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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    FL
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    Default Disclaimers & Home Maintenance Tips

    Hey everybody,

    I'm new to the home inspection business and am working on my disclaimers & home maintenance verbiage for in my reports. Like most of us, I'm no lawyer. I really don't know exactly what should be disclaimed and how those disclaimers should be written, but know that I need to protect myself and my business and that most every other inspection company puts pages and pages of disclaimers and home maintenance info in their reports.

    What is a good starting place to get good, thorough disclaimers and home maintenance info? Is it illegal or unethical to literally "copy and paste" another inspection company's verbiage straight into my reports? And do any of you know a good lawyer or attorney that can look these over to make sure everything is fool-proof?

    I appreciate the feedback guys and gals! Thank you!

    Kurt

    Similar Threads:
    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,598

    Default Re: Disclaimers & Home Maintenance Tips

    Join a HI Association somewhere nearby, and attend meetings, get SOP, contracts, etc, plus learn from local pros.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Posts
    2,622

    Default Re: Disclaimers & Home Maintenance Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt Stein View Post
    Hey everybody,

    I'm new to the home inspection business and am working on my disclaimers & home maintenance verbiage for in my reports. Like most of us, I'm no lawyer. I really don't know exactly what should be disclaimed and how those disclaimers should be written, but know that I need to protect myself and my business and that most every other inspection company puts pages and pages of disclaimers and home maintenance info in their reports.

    What is a good starting place to get good, thorough disclaimers and home maintenance info? Is it illegal or unethical to literally "copy and paste" another inspection company's verbiage straight into my reports? And do any of you know a good lawyer or attorney that can look these over to make sure everything is fool-proof?

    I appreciate the feedback guys and gals! Thank you!

    Kurt
    First, get a good contract. Most contracts specifically define what a home inspection is and is not. CREIA has a contract in CA, but your local association may have one for Florida.

    Know your standards of practice (or whatever you call them). Some inspectors include them in the report. I know of one who includes the specific standard for each section/part in that particular section of the report (plumbing limitations in the plumbing section, etc.)

    Copy/paste of disclaimers from other inspectors can speed things up, but you might just be using bad verbiage which can get you into trouble down the road. Best bet would be to get permission, so there are no hard feelings down the road.

    Notify your client of ANYTHING you cannot see. If the garage is full of stored items, take a pic and state that review of the garage was limited due to the stored items. Insulation in attics limits review of wiring, framing, etc. An insulation blanket might limit review of the water heater.

    As JK said, join an association and attend meetings. Show interest, input, a desire to learn/improve and willingness to share. Many will be willing to share if you don't come off as a sponge. Some won't, but that's ok too. In my chapter, we refer each other work when we get too busy because we are not threatened by competition and know each other well enough to feel comfortable with their level of knowledge.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    2,481

    Default Re: Disclaimers & Home Maintenance Tips

    Good advice given. To me, its bad form to use another inspectors wording without asking / getting permission to copy it.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    MONTREAL QUEBEC-CANADA
    Posts
    1,894

    Default Re: Disclaimers & Home Maintenance Tips

    I agree with all the aforementioned.

    Note: John K., as well as myself, enjoy a mutual association/organization.
    Its active members, active being the keyword, are what truly makes it, the organization,association, what it is today. The world's largest gathering, of home inspectors, building inspection professionals, under one umbrella. The organization's founder gives us sharing power by investing in us.

    Although some may agree and others not, we are undoubtedly a
    Formidable, and some may say foamable, gathering and collective helping one another succeed.

    As with any home inspector you require a;
    1: A SoP. Standard of Practice. This limits your liability.
    2: COE: Code of Ethic to live and run your business by.
    3: PIA: Property Inspection Agreement, or contract by any other terms.

    Then you decide to work alone or for someone.
    Working for yourself take MUCH EFFORT.
    Now its your turn up at bat.


    Last edited by ROBERT YOUNG; 08-28-2017 at 10:02 AM.
    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
    Call (514) 489-1887 or (514) 441-3732
    Our Motto; Putting information where you need it most, "In your hands.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
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    Default Re: Disclaimers & Home Maintenance Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by ROBERT YOUNG View Post
    we are undoubtedly a foamable gathering and collective helping one another succeed.
    "Foamable"? According to an online dictionary, that means "able to turn into foam"...

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    MONTREAL QUEBEC-CANADA
    Posts
    1,894

    Default Re: Disclaimers & Home Maintenance Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    "Foamable"? According to an online dictionary, that means "able to turn into foam"...
    Ops, Typo. Thanks Gunner.

    I meant to say, (Formidable: (inspiring fear or respect through being impressively large, powerful, intense, or capable).

    Come to think of it, as I do typo now & then, although some may agree, not many, while others may not of course, and who am I to argue, "Foamable" maybe a narrative some can say as somewhat accurate.
    (Foamable (capable of foaming during MB discussions that lead to arguments)

    Best.
    Robert

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
    Call (514) 489-1887 or (514) 441-3732
    Our Motto; Putting information where you need it most, "In your hands.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Disclaimers & Home Maintenance Tips

    This thread was spot on thanks for asking that question, really helped me out.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Great questions thanks for asking it. I had the same issue.

    A&T Home Inspections
    Arlington Home Inspections

  9. #9

    Default Re: Disclaimers & Home Maintenance Tips

    Kurt,

    Congratulations on joining the home inspection industry! Doing all you can to mitigate risk, including using appropriate verbiage in your report, is a smart move.

    We just published an article with report-writing tips from other home inspectors, which you can read here. The inspectors we interviewed talked a bit about disclaimers but mostly about other techniques they've found useful, like labeling defects in the pictures they put in their reports.

    Hope that helps!

    InspectorPro Insurance
    We Protect. You Inspect.

    www.inspectorproinsurance.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,073

    Default Re: Disclaimers & Home Maintenance Tips

    In my opinion, the best home inspection reports do not contain pages and pages of disclaimers. They contain information as required by whatever SOP the job is done under, and other information that is helpful to inform the client of conditions and concerns.

    I think if you identify a condition specific to any inspection that needs a disclaimer, fine, write the disclaimer applicable to that condition.

    The worst inspection reports contain gobs of crap that has nothing to do with the subject property, and do not serve clients very good.

    As for maintenance items, I do not put them in my reports. They too are usually specific to the given property. At least the important ones are. On those, I discuss and make suggestions to clients during the inspection but rarely write them into the report.

    They're not hiring you to teach them home maintenance. They're hiring you to tell them whats wrong with the house. Anything in the report that is not needed can take attention away from other important things that need fixing.

    Keep the majority of blanket disclaimers in the inspection agreement. Don't fog up the report. Your clients will appreciate it.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Chicago IL
    Posts
    1,996

    Default Re: Disclaimers & Home Maintenance Tips

    Clients don't come after you because you don't have enough disclaimers and nonsense home maintenance info in your report.
    They come after you because you were done in an hour, didn't educate them during the inspection and provided a report full of junk not specific to the house.
    If you want that type of report you can buy a version easy enough, hand the client a nice colorful binder after an hour and move on to your next of 3-4 inspections that day.
    Work on being a rockstar not how to CYA.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Clients don't come after you because you don't have enough disclaimers and nonsense home maintenance info in your report.
    They come after you because you were done in an hour, didn't educate them during the inspection and provided a report full of junk not specific to the house.
    If you want that type of report you can buy a version easy enough, hand the client a nice colorful binder after an hour and move on to your next of 3-4 inspections that day.
    Work on being a rockstar not how to CYA.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Posts
    2,622

    Default Re: Disclaimers & Home Maintenance Tips

    Around here, some inspectors include the SOPs as a part of the report, which should provide all the disclaimers needed. One inspector that I know puts the specific SOPs into each part of the report (heating SOPs in the heating section, etc.)

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,583

    Default Re: Disclaimers & Home Maintenance Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Around here, some inspectors include the SOPs as a part of the report, which should provide all the disclaimers needed. One inspector that I know puts the specific SOPs into each part of the report (heating SOPs in the heating section, etc.)
    The inspector who inspected the house our daughter bought in NC did that, and from the buyer's point of view ... it not only totally disrupts the reports as to what is useful and actually found at each system, it reeks of "I'm not here to do anything, but, oh, by the way, I did happen to see ... '

    On his report (Home Gauge) those SOP disclaimers were at the beginning of each section .... I don't have to ... blah, blah, blah

    And I doubt the report would look any better with those ... I don't have to ... blah, blah, blah at the end of each section.

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

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