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  1. #1
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    Default prior to closing

    How many of you use the words "prior to closing" in your reports?

    I have never done it. I see when some inspectors post sample comments on this site they include these words. I think I can do my job well without using those words, at least, I've had no complaints thus far.

    Why do some of you feel it is important to use them?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    Prior to close of title:

    It is used in my reports to ensure my clients have the opportunity right up to closing to ensure they have the time to reinspect or insure that the conditions disclosed in the report are completed to their satisfaction by the vendor. It extends the time limits typically associated with waiving the inspection either on the day of inspection or several days later.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    If you want to get technical it should be "prior to the end of your option period".

    After the option period, its pretty much a done deal.

    But of course your starting to use real estate advice and I would stay away from that.

    rick


  4. #4
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    Prior to closing.....prior to end of option period......prior to close of escrow. However it's said, I think the main reason we say it is to cover our own butts. Most buyers are not going to get 99% of the defects we identify addressed or corrected prior to the close of escrow. They have little to no time, even under the most generous of contingency periods.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    The only time I use those words are when I recommend a furnace certification. I've had way too many clients wait until 3 or 4 months after closing to have the furnace checked only to have a cracked heat exchanger.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    The main theory is to tell them to have something addressed before they own it so if it turns into way more of a problem than you found it's still not really their problem.

    Like the others said... it's just a way to cover our butts. Personally, I don't do it and have never had a problem but I represent a pretty small sample size being just one guy.

    I suppose if you're deep into a lawsuit it may help but I believe to some extent you really can't avoid some lawsuits (many you can but some there's just no way).


  7. #7
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    I use it from time to time but not that often. Along the lines of what Matt stated, I use it to try to emphasize to the client that issue X is something they should address BEFORE they actually own the house.
    When buying a house, clients often have deadlines to meet and get a bit frazzled by it all. Remembering to do what, when can be a problem. Reminding them to do X 'prior to closing' can be very helpful.

    www.aic-chicago.com
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    When I have to recommend further review (which I try not to do) or when I found a problem that I know will be expensive to fix, I recommend the client obtain "an accurate price quote to repair or replace as needed prior to expiration of inspection period."

    Darren www.aboutthehouseinspections.com
    'Whizzing & pasting & pooting through the day (Ronnie helping Kenny helping burn his poots away!) (FZ)

  9. #9
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    I normally don't get into the when and who pays for it but when there is a great deal of uncertainty about the scope and cost of the work I will make mention to get it done before closing or within their option period.
    Just today I added it to a report concerning a swimming pool with air bubbles in the supply line. Might be a $5 O-ring at the pump but it might be a $5000 fix with a backhoe to fix the underground lines.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  10. #10
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    I think the main reason we say it is to cover our own butts. Most buyers are not going to get 99% of the defects we identify addressed or corrected prior to the close of escrow. They have little to no time, even under the most generous of contingency periods.
    This is what is told to buyers today.. You have no time to fix these thing before the close of escrow. HOG WASH...

    This is a sad part of the real estate industry today.

    Back in the 60, 70, and 80. every thing on my Termite reports was corrected, reinspected and certified before the close of escrow.

    Then some wack job in congress got a great Idea to sweep all the work under the rug. and fun the loans by requiring the bank to fund without a pest report and clearance.

    This has become part of the problem with the Real Estate industry today.

    Best

    Ron


  11. #11
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    If you want to get technical it should be "prior to the end of your option period".

    After the option period, its pretty much a done deal.

    Not when used as I've always used it and as I've always seen it used: ... have all repairs completed prior to closing ...

    Makes no difference if the option period has expired or not, but if the repairs are not made prior to closing ... they ain't gonna be made at the seller's expense but at the buyer's expense.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  12. #12
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    they ain't gonna be made at the seller's expense but at the buyer's expense.
    And thats when the buyer gets the real understanding just what he's in for

    Best

    Ron


  13. #13
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    Since most of my inspections are still foreclosures and short-sales, there isn't much the buyer can have done before closing. I have an introductory page that includes a paragraph that makes the "Repair Before Closing When Possible". And one that says "obtain estimates before closing". But most of the time there is a 7-10 calendar day time limit set by a lender. Not much time to get inspection and estimates.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  14. #14
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    The foreclosure thing just complicate things a bit.... I often recommend "inquiry of the seller" for some things (furnace service, old leak stain, etc.) but when I know there ins't one I feel like I'm not much help by suggesting that.

    Of course, it's not my problem who owns the house but I just try to really put myself in my people's shoes and give them good/useful advice.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    One of the speakers at Inspection World in New Orleans had a decent reason for not using 'prior to closing', but I can't remember what it was any more.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  16. #16
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    I think it was Kevin O'Hornett. His logic was to keep us as inspectors out of the Real Estate transaction.
    I quit using the escrow blurb after listening to Kevin.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    There is no listing for James Risley @ trec license search!!!!!


  18. #18
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    What are some phrases that can be used to transfer liability and not land yourself in court or enrage Realtors and Sellers.


  19. #19
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob R View Post
    What are some phrases that can be used to transfer liability and not land yourself in court or enrage Realtors and Sellers.
    Just stating that something in repair is in need of repair is all you need.

    I know this is a very old thread but all that prior to closing, prior to9 the end of your option period is all bunk and not necessary. If you tell them it is broken and they do not address it to the seller before the option period is done then shame on them and shame on the Realtor that should have gone over the report with them to see what they wanted added into an addendum.

    Statement like, which I saw once, "Do not use the receptacles in the kitchen until you have GFCI protection added or you will be electrocuted" ...yes it was in a report.

    You must get that cracked roof rafter fixed before that section of roof collapses.

    Other than the obvious dumb crap just do your inspection, call out the deficiencies in the home, go over the report with your clients...oh yeah....get paid. Gotta remember the getting paid part.

    Truth of the matter is you will piss off Realtors as long as you are a home inspector. Truth is a Realtor somewhere along the line is going to piss you off.

    The only way to "transfer liability" is to do your job and by no means let a client think you are superman and will find everything. I let my clients know that items are missed at more than likely every home inspection of every day.

    Give them a sense of Godliness and you will be sued. If they are more interested in your inspection insurance and want a 5 page resume then they are in your inspection abilities or knowledge then I strongly suggest you let that client go. By letting that client go you just "transferred liability".

    Realtors are an entirely different story

    They want you to be sweet, nice, smiley, everything is no big deal, this is usual for a home this age, that item is grandfathered etc etc and they want one liners like there is a leak at the kitchen sink trap or there is a crack in the brick in the middle of the right side of the home. Answer anymore than that and go into detail as of the why and why not and how it could have been prevented....like being helpful to your client...they want none of that. Take a marketing class that specifically has to do with marketing to Realtors and you will see what I mean

    They will even tell you where to start the inspection where to wind up in the middle of the inspection and where to end the inspection. This class is strictly for how to market to and how to please Realtors.

    Sad but true, that is a real course.


  20. #20
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob R View Post
    What are some phrases that can be used to transfer liability and not land yourself in court or enrage Realtors and Sellers.

    There are not any such words. If you are doing a professional inspection and doing your job the odds that "someone" is going to "not be pleased" is quite high.

    As for ending up in court ... that is honestly a crap-shoot. If someone wants to take you to court they will.

    And ... you are working for the buyers. Why do you really care what the sellers or either side of the realty representation cares?

    Your comment seems to infer that you might very worried about what a realty-type thinks of your work. That is not something you should have enter into your work as an inspector for your client ... the buyer.

    If you do the job I indicated above and simply report what you observe, be honest, don't make mountains out of molehills ... then you should be able to sleep at night knowing you have done a good and honest job.

    Remember ... the inspection is for the buyer (your client).


  21. #21
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    I use a "common" contract that was developed for a coalition of home inspectors in PA, obviously by an attorney, and, under the heading Further Evaluation, it has the phrase "you are advised to seek a professional opinion about any concerns found in this report, yada yada, prior to closing".

    Not saying it's right, just that an attorney thought it was right.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob R View Post
    What are some phrases that can be used to transfer liability and not land yourself in court or enrage Realtors and Sellers.
    What is it that you are trying to transfer liability from?

    I have found that just reporting what you find and telling the absolute truth without beating around the bush or trying to sugar coat things is the best course of action and serves your client the best. Come to think of it, if you act like that in your own personal life that tends to work pretty darn good as well!

    If you do all of that you will be fine.

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

  23. #23
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    Not enrage Realtors? Why on earth would you worry about enraging Realtors? If you do your job correctly and follow the guidelines stated previously by Ted, Nolan, and Scott you are guaranteed to p-off agents from time to time. Heck, it makes my day when I hear an agent mumble something like, "oh my gawd" under their breath as I explain something to my client. I do receive some repeat referrals from a handful of agents but they are some of the good ones. They want their customer to be well informed. They don't want things glossed over. I would much rather have a referral from a former client that a RA any day.

    Last edited by Stuart Brooks; 01-10-2011 at 02:23 PM. Reason: Had to add Scott P to references
    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  24. #24
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    I am in the process of doing some polishing on my report in this slow time. I use a form for my descriptions I had seen for report writing that had three components.
    1. Accurately describe condition.
    2. Describe condition severity.
    3. Transfer of liability.
    The first two are self explanatory and I state them factually.
    The third item is the one is referring to a phrase similar to "Recommend repair, evaluation, or contact a pro". This transfer is to direct the buyer as to what to do so they can't claim they weren't told what to do about the water seeping into the basement. However this recommendation is what torks the Realtor and Sellers, because they say now the buyer is prompted to ask for every recommendation to be handled by the seller, even items such as the GFCIs, although I indicate them as an upgrade to the existing functional outlet. The Realtor and Seller claim this kills the sale when there isn't a meeting of the minds with a hard headed buyer regarding recommended repairs and upgrades.
    My point is, since many Inspectors in my area have disappeared to other endeavors. I have had Realtors calling to see if I'm still in business, but they come right out and tell me I have a reputation and they would rather have another inspector for there clients because of the "Recommend" phrase in my report will hurt there sale. Don't get me wrong I certainly will not kiss a Realtors behind to get work, but, in these slow times, I would like to be more appealing for a bigger referral base.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob R View Post
    Don't get me wrong I certainly will not kiss a Realtors behind to get work, but, in these slow times, I would like to be more appealing for a bigger referral base.
    I think it all boils down to the individual and how they present the issues at hand. Over the past years(15+), I have met inspectors from coast to coast. Most are very amicable and present themselves as professionals in the profession. Some on the other hand are abrasive and present themselves as a know it all's who wants to impress everyone involved in the sale of the home.

    I don't think a home inspector feller or lady can go wrong by just reporting what you find. Keep it simple and do not report what might or could happen in the future, but simply report what you are seeing at the inspection, If it is as simple as a missing screw securing the dishwasher to the counter top then report it as such. Do not blow it out of context and report it that the dishwasher might fall over and crush the small child that is walking or crawling by it! Report what you find at the tinme and go on with life.

    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 01-10-2011 at 07:29 PM.
    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  26. #26
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I think it all boils down to the individual and how they present the issues at hand. Over the past years(15+), I have met inspectors from coast to coast. Most are very amicable and present themselves as professionals in the profession. Some on the other hand are abrasive and present themselves as a know it all's who wants to impress everyone involved in the sale of the home.

    I don't think a home inspector feller or lady can go wrong by just reporting what you find. Keep it simple and do not report what might or could happen in the future, but simply report what you are seeing at the inspection, If it is as simple as a missing screw securing the dishwasher to the counter top then report it as such. Do not blow it out of context and report it that the dishwasher might fall over and crush the small child that is walking or crawling by it! Report what you find at the time and go on with life.
    Agreed 100% Scott. I really don't see the need for 30-50 page reports with expansive explanations and disclaimers. Here's what I saw. Fix it or replace it.

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

  27. #27
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    NAR, HBA and the licensing board had written into law that North Carolina home inspectos MUST:

    (3) Submit a written report to the client that shall:
    (A) Describe those systems and components required to be described in Rules .1106 through .1115 of this Section;
    (B) State which systems and components designated for inspection in this Section have been inspected, and state any systems or components designated for inspection that were not inspected, and the reason for not inspecting;
    (C) State any systems or components so inspected that do not function as intended, allowing for normal wear and tear, or adversely affect the habitability of the dwelling;
    (D) State whether the condition reported requires repair or subsequent observation, or warrants further investigation by a specialist. The statements shall describe the component or system and how the condition is defective, explain the consequences of the condition, and direct the recipient to a course of action with regard to the condition or refer the recipient to a specialist; and
    (E) State the name, license number, and signature of the person supervising the inspection and the name, license number, and signature of the person conducting the inspection.

    "Directing a course of action" could simply be Repair or replace.

    During mandatory annual training, the licensing board has also taught we should strongly avoid the use of the word RECOMMEND for any items going into the mandatory Summary Section of the report. "Recommendations" can only be in the body of the report.


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

  28. #28
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    NAR, HBA and the licensing board had written into law that North Carolina home inspectos MUST:

    (3) Submit a written report to the client that shall:
    (A) Describe those systems and components required to be described in Rules .1106 through .1115 of this Section;
    (B) State which systems and components designated for inspection in this Section have been inspected, and state any systems or components designated for inspection that were not inspected, and the reason for not inspecting;
    (C) State any systems or components so inspected that do not function as intended, allowing for normal wear and tear, or adversely affect the habitability of the dwelling;
    (D) State whether the condition reported requires repair or subsequent observation, or warrants further investigation by a specialist. The statements shall describe the component or system and how the condition is defective, explain the consequences of the condition, and direct the recipient to a course of action with regard to the condition or refer the recipient to a specialist; and
    (E) State the name, license number, and signature of the person supervising the inspection and the name, license number, and signature of the person conducting the inspection.

    "Directing a course of action" could simply be Repair or replace.

    During mandatory annual training, the licensing board has also taught we should strongly avoid the use of the word RECOMMEND for any items going into the mandatory Summary Section of the report. "Recommendations" can only be in the body of the report.
    Those pretty much follow the ASHI SoP's.

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

  29. #29
    John Martino's Avatar
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    Default Re: prior to closing

    Hi. Its a call to action for clients. I use the words "Before the expiration of your inspection contingency". For instance- The roof was snow covered, before the end of your inspection continegncy have the roof and roof drainage professionally inspected in order to determine if problems exist. There may be problems that I could not see today because of snow cover. Its a way to get them to do somehting or to take action in a given time frame. Of course no one does it but at least you told them to do it before they purchase the home. I think it goes a long way to protect ourselves.

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