of the century and should jump on it before someone else did. Needless to say, no further referrals. Boo Hoo!

    Conversely, I do not advise clients to make the purchase. They typically are not looking for reasons why - they have already made up their mind regarding that - but are really looking for affirmation of their decision or the 'why not' - Enter Inspection, stage left...


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