Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Pro Bono, Cont.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Southwest US
    Posts
    585

    Default Pro Bono, Cont.

    I thought there was a recent thread on Pro Bono, but I couldn't find it. I think Jim L had the most sensible answer, don't give away what you do for a living.

    I had a Realtor call me about 6 weeks ago, she had clients looking at foreclosures and short sales and really wanted to use me, but my price was higher than the competition, did I ever discount for buyers that were strapped and really trying to get into a home?

    I said that I did do that occasionally if the buyers really needed it. She assured me they did. I offered $100 off my regular price for the 1500 sf home.

    Fast forward to today:
    Foreclosure, empty house, I got there about 1/2 hour early. 15 minutes later a BMW pulls up, it's the buyers. OK, it may be his mom's car or he got a good deal.
    I pointed out that the county should have made the builder install a retaining wall at the 30 foot embankment in the back yard "we're going to do that right away".

    The electric water heater doesn't work, the elements are burned out. I tell them it is probably repairable, "we'll just buy a new one".

    A couple of cracked tiles in the dining room and the kitchen Formica is a little worn.
    "We're going to put in granite counters and travertine tile".

    Jacuzzi tub has been neglected. "We're going to tear that out and install a shower".

    Kitchen appliances are new, installed by the bank. I commented on a dent in the refrigerator. "That's going in the garage, we're going with all stainless steel".

    No kidding, these are actual quotes from a couple that claimed poverty and had me discount their inspection!

    This is a first for me, I have discounted for deserving clients before and felt OK about it, I have discounted then told them after the inspection thet there would be no charge. Never again without meeting the client!!

    Similar Threads:
    F.I.R.E. Services

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Lancaster, CA
    Posts
    153

    Default Re: Pro Bono, Cont.

    Really a bummer, I may have been tempted to say *something*, even if it was that you weren't sure if downsizing from the Ritz to a SFR meant needing a discount, or the trust payments were going to be restricted all the way down to $20K a month....

    That may be a stretch, but so is what sounds like was laid out before you to entice a discount.

    I might have even said that they could pay the full fee, as they mis-represented their needs.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Southwest US
    Posts
    585

    Default Re: Pro Bono, Cont.

    Tim, I was tempted. My wife has been ragging on me to bitch to the Realtor, report her, etc. But really, where will it get me?
    Part of the trouble is, I never actually talked to the clients, only the agent.
    I'll lose future business from that agent and probably get bad-mouthed for trying to do a service. I'm going to let this one slide. Principles are good but money is better.
    I think I will ask for W-2's before there are any more "poverty" discounts!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Lancaster, CA
    Posts
    153

    Default Re: Pro Bono, Cont.

    Ben,

    I'm certain since you found it in your heart to help others you will wish to help again.

    Having said that, have you dealt with this agent before? I mean, if this is a person who lies to get their clients a hundred bucks off their inspection, but relies on your service on a regular basis, what the heck? A hundred bucks may have been a cheap way to get rid of an unethical POS. As far as spreading negative junk.. about what? Could you imagine what others would think of her if they found out she was willing to paint a negative picture of her clients to save a few bucks... that is total crap.

    You and I both know she did this to make her self look better. I bet if the clients knew what she said about them, they'd be pissed.

    Be Good!


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: Pro Bono, Cont.

    I had almost the exact same experience... I had an agent that is a somewhat regular call and give me the sad story of how these two were barely getting into a house... on and on about how little money they had. So, I knocked a few bucks off and did the inspection. Of course.... something came up and I had to go back and explain things. Yep, you guessed it... new windows, new kitchen.... all kinds of plans to redo the deck and landscaping.... two newer cars in the driveway. As I was pulling away I made a promise to myself to never buy into that crap.

    It's unfortunatley a microcosim of the world these days... I'd love to help the guy standing beside the freeway or the person on welfare who REALLY needed it. But, too many have figured out it's easier to play the victim and get a couple bucks than it is to go do an honest days work


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Garland, TX
    Posts
    622

    Default Re: Pro Bono, Cont.

    1st question is
    what % did the re discount their commission

    maybe match % on a case by case

    some days an inspector just has to go fishing

    Last edited by BARRY ADAIR; 03-10-2011 at 05:22 AM.
    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
    Commercial-Residential-Construction-EIFS-Infrared Thermography
    life is the random lottery of events followed by numerous narrow escapes

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
    Posts
    3,473

    Default Re: Pro Bono, Cont.

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Thompson View Post
    I think I will ask for W-2's before there are any more "poverty" discounts!
    I think I would bag the poverty discount altogether. If somebody is truly strapped, they should not even be in a situation to purchase a home. And at the end of the day, our liability doesn't change regardless of how much we charge or how much we want to help somebody. If we miss something, we're still on the hook.

    That realtor hosed you Ben. I'd bring it up to her in a matter-of-fact type of way that these buyers did not appear to be financially strapped at all. She should know because somebody (realtor or buyers, or both) took advantage of your good nature. The realtor should not even be involved in any discussion about HI fees.

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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
    Posts
    3,746

    Default Re: Pro Bono, Cont.

    You, as an HI, are doing your job when you find something that helps to inform your client about the condition of a property. It does not bother you that the current home owner may need to make repairs, reduce the price, or even lose the sale. If you find that a contractor did a poor job, you report it to your client. You are not concerned about what the contractor thinks. You are working for, and in the interest of your client, the buyer.
    It's the same with agents, they are working for and in the interest of there client. If the agent can get a better price, then they are doing what the client hired them to do. MOST people, including agents, only know price. MOST people make a decision based on price. MOST people will only pay more, WHEN YOU have convinced them that with you they are getting more, and are worth the price, maybe not even then.

    Suppose you are buying a house, and suppose you ask the agent to get an attorney for the closing. At the closing you find that the attorney charged $800 for his service, and you also know that the agent could of had it done for $600. The agent just did not even ask for a lower price. Would you think the agent acted in your interest? No, it cost you $200. After all, all closing attorneys are the same, right.


    Some other inspector is complaining that he lost a job because someone cut his price by a 100 bucks.
    You got the job, be happy.

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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
    Posts
    3,473

    Default Re: Pro Bono, Cont.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    It's the same with agents, they are working for and in the interest of there client. If the agent can get a better price, then they are doing what the client hired them to do. MOST people, including agents, only know price. MOST people make a decision based on price. MOST people will only pay more, WHEN YOU have convinced them that with you they are getting more, and are worth the price, maybe not even then.

    ...................................

    Some other inspector is complaining that he lost a job because someone cut his price by a 100 bucks.
    You got the job, be happy.
    There is a right way and a wrong way to look out for your clients' best interests. Intentionally misrepresenting a buyers' financial situation with the intent of trying to get somebody to feel sorry for them is dishonest, unethical, and unprofessional. The end does not justify the means. Somebody lied to Ben or misrepresented themself.

    I can feel happy about a job when I feel I was appreciated, not taken advantage of. Ben was taken advantage of. There are a handful of jobs I've done over the years that in hindsight I'd gladly have let some other inspector have because the buyers were not appreciative or respectful.

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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,778

    Default Re: Pro Bono, Cont.

    Ben,
    It is bad to feel that you were taken advantage of, been there don that. Doing charity work can be a difficult proposition. The real issue is how you then react to being empathic in the next situation, if you will be at all. You may have wanted to ask the Realtor how they were aiding the buyer with the purchase, other than getting you to contribute to the buyer's housing fund.

    Many buyers are cash poor going into the sale. The may have the income to borrow just not the cash on hand to buy. And yes it could get down to $100 cash at closing that they may not have (even on a $350K home). Putting on a credit card can cause problems with lender. Sounds silly but is the case today. That is why the seller is asked to cover part of the closing cost to make the deal.

    Ask to see the buyer's income & debt disclosure to see where they really are financially. They may bulk, but they are asking you to give them money. Sad that people can not be trusted.

    And as Nick Ostrowski pointed out you are on the hook no mater what you charge. The risk reward is up to you and your comfort level / motivation


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
    Posts
    5,847

    Default Re: Pro Bono, Cont.

    I feel bad for folks who are having trouble making ends meet, but I only do Pro Bono work when I know that a need really exists. I work through a church(my church) or an agency I know. I do not do it for folks who are buying a home and an agent tells me they can not afford an inspection. I have actually had agents pay for an inspection because money was tight and they wanted their client to have an inspection.

    Times are tough for everyone, including me!

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

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
    Posts
    3,746

    Default Re: Pro Bono, Cont.

    "There is a right way and a wrong way to look out for your clients' best interests. Intentionally misrepresenting a buyers' financial situation with the intent of trying to get somebody to feel sorry for them is dishonest, unethical, and unprofessional. The end does not justify the means. Somebody lied to Ben or misrepresented themself."

    Nick
    Your right. There is a right way and a wrong way. This was the wrong way. It's gonna happen. He has been deceived. It's gonna happen again.
    What should someone do.
    Don't take it personal. People will deceive you if they think it will better themselves. You WILL BE LIED TO.

    I have never had anyone tell me;
    Mr Cantrell, If you hire me (or rent to me), I'm gonna lie to you, cheat you, and steal from you. EVERYONE says "You can trust me".
    Does everyone lie to me? No. But I understand that nobody is going to tell me that they are going to lie to me, cheat me, and steal from me.
    Most don't, but I work on the premise that all will, if given the opportunity.
    In the rental business, if you listen to sob stories, "You aint never gonna collect the rent".

    Anyhow my point was, is kinda like my daddy would tell me.
    (He is still around, he just dosen't have to tell me this, any more.)
    "Son, if you get upset over something that is going to happen almost everyday. What are you gonna do when something really bad happens?"

    Know in advance what you will say. Will you or will you not discount your price, if so, under what set of conditions?

    What you said about being on the hook. You got that right.
    No matter what you charge $0-$10,000, same thing.

    Last edited by Rick Cantrell; 03-10-2011 at 10:46 AM. Reason: Changed "premis" to "premise"
    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •