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Thread: Unbelievable

  1. #1
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    Default Unbelievable

    My inspection today was on a 3-story single in Philadelphia with no lower roofs to allow access to the main roof, straight 3-story shots on all sides and out of the reach of my 32-foot extension ladder. There was no interior ceiling hatch so the roof was unobservable. However, the 3rd floor bathroom ceiling at the front of house had water stains on it and since the only thing above that bathroom is the roof, a roofer is needed regardless of whether or not I could access the roof.

    On my way home from the inspection, my client (a repeat client at that) leaves me a voicemail stating that both his wife and his realtor thought he was nuts for paying the full fee when I wasn't able to make it up on the roof. I spent 3 hours disecting this disaster of a house and will spend another 2+ hours on the report. I already told him he would need a roofing professional considering the water stain on the 3rd floor bathroom ceiling. How me not getting up on the roof changes that and warrants a discount is beyond me. And the fact that he said his realtor threw his 2 cents in about my fee is just another thorn in my paw. I already gave them a repeat-customer discount. Nothing gets under my skin more than somebody trying to devalue our work, especially work that they have witnessed first hand.

    On another note about the inspection, I opened the service panel and saw John Arnold's business card inside. So John, if you're reading this in Romania, check your e-mail. I'm sending you one picture from the inspection at a time to see how long it takes for you to figure out which house it was.

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  2. #2
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
    Richard Rushing Guest

    Default Re: Unbelievable

    Hey Nick,

    You folks don't have to be licensed there, do ya?

    We are. Our SOP does not REQUIRE us to get on the roof... all it requires is that, If the inspection is not conducted from roof level, we describe the method of inspection used.

    I would suggest to you that even though your state may not have the licensing requirement (with the state to back your *MINIMUM* inspection requirements), I know the reputable home inspection associations are very similar (ours is benchmarked off the ASHI standards). If your agreement spells this out, they were well aware of this (especially since you have done a previous inspection for them) before hand.

    So... where is the surprise???

    p.s.-- McNabb will get hurt again...


  3. #3
    Joseph P. Hagarty's Avatar
    Joseph P. Hagarty Guest

    Default Re: Unbelievable

    Nick,

    - How long has the current Homeowner been in the Home?
    - What is the disclosed condition of the Roof (Age, Service & Repair History, etc...) ?
    - Was the staining present at the Interior of the home noted on the Seller disclosure?


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Unbelievable

    Rich, the Birds will be in pretty good shape IF McNabb can stay off IR. They addressed some defensive issues in the offseason so we'll see how things go.

    As for the house, it was vacant and is owned by the bank (if that tells you anything about it's condition). No seller disclosure statement was provided. The roof was totally unobservable. Three storys with too many other houses close by to even be able to stand back and get a view of the roof from a distance. There was absolutely no other way to get a look at this roof short of climbing up onto a neighbor's roof and using my ladder as a scaffold to span the gap between buildings (which the buyer suggested). But how one is supposed to get a 32 foot extension ladder up to even a 2nd story roof is beyond me.


  5. #5
    David Banks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unbelievable

    I know I have lost Inspections because the Realtor has told the client after the booking that they paid to much for the Inspection. All of a sudden the client cancels after talking to Realtor about day and time of Inspection.
    Do you think they recommended their favorite inspector?


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Unbelievable

    Instead of a report I've sent people their check back in instances like that.... you lose the hours you put into the house but save the report time.... and more importantly, you might be saving yourself a super big headache down the road. People with unreasonable expectations in one area tend to have them throughout.


  7. #7
    Joseph P. Hagarty's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unbelievable

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post

    ...the house, it was vacant and is owned by the bank (if that tells you anything about it's condition).
    ...No seller disclosure statement was provided.
    ...The roof was totally unobservable.
    - Roof of Unknown Age and Condition.
    - Record of Roof Inspections / Certifications and/or Repair Absent.
    - No disclosure as to condition of Roof or Active Leakage.
    - Staining Noted at the interior ceilings of the home from Roof Leakage (Not Disclosed or Explained).

    Due to the visible conditions present at time of Inspection, recommend obtaining Estimations for Roof Repair / Replacement prior to closing.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Unbelievable

    Nick,
    You could offer to go back and do the roof if your Client or the Realtor is willing to provide the lift to get you on it. That's rental, set up, and tear down.

    He sounds like a typical Wal-mart American. Get a repeat customer discount and then ask for more. I'm with Matt, except that I'd do it in person and tell him how offended I was that he would suggest something that risked your personal safety.

    As for the Agent, he/she obviously does not recommend persons of your caliber, so you have nothing to lose. Try to get in writing exactly what he/she said to your Client. Then forward it to the Board of Realtors and ask their opinion if he/she violated any standards.

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

  9. #9
    Joseph P. Hagarty's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unbelievable

    Quote Originally Posted by Thom Walker View Post

    ...Try to get in writing exactly what he/she said to your Client. Then forward it to the Board of Realtors and ask their opinion if he/she violated any standards....
    Interesting suggestion.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Unbelievable

    I left a message for the client yesterday indicating my bewilderment at his request for a discount. I told him he's got visible interior evidence of a roof leak and that my report would indicate the need for a roofer regardless of whether I got up there or not. Plus, I already gave them a repeat customer discount on this inspection. I considered the very thing you mentioned Matt before you even brought it up but I reconsidered as there is no basis for a discount or for me to lose out on a paycheck. Three hours at the house and another two hours on the road travel time, I'm not giving anything back.

    I also took this as an opportunity to let him know the inspection is only half of the job and that I would spend another 2+ hours completing his report. As for the discount request, I graciously declined and said he and his wife and entitled to their opinions but their realtor should keep his mouth shut unless he's willing to let me make comments about his commissions.

    This house was a disaster so I am prepared to tell him he will need another inspector if need another inspection. I prefer to work for people who appreciate what I do for them and don't feel like trying to live up to their unrealistic expectations. If a few bucks means so much to them, they should be looking at other houses that don't require so much work and money.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Unbelievable

    Nick,

    One excellent response when your client says the agent says you should give a discount because of ... is to simply ask 'Okay, I'll match the percentage discount the agent is giving you for not being through in their job and telling you and my self that there was no access to the roof, so I could have advised you of *the additional cost* to rent a hi-lift to get up there and have given you the choice of what I did or paying the rental for the hi-lift. If he cuts his commission 1%, say from 6% to 5%, I'll reduce my inspection fee by 1%, if the agent offers to reduce their commission from 6% to 1%, I will reduce my inspection fee by 5%. Sounds fair to me, how about to you?'



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

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Unbelievable

    Well, I got an e-mail response from the client tonight further pushing the issue and stating that they have incomplete data as I was unable to access the roof. Seeing this as a headache I'd had enough of, I sent a response telling him I would send him a $50 check to resolve the issue, and that any future inspection needs or questions about the house he has will need to be fulfilled by somebody else who can meet his expectations. He told me before the inspection over the phone that the house had a straight-up 3 story roof and I told him that without a lower 2nd story roof or a ceiling hatch on the 3rd floor to the roof, gaining access to the roof was unlikely. Why he was expecting something different I don't know. He also referred to my call for a roofing professional in the report as a cop out. Uh......buddy? Stains on your 3rd floor bathroom ceiling. Only the roof is above the bathroom. Stains = water leaks. You need repairs.

    I need nickel-n-dime clients like these like I need a hole in the head.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Unbelievable

    Nick,

    You run into unreasonable people in this line of work (both clients and agents). Did you ask your client how he proposed you to access the roof? (The "ladder walkway from a neighboring roof" idea is a non-starter. What we are talking about is "safe" access.) You are not required to risk your life to inspect the roof.

    After telling the client in the initial conversation that access to the roof would be difficult if not impossible he should have considered a direct roof inspection to be a bonus. His agent should have known this but instead tried to cut you off at the knees. Sometimes you just can't win.

    I can't fault you for giving him $50 to go away and shut up. And next time you a call from one of this agent's clients add $50 to your quote for good measure.

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

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Unbelievable

    You have to do whatever makes you feel better and move on. Remember his name. He will call you again and you will have the pleasure of telling him why you will not work for him.

    One too many of your experience was the motivator when I first went to an hourly rate.

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

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Unbelievable

    Nick, sounds like you need to find a new hometown. That place sounds like the pits. It can get pretty frustrating when people don't realize how hard we work and what liability we assume. They only see that you were there for x hours and made x dollars and think we are getting rich. That really gets to me sometimes. Then you have all the part time and retired people doing inspections for half your fee, it gets even more agravating. I have done over 2200 inspections now and you just start to get a little tougher after a while. It used to bother me when someone thought I was too high, now I just see it as take it or leave it. This is my fee and I think my experience is worth it. I am not going to unreasonably risk my life for a few bucks. Let him find someone else next time unless he begs and grovels and is willing to pay a surcharge.

    If it weren't for lawyers, we would never need them.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Unbelievable

    Nick - I got your email - my stupid axim won't let me send, though. We'll see if this works. I can't remember that house right now, but then I'm suffering from either food poisoning or an intestinal bug. Couldn't be sick in a more beautiful place, though.

    Hey Brian! Am I the first person to post on InspectionNews from Transylvania?

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Unbelievable

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    Nick - I got your email - my stupid axim won't let me send, though. We'll see if this works. I can't remember that house right now, but then I'm suffering from either food poisoning or an intestinal bug. Couldn't be sick in a more beautiful place, though.

    Hey Brian! Am I the first person to post on InspectionNews from Transylvania?
    Sick.....

    You don't have two puncture marks on your neck do you?!

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    Eric Van De Ven Magnum Inspections Inc. (772) 214-9929
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    I still get paid to be suspicious when I got nothing to be suspicious about!

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Unbelievable

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Van De Ven View Post
    You don't have two puncture marks on your neck do you?!
    I don't know - there's no mirrors in this place.
    Hey, wait a minute...

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  19. #19
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unbelievable

    Oh Hell, John-Boy... that's pretty good!!


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Unbelievable

    "There was absolutely no other way to get a look at this roof short of climbing up onto a neighbor's roof and using my ladder as a scaffold to span the gap between buildings (which the buyer suggested). "

    I cannot believe that a buyer would make such a request. At that point I might consider walking away from the inspection and telling him to have a nice day. You can bet, that even with your $50.00 refund, he will be calling you for every little thing that (he thinks) you missed. Sometimes the money is not worth it.

    Bill Siegel
    Florida Home Inspection Team Inc.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Unbelievable

    You really have to be careful with such people, they are just not playing by the same rules as the rest of us.

    The first time I encountered this attitude in an apparently "normal" person was when as a young woman my wife (a *very* hard working and conscientious person) was so sick with the flu that she had to *crawl* to the bathroom, and I ran some material over to her boss's house after hours. This woman stood in the doorway and screamed at me that she was too sick to go to work herself, and how dare my wife not go in to cover for her!

    Later, this woman hired her father - who had early Alzheimer's - to work in her business,. When the father became disoriented and called the police in an attempt to get one of her employees arrested, she insisted on attempting to press charges to "protect the family name".

    My wife didn't stay long, and last we heard this woman was still making money hand over fist. And over the years I've learned that - whatever your business - a small percentage of the people you meet have a more or less similar attitude: that this sort of person will just assume that other people should of run any sort of financial or personal risk for their convenience - "of course you should crawl across that ladder" - and would lose sleep if you landed at their feet only because "that idiot got blood on my shoes".

    IMO these folks are out there somewhere out in sociopath territory, and when you met them, my advice is just shake your head and walk away - it's not worth it. They are not fully "human" - they are some sort of often dangerous animal - but unfortunately we are not allowed to just shot them.... for one thing too many are CEOs, Senators and Megachurch Televangelists.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 08-31-2007 at 07:08 AM.

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